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Bachmann campaign settles Iowa lawsuit

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann has settled a lawsuit with a former Iowa staffer who accused fellow Bachmann presidential campaign associates of stealing an email database from her computer.

Barb Heki, a former board member for the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators, had accused Bachmann's Iowa chairman, state Sen. Kent Sorenson, of stealing a database of NICHE members' email addresses from her computer for the campaign. Heki's lawyer told media last week that she and Bachmann had settled the suit. Court filings from Friday show the case dismissed, though terms of the settlement are not known.

In a post-settlement statement to the Iowa Republican, Bachmann called Heki, "a trustworthy person and a woman of integrity."

"She was a loyal member of the Bachmann for President team and capably performed her duties," Bachmann said. "I am not aware of any evidence whatsoever that Barb had any part in misusing or misappropriating NICHE’s email list of homeschoolers and I consider her an exemplary homeschooling leader.”

The theft accusation had spun off a local criminal investigation in Iowa and was one of a handful of legal and ethical issues stemming from Bachmann's short-lived presidential campaign.  An Iowa Senate panel is investigating whether the campaign paid Sorenson against state ethics rules, and the FBI, Federal Elections Commission and the Office of Congressional Ethics have all probed the campaign's spending habits.

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

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