Speed Reads

a lesson in ethics

Former Michele Bachmann aide pleads guilty to covert endorsement-for-pay scheme

Former Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson (R) pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday to accepting and then concealing payments he received after switching his support from one candidate to another during the 2012 Iowa caucuses.

Sorenson pleaded guilty to one count of causing a federal campaign committee to falsely report its expenditures to the Federal Election Commission and one count of obstruction of justice, The Des Moines Register reports.

Sorenson worked as Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) Iowa chairman until just days before New Year's 2012, when he defected to then-Rep. Ron Paul's (R-Texas) campaign. He shifted his allegiance to Paul just hours after going to a Bachmann event, making his big announcement during a Ron Paul rally.

Sorenson said he was paid a total of $73,000 from the Paul campaign, with the money laundered through two companies. He secretly negotiated with Paul's team for months before his announcement, a statement of fact says, and received payments ranging from $8,000 a month to $33,000. Sorenson had long denied the allegations, and had said publicly he was not being paid when he switched campaigns.

Sorenson resigned from the state Senate in 2013. The sentencing date has not yet been scheduled, but Sorenson could serve up to 25 years in prison. So far, no one has been charged with actually giving Sorenson the $73,000.