Ethics Panel Keeps Michele Bachmann in Purgatory
On Wednesday, the House Ethics Committee announced that it will continue to review allegations against Michele Bachmann relating to her 2012 run for president.
On Wednesday, the House Ethics Committee announced that it will continue to review allegations against Michele Bachmann, and two other representatives. The announcement comes as the committee releases a report it reviewed from the Office of Congressional Ethics that argues there's enough evidence against Bachmann to warrant continued scrutiny. But as Politico notes, this means that the committee also declined to launch a full-scale investigation against the representative:
The Ethics Committee’s announcement that it will continue to look into Roskam, Bachmann, and Bishop but not launch full-scale investigations is the latest in a growing trend by the panel. The committee has declined to empanel special investigative subcommittees to handle these matters, but then also has refused to end their investigations outright. The cases then sit in limbo, although based on past practice, the members face little chance of sanction by the committee.
In July, the House committee extended their investigation into the representative's 2012 presidential campaign, which is more or less what they've done again today. There are multiple allegations against Bachmann, including that her campaign used donated funds to promote her book, that her leadership PAC's funds may have been used to pay a campaign consultant, and that her campaign may have accepted an "improper in-kind contribution" from Bachmann's publisher As summed up by the OCE in the report, those allegations are:
If Representative Michele Bachmann authorized, permitted, or failed to prevent, by not taking reasonable steps to ensure that her leadership PAC operated in compliance with federal campaign finance laws, the use of funds from her leadership PAC to compensate a campaign consultant for work he performed for her presidential campaign, then she may have violated federal campaign finance laws and House rules.
If Representative Bachmann failed to disclose accurately payments to an Iowa State Senator for his services on behalf of her presidential campaign, instead only disclosing payments to a campaign consultant who then conveyed the payments to the State Senator, then she may have violated federal campaign finance laws and House rules.
If Representative Bachmann used campaign resources to promote the sale of her book Core Conviction, then she may have violated federal campaign finance laws and House rules.
If Representative Bachmann accepted an improper in-kind contribution to her presidential campaign from the publisher of her book by using promotional book activities paid for by the publisher to promote her presidential campaign, then she may have violated federal campaign finance laws and House rules.
The OCE recommended the House committee continue to investigate the representative, arguing that there's "substantial reason to believe that Representative Baclunann authorized, permitted, or failed to prevent" violations of federal and House campaign rules. Bachmann's legal team released a response to the OCE's continued recommendations, arguing that "there is no basis whatsoever to believe that Representative Bachmann violated any applicable federal campaign fInance laws or House Rules." In response to the committee's decision, Bachmann said, "Although I do not believe a referral was warranted, I respect the Committee process and I look forward to a successful conclusion to this matter." As USA Today notes, Bachmann is also under investigation from the feds, and from the Federal Elections Commission. Recently, a former Florida operative published a tell-all about her campaign that alleges, among other things, that Bachmann fired a pregnant staffer on Christmas Eve.
Also on Wednesday, the House Committee on Ethics closed its investigation into Rep John Tierney, but announced that it would continue to review allegations against two other representatives: Peter Roskam, and Tim Bishop.
Here are parts one, two, and three of the OCE's Bachmann report. Bachmann, perhaps unsurprisingly, will not run for re-election in 2014.