The Florida man who filed an ethics complaint against a state senator who served as Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman says another witness is willing to testify.
The Iowa Senate Ethics Committee has given this “confidential witness” 10 days to step forward or the complaint against Republican Senator Kent Sorenson of Milo will be dismissed.
“There’s two things we don’t want to do,” said Senator Wally Horn, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids who is chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee.
“We don’t want to look like we’re doing any cover-up and we don’t want to look like we’re on a witch hunt. We’re trying to get the facts and do the things right.”
Sorenson is accused of accepting $7500 a month from a consulting firm during the 2012 caucus campaign season, money that allegedly originated in Bachmann’s campaign fund. Iowa Senate rules bar senators from getting paid to work on campaigns.
Senator Jack Whitver, a Republican from Ankeny who also serves on the Ethics Committee, said if no new information is forthcoming, the committee needs to dismiss the complaint.
“Any of us, if there’s an ethics charge out there, would like to have a resolution one way or the other,” Whitver said. “We don’t want to go into the off-session — all summer, all fall — with an unknown situation.”
The daily expense money for legislators runs out May 3, a target date for adjourning the session.
Sorenson has faced a second allegation, that he stole a computerized contact list of Iowa parents who homeschool their children, a potentially valuable base of support for a Republican presidential candidate like Bachmann.
The Senate Ethics Committee has ordered the secretary of the senate to contact police and ask for an update on the investigation — and ask if or when it might be closed. Senator Sandy Greiner, a Republican from Washington, Iowa, said she’d be surprised if criminal charges are pending.
“I would expect that the Urbandale Police Department most likely has more pressing matters to concern themselves with,” said Greiner, who is a Senate Ethics Committee member.
Sorenson also faces a civil lawsuit over the theft of that contact list. Sorenson has repeatedly denied any wrong-doing, saying these ethics complaints are “totally baseless.” Sorenson left the Bachmann campaign just before the Iowa Caucuses and endorsed Ron Paul.
AUDIO of today’s Senate Ethics Committee meeting (runs nearly 8 min.)