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Group seeking investigation of Michele Bachmann over health-care-reform event

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has asked that the Office of Congressional Ethics investigate whether Rep. Michele Bachmann violated House rules when she organized an event against the Democrats’ health care reform legislation earlier this month.

Politico raised the issue last week, stating that the 6th District Republican used her U.S. House webpage to rally health-care reform protesters, even though House rules specify that member sites “may not include grass-roots lobbying or solicit support for a member’s position.”

“Taxpayers fund members’ websites and because of that those sites may not be used to organize a public rally for or against any particular legislation,” Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, said in a statement.

Republicans, however, have maintained that the event was a press conference, not a rally, and therefore not subject to the same rules.

CREW, a liberal public-policy advocacy organization, also asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to determine whether Bachmann and other lawmakers violated House rules by failing to get a permit for the event.

“Calling a rally a press conference to circumvent congressional rules is like calling a Hummer a Prius to meet fuel efficiency standards,” Sloan said.

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