A former Iowa state senator has pleaded guilty to two criminal charges and admitted taking $73,000 in illegally routed payments from Ron Paul's presidential campaign in exchange for a 2012 Iowa caucus endorsement. The senator, Kent Sorenson, had previously endorsed Michele Bachmann. From the Des Moines Register:
According to a statement of facts accompanying Sorenson's plea agreement, he secretly negotiated with the Paul campaign over a period of months to join the campaign and received $73,000.
The payments included several monthly payments, ranging in size from $8,000 to $33,000, routed through a film production company and a second company before being received by Sorenson. Those circuitous routes circumvented reporting requirements of the Federal Election Commission, ensuring the payments were kept hidden from the public.
It's been reported that Sorenson also took possibly illegal payments from the Bachmann campaign.
Prosecutions of figures involved in the Ron Paul campaign could be forthcoming, the Washington Post reports. The chairman of Ron Paul's 2012 campaign, Jesse Benton, was the campaign manager for Rand Paul's 2010 Senate campaign and is currently the campaign manager for Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell. Benton has not been accused of any crime, but—as mentioned in this detailed look at the connections between Ron Paul, Rand Paul, and the Kent Sorenson case by Slate's David Weigel—he appears to have contiunued to work through at least 2013 with a company associated with the deputy Ron Paul campaign manager who is reported to have written Kent Sorenson a $25,000 check as part of the endorsement scheme.
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