Ethics: Did Bachmann break the rules?

Updated
Michele Bachmann waves as she departs the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines while campaigning in August 2011.
Michele Bachmann waves as she departs the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines while campaigning in August 2011.
Daniel Acker/Reuters

The House Ethics Committee decided to keep on digging into Rep. Michele Bachmann’s campaign finances and released a report given to them by the Office of Congressional Ethics, stating there’s “substantial reason to believe” violations may have occurred.

The committee announced Wednesday it plans to extend its review of her short-lived 2012 presidential run to help determine whether she broke campaign finance laws. They had a deadline of September 11 to announce further action.

The Minnesota congresswoman, who isn’t seeking another term in office, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. In a statement issued Wednesday, Bachmann said there’s “no finding that I or anyone on my campaign staff did anything to the contrary,” she said. “It simply has referred certain matters to the committee responsible for reviewing these issues.”

The committee took up the case on the recommendation from the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent bipartisan group.

The newly released OCE report said, “There is substantial reason to believe that Representative Bachmann authorized, permitted, or failed to prevent” money from her Political Action Committee being used to improperly pay a campaign consultant working on her White House bid. This could have resulted in “a contribution from the leadership PAC to the presidential campaign in excess of the legal limit,” according to the documents.

The OCE also urged the House Committee on Ethics to review whether “Bachmann may have violated federal campaign finance laws and House rules by using campaign resources to promote the sale of her book Core of Conviction.”

One good note for Backmann: the OCE report also said “there is not substantial” evidence that the congresswoman intentionally concealed payments Iowa state Sen. Ken Sorenson and recommended the committee dismiss the claims.

The ethics committee also suggested continuing its probe of two other lawmakers: New York Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop and Illinois Republican Rep. Pete Roskam.

Ethics: Did Bachmann break the rules?

Updated