Michele Bachmann scandal costs Iowa state senator his job
Sorenson's resignation email: "Dear Gov. Branstad: I resign my seat, SD13, effective immediately. Sincerely, Kent Sorenson"
Iowa state senator Kent Sorenson served as Michele Bachmann's state campaign chair during her presidential run -- right up until he daggered her days before the Iowa caucus and threw his support behind Ron Paul.
Switching allegiances is Sorenson's right, but getting paid to shill for a presidential candidate constitutes a violation of Iowa Senate rules. As it turned out, Sorenson received $7,500 per month from Bachmann-related entities for his services, and after the Senate Republican leader called for his resignation yesterday, Sorenson complied.
The call for Sorenson's resignation came the same day a special prosecutor appointed to look into the relationship between Sorenson and Bachmann's campaign ruled that Sorenson "committed the offense of felonious misconduct in office in violation of [the Iowa Code] when he knowingly made false statements to the Senate Ethics Committee in his initial response and his supplemental response to the complaint."
"In his two written responses to the complaint that he submitted to the committee, Senator Sorenson categorically denied being compensated for his role in the Bachmann campaign," the prosecutor continued. "We find probable cause to believe that those statements were false, and that Senator Sorenson knew they were false when he made them."
As we told you about in April, former Bachmann chief of staff Andy Parrish testified Michele personally approved the payments to Sorenson but didn't realize they violated Iowa Senate ethics rules.
But it should be noted that Bachmann's campaign isn't the only one emerging from the Sorenson mess smelling like something stuck on the bottom of a shoe at the Iowa State Fair. From an Iowa KCRG TV report:
Weinhardt's report also indicated that before Sorenson defected to the Ron Paul campaign a few days before the 2012 Iowa caucuses, he received a $25,000 check payable to GSI from a senior official with the Ron Paul campaign.
"He did not cash it," according to the report. "After the caucuses, however, GSI received a series of wire transfers from an entity in Maryland called ICT, Inc. totaling $73,000, an amount that would equal $25,000 plus $8,000 per month for six months. We have not been able to connect those transfers directly to the Ron Paul campaign, but the circumstances surrounding them are deeply suspicious."
Politics is a dirty business, folks.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.