Clayton Thomas Kelly is back in the news. In May 2014, Kelly was involved with a nefarious cabal of political thugs who wanted to replace Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran (R) with Tea Party favorite State Sen Chris McDaniel. June 14, 2015 he was sentenced for 2.5 years for a stunt that reveals much about the Tea Party and the Neocons who run it.
I say nefarious on account that what this little group pulled was not only socially unacceptable, it was illegal.
Court records and news outlets have reported that Clayton Kelly (28), who labored under the name “Constitutional Clayton”, was an ambitious blogger who wanted to get noticed. Kelly got the attention he dreampt about. He connected with a handful of McDaniel’s ardent supporters and was commissioned to break into a nursing home and shoot video of Thad Cochran’s ailing wife who was suffering from dementia – all in an effort to spin up a rumor that Cochran had a mistress.
Why, you ask, would anyone want pull a stupid stunt like this? Enter Richard Sager – school teacher, raging Tea Party boy – and John Bert (aka John Mary) – a former radio talk show host and local Tea Party leader. Apparently, John Bert was the main inspirator, along with cohorts Mark Mayfield (who committed suicide after his arrest in the case) and Elaine Vechorik, a died-in-the-wool fan of McDaniel’s. Richard Sager was the handler.
As of today, there are still some lingering questions about Chris McDaniel’s involvement. Apparently, McDaniel’s campaign manager, Melanie Sojourner, knew about Kelly’s arrest well before the story broke.
If you want details, check out the sources:
The Clarion-Ledger, Jun 16 ’15: Cochran Photo Case Messages: “Chris not happy. Delete everything”
The Clarion-Ledger, Jun 16 ’15: Kelly gets 2.5 years in Cochran photo case
Talking Points Memo, May 21 ’14: Meet The Blogger Who Risked it all For A Mississippi Tea Party Candidate