DES MOINES — A former campaign aide for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann claims the one-time presidential candidate hid thousands of dollars in payment to an Iowa state senator so he wouldn’t violate Senate ethics rules.

Peter Waldron served as national field coordinator for the Bachmann for President campaign from July 2011 to January 2012. In a notarized complaint to the Federal Election Commission, Waldron claims several violations of federal election laws by the campaign.

One pertains to Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson, R-Milo, who Waldron claims was paid $7,500 a month for his role as Iowa state chairman for the Bachmann campaign.

“I’m not talking about any of this,” Sorenson said when reached at his home Thursday afternoon. “I know nothing about how people were paid in the campaign.”

Asked if he was paid by the campaign, Sorenson responded, “No. This has been hashed out over the last year and a half. You can look at the articles. I stand by all my previous statements.”

Waldron claims the payments were funneled through a third party, C&M Strategies of Colorado operated by Guy Short. In essence, Waldron said, the Bachmann campaign would overpay C&M Strategies for its work and C&M Strategies would then cut a check to Sorenson for his work on behalf of the Bachmann campaign.

If true, the alleged scheme may violate the Senate ethics rule against state senators being employed by political campaigns.

The rule reads, in part, “A senator shall not accept employment, either directly or indirectly, from a political action committee or from an organization exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(4), 501(c)(6), or 527 of the Internal Revenue Code that engages in activities related to the nomination, election, or defeat of a candidate for public office.”

Violations of the ethics rules can result in reprimand or censure or “other appropriate sanction, including suspension or expulsion from membership in the senate.”

Sorenson left the Bachmann campaign and endorsed Ron Paul for president in late December 2011, just days before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. Bachmann, who months before won the Republican Straw Poll in Ames, came in a distant sixth place behind Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Paul, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. She suspended her campaign shortly after and subsequently won re-election to her Minnesota congressional seat.

At the time of Sorenson’s defection, Bachmann sent out a news release claiming the Paul campaign paid Sorenson to jump ship. Sorenson denied the allegation.

“Then, all of a sudden, they stopped talking about it,” Waldron said during a telephone interview Thursday. “The reason is (the Bachmann campaign) knew that they were doing the same thing.”

Eric Woolson, who ran Bachmann’s Iowa effort from late October 2011 until it ended, referred inquiries on Waldron’s complaint to campaign finance chairman Jim Pollack. Pollack did not respond to an email sent to his account Thursday.

Waldron said he sent his complaint by certified mail to the FEC on Monday. The complaint hadn’t been logged at the FEC office on Thursday morning, according to officials there. Waldron provided a copy of the notarized complaint to the Times Des Moines Bureau Thursday.

Waldron claims he and others are still owed money by the Bachmann campaign. He said he likes Sorenson, but he felt “betrayed” when Sorenson left for the Paul campaign.

Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, worked on the Bachmann campaign. “I serve with Kent Sorenson (in the Iowa Senate). I would rather not comment,” he said when asked about Waldron’s complaint and a possible ethics violation.

Sen. Wally Horn, D-Cedar Rapids, chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, said no ethics complaint against Sorenson has been brought to his attention and the committee wouldn’t hold an investigation in the absence of such a complaint, although the ethics code does allow the committee to, “upon its own motion, initiate a complaint, investigation, or disciplinary action.”

“We could talk about it, but until someone comes to us with a complaint, we have nothing to investigate,” Horn said.

(14) comments


Just saw some more bad news on kent sorenson - proof of stealing a list!


liars and cheats no more bullshit if it where you or you me would be in stir

Mark Riley 4 State Senate
Mark Riley 4 State Senate

This is my burn with the Iowa GOP at the state level. The corruption in the road fuel tax, the presidential caucus counts, ethanol mandates and kick backs to big ag and this is supposedly Bob Rays clean down home GOP. This Sorensen dude who appointed himself as "true conservative" turns out to be a corrupt country squire. I don't see the difference between Big City "dead fish Rahm" Tammy hall Obama and Country corruption Sorensen and fake free market Grassley. The only difference I see is the Dems are more efficient, aesthetically appealing and able to do it with grand vision.


I stand by all my previous statements - uhoh he's guilty!!!


oops. meant to say "cannot" reason with GOPs.


Wow. I never heard anything about Rod Blago or Bill Clinton, John Edwards or Anthony Wiener in the times, did you? Of course I am being sarcastic. This is exactly why you can reason with Republicans. It is always deflect the issue and cry and stomp.

The Times did a favor by toning down this article. If it is revealed how corrupt this woman and her politics really are, the price of ink would skyrocket. And what is more ridiculous is the leadership in the GOP continues to appoint her to leadership roles in Congress. And we wonder why Congress is less popular than a root canal. Time to stick with the issues GOP or take your barbie dolls and go home!


I did not like Bachmann...but would like to see just as much attention brought to the corruption in the DEMOCRAT party.....just as many stories that should be given the same attention...there are bad in both parties....


You like to believe there is just as much on both sides of the aisle so you don't have to open your eyes and deal with the reality that the GOP is a party full of hucksters who manipulate rubes with lies and deceit to line the pockets of themselves and their contributors.

pta mom

Klaatu: the paper endorsed Romney (I guess it is a corrupt rag).

Comment deleted.
coffee cup
coffee cup

And corrupt .


Oh and by the way, this woman should not be in politics at all.. she has no respect for American Families..


What I find interesting is how people who voted for a Communist, Coward and Traitor to this Nation will be fast to put down this President. The one who is rebuilding America. Oh bull you say, well look around you people are going to work, construction is in progress and so much more. One thing that is a good indication of economic growth is the cost of fuel. As we get better the cost of fuel drops in price. I see you have a stanch Republican here and hes trying to kick the can about Fast and Furious.. and I suppose you want to pin that on the President? How about Benghazi? Care to comment on that one as well? I am sure you posted every where you could about how the President did NOTHING AT ALL.. Well when everything is found out those who committed that act will die. But let me ask you this, did you jump up and down the times it happened with Bush? What? No? It happened 12 different times, with American lives being lost..12 SEPARATE EVENTS, WITH AMERICANS BEING KILLED.. JUST LIKE BENGHAZI. Not one time, but 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 TIMES. Wake up and start looking at who is really helping working people. Not the Republicans who give tax breaks and more money to the Rich and Corporations, who create jobs. First off they are not creating jobs in American, they are creating jobs in China. Now maybe you can tell me when the last time was a Rich person gave you a hand... ?


We are four years into the most corrupt administration in history and the Times has yet to run a story on Fast and Furious, or cover the Solyndra debacle. Yet Bachman is under the microscope. This rag is despicable in its very obvious bias.


They don't cover the issues you mention because they are 'strawmen' - non-issues that the GOP is twisting in the wind to turn into an impeachable offense. The reality is the current GOP/TeaParty brand is a fringe minority. The Republican Party needs to embrace REALITY or it will become more of a FOX News sitcom than it already is. Guys like Frum, Sullivan, Cabrera, longtime GOP advocates realize this. Why can't you?

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