An Ethics Investigation for Michele Bachmann?

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CREW, the Washington watchdog group, has a new target: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), the conservative firebrand who was the godmother for the November 5 Tea Party-ish protest at the Capitol against the emerging health care reform bill. It seems she may have violated House rules by using her taxpayer-funded congressional website to promote a political event and by holding a rally without a permit. CREW explains in a press release:

CREW contends that Rep. Bachmann misused her official congressional website by urging people to come to the Capitol to protest the legislation despite House rules restricting members from using their websites to engage in “grassroots lobbying or solicit support for a Member’s position.” Rep. Bachmann’s website urged people to come to the Capitol rally “and tell their Representatives to vote no” on the health care reform bill.

“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,” said Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director.

CREW also asked [the Office of Congressional Ethics] to determine if Rep. Bachmann and other members violated House rules by failing to acquire a permit for the Nov. 5 rally and by falsely calling the event a “press conference,” though no questions were asked by the media. Politico quoted from a Republican Study Committee email directing staff members to “please make sure your boss does not term this event a rally.” A Capitol Police spokeswoman confirmed the lawmakers had no permit for a demonstration. In a TV interview, however, Rep. Bachmann urged opponents of the bill “to come to Washington, D.C. by the car load.”

“Whoever heard of a press conference without questions?” asked Sloan. “Calling a rally a press conference to circumvent congressional rules is like calling a Hummer a Prius to meet fuel efficiency standards.”

Bachmann will, no doubt, enjoy being targeted in this fashion. Isn’t it more proof anti-Americanism runs amok in the nation’s capital?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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