MILO, Iowa — A former state senator convicted for his part in a scheme to cover up payments he received in exchange for his endorsement of presidential candidates is lashing out at critics.
Kent Sorenson, of Milo, took to Facebook to apologize for his actions, ask for help for his family as he prepares to serve his 15-month prison sentence and defend his family. Sorenson wrote:
While I am well aware that many are gleeful for this day...
I would like to take a moment to address you. Feel free to lob all the insults and criticism you would like towards me. I was the elected official, I was the one that aired[sic] and I was the one that made the choices I did.
It is absolutely disgusting to direct that towards my wife and kids. They did absolutely nothing wrong and attacking them shows your lowest form of scum.
Following Sorenson's court appearance Tuesday, family members hurled insults and profanities at media gathered outside the federal courthouse in Des Moines. One recklessly drove up the concrete entrance to the courthouse to pick up relatives. A security guard ordered the woman to retreat. She then lurched backwards into the street, squealing her tires, just feet from where people were standing.
(Please note the following video contains language some may find offensive.)
Sorenson's wife, Shawnee, also went after critics following her husband's day in court:
So, today in federal court, the judge basically sentenced my husband for bribery. Not a crime he had been accused of, but was definitely sentenced for. My husband Kent Sorenson accepted money to support a candidate for president. He did not sell a vote as stated by the prosecutor who argued on Kents behalf after the sentence was read. But, everyone of Iowas law makers who voted for the gas tax did accept a bribe. They were paid from the road builders to their campaigns to charge each and every one of you every time you put gas in your vehicle.
Kent Sorenson also added this on Facebook:
Obviously today did not turn out as my family and I had hoped. The next year and half is going to be very difficult time for my family.
I hope and pray that people will come along side my family while I am gone and help them through this process.
Below you will see my statement that I read to the judge.
I come to you today a far different man then I was nearly six years ago when I first entered into the Presidential race in 2011. Then I was cocky, arrogant and filled with many miss guided ideas. Today I am before you humbled and broken.. Looking back I realize the missed opportunities I had to help more people through compassion.
I am so filled with regret I don't even know where to start so I will just make an open apology to the people of Iowa and my former colleagues in the legislature. I specifically want to apologize to Mr Wienhart who conducted the Senate ethics investigation I became so skewed in my thinking that I put politics before the truth.
I feel terrible that my father spent the last 5 months of his life watching his son plead guilty to these charges and being more concerned about me then his own health. I am sorry to my mother and sisters for watching that play out. I am sorry to my wife and 6 children for putting them through this during the last 6 years. The youngest two have dealt with this half their life and my middle two have had their teenage years consumed by this.
While there is no way to take back the decisions I made I have tried to began[sic] to right them. This is an ongoing process and my first step was when I started cooperating with the FBI and the Department of Justice. I also know that this will be a life long process some people will never trust me again.
I hope that through my cooperation your Honor that you see my intentions are true and my regret sincere.
Original story on Sorenson's prison sentence:
DES MOINES, Iowa--If former State Senator Kent Sorenson hoped a federal judge would have leniency on him for cooperating with the feds for years, then he is likely very disappointed. Sorenson is soon headed to prison for his part in the biggest scandal of the state's revered presidential caucuses.
District Judge Robert Pratt's decision surprised some Tuesday, since both Sorenson's attorney and the prosecution had already agreed that Sorenson should only serve probation and perform community service. But Pratt said Sorenson's actions were "the definition of political corruption" and he said elected officials must be held to a higher standard. Pratt sentenced Sorenson to 15 months in federal prison. Iowa doesn't have a federal prison and Pratt said he would recommend Sorenson serve his sentence in an available prison that is near Iowa.
In 2011 and 2012, Sorenson--still a state senator at the time--inappropriately accepted thousands of dollars in exchange for his public support of not one, but two, different presidential caucus campaigns. Sorenson initially served as Michele Bachmann's state chairman. But just days before the caucus when polls showed Bachmann had little chance of performing well, Sorenson defected and backed Ron Paul's presidential campaign.
Senate rules forbid sitting members from accepting payments to support a presidential candidates. Sorenson repeatedly denied taking money for his support. But he later resigned his seat before the senate could force him out.
Federal investigators eventually got Sorenson to admit the $132,000 in payments and to help them convict three Paul operatives for their part in the scheme, which attempted to disguise the payments to Sorenson.