The scandal of State Senator Kent Sorenson demanding and apparently receiving money in exchange for endorsing Ron Paul for president has the potential to do a lot of collateral damage in Iowa Republican circles. Note the conspicuous silence of state party leaders this week--shocking on one level but less surprising when you consider that several Iowa GOP State Central Committee members worked closely with Paul's campaign.
The Sorenson story is also a huge black eye for the Iowa Gun Owners group, which claims to be "Iowa's only No Compromise gun rights organization."
Founded in 2009, Iowa Gun Owners is quick to bash Republicans and other groups it considers unprincipled. Its leaders have even labeled GOP State Representative Clel Baudler, a member of the National Rifle Association's board, as "notoriously anti-gun." How far out there do you have to be to consider the NRA anti-gun? Iowa Gun Owners refuses to get involved in supporting gun legislation that supposedly doesn't go far enough in protecting the Second Amendment.
But Iowa Gun Owners Executive Director Aaron Dorr looks anything but principled in the context of the Sorenson story. E-mails published by Craig Robinson at The Iowa Republican blog indicate that Dorr "served as an early negotiator between Sorenson and the Paul campaign," explaining Sorenson's compensation from Michele Bachmann's campaign and "drafting a memo outlining Sorenson's financial demands to get him to jump ship."
I enclose below excerpts from Robinson's post. Dorr had personal as well as ideological reasons for wanting to bring Sorenson over to the Paul camp. His father was an advisor to Ron Paul's campaign before the Iowa caucuses. In addition, Iowa Gun Owners helped fund a robocall campaign targeting Newt Gingrich about a month before the caucuses, when Gingrich led many Republican polls. The other group funding those robocalls was the National Association for Gun Rights, which "has longstanding ties to the Paul family" and "fashions itself the conservative alternative to the National Rifle Association," according to this excellent piece by Russ Choma.
Does Iowa Gun Owners approve of its executive director serving as a go-between in negotiating payments that were surely unethical and probably illegal?
If the group's leaders have any integrity, they will demand Dorr's resignation immediately.
[Aaron] Dorr served as an early negotiator between Sorenson and the Paul campaign. It was Dorr who drafted a three-page memo outlining Sorenson's financial demands to get him to jump ship from the Bachmann campaign. This memo not only discloses the financial compensation Sorenson sought to obtain, but also details his financial agreement with Bachmann.
Dorr's October 29, 2011, memo also outlined other benefits the Paul campaign would receive by meeting Sorenson's financial demands. One of those benefits was the acquisition of a list of identified voters to Michele Bachmann. Dorr also admits that he and Sorenson are in possession of the list of the "main Iowa home-school group" in the state. [...]
Chris Dorr - Bachmann for President Field Staff, legislative clerk for State Senator Kent Sorenson, brother of Aaron Dorr, and son of Paul Dorr. Role: Chris Dorr was a key Sorenson accomplice and was included in email conversations regarding the Sorenson compensation package to be presented to the Paul campaign representatives. Dorr also provided an affidavit to the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee supporting Sorenson's denial of any wrongdoing, and admitting that he made a copy of the homeschoolers' list from a Bachmann staffer's computer.
Aaron Dorr - Executive Director of Iowa Gun Owners Association, founder of Iowa Pro-Life Action Role: Chief negotiator between Sorenson and Paul campaign.
Paul Dorr - Iowa advisor, Ron Paul for President 2008, longtime political consultant. Role: Paul Dorr was included in email conversation regarding the Sorenson compensation package to be presented to the Paul campaign representatives.