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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Caucuses and the Sorensen "scandal"

Iowa politicians and leaders are always worried that bad political things in Iowa may discredit the state as the place to hold the first in the nation candidate selection event, the Iowa Caucuses.

One big problem was the miscount of Republican caucus votes in 2012 which gave Mitt Romney the victory only to require a correction awarding Rick Santorum slightly more votes.

The latest "scare" is the legal disaster of Kent Sorenson. Here is how the Des Moines independent publication Cityview spun the story in their September 4, 2014 issue.

"Two years ago, Cityview wrote: “Kent Sorenson dropped out of high school at age 17, has filed for bankruptcy, has been convicted of delivery of marijuana and been sentenced to jail, has been convicted of defaulting on car loan payments, had unpaid federal income taxes for three different years, has dealt with a serious illness of one of his six children — and last week said his decision to leave the Bachmann campaign to sign on with Ron Paul was ‘one of the most difficult I have had to make in my life.’ ”

It turns out the decision was made easier by cash.

The former legislator from Warren County pleaded guilty last week to two federal charges: willfully filing false reports of federal campaign expenditures and “falsifying records…intending to obstruct” a federal investigation. (He earlier had “vehemently” denied the allegations.)

Sorenson, who had a following on the far right, was supporting fellow Republican Michele Bachmann for the party’s presidential nomination two years ago when he suddenly shifted to backing Paul. The shift was prompted by a secret $73,000 payment, which he added to the money the Bachmann campaign was paying him. He then lied about it to investigators.

He could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison. Sorenson and the federal prosecutors have entered a plea agreement that would reduce his sentence, but a judge may ignore that. The presentence investigation is due Oct. 13. Senior federal district judge Robert Pratt will determine the sentence. No date has been set, but the deadline for objections to the pre-sentence report is Monday, Nov. 3.

So Sorenson could again be on the front pages on Election Day. But the photo might be different this year."

It's too early to tell is this yucky political disaster will be enough to taint Iowa as a place with decent, honest politics which is what got Iowa the privilege of first in the nation.

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