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Bachmann knew of payments to staffer but didn’t think they broke Iowa rules, Parrish says

Former staffer Andy Parrish released the affidavit, filed with the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee, on Monday.

The Iowa Senate Ethics Committee is looking into whether state Sen. Kent Sorenson took improper payments for the work he did as state chairman for Rep. Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign.
REUTERS/Joshua Lott

Michele Bachmann knew of allegedly hidden payments to a former presidential campaign staffer in Iowa but did not know they would be a breach of Iowa Senate ethics rules, according to an affidavit from her former chief of staff.

Andy Parrish released the affidavit, filed with the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee, on Monday. The ethics committee is looking into whether state Sen. Kent Sorenson took improper payments for the work he did as state chairman for Bachmann’s presidential campaign.

Parrish said Bachmann “knew of and approved” an arrangement in which Sorenson received more than $7,000 from the Bachmann campaign, paid through a fundraising firm also doing work for the campaign.

But, “she, like the rest of us, understood from Sen. Sorenson that it did not run afoul of any Iowa Senate ethics rules,” he said in the affidavit.

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Sorenson has denied allegations that he was paid for his work with the campaign, although Parrish provided emails that indicated officials with C&M Strategies, a firm doing fundraising work for the campaign, offered him payment. But, Parrish said, “I never saw, nor had any occasion to see, any contract, checks or other documents reflecting this relationship.”

A lawyer for Guy Short, the C&M official named in the affidavit, had no immediate comment.

C&M Strategies’ relationship with the Bachmann campaign is also the subject of a Federal Elections Commission investigation relating to alleged under-the-table payments made during the presidential campaign. The Office of Congressional Ethics is also looking into the matter, although Parrish’s affidavit relates only to questions about Sorenson’s ethical issues in Iowa.

Parrish said he was only filing the affidavit to back up the claims made by Peter Waldron, a former Bachmann outreach staffer who has made claims of financial improprieties against the campaign. However, Parrish said, “I hold no ill will toward the Senator [Sorenson],” and “my testimony is not in any way a rebuke to or betrayal of Congresswoman Bachmann.”

Here is the affidavit:

Andy Parrish Affidavit by Shabbosgoy

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com