Bachmann campaign, embroiled in controversy, loses another staffer

Since Wednesday, Bachmann has suffered a one-two punch of staff departures
Since Wednesday, Bachmann has suffered a one-two punch of staff departures

Hours after Michele Bachmann's Iowa campaign co-chairman surprisingly defected to Ron Paul's camp, her campaign was rocked by a second high-profile departure.

Political Director Wes Enos "no longer works for the campaign," said Alice Stewart, Bachmann's press secretary. 

Later Thursday, Enos confirmed that he is "no longer serving in an official capacity with the campaign," but added he doesn't plan to support another candidate and still plans to caucus for Bachmann.

Wes Enos: Lost his job, but still plans to caucus for Bachmann
Wes Enos: Lost his job, but still plans to caucus for Bachmann

After Iowa state Senator and Bachmann co-chairman Kent Sorenson unexpectedly showed up at a Ron Paul rally on Wednesday night, Bachmann accused him of selling out to Paul for "a large sum of money."

But Enos, even though he was still working for Bachmann, quickly came to his former colleague's defense.

"I cannot, in good conscience, watch a good man like Kent Sorenson be attacked as a 'sell-out,'" Enos said. "That is simply not the case, and it was not the basis of his decision."

On Thursday, Enos told NBC News that he "knew when I undermined [Bachmann's] statement last night that I was effectively tendering my resignation," adding that his departure was "a mutual thing."

Bachmann, however, isn't backing off the bribery allegation. On Thursday, she reiterated to reporters in Des Moines that Sorenson "told me that he was offered money, he was offered a lot of money by the Ron Paul campaign."

"No one else knows about that conversation other than Kent Sorenson and myself," she added.

Bachmann's decision to continue to press the bribery allegation even after one of her own staffers denied it prompted Sorenson to issue a strongly worded statement via the Paul campaign. It says:

The recent smears from the media and the national political establishment motivated me to rush to Congressman Paul's aid because he did the same for me in both of my races for the Iowa General Assembly. As for the ridiculous allegations that Congresswoman Bachmann and her surrogates have made, I was never offered money from the Ron Paul campaign or anyone associated with them and certainly would never accept any. Financial reports come out in just days which will prove what I'm saying is true. Even Congresswoman Bachmann's political director issued a statement defending my character. Since then, he's been fired by the Bachmann campaign for daring to tell the truth. Sadly, the values I most appreciated in Congresswoman Bachmann appear to have gone out the window in a last-minute effort to salvage what's left of her campaign.

Despite the defections and her low standing in recent polls, Bachmann apparently plans to forge ahead with her Iowa campaign. On Thursday, she wrapped up her 99-county tour of the state and told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that to-be-released phone records would prove the conversation in which Sorenson allegedly told her the Paul campaign was offering him money to switch allegiances took place.

She didn't however, acknowledge the gaping hole in that reasoning -- there is nothing surprising about a campaign chairman talking on the phone with their candidate, and the records, of course, can't prove anything about what was said.

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