This is the first in a series of posts cataloging Michele Bachmann’s top lies of 2012. Today’s topic:
Lies to her own supporters in campaign fundraising emails.
It’s not news that Michele Bachmann regularly lies to her own supporters. Lying to fellow conservatives is an essential feature of modern American conservatism.
But the lies Bachmann told to her supporters this year (in support of her campaign fundraising) deserve special mention. These suggest a regular pattern of deception. I think they’re especially egregious because Bachmann professes to be a Christian believer–thus claiming fellowship with many of “average folks,” small donors she was soliciting.
Bachmann began by sending out emails telling supporters that she needed their money because she was facing unprecedented danger of election defeat after “the liberal courts … changed the makeup of Minnesota’s Congressional districts.”
She gave supporters the impression that redistricting put her at a disadvantage, that “the road ahead (would) not be easy.” In fact, the “liberal” courts that redrew the boundaries of the district made Bachmann’s road to reelection easier: by removing the relatively centrist Stillwater area and replacing it with conservative Carver County. (Bachmann went on to win Carver County in November.)
The pattern of deception continued:
Bachmann emails informed fans that she was not in Congress to climb the political ladder–than two months after she ended a run for the presidency:
I am not in Congress to climb the political ladder, instead, I am in Congress to ensure that our conservative voice is heard.
For the rest of the campaign season, she regularly told supporters that she desperately needed more of their donations because she was at funding disadvantage compared to her opponent, Democrat Jim Graves:
…our self-funding, multi-millionaire opponent is flush with cash (he has already written his campaign a check for $100,000).
While my opponent is able to self-fund his campaign to the tune of millions, I am relying on the kindness and generosity of my supporters and friends to support this campaign.
As late as October 26th, Bachmann was telling supporters that she couldn’t even begin to match her opponent’s personal wealth. (She does so in an audio clip linked to a Bachmann email entitled “Stop what you are doing,” October 26th, 2012.)
Was Bachmann telling supporters the truth when she regularly suggested that she was at a disadvantage in campaign funding compared to her opponent?
KARE 11, Gannett Washington Bureau, December 7, 2012:
…(Bachmann opponent Jim) Graves, taking his first stab at elective office, raised $2.5 million (for his run against Bachmann, ) with $540,000 coming from his own pockets…Bachmann repeatedly cited being up against Graves’ personal wealth and the threat of outside spending from Democratic groups in her fundraising appeals.
…New Federal Election Commission campaign finance data covering the period Oct. 18-Nov. 26, show the Stillwater Republican raked in $14.4 million for her 2012 race, almost $1 million more than what she raised during the previous two-year campaign cycle…
…Overall, Bachmann spent $11.8 million on what proved to be her toughest race…
It’s important to remember that Michele Bachmann was misrepresenting the fundraising picture to small donors; people faced with the daily reality of dealing with what Michele described as an awful economy.
More than $11 million of the $14.4 million (Bachmann) collected for her 2012 campaign came from donations of $200 or less.
These small donors sent Bachmann money because believed in her integrity and character.
Okay: so Bachmann raised $14.4 million for her congressional run. But she only spent $11.8 million of that $14.4 million on re-election. What did she do with the rest of the money?
Boston Herald, December 7, 2012:
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Michele Bachmann has dramatically reduced what had been a more than $1 million debt from her failed presidential run and she has her congressional re-election effort to thank for it.
New campaign finance reports released Thursday show the Minnesota congresswoman repaid more than $750,000 in presidential campaign debt by transferring it from her congressional account. More than $500,000 of that was shipped over between late October and late November…
…Her debt now stands at $170,000.
How about that? Here is Bachmann telling supporters that she will spend their donations on 2012 congressional reelection expenses:
…Your support is critical to my campaign’s ability to fight back and spread my conservative message. Your donations go directly to funding our get-out-the-vote efforts, airing television and radio commercials and ensuring our campaign has the resources to win in November.
Okay: $14.4 million raised, $11.8 millions spent on the congressional campaign. After that there’s about $2.6 million left over … minus $750,000 of contributions used to pay off her “2011 presidential ambitions” debt…
I think she’s got about $1.9 million dollars left over (provided she’s not using any of that to pay off the “failed presidential run” debt she still owes.)
Somebody check my arithmetic. Oh, wait a minute–here’s the figure (from the Gannett press report I cited earlier): as of November 26, 2012, Bachmann had $2.1 million dollars left in her congressional campaign account. Well, I was close; she’s got post-election office expenses, paper clips, stamps, photocopying down at Kinko’s, stuff like that…
The point is: she was lying to her own supporters all along, throughout the year–about a redistricting disadvantage, a fundraising disadvantage, about her ambitions, about her desperate need for even more of their money, about what she would spend contributions on.
And it seems she’s still sitting on about $2 million dollars of the money people sent her– long after the campaign’s over.
Let’s let Michele Bachmann have the final word on what all this means. The quote below is from one of her campaign fundraising emails to her fan base (as are all the Bachmann statements quoted above in this post:)
…I need you to scroll down and fill out the form below and make your most generous contribution to the campaign…So won’t you please join me? A candidate you can trust, someone you can believe in… –Michele Bachmann, audio message attached to campaign email, “Fwd: You have got to hear this”, September 14, 2012