Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) faces another ethics investigation into her presidential campaign. This all stems from how she paid several key campaign consultants. The nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) is investigating allegations from disgruntled former campaign staffer Peter Waldron. Waldron alleges that Bachmann illegally paid Iowa campaign manager, Guy Short, and her campaign chair, Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson, through her PAC, MichelePAC. Waldron also filed a Federal Election Commission (FEC) suit this January alleging the same things.
The Daily Beast has learned that federal investigators are now interviewing former Bachmann campaign staffers nationwide about alleged intentional campaign-finance violations. The investigators are working on behalf of the Office of Congressional Ethics, which probes reported improprieties by House members and their staffs and then can refer cases to the House Ethics Committee.
“I have been interviewed by investigators,” says Peter Waldron, a former Bachmann staffer who’s embroiled in his own fight with his former boss, involving his allegations of pay-to-play politics and improper payments by the campaign—making him one of several members of Bachmann’s inner circle who’ve fallen out with the woman they once hoped would become commander in chief. While he was careful to avoid specifics in regard to the investigating body, Waldron said that “investigators came [and] interviewed me and are interviewing other staff members across the country.”
Two other former staffers confirmed the existence of the investigation this weekend, and on Monday Bachmann’s campaign counsel, William McGinley, of the high-powered firm Patton Boggs, confirmed that the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) was looking into the congresswoman’s presidential campaign last year.
“There are no allegations that the Congresswoman engaged in any wrongdoing,” McGinley said. “We are constructively engaged with the OCE and are confident that at the end of their Review the OCE Board will conclude that Congresswoman Bachmann did not do anything inappropriate.”
Former staffers tell The Daily Beast that investigators have allegedly asked about allegations of improper transfer of funds and under-the-table payments actions by Bachmann’s presidential campaign, specifically in relation to the campaign’s national political director, Guy Short, and Bachmann’s onetime Iowa campaign chairman, state Sen. Kent Sorenson. Questions directly about Bachmann, they said, have been primarily focused on what she knew about those men’s actions and when she knew it.
(The Daily Beast)
This investigation is in addition to two Iowa investigations and the aforementioned FEC one. None have reached any conclusion, yet.
In addition, this Daily Beast article finds some interesting tidbits about the inner workings of Team Bachmann during her presidential bid. They were able to find some additional disgruntled former staffers will to speak anonymously about her.
One unpaid Iowa staffer says the following about the former campaign manager Guy Short:
“He’s there telling everyone to suck it up, that we’re not going to get paid—and he’s paying himself?” said one indignant campaign staffer, who recalls Short telling the team he was working as a volunteer.
Here’s another unpaid staffer:
“She’s always been one of the most difficult members to work for—very high maintenance, almost demeaning to a point,” says another former staffer. “And that was amplified 10 times over due to the presidential campaign. It was like she was a different person. You didn’t recognize her. All I can tell you is that it was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. It was by far the most bizarre campaign I’ve ever been a part of.”
This corroborates how badly her presidential campaign was run. These statements are remarkably similar to statements her New Hampshire staff made when they quit en masse.
For more on the unraveling of her presidential campaign, go here.