Wednesday, August 7, 2013

“Oh, I know Jesse knows. I know Jesse knows.” has more on the alleged payoff during the 2012 presidential race by Ron Paul campaign staffers to then-Michelle Bachman aide Kent Sorenson: has obtained a recording of a phone conversation between State Senator Kent Sorenson and Dennis Fusaro. The call was recorded just days after Sorenson abruptly abandoned Michele Bachmann’s campaign and publicly endorsed Ron Paul. Along with confirming the payment a representative of the Paul campaign made to Sorenson, the recorded conversation also appears to indicate that Sorenson was considering withdrawing from the Paul campaign almost immediately after announcing his support for Paul.

The recording features Sorenson explaining how the Ron Paul campaign’s Deputy National Campaign Manager, Demitri Kesari, met with Sorenson and his wife at a restaurant where, Sorenson says, his wife was presented and accepted a check while he was in the bathroom.

Fusaro asks Sorenson for the name of the jewelry store that Kesari owns with his wife, Jolanda Pali Kesari. Sorenson says, “I honest to God don’t know. I’ll have to look at the check and tell you. I haven’t even seen it.” That confession indicates that the check given to the Sorensons was from the jewelry store account. The Kesari’s store is called Designer Goldsmiths and is located in Leesburg, Virginia. This account of events in which Sorenson appears to be denying initial knowledge of the payment is at odds with emails previously published by, which showed that Sorenson was aware of the payments requested on his behalf from the Paul campaign. However, Sorenson does unambiguously confirm that he had possession of a check from a Ron Paul operative.

Sorenson also confirms that Paul’s National Campaign Chairman, Jesse Benton, was aware of Kesari’s actions. After asking Fusaro if he thought the key players inside the upper echelons of the Ron Paul campaign knew of Kesari’s actions, Fusaro stated that he was confident that Benton knew. Sorenson quickly responds by saying, “Oh, I know Jesse knows. I know Jesse knows.”
It should be made clear that there is zero indication that Ron Paul was aware of any of this and that both Benton and Sorenson deny the allegations.

More from IRC
Benton, who is currently serving as the campaign manager for Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell’s 2014 re-election campaign, has denied that there was any sort of payoff involved in getting Sorenson to endorse Paul. In a December 28, 2011, interview with Radio Iowa, Benton said, “We’ve always known Michele Bachmann to be an honorable person, and we think it’s a shame now that she’s trying to slander an honorable Iowan and an honorable member of the Iowa state senate. Senator Sorenson is not being paid.”[...]

Sorenson himself was adamant that he wasn’t paid to make the switch from Bachmann to Paul. “I was never offered a nickel from the Ron Paul campaign,” Sorenson told The Des Moines Register.
The full transcript of the phone conversation is here.

(ht Joel Weyrick)

1 comment:

  1. "I was never offered a nickle by the Ron Paul campaign. My wife did, however, accept a $30,000 contribution on behalf of my campaign from Paul's Deputy National Campaign Manager, out of her personal funds. This contribution was not made on behalf of Ron Paul or his campaign, and in no way influenced me to change my endorsement from Bachman to Paul." Hah. (Not an actual quotation.)