Rep. Michele Bachmann might not make it to ‘retirement,’ in 2014 as the House Ethics Committee has launched an investigation into possible ethics violations surrounding her 2012 presidential run.
In a statement the House Ethics Committee wrote:
Pursuant to House Rule XI, Clause 3(b)(8)(A) and Committee Rules 17A(b)(1)(A) and 17A(c)(1), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ethics have jointly decided to extend the matter regarding Representative Michele Bachmann, which was transmitted to the Committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics on June 13, 2013.
The Committee notes that the mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject of the matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.
The Committee will announce its course of action in this matter on or before Wednesday, September 11, 2013.
The statement might sound like a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but what it means is that the Office of Congressional Ethics found something that is worthy of investigation by the full House Ethics Committee. It is not surprising that they found something. The FBI is already investigating Bachmann and her presidential campaign for secret payments made to Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson in exchange for his help in support in the 2012 Iowa caucuses.
The suspicion has long been that Bachmann’s “retirement” was done in order to head off the federal investigation, the Iowa state investigation, and the House Ethics Committee investigation. Bachmann thought that if she “retired” maybe these legal issues would go away, and allow her to make a political comeback in a couple of years. This is the reason why Bachmann refuses to close the door on potentially running for office again someday.
Bachmann could be looking at expulsion. However, expulsion requires a 2/3 vote in the House, and it is unlikely that enough Republicans would vote to kick her out. The other penalties like censure, reprimand, or a fine are relatively minor, and only require a majority vote.
It looks like Michele Bachmann’s plan to make this all go away by quitting, oops, I mean “retiring” is not working out the way that she wanted it too. If it is revealed and proven that Bachmann was directly connected to the crimes committed, losing her House seat could be the least of her problems.
Michele Bachmann could go to prison.