If there’s any truth in the allegations that he violated Senate rules or campaign laws, Sen. Kent Sorenson should resign to spare the Senate the “agony” of taking action against him, his colleague Sen. Jack Hatch of Des Moines said Thursday.
“If any of the allegations are true, I can’t see how he can survive,” Hatch said while in Cedar Rapids Thursday campaigning for the Democratic nomination for governor.
If there is any truth to the allegations that Sorenson violated rules barring senators from being paid directly or indirectly by a political campaign, Hatch expects a special investigative committee will recommend censure or expulsion of the Milo Republican.
The Iowa Senate Ethics Committee voted to have the chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court to designate an investigator to look into allegations Sorenson received payments while he worked for Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann’s campaign for president in Iowa in 2001 and 2012. Sorenson is accused of accepting $7,500 a month from a Colorado-based fundraising firm during the 2012 caucus campaign season — money that allegedly originated in Bachmann’s campaign fund. Senate rules prohibit members from getting paid to work on political campaigns.
Sorenson has repeatedly denied the allegations that he asked to be “paid for his efforts” when he was recruited to be Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman. Sorenson quit the Bachmann campaign and endorsed GOP Rep. Ron Paul shortly before Iowa’s precinct caucuses.
Sorenson, who described the allegations as a “witch hunt,” has said he will provide “a full defense and is cooperating fully” with the committee, including supplying affidavits from individuals “who attest to his innocence” regarding allegations brought against him.
Sorenson is entitled to prove his innocence, Hatch said. However, “if he can’t defend himself, he should save the Senate the bother of going through that agony and resign.”
If he chooses to defend himself, the Senate should move quickly to resolve the issue, Hatch said.
“I think if we need a special session to do that, we should,” he said. “This is a big problem for the Senate and I think most people want it behind us.”
Since the investigator was appointed, Sorenson has faced allegations he was paid by the Paul campaign for his endorsement of the Texas congressman.