It’s been a rough week for Michele Bachmann, and the year ahead isn’t looking any easier.
A court date has been set for Bachmann for May 14, 2014, where she and members of her failed presidential campaign will have to confront allegations of campaign funding misuse, including including paying a senator for an endorsement and using money from Bachmann’s political action committee to pay a staff member.
Bachmann announced earlier this week she would not seek re-election in 2014 and said the investigation into her campaign had nothing to do with her decision. But a former Bachmann campaign aide says he’s worried the congresswoman will be implicated in the scandal.
Peter Waldron, the national faith coordinator for Bachmann’s campaign, said he had discovered checks that one of Bachmann’s senior advisers had written to himself, despite telling other campaign staffers the committee was low on funds and they would have to sacrifice a month’s pay.
“Here’s a fellow who pays himself $40,000 with one hand, and with the other hand, he’s telling us, ‘Come on, guys, let’s defer your checks. Hold back. The campaign is low on money, can you just sacrifice the month of December?’” Waldron said on msnbc Thursday afternoon.
Waldron added he spoke with Bachmann and her husband multiple times about his concerns, and said he could tell she lacked confidence in the campaign at times too. “It was very clear that she empathized, she was concerned,” he said. He described a moment during one conversation where he said she was in tears. “She was exhausted. The campaign manager and her adviser in the form of a speech coach had pushed her hard,” he said. “She was exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally, and I felt for her. I was concerned for her health at that point. Losing the [Iowa] caucus and her defeat saved her life.”
But although Waldron said he considers Bachmann a close friend, it may have been his initial complaints that launched the ethics investigation into the congresswoman’s campaign. MinnPost reports that Waldron filed two ethics complaints about Bachmann’s campaign, prompting the FBI to join the Federal Elections Commission, the Office of Congressional Ethics, and the Iowa Senate Ethics in the investigation.
“I have nothing against Mrs. Bachmann,” Waldron told MinnPost. “I do take strong exception to her senior advisers who put her through what they put her through.”
But now that the campaign itself is over, Waldron has a new set of worries for his friend and former boss. ”A court case will compel all the defendants to swear under oath in a deposition,” he said, adding that senior staff members would be required under oath to answer various questions that could prove to be difficult for advisers who lived and worked so closely with Bachmann. ”It may implicate the sitting congresswoman from the sixth district of Minnesota.”