Iowa panel OKs probe of alleged payments by Bachmann campaign

An investigator will look at allegedly improper payments to a state senator for Bachmann's presidential run

By Jillian Rayfield

Published May 2, 2013 1:18PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The Iowa Senate Ethics Committee approved moving forward with a probe into alleged criminal and ethics violations by Michele Bachmann's 2012 presidential campaign. Iowa’s Supreme Court chief justice will now appoint a special investigator who will look at alleged payments made by the campaign to state Sen. Ken Sorenson for work on the campaign.

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

An affidavit reviewed by the committee on Wednesday showed that former Bachmann chief of staff Andy Parrish said Bachmann approved plans to indirectly pay Sorenson $7,500 a month to work on her campaign. The alleged payments could violate an Iowa Senate ethics rule that prohibits members from accepting payments for work on political campaigns.

Parrish’s affidavit included copies of e-mails between him and other staff members discussing plans to use a company run by Bachmann’s then-national political director, Guy Short, to funnel payments to Sorenson. Sorenson has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. He filed an affidavit from an attorney who claimed to have reviewed his bank account and found no payments from the Bachmann campaign, her political action committee or Short’s company, C&M Strategies.

“I was never paid directly or indirectly by MichelePAC or the Bachmann campaign,” Sorenson said in a statement to the Senate Ethics Committee. “Andy Parrish, a gentleman who was removed from the employ of the Bachmann offices due to my sharing of information with the congresswoman, is the only person to attempt to provide contrary information.”

Bachmann, who has denied the allegations, is also facing questions about several other potential ethics violations related to her 2012 campaign.

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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2012 Elections Kent Sorenson Michele Bachmann Minnesota Republicans