Bachmann, three others face continuing House ethics investigations
July 26th, 2013
01:57 PM ET
9 months ago

Bachmann, three others face continuing House ethics investigations

Washington (CNN) - The House Ethics Committee announced Friday that it is looking into potential ethics violations by Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann and three other House members. The announcement came after a non-partisan panel referred a number of cases to the committee last month for further investigation.

In all four cases announced Friday the Ethics panel said it was taking the next step to investigate matters that were already probed by the outside panel, the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).

Bachmann's attorney acknowledged in March that the OCE was reviewing allegations about the improper transfer of campaign funds by her 2012 presidential campaign.

On Friday her attorney reiterated that the investigation would find that Bachmann did not do anything inappropriate.

"Today's statement by the House Ethics Committee emphasizes that its customary 45-day extension does not 'indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.' It does not speak to the merits of this matter, and any inference to the contrary is false. We are confident the Committee will discover, upon proper review, that the highly politicized allegations made at the OCE level were baseless and without merit," William McGinley said in a written statement provided to CNN.

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. John Tierney was accused of violating rules involving public disclosure on his personal financial forms over the last three years, after his wife received several gifts. The ethics committee said it was reviewing his case.

Tierney released a written statement Friday saying these were old allegations involving items from his wife's brother who was thanking his wife for caring for their sick mother and his three children.

"While political opponents have spent millions of dollars to twist the facts and distort the truth for their own gain, I appreciate that the Ethics Committee has not prejudged the matter. I hope the Committee will expedite its review and I am confident it will find the allegations meritless as they have no foundation in law or fact," Tierney said.

The ethics committee also stated that it is also investigating New York Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop. During the last election Bishop came under fire for allegations that he solicited a $5,000 campaign donation from a supporter in return for helping the family get a permit to set off fireworks at their son's Bar Mitzvah celebration.

In a statement released by his office, Bishop stated, "As I have said many times, I welcome a fair-minded review of the facts because I have done nothing wrong."

A top House Republican leader, Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam, was also investigated by the outside ethics panel for a trip that he and his wife took in the fall of 2011 to Taiwan. House rules ban travel paid for by foreign governments.

Roskam's spokeswoman Stephanie Kittridge explained in a statement that the ethics committee itself approved of the trip and argued the OCE was wrong to review the matter that went through appropriate channels.

"The record reflects that Rep. Roskam fully complied with all laws, rules, and procedures related to privately sponsored travel. The trip was vetted and approved by the House Ethics Committee, the body legally authorized to make determinations on Congressional conduct," Kittredge said.

Kittridge added, "The OCE is wrong to take issue with the involvement of the Government of Taiwan in planning and conducting the trip, a matter that is routine, allowed under the law, and was known to the House Ethics Committee as they thoroughly vetted and approved the trip."

The Office of Congressional Ethics is a separate entity set up in 2008 as a nonpartisan panel to screen potential instances of misconduct by members of the House of Representatives. If OCE decides a matter warrants additional review if can refer it to the House Ethics Committee, which determines whether an official investigation will be launched.

In all four cases the Ethics committee is required to reveal whether it is continuing to review cases that are sent to them within 45 days, unless they are dropped. These four cases were sent to the committee last month, and the next step of any investigation would involve the full ethics committee voting to empanel a group of its members to launch a formal probe. The committee could also decide to dismiss the matters if it decides there were no violations of House rules.

In Bachmann's case, since she has already announced she will retire at the end of her term, it's unclear whether the committee would complete any investigation before she leaves the Congress.

The committee statement in each case said it would announce its "course of action" on or before September 11, 2013.


Filed under: House • Michele Bachmann
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Maybe we can get rid of the useless flake before 2014. She has done absolutely nothing except to stir the tea troll pot and call for revolution against the government she's a part of.

    July 26, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  2. Carlos Danger

    Michele Bachmann,

    Ethics ?

    July 26, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    "In Bachmann's case, since she has already announced she will retire at the end of her term, ..."

    And, oh yeah, what a happy day THAT will be.

    July 26, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. Wake up People!

    I'm sorry but I don't believe a thing that comes out of Mrs. Dual Citizenship's mouth.

    July 26, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. Fair is Fair

    2 R's, 2 D's.

    Dirtbaggery is an equal opportunity employer.

    July 26, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Today's statement by the House Ethics Committee emphasizes that its customary 45-day extension does not 'indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.'
    -------------------------------------------------
    True, but it does indicate that they've found enough evidence of wrongdoing to PROCEED.

    July 26, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    She still gets giant supplemental income for herself and her family because of some farms. She voted for that, but not for food stamps for poor kids.

    Stop giving welfare to wealthy farmers and corporations. They are the real welfare queens that take a lot more than the kids in this country,

    July 26, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. Bill

    I guess you can not pray this one away, Michelle. This woman is an embarrasment to the Congress and her district.

    July 26, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. lolo

    All of them in the house should be investigated not only for ethics, but for treason and also give them a mental test.

    July 26, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "It does not speak to the merits of this matter, and any inference to the contrary is false. "

    It does not speak to the merits of this matter, and any inference to the contrary is illogical.

    FIFY

    Can't claim the inference is false because it might turn out to be true (and that's what my money's on). Of course, true or not, the GOP is running the House, so she'll probably get off with a finger wagging "you've been a naughty girl" and that'll be the end of it.

    July 26, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "In Bachmann's case, since she has already announced she will retire at the end of her term, ..."
    -------------------------------------------------
    She's leaving before she gets asked to leave.
    Smart cookie that one. Batty, but a political survivor just like her country cousin Failin' Palin.

    July 26, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Where's Mr. Issa? I wonder if the nature Bachmann's troubles have anything to do with her deciding not to run again. I'll assume that she's not too old. not unhealthy, and free of personal distractions. None of my business, yeah. But, at least she could grace us with her reasoning. It would not surprise me that she broke the law and Democrats said to her. "If you get out and stay out, then we won't pursue this."

    July 26, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Ol' Yeller

    She can plead insanity and have any and all charges dropped. There are very few people who do not believe this woman is certifiably insane, unfortunately those few live in her district and vote.

    July 26, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. Dutch/Bad Newz aka Take Back The House

    Pray away the kray!

    July 26, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. Randy, San Francisco

    Hope this takes Bachmann off the national stage.

    July 26, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. just sayin

    why even bothering investigating? charlie rangel is still in congress after all of his ethics violations. if they don't drum people out of congress, nobody will ever take any of this seriously.

    July 26, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  17. Mark in Seattle

    So much about this vile women is in violation of what an elected official should be expected to be. Hope she goes down in flames.

    July 26, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. boB

    Office of Congressional Ethics. Now there's a contradiction of terms. Who selects them? Congress?

    July 26, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Pray away the kray!
    -------------------------------------------------
    Good one Dutch!! LOL!!
    I always thought it was spelled cray-cray, but 'kray' works just fine!

    July 26, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair

    2 R's, 2 D's.

    Dirtbaggery is an equal opportunity employer.
    ----------------
    Do you call a brother giving his sister a gift skullduggery? I don't Apparently the Ethics Committee thinks it might could be.

    July 26, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  21. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Throw the yeah age Bachmann in jail, she won't be missed!!!!!

    July 26, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. ST

    Too much noise from Bachmann whole way through since she came to the national platform. This woman is a total disgrace. She should be thrown somewhere no one can hear her even coughing. And yet this woman was competing to lead the greatest nation on earth. What a laughing stock this country should had engaged itself in?

    July 26, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    Rudy NYC: "I wonder if the nature Bachmann's troubles have anything to do with her deciding not to run again. I'll assume that she's not too old. not unhealthy, and free of personal distractions. None of my business, yeah. But, at least she could grace us with her reasoning."

    She gave a very lengthy You Tube video speech (without actually addressing the why factor). Basically her decision boils down to this Fox News statement:

    “Sometimes you can be more effective on the outside than in the inside,” she told Fox News’s Sean Hannity. “I will continue to be a very strong voice … I’m not going away, I’m not leaving Washington, I’m not leaving the national scene.”

    She is facing a mounting debt of legal fees. I suspect she's looking for a pat lobbying job such as Pawlenty found for himself.

    July 26, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair

    2 R's, 2 D's.

    Dirtbaggery is an equal opportunity employer.
    ------
    Do you call a brother giving his sister a gift skullduggery? I don't Apparently the Ethics Committee thinks it might could be.
    --------
    You talking about Tierney? You really want to go there? You want to bring up how his wife was found guilty of laundering $7 million of her brother's ill-gotten filthy lucre... and only did 60 days in the slam for it? You really want to go there?

    July 26, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The Guns Over People Shutdown Government tea potty are lousy with Michelle batty Bachman types.

    July 26, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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