Bachmann, three others face continuing House ethics investigations
July 26th, 2013
01:57 PM ET
10 years 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. Romney is STILL NOT My Hero

    Good! I hope she is ousted from the political arena once and for all. Batty Bachman can go live in her other home country with her closeted husband and leave US alone. They need to fine her fall all of the unethical government money she has received throughout the years as well.

    July 26, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  2. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Throw the teahage Bachmann in jail , she won't be missed by anybody !!!!!

    July 26, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    I just wonder how much money does the Bachmann household receive in Medicare & Medicaid payments when she's so much against government.

    July 26, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. Make them Pay for it

    We should require the Democrap Party to pay for the building of a prison dedicated to holding all of their party criminals. They are a corrupt organized crime outfit that the taxpayers should not be paying for.

    July 26, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. Tom

    Humm, two Democrats and one crazy Republican under investigation for ethics violations. I don't support unethical behavior by either party - I just hope all three of these investigations receive the same level of fairness. I can see this turning into two witch hunts and a whitewash.

    July 26, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  6. pablo

    how does the taiwan trip cmpare to Obama's one week use of Air Force 1, and which was more productive.

    July 26, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  7. Malory Archer

    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.


    Why is it that when a rethug is on the hot seat there's always an apologist to trot out a Dem as a diversion? I checked the Spitzer & Weiner stories before posting here, and while there are plenty of Dems stating that both need to go; lo and behold, not a single Dem brought up a single rethug indiscretion.

    July 26, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Couldn't last forever, now could it, Lynda?"

    Aaaw, hurt your fee fees? You single that out instead of the rancid crap spewed within the first several posts by conservatives?

    Chock it up to this a new and interesting game being played out on the ticker. One person (in this case me) makes a completely innocuous comment and the right jumps on it and drags "Sniffit" into the conversation. I'm not sure what their end game is, but hey, if they find comfort amusing themselves thus ... what the heck.

    July 26, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. David

    I do not believe this ,white noe-cons do not cheat,lie ,or steal. only liberals and minorities and the their white supporters do this, HA HA HA, .oh no not the Tea Party.

    July 26, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  10. teaparty days are numbered

    Bachmann's crazy, and she has papers to prove it.

    July 26, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. Dumbas[R]ocks

    Another slippery, rightwing slackjaw done in by his/her lack of ethics.

    So, why are all the [R] minions so worked up?.....simply because they know that ALL the self-righteous [R] politicians THEY voted into office suffer from the same disease. Once Bachmann goes, the rest of the witless dominoes start to fall.

    July 26, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Fair asked:

    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?
    Sure. You can bait and switch if you want. I can't stop you, and I won't be the one who looks bad. What does that have to do with the current issue? Nothing. Hey, go for it.

    July 26, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  13. California Gary

    I shudder to think what they might find once they peel back the cover and shine a light into the darkness.........she is one odd creature.

    July 26, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  14. Scaddywaddydodaday

    Investigate then jail. I'm sick of these no good stinking politicians.

    July 26, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. Hector Slagg

    I understood all of this except the Greek Part. It's all Greek to me. All Liberal's should go ride a train in Spain.

    July 26, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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