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FBI joins probe of Bachmann’s presidential campaign

The FBI is investigating complaints of alleged campaign finance violations in Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign.

Rep. Michele Bachmann shown formally launching her campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, in Waterloo, Iowa, June 27, 2011.
REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

The FBI is investigating complaints of alleged campaign finance violations in Rep. Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign.

The FBI joins the Office of Congressional Ethics, the Federal Elections Commission and an Iowa state Senate ethics committee in probing whether Bachmann’s presidential campaign paid an Iowa state senator from her MichelePAC, a fund that should not have been used for campaign expenses, and whether the state senator stole the email list of an Iowa home-school group from another Bachmann staffer, Barbara Hekki, prior to the Iowa caucuses in January, 2012.

Andy Parrish, former Bachmann chief of staff and one of the directors of Bachmann’s Iowa GOP presidential campaign, will be interviewed by the FBI, according to his attorney, John Gilmore.

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“I can confirm that Andy Parrish has been contacted by the FBI for a scheduled interview next week,” Gilmore said.  “He will cooperate fully.”

Parrish has filed an affidavit with the Iowa ethics committee stating that state Sen. Kent Sorenson was paid for his work on the Bachmann presidential campaign through a fundraising firm that had ties to MichelePAC.

The entry of the FBI into the investigation raises the possibility that there were potential criminal violations.  In addition to the alleged theft of the home-school list, the FBI is said to be looking into the campaign’s demand that certain former employees, whose pay was withheld at the end of the campaign, sign non-disclosure agreements before receiving their compensation.