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April 17th, 2013
 

Witness in Sorenson Ethics Case is Former Bachmann Chief of Staff Andy Parrish

Andy Parrish (left) joins Michele Bachmann onstage to celebrate her November 2010 congressional victory. 

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s former Chief of Staff Andy Parrish is the previously confidential “Witness A” referred to in an ethics complaint filed against Iowa Senator Kent Sorenson (R-Milo). Parrish plans to reveal his knowledge and documentation of the payment arrangements between Sorenson, the Bachmann campaign and a third party. That documentation includes emails.

On Wednesday, the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee set a 10-day deadline for “Witness A” to produce an affidavit and any evidence he might have regarding a complaint filed by Peter Waldron, another former Bachmann staffer. Parrish’s attorney, John Gilmore, says his client will submit comply well before that deadline.

“He will be straightforward and as fact-specific and fact-centered as possible,” Gilmore said. “My client has no financial interest in doing this. He has no ax to grind. He’s doing this at somewhat of a personal risk to himself. The emails will speak for themselves and we will leave it up to the committee.”

TheIowaRepublican.com knew Parrish was “Confidential Witness A” for some time, but made an editorial decision to keep his identity private until he decided to publicly reveal it. John Gilmore advised us that on Wednesday evening that Parrish was ready to come forward.

Andy Parrish declined to comment on the matter when we contacted him Wednesday night. Instead, he is referring all questions to his attorney.

Gilmore says Parrish has firsthand knowledge, and was “at the epicenter” of the financial arrangements between Sorenson, Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign and money allegedly funneled to Sorenson by C&M Strategies, a company run by Bachmann fundraiser and confidante Guy Short.

Former Bachmann staffer Peter Waldron filed the ethics complaint against Sorenson, saying he violated senate rules by accepting money from a presidential campaign or PAC. Sorenson was allegedly paid $7,500 per month to serve as the Bachmann campaign’s Iowa chairman.

Andy Parrish has a long history with Michele Bachmann, spanning almost seven years. Along with being her chief of staff, Parrish ran three successful congressional campaigns for her and also played a key role in Bachmann’s Ames Straw Poll victory in 2011.

The Iowa Senate Ethics Committee also plans to follow-up with the Urbandale Police Department regarding another ethics charge against Sen. Sorenson. That complaint relates to the alleged theft of a database of homeschoolers contact information that was taken from the computer of Bachmann staffer Barb Heki and illegally used by the campaign. Heki has also filed a lawsuit against Sorenson, Bachmann, Guy Short and others involved with the campaign.

If the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee does not have enough information regarding that ethics complaint by the time the legislative session ends, that charge might be dropped. However, the committee could reopen the complaint at a later date, according to committee Chairman Wally Horn (D-Cedar Rapids).

Peter Waldron also filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission, claiming the Bachmann campaign violated the law in regard to the alleged payments made to Sorenson and the manner in which they were allegedly funneled. The Office of Congressional Ethics is also investigating Rep. Michele Bachmann.

That means there are a total of five investigations, litigation or pending charges involving Bachmann and Sorenson: the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee, the Urbandale Police Department, Barb Heki’s lawsuit, the FEC and the Office of Congressional Ethics. John Gilmore says Parrish has cooperated with all the investigators who have contacted him.

Kent Sorenson has denied any wrongdoing in these cases.


About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for TheIowaRepublican.com.




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