Investigator assigned to look into former Bachmann campaign ally

An investigator has been appointed to look into allegations that an Iowa lawmaker improperly accepted payments from U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign.

Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark. S. Cady signed an order Friday appointing Mark Weinhardt “special counsel” to investigate allegations that Republican Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson accepted payments from Bachmann’s campaign.

The Ethics Committee of the Iowa Senate last week approved the hiring of an outside investigator.

Two Bachmann staffers claim Sorenson was paid $7,500 a month to serve as Bachmann’s Iowa campaign manager. Sorenson denies having accepted payment from Bachmann directly or indirectly. If it is determined Sorenson accepted money for working for Bachmann, it could be a violation of Iowa Senate ethic rules.

The newly appointed “special counsel” will determine whether an hearing on the ethics complaint against Sorenson should be held.

Weinhardt is a senior partner in the Des Moines law firm Weinhardt & Logan.