For the second time in two weeks, a Republican state senator has stepped forward to voice his disappointment in fellow Republican Sen. Kent Sorenson. Sen. Brad Zaun was on WHO TV’s Insiders program with Dave Price on Sunday. The straight talking Polk County lawmaker didn’t beat around the bush. He wants Sorenson to resign.
“I know the answers to many of the allegations,” Zaun told WHO TV’s Dave Price. “I’m part of the police investigation in Urbandale as well as the ethics investigation. With that said, I think its been a big distraction for the Senate Republicans, and I would agree with senators Chelgren and Whitver that he needs to resign.”
Price pressed Zaun and asked if he meant that Sorenson should resign now or once the ethics investigation has been concluded. Zaun reaffirmed his position by saying, “I know answers. I think Senator Sorenson should resign.”
Zaun also stated that even if Sorenson’s wife or one of his children were paid directly or indirectly by the Ron Paul campaign, it would be a violation of the ethics rules in the Iowa Senate.
After taping the segment, Zaun went to his Facebook page and wrote that, while some people may consider his remarks on Sorenson to be controversial, he’s calling “a spade is a spade.” Zaun also wrote, “My dad always told me, ‘Tell the truth, and you will never have to remember what you said.’ Well that is how I live my life and always will!”
Earlier this month, TheIowaRepublican.com released documents and emails that showed that Sorenson had solicited payment in advance of defecting from Michele Bachmann’s campaign to support Ron Paul just days before the 2012 Iowa caucuses. An audio recording of Sorenson confirmed that Paul’s National Deputy Campaign Manager Demitri Kesari had dinner with Sorenson and his wife where he presented Sorenson’s wife a check from Kesari’s jewelry store.
Sorenson is already under investigation for violating Iowa Senate ethics rules that preclude state senators from receiving payment from presidential campaigns. Sorenson has also emphatically denied any wrongdoing despite mounting evidence that suggests otherwise.
Even though three Republican State Senators have now called for Sorenson to resign, Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix has kept quite on the matter. After being asked for comment on Sunday by TheIowaRepublican.com, Dix released a statement saying, “The Senate Ethics Committee has appointed a special investigator to examine all the allegations involving Senator Sorenson. There is a process in place, and it is in place for a reason. Senate Republican leadership believes in the importance of allowing the process to work to maintain the integrity of the Iowa Senate.”
When the ethics complaint was filed against Sorenson in regards to his dealings with the Bachmann campaign back in February, the Senate caucus staff helped craft and send out Sorenson’s statement denying any wrongdoing in that matter. This time, Dix seems to be taking a more hands-off approach, and it is interesting that no similar formal statement denying wrongdoing has been made and released by Senate Republican caucus staff.
Below is the video and transcript of Zaun’s interview with Price about the Sorenson situation.
State Senator Brad Zaun: We’ve had conversations before, and I’ve talked to a lot of press. I know the answers to many of the allegations. I’m part of the police investigation in Urbandale as well as the ethics investigation. With that said, I think its been a big distraction for the Senate Republicans, and I would agree with senators Chelgren and Whitver that he needs to resign. I think it’s unfortunate, and it gives all of us in the Iowa Senate a bad [name]. There’s always that temptation. I worked for zero to help Michele [Bachmann] as well as other candidates, but I think when you take any kind of money, legal or not legal, it takes away the genuineness of the endorsement.
Dave Price: To be clear here, are you saying that he should resign now, or he should resign once after this investigation has gone through and it’s been found that he took it?
State Senator Brad Zaun: I know answers. I think Senator Sorenson should resign.
Dave Price: In your mind, if a campaign offered your wife the money and not you, does that still violate the sprit of the Senate ethics rule?
State Senator Brad Zaun: I think it does. If you look at the ethics rules, the rules say it would be your wife or a family member. I personally would never. Let’s let the investigation go forward, but I think it’s been a major distraction for Senate Republicans, and I think he should resign.
State Representative Clel Baudler also had some tough words regarding Sorenson. At the Adair County Lincoln Dinner in Greenfield on Sunday night he said, “He’s a cancer in our party. And you cut it out if you have a cancer in there.”
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