Republican State Senator Kent Sorenson no longer has to worry about open court testimony regarding his alleged theft of a homeschooling organization’s e-mail list on behalf of Representative Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign in late 2011. Bachmann has settled the lawsuit her former presidential campaign staffer Barb Heki announced last year. On Friday, Heki’s attorney filed legal papers to dismiss the case. In a statement provided to The Iowa Republican blog, Bachmann said,
“Barb Heki is a trustworthy person and a woman of integrity. She was a loyal member of the Bachmann for President team and capably performed her duties. I am not aware of any evidence whatsoever that Barb had any part in misusing or misappropriating NICHE’s email list of homeschoolers and I consider her an exemplary homeschooling leader.”
It’s not clear whether Bachmann agreed to pay any compensation to Heki or her husband for damage done to their reputations. They had to resign from a national homeschooling organization’s board after the Bachmann campaign hung Heki out to dry. Heki won’t be able to re-file the lawsuit, because it was dismissed “with prejudice.”
Sorenson’s attorney Ted Sporer told the Des Moines Register that “the settlement included a release of all claims with no admission of wrongdoing by his client.” Previously, a trial date for Heki’s lawsuit had been set for May 2014, meaning the case would have been big local news shortly before the June primary election. To my knowledge, no Republican has declared plans to challenge Sorenson in Iowa Senate district 13, but I’d be looking for new representation if I were a Republican in that district. A former aide to Sorenson acknowledged downloading the list from Heki’s computer, but other sources have said Sorenson was involved.
Technically, the Urbandale Police Department has a criminal case open regarding the theft, but I doubt charges will ever be filed. Sorenson still faces an ethics investigation into indirect salary payments he allegedly received from the Bachmann campaign, but I don’t expect the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee to impose any serious consequences.