A former Iowa state senator admitted to being paid $73,000 to abandon Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) 2012 presidential campaign in favor of helping Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-TX) bid, Yahoo News reported on Wednesday.
The Justice Department (DOJ) said in a statement that 42-year-old Kent Sorenson pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and one count of causing a federal campaign committee to falsely report its expenditures to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
According to the statement, Sorenson admitted to meeting with an unidentified “second political campaign” between October and December 2011 and agreed to switch camps in exchange for monthly payments of $8,000, which were sent to two different companies before the money went to Sorenson.
Though the campaigns are not identified in the statement, the dates of the meetings coincides with the period immediately preceding Sorenson’s resignation as head of Bachmann’s Iowa campaign team.
Bachmann’s campaign immediately accused Sorenson of jumping ship for Paul’s campaign in exchange for cash, which Sorenson denied, despite reports to the contrary.
Sorenson’s home was searched by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents about a year after he switched campaigns.
But Sorenson later admitted to federal investigators that he “gave false testimony” to an independent prosecutor looking into the Bachmann campaign’s allegations on orders from the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee. Sorenson did not reveal the payments in part to attempt to avoid later probes from both the FBI and the FEC.
It is not clear whether the Paul campaign will face sanctions in connection with Sorenson’s admission. A DOJ spokesperson was quoted as saying the investigation “remains ongoing.”
[Image: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), via CBS News]