With an insider’s eye, Hot Dish tracks the tastiest bits of Minnesota’s political scene and keep you up-to-date on those elected to serve you.

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Posts about 2012 Presidential election

House Ethics Committee extends Michele Bachmann probe

Posted by: Updated: September 11, 2013 - 4:40 PM

The House Ethics Committee announced Wednesday that it will extend its probe of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s 2012 White House bid, although it gave no timetable for a resolution of the long-standing case.

The decision came with the release of 430-pages of investigative materials from the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), which found “substantial reason” to believe Bachmann’s campaign violated campaign finance laws and rules barring the use of campaign staff to promote her book, “Core of Conviction.”

The OCE report is the first by any of the half-dozen federal and state agencies investigating Bachmann's campaign that offers an official window into the nature and the scope of the allegations arising from Bachmann’s topsy-turvy White House bid.

While deciding to pursue the Bachmann case further, the Ethics Committee leaves the four-term congresswoman somewhat in an ethical limbo: The committee chose not to dismiss the case against her; nor did it immediately impanel a subcommittee to conduct hearings into the case.

Now on Kindle: 'Bachmannistan... behind the lines'

Posted by: Updated: August 26, 2013 - 7:21 PM

From the people who brought you the federal election complaints and affidavits against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, now comes the book: “Bachmannistan." 

The tell-all book comes direct from the whistleblower, Florida minister Peter Waldron, the man behind most of the legal turmoil that has visited the Minnesota congresswoman since she ran for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

The “report from the inside” is co-authored by Twin Cities attorney John Gilmore, the lawyer who represented former Bachmann aide Andy Parrish, who helped engineer her run for the presidency before a falling out in Iowa.

The subhead for the new digital book, which will be distributed through Amazon on Kindle, is “Behind the Lines,” -- a line Bachmann herself likes to use to describe her presence in the Washington swamp.

While the broad outlines of the tale might be familiar to readers who have followed the Bachmann campaign saga since its slow unraveling in late 2011, Waldron promises that much remains to be told, and he’s naming names.

“It’s explosive,” said Waldron, who was the campaign’s point man for the evangelical pastor community. “It’s like handling an IED.”

While promising to pull no punches, Waldron credits Gilmore with imposing some lawyerly restraint on the Bachmann story. “He threw his body over some of the grenades,” Waldron said.

Bachmann whistleblower says Iowa will suffer for 'pay to play'

Posted by: Updated: August 7, 2013 - 3:09 PM
The man behind the allegations of ethical and financial irregularities in U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s 2012 presidential campaign said Wednesday that the ongoing scandal has diminished the Iowa Caucuses and the economic benefits that go with them.
Amid fresh evidence that conservative Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson was paid first to support Bachmann and then former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, the term “pay for play” is being bandied about to describe the Hawkeye State, not Chicago.
Bachmann has never publicly acknowledged insider reports that her campaign paid Sorenson, but she did accuse him of taking money to defect to Paul.
Peter Waldron, who served as Bachmann’s faith-based organizer, noted that the candidates who compete in Iowa’s influential straw poll and caucuses, and the media who cover them, contribute untold dollars to Iowa’s economy.
In a letter to Iowa’s Senate secretary, Waldron said that the citizens of Iowa “do not deserve to have their state legislature soiled by the behavior of one” individual, and urged a quick resolution to the Sorenson affair, which is being examined by a special investigator.
“Unless Iowa shows the nation it has taken decisive action to prevent sales of public office from happening again,” Waldron said in a statement, “the national political parties should let another state caucus or primary become the new ‘first in the nation.’”

Ethics panel extends Bachmann investigation

Posted by: Updated: July 26, 2013 - 12:39 PM
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s problems with the House Ethics Committee are not going away anytime soon.
On Friday, the chair and ranking member of the committee, a Democrat and a Republican, announced that a review of her 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 acknowledgement by any federal entity of the multiple allegations of campaign finance or ethical improprieties by her 2012 presidential campaign.
The Bachmann 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. She has announced she will 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 campaign also is being investigated by the FBI and the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Meanwhile, officials in Iowa are investigating allegations of improper payments to state Sen. Kent Sorenson, Bachmann’s Iowa chairman. Urbandale police also 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.
As the investigations continue, Bachmann's legal bills continue to mount. Bachmann has racked up nearly $200,000 in legal expenses so far this year, according to her presidential, congressional, and leadership PAC reports to the FEC. That spending comes on top of $260,000 in billings to her principal law firm, Patton Boggs, in 2011 and 2012.

Bachmann backs off claim that Obama gave voting rights to illegal immigrants

Posted by: Updated: July 22, 2013 - 3:28 PM
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s office has backed off a widely-mocked remark suggesting that President Obama gave illegal immigrants the right to vote last year.
The Minnesota Republican made the statement in an interview last month with WND TV of conservative WorldNetDaily fame.
Bachmann, explaining how immigration reform could hurt the Republican Party, mischaracterized Obama’s 2012 executive order ending deportations of illegal immigrants who were brought into the United States as children:
“I think the president, even by executive order, could again wave his magic wand before 2014 and he'd say now all of the new, legal Americans are going to have voting rights. Why do I say that? He did it in 2012! Do you remember? Anyone who was here as a Latina under, ah, age 30, he said, ‘You get to vote.’ What? He decides you get to vote? If he did it 2012, know — take it to the bank — he'll do in 2014.”
In fact, Obama’s executive order had nothing to do with voting, whether by Latinas or Latinos. Since the interview was posted a week ago, Bachmann's comments have generally been derided as the latest example of her reputation for disregarding facts.
But unlike in previous instances, Bachmann’s office took the trouble on Monday to re-state what she now says she meant.
“The point the Congresswoman was making was a hypothetical one given an ongoing theme of the Obama presidency—selective enforcement of laws,” said spokesman Dan Kotman. “President Obama magically creates or delays laws out of political convenience—as we saw with his unilateral decision to change deportation laws before the 2012 election and to delay the Obamacare employer mandate until after the 2014 elections. Given this track record of unilaterally declaring law, what is to keep President Obama from disregarding Congress and the law again by providing executive amnesty, which would mean automatic access to citizenship and voting status?”
Kotman’s clarification may or may not stop another Internet myth from being born. But it certainly won’t end the questions about whether the president could unilaterally bestow citizenship and voting rights on people he thinks might be inclined to vote Democrat.


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