Ames, Iowa — Top Iowa evangelical Bob Vander Plaats declined to comment on the emerging scandal that Iowa state senator appears to have accepted a check to switch his endorsement from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul, saying he wanted to let the process take his course.
But he did warn that if Iowa state senator Kent Sorenson is found to have given a check, Rand Paul needs to make sure he doesn’t have any staff who were involved if he runs in 2016.
“People in Iowa and people in America will see Rand as his own man,” Vander Plaats comments, “unless there’s some odd connections with staff and whatever that are working for both, and then it becomes an entangled mess that you don’t want to be in.”
According to audio of a private phone call obtained by the The Iowa Republican, which reported that Sorenson had said he had been offered a check for his endorsement, Sorenson said, “Oh, I know that Jesse [Benton] knows. I know Jesse knows” about the deal. Benton, who has served as a top aide to both Rand and Ron Paul, is currently Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager.
It’s unclear if Sorenson ever cashed the check, which was for $30,000, according to Dennis Fusaro, who released the calls he had with Sorenson and Benton on the matter.
Benton has not responded to earlier requests this week for comment on the story that he had knowledge of the pay-off for Sorenson.