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U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann earns ‘Scoundrel of the Month’ award

Voters with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann their Scoundrel of the Month for March for allegedly skirting campaign finance laws.

The ultra-right Republican from Minnesota sought her party’s nomination for president in 2012 and, at one time, was ahead in the polling. But CREW, in a news release issued April 24, said Bachmann “has fallen far from the heights of her political celebrity into a tangled mess of legal investigations.

Stated CREW executive director Melanie Sloan, “Rep. Bachmann was a presidential candidate only long enough to run afoul of campaign finance laws. For anyone who doubts the corrosive role of money in politics, Bachmann 2012 seems to present strong evidence to the contrary.”

In January, an ex-adviser to the Bachmann presidential campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission claiming the candidate improperly paid a consultant using money from her PAC. The complaint also alleged that Bachmann concealed payments to another adviser, an Iowa state senator who legally could not accept payment for his work. That matter is now under investigation by the independent Office of Congressional Ethics.

CREW also cited reports from earlier this year that Bachmann refused to pay several staffers unless they signed agreements barring them from discussing “unethical, immoral, or criminal activity” witnessed on the campaign — agreements the staffers believe were intended to cover up the campaign’s alleged theft of an email list. The alleged theft is under investigation by the Urbandale Police Department in Iowa.

“While Rep. Bachmann may claim it is ‘routine’ to withhold money from staffers to buy their silence, in reality this demand is as atypical as it is unethical,” Sloan stated. “Given the inhospitable work environment she created, it’s not surprising Rep. Bachmann is proving as unpopular with her own staff as she was with voters.”

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