Photos taken at a CPAC party with Texas Rep. Steve Stockman drinking near a hot tub actually show another link in the chain that connects self-proclaimed ‘Tea Party Republicans’ like Stockman with election wrongdoing and establishment GOP figures like Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.
The man standing next to Stockman is Dimitri Kesari and unless you’ve been closely following the #Staffergate story I’ve been reporting for several months, he’s probably nobody you’ve ever heard of.
However, be on notice: there are currently not one but TWO grand juries looking into illegal election activity connected to Dimitri Kesari, so it’s a name you might want to remember.
The “CPAC Hot Tub Party” becomes notorious, especially after Lachlan Markay put out two photos that show Stockman standing next to the hot tub with a drink in his hand…but few noticed that he was standing next to Dimitri Kesari.
Source sends these pics, says they show Rep. Stockman drinking w/ YRs in a
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) March 10, 2014
(For a different take on Hot Tub Party, read this from Miss Ruth at Misfit Politics. Full disclosure: Miss Ruth gave me a brownie once.)
This story involves connections between well-known people like McConnell and Stockman and the people behind the scenes that few people have heard of.
Here’s a quick rundown of the Washington insiders connected to this:
- Dimitri Kesari: a GOP operative and the man in the photo; established connections to Stockman and McConnell
- Donny Ferguson: Stockman’s right hand man; was also involved in Montana political scandal connected to Kesari
- Eugene Delgaudio: Controversial politician and operative from Virginna, he dropped a big mailer during the Stockman primary campaign but didn’t reveal close ties to Donny Ferguson. Delgaudio is also very close to Kesari.
- Dan Backer : Attorney who was the campaign treasurer for Stockman; he also funneled Tea Party donor money to McConnell campaign.
Who is Dimiti Kesari?
As I wrote in my December, 2013 article #StafferGate, Steve Stockman, Donny Ferguson & The Montana Connection, Dimiti Kesari was one of the people behind the secret printing presses that were helping candidates, apparently in violation of election law. The Montana election malfeasance is major scandal in that state.
Dimitri Kesari is a longtime political operative with extensive ties to both the National Right to Work Committee and the Ron Paul movement. Kesari has set up groups connected to both Paul’s Campaign for Liberty as well as affiliates of the NRTWC.
So, how does this all Iowa activity relate to Texas Rep. Steve Stockman, his campaign manager / senior advisor Danny Ferguson, and the trouble in Montana?
To understand that, you need to know about the secret printing presses that Dimitri Kesari is said to have set up in Iowa.
The secret Iowa printing operation allowed Kesari to coordinate political mailings for candidates using voter lists that were targeted using surveys that had been conducted by, among other, groups connected to the National Right to Work Committee. Sources involved say that these mailings were done in Iowa ‘off the books’; not listed an expense as required by election law on the candidates expenditure records.
Kesari was also at the center of another scandal in Iowa in 2011, where Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson was paid $100,000 to jump ship from the presidential campaign of Rep. Bachmann to that of Ron Paul.
Part of that massive payment came in the form of a $25,000 checkwritten to Sorenson’s wife by a top Ron Paul staffer named Dimitri Kesari. The Iowa ethics investigation reported included a photo of the check, which Sorenson had not cashed. Dimitri Kesari had written the check from the account of a jewelry business owned by Kesari’s wife. In this secretly recorded audio, Sorenson claims that Dimitri Kesari had written the check at a restaurant dinner and given it to Sorenson’s wife while Sorenson was using the restroom.
Kesari was the deputy campaign manager for Ron Paul’s campaign at the time and it’s still unclear where he got the money to bribe Sorenson. Sorenson stepped down from office after an ethics reported revealed this info: more on that story here.
Kesari also has a connection to Stockman spokesman Donny Ferguson though Loundoun County, Virigina political fundraiser and performance artist Eugene Delgaudio. I wrote about Ferguson’s connection to Delgaudio in this story that was rejected by Breitbart Texas managing direct Brandon Darby.
There’s another interesting connection to my dismissal by Darby: I was fired by Darby over research I was doing in Steve Stockman’s campaign treasurer Dan Backer and how he’d funneled money to Mitch McConnell AND Stockman’s primary opponent John Cornyn.
Interestingly enough, Kersari was also paid $70,000 by Mitch McConnell’s campaign in 2013. The money went through a shell corporation called Hyllus that was tracked to Kersari by Open Secrets back in November:
Kesari did not return emails about yesterday’s story or today’s findings. Jesse Benton, Ron Paul’s grandson-in-law who is running McConnell’s campaign, also did not return an email asking for comment.