US lawmaker Michele Bachmann faces congressional ethics probe

Washington, Mar. 26 : Republican Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics for alleged misuse of campaign funds, according to her attorney.

Bachmann's attorney, William McGinley said there are no allegations that Bachmann engaged in any wrongdoing, and expressed confidence that at the end of their review the OCE Board will conclude that she did not do anything inappropriate, reports the Washington Post. Peter Waldron, who served as Bachmann's national field coordinator in the 2012 presidential race, has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that the lawmaker's campaign improperly used leadership PAC funds to pay presidential campaign staff.

Consultant Guy Short, he alleges, was paid with Michele PAC funds. He also charges that payments to Bachmann's Iowa campaign chairman, state Sen. Kent Sorenson, were concealed due to ethics rules that bar legislators from being employed by campaigns. Both Bachmann and Sorenson have denied those allegations.

Waldron has also filed a complaint against Sorenson with the Iowa Senate ethics committee, citing the testimony of Eric Woolson, who managed Bachmann's Iowa campaign.

Bachmann's presidential campaign came under fire in 2011 for sending two e-mails to a Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators (NICHE) list, in violation of the group's non-profit status.

Woolson testified in a sworn affidavit that Sorenson took the e-mail list and that Bachmann acknowledged that she was aware of the alleged theft.

Bachmann's campaign said at the time that the use was inadvertent, a characterization Woolson's testimony appears to contradict.

Barb Heki, who worked on Bachmann's campaign, is suing the congresswoman and former senior aides over the misappropriation of the list, alleging that staffers stole it off her computer and then blamed her when the misuse went public. She has also filed a criminal complaint, which Urbandale police are investigating.

--ANI (Posted on 26-03-2013)

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