Did Ron Paul's Campaign Pay to Win Supporters in 2012?
The 2012 elections may seem like ages ago, and crucial candidates such as Michele Bachman and even Mitt Romney seem to have fallen of the face of the earth since they happened, but whenever there's an opportunity for scandal, you know the U.S. loves being incredibly late to the party. Today's victim in question is the fierce libertarian GOP candidate from just a year ago, Ron Paul, whose campaign was apparently paying Iowa State Senator Kent Sorensen approximately $8,000 a month and made a $100,000 donation to Sorensen's leadership PAC in exchange for the senator's support throughout the 2012 campaign. The main concern is whether or not Ron Paul himself was aware of the transactions, but if he was in the loop, it sure does make his libertarian platform seem fairly hypocritical to say the least.
Multiple sources confirm the payments, including a recorded phone call posted by The Iowa Republican between Sorensen and Dennis Fusaro, one of Paul's aides during the campaign, and a publicized email from Sorensen's camp that explains the entire transaction in painfully specific terms. Yet Sorensen has denied all allegations and has outright called Fusaro out on manipulating the entire story, despite all of the solid evidence against him.
What makes the whole situation even more tense is that Sorensen was previously the co-chair of Michele Bachmann's campaign (which has also fallen under scrutiny recently for financial reasons), but then changed support just five days before the Iowa caucuses. Considering the current information on the story, it seems as though Paul and his camp simply paid Sorensen to change sides, a notion reinforced further by the email in which one of Sorensen's associates asks the senator's salary under Bachmann to be matched with the words: “KS needs to match his current salary of $8,000 a month. This has been promised to him, even after MB drops out of the race, for the majority of 2012.”
Even Bachmann herself told the public that Sorensen had defected unjustly, saying “Kent Sorenson personally told me he was offered a large sum of money to go to work for the Paul campaign,” but Sorensen profusely denied the charges, indicating that he hadn't been "offered a nickel" from Paul's campaign.
But here comes the speculation on Paul's part in the process. The 2012 hopeful did deny that his campaign was paying Sorensen back in December of 2011, and if his team was truly working without telling him, Paul's innocence is still intact. Fusaro's comments also seem to imply that this situation shouldn't be used as a weapon against Paul, as the former aide went on record as saying, “I came forward because I thought it was wrong and damaging. I don't want Ron's message being thwarted by these guys." This would make it seem as though Paul had no personal role in reeling in Sorensen.
This wouldn't be the first time Paul was left unaware aware of controversial matters happening in his camp, considering the racist comments in his newsletter that he claimed he wasn't aware of until much later. And while one would think libertarians would be contemptuous of pay-to-play politics, the evidence on Fusaro and Sorensen's dirty deal is so out in the open that it's hard for me to believe Paul truly knew nothing about these terribly unethical procedures.