House ethics committee extends Bachmann investigation

  • Article by: KEVIN DIAZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 27, 2013 - 7:00 AM
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Michelle Bachmann

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U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s problems with the House ethics committee are not going away yet.

On Friday, the chair and ranking member of the committee, a Democrat and a Republican, announced that a review of the congresswoman’s case will be extended another 45 days, meaning that the earliest a decision can be expected is on Sept. 11.

The ethics committee extension is routine, but it also signifies the first public acknowledgment by any federal entity of the multiple allegations of campaign finance or ethical improprieties by Bachmann’s 2012 presidential campaign.

The case was referred to the committee on June 13 by the independent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), which has interviewed former Bachmann staffers about allegations of improper payments and the use of campaign staffers to promote her book, “Core of Conviction.”

Bachmann’s attorneys have denied any wrongdoing on her part. Bachmann recently announced she would not seek re-election.

The ethics panel faced a Sunday deadline to dismiss the case or extend it for further review. Under House rules, the committee now faces a September deadline to drop the case or pursue it further, possibly leading to sanctions.

The panel has yet to disclose publicly the nature of the allegations under review. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Election Commission also are investigating the campaign. Meanwhile, officials in Iowa are investigating allegations of improper payments to state Sen. Kent Sorenson, Bachmann’s Iowa chairman. Urbandale police continue to probe theft allegations involving a database in the custody of ex-Bachmann staffer Barb Heki, who recently settled a lawsuit against the Bachmann campaign.

Bachmann has racked up nearly $200,000 in legal expenses this year, according to FEC campaign spending reports.

Those expenses come on top of $260,000 in billings from Patton Boggs, the firm defending her, in 2011 and 2012.

Kevin Diaz

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