State Senator Kent Sorenson switched his support from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul just five days before the 2012 Iowa caucuses.
Sorenson is facing a list of allegations that money was the reason why, “I had a conversation with Kent Sorenson, and in the direct conversation that I had with him, he told me that he was offered money, he was offered a lot of money by the Ron Paul campaign,” Michelle Bachmann claimed in Dec. 2011.
The website, theiowarepublican.com reported Tuesday on documents and emails obtained from a former Ron Paul staffer that backs that claim.
Sorenson allegedly made several financial demands to get him to switch. Among them were a salary of $8,000 a month along with $5,000 a month for Sorenson’s legislative clerk.
The Iowa Republican says Sorenson also wanted $100,000 deposited in a political action committee that he controlled.
State senate rules prohibit campaigns from paying senators directly or indirectly. A senate ethics committee is looking into this.
Sorenson has denied accepting any money from any campaign.
Regardless, some fear the damage is already done not only to Sorenson but to Iowa’s first in the nation status.
Former Republican Party Chairman Matt Strawn also screwed up on caucus night.
First he said, Mitt Romney won, then he said certification wouldn’t change that, and then he was forced to say no, Rick Santorum won.
The Sorenson pay-to-play allegations add another round of caucus credibility concerns.
Former Democratic Party Executive Director Norm Sterzenbach wrote on Twitter, “Sorenson embodies everything wrong with politics and could single handedly sink the Iowa caucuses.”
Governor Branstad added his thoughts Monday. He iterated that he doesn’t’ care about his party’s straw poll. He just wants to protect the caucuses.
Holding the first caucus means prestige, access, influence and tens of millions of dollars for Iowa every four years.
No one wants the Sorenson scandal to risk that.