U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann did not exactly accept the challenge offered up today by Tarryl Clark, but her campaign did respond sharply to what it called Clark’s “hypocritical election year stunt.’’
This morning, Democratic 6th District candidate Clark challenged the GOP congresswoman to cut her pay by 5 percent and reduce her office’s expenses, particularly regarding use of franking privileges.
A few hours after that challenge, the Bachmann staff produced a list of Minnesota legislative actions that it said show that Clark, as a state senator, supported several actions that would increase the pay of state legislators and their per diems. In some cases, the Bachmann campaign said, Clark was a leader in those moves.
In 2007, the Bachmann campaign said that Clark supported a bill raising legislative per diems from $66 to $96. That bill passed.
The campaign also says that in 2009 Clark opposed a bill that called for legislators to lower their pay by 5 percent. That bill did not pass. Legislators, who are paid $31,000, haven’t had a raise in base salary in years.
“Today Tarryl Clark launched perhaps her most hypocritical attack yet,’’ said Bachmann political adviser Andy Parrish. “While she pulls an election season stunt about cutting legislator pay … she had a real opportunity to cut pay in the legislature and she voted no.’’
Clark says, however, that since 2008, she has acted on her own, taking deep cuts in the amount she draws on per diem, cuts amounting to $13,000 even though they were “painful’’ to the family budget.