Addressing the legal and ethical questions swirling about her 2012 campaign personally for the first time, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann said Tuesday that she’s “thoroughly convinced that I’ll be cleared.”
Congressional ethics watchdogs are looking into allegations of financial misdeeds in her presidential campaign. Separately, a former Bachmann Iowa campaign worker has sued over her campaign’s use of an e-mail list. That matter has also resulted in a criminal investigation.
In answer to a question about the concerns, Bachmann said none of the allegations is true.
“There’s political motivations that are involved because I’ve been named as the number one target [for] defeat by the Democrat Party, by Nancy Pelosi and also by SuperPACs so, you know no one can know anyone’s thoughts or intents, but clearly it looks like it’s politically motivated. And they’re not true,” she said. “I’m working very closely with the people that are involved to make sure that we answer all the questions and we get to the bottom of it and I’m thoroughly convinced that I’ll be cleared.”
Despite Bachmann’s assertions to the contrary, the legal and ethical charges that have been leveled against her have all come from members of her own presidential campaign staff.
On Tuesday, Bachmann denied that the questions about her campaign have come from Republicans, not Democrats. “No, that’s not true,” she said, before moving on. “Is there anyone else that has a question?” she asked reporters as staffers huddled around her.
Former televangelist Peter Waldron, who helped Bachmann win the 2011 Iowa straw poll, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that money from her personal leadership organization, MichelePAC, was improperly used to pay fundraiser Guy Short and Iowa state chairman Kent Sorenson. Those allegations also are being investigated by the independent Office of Congressional Ethics.
Bachmann also faces a lawsuit filed by Barbara Heki, an Iowa outreach coordinator who claims that other Bachmann staffers led by Sorenson, a state senator, took an e-mail list of Iowa home-school families from her personal computer without permission. Heki’s allegations also have led to a criminal investigation by police in Urbandale, Iowa. Waldron and several other former staffers also claim that the campaign has withheld payments unless they agree to sign confidentiality agreements.
Staff writer Kevin Diaz contributed to this report. Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Twitter: @RachelSB