Kent Sorenson: The Man and His Fall

by Kristin Richert

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time getting to know and falling in love with the Sorenson Family. During the summer of 2009, I spent a lot of my time helping out Kent Sorenson’s wife, Shawnee, with four of their six children.

I had a lot of fun that summer taking them to the Indianola pool, watching movies, going to pick fresh strawberries from the field just south of town, and then, of course, baking strawberry pies from the strawberries we picked. 

I helped out on both of Kent Sorenson’s campaigns during high school. The first race was for Iowa House in 2008 and then the Iowa Senate seat in 2010.  As most people working for the campaign, I believed in what he said and the ideals he seemed to live by as a faithful Christian.

During his terms, he kept true to his beliefs, some of his constituents would even say to a fault, but that is just how Kent is. He is a staunch social and fiscal conservative and has never had any quarrels about making his opinions known on every issue and bill that comes before him. Whether people have disagreed with him or not, no one could ever say that they didn’t know where he stood. 

Unfortunately, he ran into some hot water right before the Republican Caucuses that preceded the 2012 presidential election. On December 28, 2011, while I was in Texas visiting family, I heard that Kent Sorenson, who had been the Iowa campaign chairman for the Michelle Bachmann campaign, had suddenly jumped ship to work for the Ron Paul campaign.

This sudden switch, while not only all of Iowa was watching, but the nation as well, was enough to start a fire-storm of accusations that soon turned into official, federal and state-level, ethical investigations.

There were three main accusations that were being investigated. The first was that Kent stole a list of Christian homeschooling advocates to be used to promote Bachmann’s campaign among these potential voters.  The second allegation was that Kent actually received money from Bachmann’s political campaign and the last claim was that he demanded and received money from the Ron Paul campaign as well.

After an investigation, done by Mark Weinhardt, who was a special investigator appointed by the Iowa Supreme Court, he found that it was likely that Kent Sorenson had in fact violated ethics rules.  Both the Iowa Attorney General and the Polk County attorney are reviewing the ethical report and are considering whether or not to file official charges against Kent. 

As a result of everything, Kent sent out his official letter of resignation just last week on October 2nd, which I personally saw on his Facebook page.  In the letter, he continues to maintain his innocence. 

As for me, I believe that at least some of the allegations, if not all, are true.  That being said, I believe that everyone makes mistakes and sometimes power can make people do things that they wouldn’t necessarily do.  I wish him and his family the best of luck in trying to move forward from this black-spot in his life.