Sunday, September 08, 2013

Michele Bachmann May Go From Congress to Prison

I find a perverse pleasure in seeing the self-professed "godly folk" of the Republican Party political class time and time again turn out to be the biggest crooks going.  In Virginia we have seen the unfettered greed of Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell link to possible gifts in exchange for political favors.  Religious zealot Ken Cuccinelli is yet another crooked GOP politician who accepted gifts from Jonnie R. Williams/Star Scientific  and seemingly had his office intercede for energy company benefactors.  And perhaps one of the looniest - and also most hypocritical of them all - Michele Bachmann, now seems headed to possible indictment. Her snake oil merchant, "ex-gay" myth peddling husband Marcus - a/k/a Marcia - Bachmann may be involved as well.  Whenever a politician talks incessantly about religion and claimed faith and piety, the moral is to watch and follow the money.  The New York Times has details.  Here are highlights:

Representative Michele Bachmann’s presidential hopes ended 20 months ago, but her brief and chaotic campaign continues to be the focus of ethics investigations.

The latest is a federal inquiry into whether an outside “super PAC” improperly coordinated strategy with Mrs. Bachmann’s campaign staff, including her husband, in violation of election laws. 

The Department of Justice demanded records from the super PAC last week of its finances and its communications with Mrs. Bachmann; Marcus Bachmann, her husband; and former staff members, according to a grand jury subpoena reviewed by The New York Times. 

The investigation appears to stem from a complaint a former campaign staff member made to the Federal Election Commission and to the F.B.I. The staff member told of overhearing the president of the super PAC asking a Bachmann senior adviser about buying advertising on radio and TV stations in Des Moines ahead of the Iowa caucus on Jan. 3, 2012. 

Coordination between a campaign and a super PAC violates federal election law if it meets certain criteria, said Paul S. Ryan, a senior counsel at the independent Campaign Legal Center. 

Mrs. Bachmann is already the subject of a House Ethics Committee investigation into her campaign finances and allegations her staff was improperly used to promote her political biography, “Core of Conviction.”

The turmoil of her final weeks has spawned multiple accusations of impropriety. A coordinator for Christian home-school families sued Mrs. Bachmann, accusing her of stealing a mailing list; the suit was recently settled. An Iowa state senator who was chairman of Mrs. Bachmann’s campaign is under investigation by the Iowa Supreme Court over whether he was improperly paid. 

In a complaint to the F.E.C. in February, Peter Waldron, a Florida Republican operative hired to enlist evangelical Iowa pastors, described overhearing the president of the super PAC ask Brett O’Donnell, a senior campaign adviser, about radio and TV stations.

Mr. Waldron, who calls himself a whistle-blower, also disclosed an e-mail from Mr. Bachmann describing a phone call Mr. Bachmann made to a donor asking for $7,000. In the e-mail, Mr. Bachmann wrote that the donor had agreed to give the money through the super PAC. He concluded: “Praise the Lord!! Thank you Peter for your servant leadership.”

Mr. Waldron, who has a controversial past, has been dismissed by other former Bachmann staff members as a disgruntled employee who had limited responsibilities. Last month he published a critical e-book, “Bachmannistan: Behind the Lines.”

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