A new report revealed that both Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann are under federal investigation related to numerous potential crimes that were committed during their 2012 presidential campaigns.
OpenSecrets Blog has learned that FBI agents have been interviewing a slew of witnesses connected to Ron Paul’s presidential campaign and grand jury subpoenas have been issued for email records from campaign officials. And in addition to payments to a Maryland video company that were routed to Sorenson in exchange for his endorsement, OpenSecrets has identified an additional suspicious payment by Paul’s campaign that may be linked to a $25,000 check to Sorenson from a jewelry store connected to a Paul operative.
Sources say two grand juries are looking into the 2012 campaigns of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), whom Sorenson originally endorsed, and Paul, to whom Sorenson switched his support just days before the Iowa caucuses. A number of individuals confirmed to OpenSecrets Blog that they had been interviewed by FBI agents, the grand juries, or both.
The subpoena lists several possible crimes being investigated including false reporting of campaign finance data by federal campaign committees, false statements to the FEC, obstruction of justice and concealing a federal crime.
This is the same scandal that already took down Mitch McConnell’s former campaign manager, and Ron Paul’s grandson in law, Jesse Benton. There are currently two federal grand juries investigating Bachmann and Paul on top of the previously known FBI investigation of Bachmann.
The bribery scandal could go much deeper than first reported. The scandal has already impacted the 2014 Kentucky Senate race and could devastate Rand Paul’s 2016 presidential campaign. Sen. Paul was going to be using the campaign structure that his father had put into place during his two previous bids for the Republican nomination.
Bachmann may be leaving the House and former Rep. Paul has retired, but this scandal isn’t going away anytime soon. What happened in Iowa in 2012 shed light on the dirty underbelly of presidential primary politics. It was already known that Bachmann could be facing prison, but she could have some cellmates from the Ron Paul campaign coming with her.