© 2022 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Ron Paul Takes The Witness Stand

Gage Skidmore

Ron Paul testified today in the federal trial of three former staffers from his 2012 presidential campaign. The trio is accused of using a third party to disguise payments made to former Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson in exchange for his endorsement of Paul.   

Though at times he had trouble hearing, the former Texas congressman appeared at ease on the stand, making several quips which got smiles and occasional laughs from the jury. A joke about former Minnesota governor and professional wrestler Jesse Ventura was  particularly well received.

Paul was adamant that political endorsements meant little to his presidential campaign, and therefore it’s inconceivable that anyone would have bribed Kent Sorenson for his support. However Paul said it was possible Sorenson was a paid staffer.

Government prosecutors tried to prove Sorenson was bribed by asking Paul whether he had seen Sorenson do any work on his behalf.

Since he was traveling most of the time, Paul said he didn’t see much of the staff’s work, but he said that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Paul alleges the rumors of bribery surfaced thanks to a vendetta and "a dirty trick" from political rival Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign. Both were anti-establishment candidates who vied for Tea Party voters.

Sorenson had been chair of Buchmann's Iowa campaign but switched to Paul shortly before the Iowa caucuses. He had been paid by both a Buchmann PAC and Paul's campaign through a third party which while not illegal, was a violation of the Iowa Senate's code of ethics. 

Sorenson is expected to testify for the prosecution as part of a plea deal. In 2014, he admitted guilt to willfully causing false campaign finance reports to be submitted to the Federal Election Commission.