DES MOINES, Iowa -- A former state lawmaker accused of accepting payments to change his support to a different presidential candidate in the 2012 election cycle has pleaded guilty to two federal charges.
The Department of Justice says Kent Sorenson, a former Republican state senator, admitted to receiving “under-the-table” payments from Ron Paul’s campaign committee in return for switching his support and services from candidate Michele Bachmann.
The payments totaled about $73,000 and were made monthly in the amount of around $8,000. They were concealed by first sending the money to a film production company, then through another company -- and finally was paid out to Sorenson and his wife.
Sorenson pleaded guilty Wednesday 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 in connection with the concealed expenditures.
He faces up to 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. A judge will decide his sentence, but a date for sentencing has not been scheduled.
A spokesperson for the Justice Department says this is an “extremely rare if not unprecedented” case.
Sorenson resigned his Iowa Senate seat on October 2nd after an investigation by an independent counsel for the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee found “probable cause” that his actions in connection with the case had violated Senate rules.
The FBI is continuing to investigate the case.