FBI searches former Michele Bachmann campaign staffer’s home
The Federal Bureau of Investigations confiscated materials belonging to a former aide to Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) presidential campaign who left under acrimonious circumstances to help one of her GOP primary opponents.
The Daily Beast reported on Wednesday that agents spent hours at the home of former Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorensen (R) in November 2012.
“We were not notified that he was the target of any investigation,” Sorenson’s attorney, Ted Sporer, was quoted as saying. “They took computers and things that would be used to verify or validate communications with presidential entities.”
Documents uncovered in August 2013 stated that a spokesperson for Sorenson asked for an $8,000 salary and a $100,000 contribution to his political action committee for leaving Bachmann’s campaign to endorse then-Sen. Ron Paul’s (R-TX) candidacy during the 2012 Republican presidential primary. Sorenson, who joined the Paul campaign two months later, denied any financial promises at the time, though Bachmann accused him of taking payments from the Texas senator’s camp.
“I wasn’t part of this conversation,” Sorenson was quoted as saying. “I’m not even sure if the discussion happened, but if it did happen, I wasn’t part of it.”
But, as documented in a book on Bachmann’s failed campaign, Sorenson’s own hiring ran counter to Iowa state rules against hiring lawmakers. Sorenson subsequently resigned from the state Senate amid allegations he was paid illegally, as well as that he stole an email list for a conservative parents’ home-schooling group from a staffer’s computer.
Sporer told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that authorities seized materials related to Sorenson’s work for both campaigns.
“It’s hard to unravel,” Sporer was quoted as saying. “I don’t know if it’s a series of related investigations, or if it’s one big investigation, or multiple unrelated investigations. My gut instinct is it’s one investigation.”
Bachmann, a four-term incumbent in Congress, has insisted her decision not to seek another re-election is not related to her own ethics investigation, which landed her on the annual list of “most corrupt” lawmakers by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) in September 2013.
[Image via CNN]