June 27, 2011

Bachman in Trouble over Financial Disclosures

June 27, 2011. Waterloo, IA. Here in the Iowa town Michele Bachmann grew up in, the candidate is preparing to officially announce her candidacy for President of the United States. Instead of illuminating her roots to the important early caucus state however, Michele Bachmann has been forced to spend all her time explaining how she didn’t personally receive Federal subsidies over the past five years, even though her financial disclosure forms show she did.

Normally, receiving Federal funding to help the mentally ill or to assist struggling corn and dairy farmers wouldn’t be an issue. But if your entire political platform is based on your opposition to those Federal subsidies, you’ve got some explaining to do. That’s the case for Republican Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. The Minnesota Congresswoman has built her political career by rallying fiscal conservatives and Tea Party activists against practically all forms of government assistance.

Now, it appears Michele Bachmann has been a major recipient of that very same government assistance. What may be a larger issue however, the candidate refuses to admit it and continues to insist, “My husband and I have never gotten a penny of money”. The Los Angeles Times broke the story yesterday when it reported having Bachmann’s financial disclosure forms showing the exact opposite.

Standing her ground on the Sunday morning political talk show circuit, Bachmann continued to insist, “Regarding the farm, the farm is my father-in-law's farm. It's not my husband’s and my farm. It's my father-in-law's farm. And my husband and I have never gotten a penny of money from the farm”. As for her and her husband’s medical clinic, Bachmann argued, “This is one-time money that came in from the federal government and it certainly didn't help our clinic. It was something that was additional training to help employees”.

While the Congresswoman insists she and her husband never received one penny in Federal funds, the Los Angeles Times confirms otherwise. According to the LA Times, their medical clinic received nearly $30,000 in government subsidies. Also over the past few years, the Bachmann family farm received $260,000 in government subsidies. According to Bachmann’s own financial disclosure forms, she personally received between $32,000 and $105,000 from ‘Bachmann Family Farm LP’. That’s the same family farm that Bachmann is part owner of. Technically, when Bachmann’s father-in-law died, the farm was put into a family trust. Michele Bachmann is one of the beneficiaries of that trust.

Still, Congresswoman Bachmann continues to insist that while the records show payment to her, the money actually went to her mother-in-law. Politico released a statement from a Bachmann campaign spokesman confirming the candidate’s denial, “I have answered reporter inquiries before about Rep. Bachmann and farm subsidies. The farm has belonged to her in-laws and has been operated by them. They made all decisions concerning subsidies. Rep. Bachmann and her husband have not received any financial benefit from the farm."

The last thing the Bachman for President campaign needs is a scandal, especially at this exact moment. The Congresswoman is the last of the known, main candidates to formally announce their candidacy for the Republican nomination for President. Having grown up in Iowa, one of the first and most important states in the primary/caucus calendar, Bachman seemed to be building a successful campaign strategy. Recent Iowa polls even show her a close second behind front-runner Mitt Romney. But if the only issue voters and the media are talking about are her financial discrepancies and dependence on Federal welfare programs, the fiscal conservative may be stalled before she starts.