FBI reportedly investigating Michele Bachmann for potential criminal violations

There are so many scandals connected with Bachmann's presidential campaign that at this point we need an Excel spreadsheet to keep them straight. 
There are so many scandals connected with Bachmann's presidential campaign that at this point we need an Excel spreadsheet to keep them straight. 

The Iowa Senate has been scrutinizing alleged violations of state ethics rules that occurred during the course of Michele Bachmann's ill-fated presidential campaign. But that's child's play compared to an FBI probe.

A SEPARATE SCANDAL: Bachmann's book tour to promote moribund autobiography has her in fresh trouble with feds

According to numerous reports, the news has gone from bad to worse for Bachmann, as her campaign is now being investigated by the FBI for potential criminal violations.

In April, former Bachmann Chief of Staff Andy Parrish testified that his former boss personally approved payments to Iowa state Sen. Ken Sorenson, but Parrish said she didn't necessarily realize they violated Iowa Senate ethics rules at the time. The FBI is reportedly looking into that fiasco and a separate one involving the alleged theft by Sorenson of a private email list that was then used for campaign purposes, among other possible areas of investigation.

Parrish's lawyer, John Gilmore, told MinnPost last week, "I can confirm that Andy Parrish has been contacted by the FBI for a scheduled interview next week. He will cooperate fully."

The exact scope and focus of the FBI's investigation isn't clear at this point, but the Star Tribune details another controversy that may be of interest to investigators:

[Former Bachmann National Field Coordinator Peter Waldron recently alleged there were] improper payments from Bachmann's independent political organization, MichelePAC, to longtime Bachmann aide Guy Short, then serving as the campaign's national political director...

[Waldron alleges that] Short's company received $40,000 from Bachmann's PAC in the final two months of the Iowa caucus contest, a time when he was working full time on her presidential campaign. That could be a potential violation of campaign finance laws that bar federal candidates from using their PACs to coordinate with or subsidize their campaigns...

Waldron and other former Bachmann campaign insiders argue that Short would have been misrepresenting the PAC expenditures to the FEC if he were, in fact, being compensated to work for the campaign. They also question how the payments to Short were authorized at a time when they and others on the campaign were being asked to work without pay.

As the Strib passage alludes to, the FBI follows the FEC as the second federal agency to recently launch an investigation into alleged wrongdoing perpetrated by Bachmann's presidential campaign.

Last week, Bachmann suggested that revelations the IRS improperly targeted tea party groups for extra scrutiny during the last election cycle could lead to President Obama's impeachment. But it's now clearer than ever she threw that stone from a glass house.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]

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