Did Bachmann Misuse Taxpayer Dollars?

Minnesota Congresswoman and potential GOP presidential contender Michele Bachmann prides herself on being the watchdog for taxpayer dollars.  So why did she use taxpayer money to host a Tea Party rally to protest the Obama administration’s health care reform push back in 2009?

Via Roll Call:

According to House expense reports, Bachmann and three conservative GOP colleagues — Reps. Tom Price (Ga.), Steve King (Iowa) and Todd Akin (Mo.) — each paid $3,407.50 that day, a total of $13,630, to a sound and stage company called National Events, apparently for the sound system used at the rally.

The money came from the Members’ taxpayer-funded office accounts, despite House rules prohibiting the use of these funds for political activities. Bachmann’s office insists the expense was a proper use of official funds.

Bachmann and her colleagues dubbed it a “press conference” in order to justify the expenditure, even though the press never got to ask any question of the attendees.  And the even started with a prayer, a clear violation of the separation of church and state. 

Are elected representatives allowed to use taxpayer funds to rally against legislation?  After all, ethics complaints have been filed left and right against Representatives and Senators seen to misuse franking privileges as they send obvious campaign and issue related materials to their constituents under the guise of “informational mailings.”  How can an actual rally, encouraged by House members as a protest against administration and party policy, be seen as anything besides an overtly political event — especially considering how exclusively the GOP then ran on the issue in the following election?

Still, Bachmann claims it was a “press conference,” and perhaps she is technically right.  Indeed, there was a large number of press people there, covering the rally. 

According to Roll Call, this isn’t an isolated event for Bachmann, who has an extensive history of blurring the line between office expenses and campaign expenses, from hiring consultants and speech writers to asking for reimbursements for numerous television appearances meant more to raise her name recognition and campaign funds than anything else.

Bachmann’s defense of the taxpayer must only extend to when she’s not championing her own causes.

By http://www.flickr.com/people/fibonacciblue/ of Minneapolis, Minnesota [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

48 comments

Gabriela T.
Gabriela T.7 years ago

does this really surprise anyone?- not me...

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Mary Alexander
Mary Alexander7 years ago

She broke the law and she needs to be called on it and also all three of them needs to pay it back. This is another example of double standard.

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Patrick F.
Patrick f7 years ago

Which definition would you like Monica R.? The "sexual" one or the "insult to injury one"? hahaha

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Carmen n.
Carmen n7 years ago

...and nothing will come of it, I bet.

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Carmen n.
Carmen n7 years ago

...and nothing will come of it, I bet.

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Danny W.
Danny Wilson7 years ago

par for the course

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monica r.
monica r7 years ago

If you can't laugh with 'em, you might as well laugh at 'em:

http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/bl-tea-party-signs.htm?PS=962:30

At least Democrats can SPELL!

Also somebody should explain to tea party members what "tea bagging" is, and that it is extremely derogatory to the point that holding up signs saying things like "tea bagging for Jesus" would offend my sensibilities as a Christian, IF I wasn't damn near peeing my pants laughing at their ignorance.

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Sound Mind
Ronald E7 years ago

A Liar AND a Thief, and lest we forget, worst of all a Republican with an agendas to destroy America.

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Patrick F.
Patrick f7 years ago

Good one Angela!

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Temperance R.

"DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO! I AM A REPUBLICAN, you know..." That should be her motto. But she will lie her way out of it...IT is good practice in case she gets the nomination form her party...BUT Obama will win in 2012. All these Republican clowns can go find the nearest circus around. They are quite talented in the "Hand being faster than the eye!"

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