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Disgraced Iowa Republican’s family hurls obscenities after he’s sentenced to prison for corruption

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A Republican political operative and his family had hoped he would avoid prison after admitting to his role in a cash-for-endorsement scandal — and they lashed out after he was sentenced to 15 months.

Former Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson pleaded guilty to violating federal election law and obstruction of justice after he made the surprising leap from backing Michele Bachmann for president to supporting Ron Paul just days ahead of the 2012 caucus, reported The Des Moines Register.

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Sorenson’s attorney was surprised by the prison term, since the former lawmaker had cooperated with federal prosecutors, testified before a grand jury and agreed to plead guilty to accepting $73,000 in exchange for his endorsement.

Prosecutors had recommended two years of probation and community service, but Senior U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt imposed the prison term instead, saying Sorenson’s crimes were “the definition of political corruption.”

The former GOP lawmaker’s family shouted at reporters outside the courthouse, and Sorenson denounced his critics.

“Are you happy now?” said one of Sorenson’s sisters, and two of his daughters shouted obscenities at reporters and tried to block a television camera.

Sorenson posted a message on his Facebook page apologizing for his actions and attacking those who were “gleeful” over his punishment.

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“Feel free to lob all the insults and criticism you would like towards me,” Sorenson wrote. “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,” he added. “They did absolutely nothing wrong and attacking them shows your lowest form of scum.”

Sorenson told the judge in a letter that he had “put politics before the truth.”

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“I was cocky, arrogant and filled with many miss guided (sic) ideas,” Sorenson wrote. “Today I am before you humbled and broken. Looking back I realize the missed opportunities I had to help more people through compassion.”

But his wife, Shawnee Sorenson, thought the sentence was unnecessarily harsh.

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“The judge basically sentenced my husband for bribery,” she posted on Facebook. “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.”

Three Paul operatives — campaign chairman Jesse Benton, campaign manager John Tate and deputy campaign manager Dimitri Kesari — were each convicted on a variety of charges in connection with the payoff scheme.

Kesari was sentenced to three months in federal prison, and Tate and Benson each got two years of probation.

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Benton was caught on tape in October discussing with undercover journalist a scheme to funnel $2 million in what he believed were Chinese funds to the pro-Trump Great America PAC.


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2020 Election

‘She’s fire’: Soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe explains her endorsement of Elizabeth Warren

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Soccer star Megan Rapinoe explained her endorsement of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for president during a Friday evening interview with CNN's Don Lemon.

"Elizabeth Warren picking up a big endorsement today from Megan Rapinoe, the soccer star and social activist who was named Sports Illustrated's 2019 'Person of the Year' earlier this week," Lemon reported.

Lemon played a clip of Rapinoe talking to Warren that was posted earlier in the day on Twitter.

I truly believe the best things in life are a result of being bold and being real. I’m proud to endorse Elizabeth Warren today, for being bold, for being real, for listening to ALL of us, and for being prepared to navigate the unique challenges we face today as a country @ewarren pic.twitter.com/9hX3gQYjvo

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Why Rudy Giuliani has always been — and will always be — ‘a small man in search of a balcony’

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Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times journalist Clyde Haberman explained on Friday why the antics of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani are part of a pattern that has defined his career during an interview with MSNBC's Ari Melber on "The Last Word."

Haberman wrote a twice-a-week column about New York City for The Times during the majority of Giuliani's time as mayor.

Melber asked him about a new piece Haberman wrote for BuzzFeed News titled, "Ask Any New Yorker: Rudy Giuliani Was Always This Bad."

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2020 Election

Barney Frank unveils the slogan Democratic candidates can use to win the Senate in 2020

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Former Rep. Barney Frank suggested a slogan that Democrats could use to end the reign of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Frank suggested the slogan during a Friday appearance on MSNBC.

"The Republican electorate -- and what happens is the dynamic as the Republicans get harder and harder in this far-right Trump fealty, some people leave the Republican Party, so that means the remainder are this hardcore," Frank replied.

"Mitch McConnell is going to pay a price," he said. "And frankly, I think the way this is going to play out the Republican senators are now making the toughest choice a politician can make, between the primary and the final -- between making sure you can get renominated and the winning in November."

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