Bachmann Bilked Taxpayer Funds for Tea Party Rally
In November of 2009, Michele Bachmann and other Congresspeople paid a total of $13,630 for a sound system at a Tea Party rally held at the Capitol. The money was filtered from their office accounts -- which, in turn, are funded by taxpayers, reports Roll Call:
Bachmann billed the event as a "press conference," which can be funded from official accounts. But no questions were taken from the press and, unlike most press conferences, it opened with a prayer, the national anthem and a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
A few days earlier, the Minnesota Republican had appeared on a Fox News talk show and made an appeal for activists to come to D.C. for the event, promising to help them lobby Congress against the [health-care reform] bill.
"I'm asking people to come to Washington, D.C., by the carload," Bachmann said. "I'd love to have every one of your viewers join me so that we can go up and down through the halls. Find Members of Congress, look at the whites of their eyes and say, 'Don't take away my health care.'"
Ugh, Revolutionary War rhetoric and misuse of taxpayer funds. Not long after the rally, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics, which was later dropped after an investigation -- but they hadn't inquired after the sound system, which Executive Director Melanie Sloan said the group didn't know was paid for by office funds. "The reality is that this was a grass-roots rally and this was political," Sloan told Roll Call. "That would be an improper political expenditure."
And other expenditures are being called into question, considering her "unusual" spending habits, including travel expenses related to political appearances. Reports Roll Call, "Bachmann's office accounts show other trips outside her district that do not correlate with public appearances, but after June 2009, the House stopped disclosing the destination of office-funded travel, so it is impossible to know where Bachmann has gone on the taxpayer dime since then."
Read the full story here.