Iowa Senate ethics rules prohibit a state senator from being paid as an employee by a presidential campaign. The idea is to prevent campaigns from essentially bribing legislators for their endorsements by hiring them as “consultants.”
According to an ethics complaint filed by former Bachmann staffer Peter Waldron (who also wrote a tell-all expose of the campaign, the campaign funneled money to C&M Strategies, a firm owned by Bachmann’s longtime direct-mail consultant, Guy Short, to pay Sorenson an illicit six-figure salary. This has also sparked separate federal allegations as to whether this action, if it occurred, violated federal campaign finance law as well as congressional ethics rules.
Sorenson told the Associated Press that his resignation was "absolutely not" an admission of wrongdoing. "I've spent money fighting this that I shouldn't have. I'm just not going to do that to my family anymore," he said.
Sorenson was also linked to another scandal during his tenure with the Bachmann campaign, which related to his alleged theft of a mailing list of conservative Christian homeschooling families. This provoked a civil lawsuit against Bachmann, which has since been settled. Mark Weinhardt, the independent counsel for the Senate Ethics Committee, said there were reasons to be “deeply suspicious” that Sorenson had stolen the list or was involved in a criminal conspiracy to steal the list.