Minnesota Representative and former Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has found herself in a bit of hot water as of late, as former campaign staffers are threatening to reveal incidents of campaign finance fraud taking place throughout her 2012 presidential campaign.
Andy Parrish, Bachmann’s former chief of staff, is expected to tell an Iowa Senate ethics panel that Bachmann’s campaign made improper payment to Iowa’s state chairman.
Peter Walden, another former Bachmann aide, claims that the campaign hid payments to Iowa Senator Kent Sorenson in violation of Iowa Senate ethic rules. Sorenson is a member of the Iowa Senate, and members are barred from receiving pay from presidential campaigns.
The Star Tribune reports that Parrish claims he can provide the ethics panel with evidence that Sorenson was paid $7,500 a month to work on Bachmann’s campaign. This money was funneled to him through C&M strategies, a Colorado-based company controlled by a Bachmann fundraiser, Guy Short.
Congressional ethics investigators are also examining whether Bachmann campaign staffers played an improper role in her 2011 book tour promoting her memoir, Core of Conviction. Federal election and House ethics rules bar candidates from using campaign funds or resources to promote their own books. Bachmann is not only suspected of mixing campaign funds with her independent political organization, MichelePAC, a former campaign staffer is suspected of illegally appropriating an email list of Iowa home school families.
“Records show that the campaign was very careful to ensure that protocols were in place to keep the book tour and presidential campaign completely separate and distinct,” said William McGinley, a prominent Republican attorney in Washington. “Any fair and objective review of the record will conclude that Congresswoman Bachmann and the campaign followed the FEC [Federal Election Commission] advisory opinions and acted appropriately.”
Bachmann’s memoir reportedly sold poorly and has not made her any money. Estimates suggest she sold around 3,000 copies of the book.
Michele Bachmann was one of several Republican 2012 presidential hopefuls whose campaign rose in prominence only to fall from grace as conservatives searched for an alternative to Mitt Romney. Even without allegations of campaign fraud, Bachmann’s shot at a successful follow-up run in 2016 was all but nil.