WASHINGTON D.C. -- The House Ethics Committee announced Wednesday that it has decided to continue its review of alleged campaign finance violations by Rep. Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign. It released a report by the Office of Congressional Ethics that found enough merit to the allegations to warrant further investigation.
The report included a referral and recommendation to the Ethics Committee that it investigate further. The OCE findings had been kept secret while the committee reviewed them, but the committee was required to release the report Wednesday.
Among the allegations that OCE investigators looked into were assertions by former campaign staffers that Bachmann's campaign improperly used an independent political action committee to pay its Iowa chairman and to hide payments to a Colorado political consultant doing work on the presidential campaign. There were also allegations that she used campaign staff during a personal book tour.
Bachmann maintained Wednesday that she has not violated any laws or regulations and noted that the OCE report includes "no finding that I or anyone on my campaign staff did anything to the contrary; it simply has referred certain matters to the Committee responsible for reviewing these issues."
"Although I do not believe a referral was warranted, I respect the Committee process and I look forward to a successful conclusion to this matter," she said.
Bachmann is also facing investigations by the FEC, and federal law enforcement authorities. According to a New York Times report Friday, the Department of Justice has empaneled a grand jury that appears to be reviewing allegations that her presidential campaign colluded with a political action committee on advertising purchases. The New York Times reviewed a subpoena that demanded records of the committee's communications with Bachmann, her husband and former staff members.
Bachmann hinted in her statement Wednesday that whatever is found, she didn't have anything to do with it.
"My campaign included experienced staff and advisers who, among other things, administered and managed the financial dealings of the campaign," she said. "My directive to them was clear and unequivocal: to be sure that the campaign complied with all relevant laws."
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