The Department of Justice announced that former Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson pleaded guilty Wednesday to concealing payments he received from former Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign in exchange for his support.
In the plea deal, Mr. Sorenson admits that he switched his support from Rep. Michele Bachmann to Mr. Paul after meeting secretly with the campaign and negotiating payments that amounted to $73,000, according to DOJ officials.
DOJ officials said the payments were doled out in monthly installments of $8,000 and were concealed by “transmitting them to a film production company, then through a second company, and finally to Sorenson and his spouse.”
“An elected official admitted that he accepted under-the-table payments from a campaign committee to secure his support and services for a candidate in the 2012 presidential election,” Leslie R. Caldwell, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said in a statement. “Campaign finance reports should be accurate and transparent, not tools for concealing campaign expenditures. Lying by public officials — whether intended to obstruct the FEC or federal investigators — violates the public trust and the law, and the Department of Justice does not tolerate it.”
Mr. Sorenson served as Mrs. Bachmann’s Iowa chairman, but announced he was jumping ship in December 2011 to support Mr. Paul’s presidential bid.
Mrs. Bachmann responded at the time that Mr. Sorenson had been bribed.
“Kent Sorenson personally told me he was offered a large sum of money to go to work for the Paul campaign,” she said, according to AFP. “Kent said to me yesterday that ‘Everyone sells out in Iowa, why shouldn’t I?’ Then he told me he would stay with our campaign.”