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Report: Ron Paul’s Campaign Discussed Buying State Senator’s Endorsement

Ron Paul / AP
• August 7, 2013 4:44 pm

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Former presidential candidate Ron Paul’s campaign may have negotiated to buy the endorsement of an Iowa state senator, the Washington Examiner reports.

In late October of 2011, according to documents obtained by OpenSecrets.org, a representative for Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson contacted the Paul campaign via email. He asked the campaign to give Sorenson "$8,000 per month in salary for him, $5,000 per month in salary for a Sorenson ally, as well as $100,000 in contributions for a newly created PAC that Sorenson planned to use to support conservative candidates for Iowa state office," according to OpenSecrets.

In exchange, Sorenson, who had previously endorsed Rep. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.), would endorse Paul.

According to the Examiner:

Former Ron Paul aide Dennis Fusaro, who provided the emails to Opensecrets, said that he doesn’t know if the parties ever struck the deal. Sorenson, who did eventually switch his endorsement from Bachmann to Paul, is under investigation by the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee because a former Bachmann campaign accused him of selling his support to Paul’s Minnesota rival.

Sorenson denied cutting a deal with Paul. "I wasn’t part of this conversation," he told the Des Moines Register. "I’m not even sure if the discussion happened, but if it did happen, I wasn’t part of it. I didn’t give anyone authority to have this discussion (about being paid)."

Jesse Benton, a Ron Paul aide now managing the re-election bid of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also emailed with Dorr about the Sorenson endorsement, according to an email released by Opensecrets.org.

"The window is still open, but it will close in the next few days," Benton wrote in a Nov. 14, 2011, message.

An OpenSecrets analysis of campaign finance records did not show any donations from the Paul campaign or those affiliated with it to the PAC identified by Sorenson's representative.