Politics
FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2012 file photo, Rep Michele Bachman, R-Minn. speaks in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2012 file photo, Rep Michele Bachman, R-Minn. speaks in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)  

Office of Congressional Ethics investigating Bachmann for presidential campaign finance violations

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Alexis Levinson
Political Reporter

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann is being investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics for potential campaign finance violations during her unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

The Daily Beast first reported the investigation.

William McGinley, a lawyer with the firm Patton Boggs who represents Bachmann, confirmed the investigation to The Daily Beast, but suggested that the congresswoman herself was not the subject of suspicion.

“There are no allegations that the Congresswoman engaged in any wrongdoing. 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,” he said.

According to The Daily Beast report, the OCE is speaking to former Bachmann campaign staffers, and the inquiries are allegedly focused on “improper transfers of funds and under-the-table payments” by Bachmann’s presidential campaign.

In particular, the actions of Guy Short, who served as the national political director for her campaign, and Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson, who was the Iowa campaign chair for a time, are allegedly under particular scrutiny.

The Bachmann camp dismissed the report as a “politically motivated attack” and emphasized that the congresswoman’s actions were not the focus of the investigation.

“Unfortunately, the disclosure of the existence of this Review is a predictable and politically motivated attack by Congresswoman Bachmann’s political adversaries in an attempt to disparage her reputation as a top-target of the DCCC and Democratic Super PACs. They are willing to do or say anything in an attempt to defeat her in 2014,” Bachmann campaign spokesman Dan Kotman told The Daily Caller.

“There are no allegations that Congresswoman Bachmann did anything wrong, and any inference or suggestion to the contrary is baseless,” he continued. “The OCE rules specifically state that the mere existence of a Review does not mean that the Member violated any rules. Any fair and objective review of these allegations demonstrate that they simply do not involve Congresswoman Bachmann.”

The Minnesota congresswoman is also facing a lawsuit in Iowa in which a former staffer is alleging that the Sorenson stole a call list from her. Separately, a complaint has been filed with the FEC by another former staffer alleging that Bachmann improperly used funds from her leadership PAC.

When the OCE concludes its investigation, it will make a recommendation to the Congressional Ethics Committee. If the Ethics Committee opts not to pursue the investigation, the OCE will publish its report on the matter.

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