Tax attorney or tax collector? A closer look at the tea-party candidate's professional history
You'll never guess what Michele Bachmann, the rabble-rousing, tax-reviling, government-bashing idol of America's tea party movement, used to do for a living. Sue tax scofflaws for the Internal Revenue Service.
As she flexes her credentials as a Republican presidential candidate in a field of former governors and corporate executives, Bachmann is more likely to describe herself as a "former federal tax litigation attorney'' -- as she did in her first nationally televised debate -- than as a three-term member of Congress. But she rarely, if ever, mentions the one and only employer of her legal services: the U.S. Department of Treasury.
In just a month as a presidential candidate, Bachmann's plucky populism has catapulted her from also-ran to leading contender. That her legal career has received such little scrutiny reflects her rapid ascension on the national stage and a carefully groomed image.
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"You're running for president in a sound-bite era and trying to build certain features of a character that will resonate strongest with voters,'' said Adam Brandon, a spokesman for FreedomWorks, one of the most influential organizations in the tea party movement. "She's going to highlight the things that are consistent with the image she's building up for the public.''