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Report: Group of former Bachmann presidential staffers still waiting for paychecks

WASHINGTON -- One of the loose ends a former presidential candidate has to tie up after quitting a race is paying down debt. Many campaigns take on a fair amount of debt over their lifetimes, and a candidate has to deal with paying vendors or staffers long after the campaign has ended (Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign, for example, was still $75,000 in debt last October, the last time she filed an FEC report).

After their 2012 runs ended, Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann quickly started paying off their debt, the former writing his final check in March while the latter has brought a $1 million tab down about 90 percent since January.

But a group of former Bachmann staffers in Iowa say the campaign has yet to pay them the small salaries they're owed.

According to Salon, the group says Bachmann still owes them $5,000, but the campaign won't pay the bill unless the staffers sign a nondisclosure agreement relating to a lawsuit brought against the campaign.

Salon reports:

[Former national field director Peter] Waldron confirmed the details and said the nondisclosure agreement stems from the campaign’s alleged misuse of an email list. A home-schooling group accused the Bachmann campaign of stealing the list, which was contained on a volunteer’s laptop, and then using it to fundraise for the campaign. The home-schooling group has sued the campaign and Waldron said there is also a criminal investigation pending, explaining that he spoke with police about the incident “several times.”

“They wanted us to have no further conversation [with police] without first notifying Michelle’s attorneys, and we just refused,” he told Salon. “We’ve been lied to at every turn.”

“This story is important. I’ve got five soldiers, as it were, five men who are willing to stand and not capitulate to this unnatural pressure that is coming from the Bachmann campaign. It’s just immoral what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to shut us up. You want to get paid? You gotta sign this agreement and not talk to either the police or lawyers,” he continued.

A Bachmann staffer told Salon the charges are "false and inaccurate." The debt is not reflected in Bachmann's FEC filing from December, when her presidential campaign was about $170,000 in debt and had about $53,000 on hand (though she can transfer funds from her congressional campaign, which has $2.1 million in the bank).

From the campaign's perspective, the only Iowa bill left to pay is $3,000 to a consulting firm. Almost all of its outstanding debt is owed to companies: In December, the only individual still owed cash was longtime Bachmann aide Andy Parrish.

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com.

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Comments (4)

Be Wise Organize

Michelle Bachmann's campaign staffers could have used a union.

It's the anti-theft device for working people.

These conditions border on criminal

And I say "border" only because I haven't examined the specifics of Iowa law. Obstruction of justice and witness tampering are two possibilities.

Follow up

The following are potentially relevant Iowa statutes. Various campaign financing/reporting statutes and regulations may also be implicated, if the Bachmann campaign failed to report a legitimate outstanding obligation.

91A.3 MODE OF PAYMENT.
1. An employer shall pay all wages due its employees, less any
lawful deductions specified in section 91A.5, at least in monthly,
semimonthly, or biweekly installments on regular paydays which are at
consistent intervals from each other and which are designated in
advance by the employer.

91A.4 EMPLOYMENT SUSPENSION OR TERMINATION -- HOW
WAGES ARE PAID.
When the employment of an employee is suspended or terminated, the
employer shall pay all wages earned, less any lawful deductions
specified in section 91A.5 by the employee up to the time of the
suspension or termination not later than the next regular payday for
the pay period in which the wages were earned as provided in section
91A.3.

91A.5 DEDUCTIONS FROM WAGES.
1. An employer shall not withhold or divert any portion of an
employee's wages unless:
a. The employer is required or permitted to do so by state or
federal law or by order of a court of competent jurisdiction; or
b. The employer has written authorization from the employee
to so deduct for any lawful purpose accruing to the benefit of the
employee.

91A.8 DAMAGES RECOVERABLE BY AN EMPLOYEE.
When it has been shown that an employer has intentionally failed
to pay an employee wages or reimburse expenses pursuant to section
91A.3, whether as the result of a wage dispute or otherwise, the
employer shall be liable to the employee for any wages or expenses
that are so intentionally failed to be paid or reimbursed, plus
liquidated damages, court costs and any attorney's fees incurred in
recovering the unpaid wages and determined to have been usual and
necessary. In other instances the employer shall be liable only for
unpaid wages or expenses, court costs and usual and necessary
attorney's fees incurred in recovering the unpaid wages or expenses.

91A.12 CIVIL PENALTIES.
1. Any employer who violates the provisions of this chapter or
the rules promulgated under it shall be subject to a civil money
penalty of not more than five hundred dollars per pay period for each
violation. The commissioner may recover such civil money penalty
according to the provisions of subsections 2 to 5. Any civil money
penalty recovered shall be deposited in the general fund of the
state.

719.1 INTERFERENCE WITH OFFICIAL ACTS.
1. A person who knowingly resists or obstructs anyone known by
the person to be a peace officer, emergency medical care provider
under chapter 147A, or fire fighter, whether paid or volunteer, in
the performance of any act which is within the scope of the lawful
duty or authority of that officer, emergency medical care provider
under chapter 147A, or fire fighter, whether paid or volunteer, or
who knowingly resists or obstructs the service or execution by any
authorized person of any civil or criminal process or order of any
court, commits a simple misdemeanor. In addition to any other
penalties, the punishment imposed for a violation of this subsection
shall include assessment of a fine of not less than two hundred fifty
dollars. However, if a person commits an interference with official
acts, as defined in this subsection, and in so doing inflicts bodily
injury other than serious injury, that person commits an aggravated
misdemeanor. If a person commits an interference with official acts,
as defined in this subsection, and in so doing inflicts or attempts
to inflict serious injury, or displays a dangerous weapon, as defined
in section 702.7, or is armed with a firearm, that person commits a
class "D" felony.

719.3 PREVENTING APPREHENSION, OBSTRUCTING
PROSECUTION, OR OBSTRUCTING DEFENSE.
A person who, with intent to prevent the apprehension or obstruct
the prosecution or defense of any person, knowingly does any of the
following acts, commits an aggravated misdemeanor:
1. Destroys, alters, conceals or disguises physical evidence
which would be admissible in the trial of another for a public
offense, or makes available false evidence or furnishes false
information with the intent that it be used in the trial of that
case.
2. Induces a witness having knowledge material to the subject at
issue to leave the state or hide, or to fail to appear when
subpoenaed.

Republican's Have A Leadership Vacuum

It is part of her Republican, tea party, pedigree. Someone should take her pay away until she stops talking. Bachmann is bad for the country, Republican Party, and the tea party. With credentials like that why is she on the Intelligence Committee? If she is on the Intelligence Committee it proves intelligence is very shallow in the Republican Party. This is what we get when there are many so called leaders in their party. Party leader is singular. The Republicans, by their own loose definition of leader, have many leaders. When the Republicans turn their many leaders loose, we the public, get the chaos that leads to nothing but gridlock. With no real leader in sight gridlock will continue, and the likes of Bachmann will continue her quest to take her party to the ground. She is nearly there.