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March 31st, 2014

FEC Opens New Investigation into Ron Paul 2012 Campaign, Sorenson Payoff

The Federal Elections Commission has launched a new investigation into the allegations that Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign offered a bribe to Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson. Five days before the Iowa Caucus, Sorenson departed Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign and endorsed Ron Paul. Allegations that he received substantial financial payments to do so eventually played a role in Sorenson being forced to resign from the Iowa Senate.

The new FEC complaint was made by former Bachmann campaign staffer Peter Waldron, who also filed complaints against Sorenson with the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee.

Waldron alleges that the Paul campaign, “its operatives, and third parties conspired to pay a bribe” to Sorenson “to betray” Bachmann and publicly endorse Ron Paul.

Waldron names several people involved in the Paul campaign, directly or indirectly, among those having knowledge of the alleged bribe. They are listed below as they appear in the complaint. PFP 2012 stands for Paul for President 2012:

Jesse Benton, Campaign Chairman, PFP 2012

John Tate, National Campaign Manager

Dimitri Kesari, Deputy National Campaign Manager, PFP 2012

Jedd Coburn, National Communications Director, PFP 2012

Drew Ivers, Iowa Campaign Chairman, PFP 2012

Kevin Wolfswinkel, PFP 2012, Chairperson for Iowa Conservatives Fund PAC

Jesse Benton is now running Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s reelection campaign. Kesari is also believed to have worked, or is working, for the McConnell campaign. John Tate is the president of Campaign for Liberty, the grassroots organization formed by Ron Paul.

Among the Iowans included in the complaint that Waldron claims had knowledge of the alleged bribe include Drew Ivers, a close confidant of former Republican Party of Iowa Chairman A.J. Spiker, whose tenure ended two days ago. Spiker appointed Ivers to serve as finance chairman of RPI.

Kevin Wolfswinkel is a candidate for the Iowa House in District 1, a seat in northwest Iowa.

Waldron also alleges that others involved with Bachmann’s campaign and the Iowa Gun Owners organization “were aware or participated in the payment of the bribe”. They include Chris Dorr, Aaron Dorr, Paul Dorr and Wes Enos.

Chris Dorr was Kent Sorenson’s legislative clerk and a Bachmann campaign staffer. Aaron Dorr is the leader of Iowa Gun Owners. Paul Dorr was an advisor to Ron Paul’s 2008 campaign. Wes Enos was a former Bachmann campaign staffer and Republican State Central Committee member. He is now a consultant for Robert Cramer’s congressional campaign.

Waldron also names Jolanda Kesari, the wife of former Ron Paul campaign staffer Dimitri, as having knowledge of or participated in the alleged bribe of Sorenson.

Sorenson received a check in the amount of $25,000 from Mrs. Kesari’s jewelry store. During an audio recording of a phone conversation, Sorenson is heard telling former National Right to Work Director Dennis Fusaro that Dimitri Kesari gave the check to Sorenson’s wife.

Kent Sorenson never cashed that check, but several suspicious payments to Sorenson, totaling $77,000, were uncovered during the investigation launched by the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee. Sorenson claimed those came from Noel “Sonny” Izon. He offered vague responses to the investigator about what the payments were for.

The majority of the evidence provided by Peter Waldron to the FEC stems from emails and recordings of phone conversations, which were originally published by

The FEC has assigned an MUR number to Waldron’s new complaint. MUR stands for Matters Under Review. Here is what the FEC website says regarding MURs:

By law, FEC must attempt to resolve its enforcement cases or Matters Under Review (MURs) through a confidential investigative process that culminates in a conciliation agreement with the respondent(s). Should that process fail, both the Commission and the respondent(s) have the option to pursue the matter to court.

“It’s in the hands of the FEC and I trust that justice will be served,” Waldron told

An FEC complaint previously filed by Peter Waldron, alleging that Bachmann’s campaign also paid Sorenson, has evolved into an FBI and grand jury investigation. That investigation is still ongoing. The FBI seized computers from Kent Sorenson’s home in December.

You can view the new FEC complaint filed by Waldron, and the FEC’s response, below:

Final FEC Complaint Feb 28 2014

FEC Response to Ron Paul Complaint 3 31 2014

Photo by Dave Davidson,

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

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