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Ex-Bachmann aide alleges improper payments in Iowa

Source : AP
Last Updated: Fri, Jan 18, 2013 21:15 hrs

Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann made improper payments to an Iowa state senator who was the state chairman of her failed 2012 presidential campaign, a former campaign aide said in a complaint filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission.

In his letter to the FEC, Peter Waldron said Bachmann for President paid state Sen. Kent Sorenson $7,500 a month, including through a PAC associated with the congresswoman. Sorenson, a Republican from Milo, quit Bachmann's campaign on the eve of the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses and gave his support for the GOP presidential nomination to former Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

Waldron's letter alleges the campaign also violated other FEC rules. The letter says MichelePAC paid C&M Strategies Inc. — a Colorado-based PAC accused of paying Sorenson — while it was operated by the same person who worked as the campaign's national political director.

Waldron also said unpaid staffers and contractors were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement prohibiting interviews with attorneys or law enforcement before checking with the campaign.

William McGinley, an attorney for Bachmann, said Waldron's claims were untrue.

"Bachmann for President denies the allegations contained in the complaint filed with the FEC and intends to file an appropriate response. We are confident that this matter will be resolved in the campaign's favor."

Sorenson previously has said he violated no state or federal campaign laws while serving as Bachmann's chairman, a largely symbolic post that helped Bachmann meet party activists.

"I stand by everything I've said over the past year," Sorenson said Friday. "I don't have any further comment."

Waldron was Bachmann's national field coordinator from July 2011 to January 2012.

Bachmann entered the race for Iowa's leadoff presidential caucuses with much fanfare from social conservatives, and won the Ames straw poll in August 2011. But the campaign struggled throughout the fall of 2011, and Bachmann quit the race after finishing a disappointing sixth place in the Jan. 3 caucuses.

The FEC complaint is not the first question of propriety to emerge from Bachmann's Iowa campaign.

In July, former Iowa campaign staffer Barb Heki sued Bachmann and her campaign, alleging that Sorenson stole a private email list and that she was blamed for its use.




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