Friday, January 11, 2013

Bachmann: "Mere" $5K Debt Turns into Major Intrigue

Interesting story about Bachmann this morning.  
Requires three parts of different articles (and multiple updates)

Before you get to the good stuff - it is important to remember this:
From 2011 about Waldron (my emphasis):
Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart told reporter Garance Franke-Ruta that Waldron was a valued member of the Bachmann campaign team, organizing evangelical outreach in Iowa and South Carolina.

"Michele's faith is an important part of her life and Peter did a tremendous job with our faith outreach in Iowa," she wrote in an email. "We are fortunate to have him on our team and look forward to having him expanding his efforts in several states."
Oh my - how life changes.
Something musta really ticked Waldron off in the meantime - for him to go public.
You know it is NOT about a mere $5,000.
Maybe Waldron thinks the police investigation hasn't gotten enough press and is trying to bring it out using this ruse.

Michele Bachmann Refuses to Pay Iowa Presidential Staffers After 375 Days
It is only recently that a few Iowa small business owners, most of whom are heads-of-household, received payment in full for services rendered through the 2012 caucus month.

The remaining staff members were promised payment several times by Michele's Finance Chairman, James Pollack, but the payment never came.

Dr. Peter Waldron, Bachmann for President National Field Coordinator, explained it this way, "Recently Mr. Pollack demanded that each unpaid staff member sign a non-disclosure agreement that prohibits any discussion of any criminal, moral, and/or unethical behavior witnessed during Mrs. Bachmann's campaign in Iowa.

According to her last Personal Financial Disclosure she has a net worth between $1,300,000 and $2,800,000.
Well Waldron either has an axe to grind publicly with Michelle or she has not paid these people.

The other troubling part of this is the phrase
"Recently Mr. Pollack demanded that each unpaid staff member sign a non-disclosure agreement that prohibits any discussion of any criminal, moral, and/or unethical behavior witnessed during Mrs. Bachmann's campaign in Iowa.”
Hmmmmmmmmmmm – recently – before we pay you?
Begs the question – What happened?????

The story above was picked up by Salon
Bachmann still hasn’t paid presidential campaign staffers
Five Iowa staffers say they've refuse to sign a gag order the campaign demands (updated: Bachamnn official denies)

Waldron said the staffers are owed a mere $5,000, and that Bachmann has more than $2 million in her campaign account, but has refused to pay unless the staffers sign the agreement. Negotiations over payment with Bachmann Finance Chairman James Pollack eventually broke down and Waldron decided to go public with the news,   

“It is sobering to think that a Christian member of Congress would betray her testimony to the Lord and the public by withholding earned wages from deserving staff,” Waldron added.

Reached my phone, Waldron confirmed the details and said the nondisclosure agreement stems from the campaign’s alleged misuse of an email list.
Just because you are a proclaimed Christian does not necessary mean you are a moral person – just means you thump your bible in public.
At the end of the article – Bachmann’s mouthpiece says it is a lie and everyone has been paid.

And then The Hill takes the story a little further:
Former campaign aide says Bachmann withheld payment
After Waldron asked Bachmann’s husband, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, to intervene, he said the staffers who were owed money received a non-disclosure form requiring them to speak with Bachmann’s attorneys before consulting with law enforcement investigators or other lawyers about the campaign.

Waldron suspects the payments may have been suspended because they cooperated with a criminal investigation over a stolen voter list.

“Michele Bachmann and her senior staff are involved in a lawsuit in Polk County, Iowa, and there’s a criminal investigation underway,” he said. “Many of our staff are involved in either depositions or interviews with the police.

“It’s probably not a coincidence that all the people who have not been paid are the very people who have either given depositions, given affidavits or have been interviewed extensively by the police,” he said.

James Pollack, who served as national finance chairman of the Bachmann campaign, disputed the claims.

    Interviewed intensively by the police

January 15
WASHINGTON - A top adviser in Michele Bachmann's 2012 White House bid has filed a complaint with federal election officials alleging campaign finance violations involving her presidential campaign and the independent political action committee she leads.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint was filed Tuesday by Peter Waldron, a widely known evangelist enlisted by the Bachmann campaign for outreach to Christian conservatives. The filing follows his allegations last week that the Bachmann campaign has withheld payments to staffers who refused to sign confidentiality agreements.


January 18, 2011
DES MOINES — A former campaign aide for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann claims the one-time presidential candidate hid thousands of dollars in payment to an Iowa state senator so he wouldn’t violate Senate ethics rules.

One pertains to Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson, R-Milo, who Waldron claims was paid $7,500 a month for his role as Iowa state chairman for the Bachmann campaign.

Waldron claims the payments were funneled through a third party, C&M Strategies of Colorado operated by Guy Short. In essence, Waldron said, the Bachmann campaign would overpay C&M Strategies for its work and C&M Strategies would then cut a check to Sorenson for his work on behalf of the Bachmann campaign.

If true, the alleged scheme may violate the Senate ethics rule against state senators being employed by political campaigns.

MORE _ February 7
Written by: Kevin Hall
Tags: Barb Heki, Eric Woolson, Guy Short, Homepage Spotlight, Keith Nahigian, Kent Sorenson, Michele Bachmann, Peter Waldron
bachmann sorenson

The Iowa campaign manager for Michele Bachmann’s 2012 presidential campaign testified in a sworn affidavit that Kent Sorenson admitted taking part in the theft of a contact list of homeschooling families from the computer of Barb Heki, another former Bachmann staffer. At the time of the alleged theft, Sorenson, a state senator, was the Iowa chairman for Bachmann’s campaign.

“We took it,” Eric Woolson quotes Sorenson saying on the day of the alleged theft. The sworn affidavit is signed by Woolson, dated September 4, 2012, and notarized. An affidavit is a written statement made under oath. viewed a copy of Eric Woolson’s sworn affidavit on Wednesday. In it, Woolson describes how he learned about the alleged theft and his subsequent discussions with Sorenson and national leaders of Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign. Woolson’s version of the events differs greatly from theirs.
Heki says she was not told how the list made it from her computer into a Bachmann email blast until the day the campaign ended. It was Congresswoman Michele Bachmann who informed her that Kent Sorenson had taken the list off her computer, Heki says.

“Michele (Bachmann) told me,” Heki said to last July. “We had a private staff luncheon right after she left the race and she came up to me then and told me that she was told that Kent (Sorenson) did it. I was flabbergasted. When Michele and I got done talking, I walked straight over to Eric Woolson and asked him if it was true. He said, “Yes.”

by John Avlon Mar 25, 2013 11:45 AM EDT

Add the Office of Congressional Ethics to the long list of probes and lawsuits that may be the only enduring legacy of Bachmann’s presidential face-plant. John Avlon exclusively reports.

Eighteen months ago, the Minnesota House member was considered an unlikely but undeniable Republican rising star, winning the Iowa straw poll that unofficially begins the primary season. Today, she is embroiled in a litany of legal proceedings related to her rolling disaster of a presidential campaign—including a Office of Congressional Ethics investigation into campaign improprieties that has not previously been reported.



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