A citizenship twist: GOP's Bachmann is now also Swiss

  • Article by: COREY MITCHELL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 9, 2012 - 8:07 PM
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Michelle Bachmann

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann is now a citizen of Switzerland, a European country with a policy she's fervently campaigned against here in the United States -- universal health care.

Because her husband is Swiss-American, Bachmann became eligible for citizenship in Switzerland when he applied for dual citizenship, just days before she lobbied against President Obama's Affordable Care Act on the steps of the Supreme Court.

The Minnesota Republican has labeled the U.S. health care reform law "Obamacare" and criticized it as socialized medicine. Switzerland, however, has long had a national health care system with provisions similar to the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, which requires all citizens to have health insurance or face penalties.

Marcus Bachmann, the congresswoman's husband, was eligible for Swiss citizenship because of his parents' nationality, but didn't register with the Swiss government until this year. Once the process was complete, Michele Bachmann, his wife of more than 30 years, automatically became a Swiss citizen, as did their children.

Bachmann's in-laws emigrated to the United States from Switzerland about 60 years ago. They were both from farm families and Marcus Bachmann's father, Paul Bachmann, went on to join the National Farmers Organization, a once-radical farmers union, according to his obituary in the Winona Daily News.

Bachmann told the Star Tribune in 2010 that she was proud of her in-laws for fleeing socialism in Europe. Bachmann's office said she and her husband sought citizenship for the benefit of her children, who wanted dual citizenship.

"It's tough to find a place not to like in Switzerland," Bachmann said during an interview with a Swiss television station Tuesday.

With her newly granted citizenship, Bachmann now is eligible to run for office in Switzerland but has no immediate plans to do so.

The three-term congresswoman is seeking re-election in the state's Sixth Congressional District, although she is longer a resident.

When once-a-decade congressional redistricting booted Bachmann into the Fourth Congressional District, represented by Democrat Betty McCollum, Bachmann opted to seek re-election in the reconfigured Sixth.

Corey Mitchell • 202-408-2723

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