Campaign Finance Controversy Plagues Bachmann Campaign

Office of Congressional Ethics reportedly investigating Tea Partier's campaign fund use.

Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign is under investigation for possible campaign finance violations.

Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign is under investigation for possible campaign finance violations.

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After a presidential run scarred by infighting and stump speech missteps, it seems Rep. Michele Bachmann's, R-Minn., campaign nightmares aren't over yet.

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The Daily Beast reported Monday Bachmann's presidential campaign is facing scrutiny for its handling of campaign cash.

The Office of Congressional Ethics is reportedly interviewing former staffers to address the alleged campaign finance wrongdoing.

Peter Waldron, a former Bachmann campaign aide, told Daily Beast that he had "been interviewed by investigators." The probe is focused on "improper transfer of funds and under-the-table payments actions by Bachmann's presidential campaign," Daily Beast says.

Waldron made news earlier this year when he alleged Bachmann refused to pay a handful of campaign staffers because they were reluctant to sign a nondisclosure agreement promising that they would not talk about the failed campaign. In his Federal Election Commission complaint in January, he also alleged that Bachmann's presidential campaign improperly paid MichelePAC fundraiser Guy Short for advising before the Iowa primary. The campaign's lawyer refuted those claims.

Bachmann's campaign lawyer William McGinley said Bachmann had done nothing wrong and that there is no evidence to support claims that the Bachmann campaign broke the law.

"There are no allegations that the Congresswoman engaged in any wrongdoing," McGinley told U.S. News. "We are ... confident that at the end of their review, the OCE Board will conclude that Congresswoman Bachmann did not do anything inappropriate."

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But watchdog groups say the accusations could still tarnish Bachmann's reputation.

"All of the accusations have been by her own staffers. These are insiders in a position to know," says Melanie Sloan, the executive director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics is Washington.

If enough evidence surfaces, the next step in the ethics probe is for the Office of Congressional Ethics to pass the investigation to the House Ethics Committee and Sloan says she believes it's likely the House committee with look into the accusations.

"Giving what these former staffers are saying it is hard to see a situation where this wouldn't be passed on," Sloan says.

When Bachmann's campaign disbanded in 2011, it was buried in roughly $1 million of debt. But thanks to a hefty congressional campaign war chest, Bachmann was able to transfer money from one account to the other and erase a large chunk of the debt.

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