A political blog says it has emails showing that Iowa operatives with ties to state Sen. Kent Sorenson sought $208,000 in salary and campaign contributions for Sorenson and his allies to ditch Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign and endorse another candidate.
Emails obtained by The Iowa Republican include a memo from Aaron Dorr, the brother of a Sorensen aide, to John Tate, former U.S. Rep. and presidential candidate Ron Paul’s campaign manager, that says Sorenson would need compensation before he switched allegiances.
According to the documents, Aaron Dorr requested that Paul's camp provide $100,000 in seed money for a political action committee and match Sorenson’s $8,000-per-month salary and Chris Dorr's, Sorenson's Senate clerk, $5,000-per-month salary from the Bachmann campaign.
Sorenson’s attorney, Theodore Sporer, told the Star Tribune that he was not aware of the alleged negotiations.
“There was no money that changed hands,” Sporer said Tuesday. “There was no director or indirect payment from the Ron Paul campaign.”
Sorenson quit Bachmann’s campaign in December 2011, just days before the 2012 GOP caucuses to endorse Paul’s candidacy. Months before that, Sorenson helped Bachmann secure victory in the Iowa Straw Poll, which for decades has been seen as an early barometer of the presidential race.
When Sorenson bolted for Paul’s campaign, Bachmann suggested that money played a role. The emails do not provide evidence that Sorenson received compensation for joining Paul’s campaign.
The Iowa Senate received an ethics complaint against Sorenson last year that accused him of being paid by a presidential campaign, Bachmann’s, against the chamber’s ethics rules.
Bachmann’s former chief of staff, Minnesota GOP operative Andy Parrish, told the ethics panel that Sorenson was paid $7,500 a month to work on Bachmann’s campaign.
A special investigator is probing the allegations, which have also sparked a congressional ethics inquiry and Federal Election Commission complaint.
Sorenson has denied wrongdoing.