A sworn affidavit from Andy Parrish, who served as the former chief of staff for Rep. Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign, states the congresswoman knew of and approved payments of $7,500 a month to Iowa Sen. Kent Sorenson.
In his sworn statement, Parrish explained that he personally recruited Sorensen to support Bachmann for president and work on her campaign in Iowa, describing him as a well-known conservative leader who was popular with constituents.
According to Parrish, Sorensen's support was sought by several presidential candidates and the senator told Parrish he would like to be paid for his efforts. Since both knew Iowa Senate ethics rules prevented payments from any presidential campaign, Parrish began a series of discussions with Guy Short, a fundraiser for Bachmann for President.
In a series of e-mails attached with the affidavit, Short suggested paying Sorenson through a PAC. Short, who was also principal of the fundraising firm C&M Strategies, later agreed to hire Sorenson, and the two were put in touch via e-mail on April 19, 2011.
Eventually, Short worked out an arrangement where Sorenson was paid $7,500 per month, and that arrangement remained in place until Sorenson defected to the Ron Paul campaign shortly before the Iowa caucuses.
Parrish said he never saw any contract, check or document related to the payments because C&M Strategies handled all the paperwork; however, he said Bachmann herself knew of and approved it.
"She, like the rest of us, understood from Senator Sorenson that it did not run afoul of any Iowa Senate ethics rules," the affidavit read. "We relied on his representations in this regard."
Sorenson denied receiving payments to the Des Moines Register and argued that payments from C&M Strategies would not violate the sixth ethics rule of the Iowa Senate, which reads in part as follows:
"A senator shall not accept employment, either directly or indirectly, from a political action committee or from an organization exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(4), 501(c)(6), or 527 of the Internal Revenue Code that engages in activities related to the nomination, election, or defeat of a candidate for public office."
Parrish said he does not know whether the payments do constitute a violation; however, he said "I do know for a fact that the Senator was paid and representations to the contrary are simply not true."
"I hold no ill will toward the Senator in any manner, and to see this as a personal vendetta of mine is not only incorrect, but misses the point entirely as to why I have stepped up now," Parrish said through the affidavit.
Parrish explained that he came forward because Peter Waldron, who filed the ethics complaint, is a personal friend; however he added that he does not agree with Waldron's characterization of the payments as "money laundering."
Without corroborating evidence, the complaint Waldron filed would have been dismissed either at the end of month or early in May.
"I did not believe that would be the right thing to happen," Parrish said in the affidavit. "In the interests of the truth, as well as a full factual record, I have spoken out now."
Parrish ended his sworn statement with a rebuke for members of the media who may have been looking for a "betrayal" of Bachmann, saying, "To the contrary, I consider her a personal friend and an outstanding public servant."
Parrish also said Bachmann consistently instructed her campaign workers to follow the law.