The Pathetic Shame at the Center of the Michele Bachmann Scandal

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 18 2013 2:17 PM

The Pathetic Shame at the Center of the Michele Bachmann Scandal

Kevin Diaz has fresh details on the Michele Bachmann finance scandal, a story that's getting buried by far less irrelevant news this week. It's still an interesting story, because it suggests that a strange moment toward the end of the Bachmann campaign was an acrobatic exercise in projection. Diaz's new story tells of how top Bachmann staffers are now ready to talk about the campaign misusing funds.

Peter Waldron, a Florida pastor, claims that the campaign hid payments to Iowa Sen. Kent Sorenson, in violation of Iowa Senate ethics rules that bar members from receiving pay from presidential campaigns.
Until now, [former Bachmann Chief of Staff Andy] Parrish has been identified by the committee only as “Witness A,” [attorney John] Gilmore said.
“The time has come to confirm that ‘Witness A’ is Andy Parrish, and he’ll be providing an affidavit with supporting material that completely supports the representations previously made by Peter Waldron,” Gilmore said.

If Sorenson's name rings a bell, it's because he bolted the Bachmann campaign at the end of December 2011, showing up at a rally for Ron Paul, who nearly won the caucuses. At the time, Bachmann attacked Sorenson on the grounds that -- yes -- Paul must have bought him off! I was gawking from the sidelines when Bachmann went live on CNN and claimed that Paul's team had offered Sorenson "big money" to switch sides. "Kent said to me yesterday that ‘everyone sells out in Iowa, why shouldn’t I,'" Bachmann told a local paper. Sorenson denied it, and when I found him at Paul's election night party, the state senator refused to do an interview.

Fifteen months later, the finance records from Paul's campaign have revealed no donation to Sorenson. Was the whole frenzy just a Bachmann CYA for the national press, a completely misleading diversion?

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

The World

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies

They just aren’t ready to admit it yet.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

How Steven Moffat Made the Best Doctor Who Episode in Years

  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 16 2014 11:56 AM Iran and the U.S. Are Allies Against ISIS but Aren’t Ready to Admit It Yet
Business Insider
Sept. 16 2014 1:23 PM Germany Has Asked Google to Reveal Its Search Algorithm, but That's Not Going to Happen
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 1:27 PM The Veronica Mars Spinoff Is Just Amusing Enough to Keep Me Watching
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Sept. 16 2014 1:39 PM The Case of the Missing Cerebellum How did a Chinese woman live 24 years missing part of her brain?
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.