Ron Paul's 2012 presidential campaign accused of bribing state senator

Ron Paul's 2012 presidential campaign is being accused of bribing an Iowa state senator to endorse the former candidate ahead of the Iowa caucuses.   

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The Iowa Republican, a well-respected conservative blog, reported that it has obtained emails between Paul campaign staff and a recording of a phone conversation between former Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson (R) and a conservative activist in the state discussing Sorenson abandoning Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) campaign to back Paul.

Sorenson is already facing legal investigations into whether he was bribed to support Bachmann's campaign, which many believe contributed to her decision to retire from Congress. The latest allegations threaten to ensnare Paul supporters who also have ties to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), as well as Jesse Benton, who's currently running Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) campaign.

In the phone call, Sorenson reportedly discusses with conservative activist Dennis Fusaro an earlier meeting where Paul's deputy campaign manager, Demitri Kesari, offered him a check. He initially turned it down but Kesari later made it out to his wife.

Sorenson also says he's sure Benton was aware of the payment, according to the report.

“Oh, I know Jesse knows. I know Jesse knows," he says.

A report from Tuesday on the same website includes emails Fusaro claims were between a conservative activist and Paul campaign manager John Tate negotiating what Sorenson would need to switch sides: A monthly salary for him and an ally of a few thousand dollars, and $100,000 for a conservative PAC he was planning to start.

The emails were also received by the website opensecrets.org.

At the time, Bachmann's campaign accused Sorenson of accepting a bribe to switch his endorsement, something both he and Benton denied. In the recorded call, Sorenson does say he's accepted a check, but discusses giving the check back because of moral concerns.

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