An evangelical organizer who served as a top adviser to Rep. Michele Bachmann’s 2012 Republican presidential primary run filed a complaint on Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission, alleging campaign finance violations tied to both Bachmann’s failed campaign and her independent political action committee, MichelePAC.
From the The Minneapolis Star Tribune:
[Peter] Waldron, formerly Bachmann’s national field coordinator, is accusing the campaign of improperly dipping into money from MichelePAC to pay longtime fundraising consultant Guy Short for presidential campaign work he performed in the critical final weeks ahead of Iowa’s caucuses last year.
Waldron also alleges that the campaign concealed payments to Iowa state campaign chairman Kent Sorenson, a state senator who abruptly left the Bachmann camp to join then-U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s insurgent campaign. Under Iowa Senate rules, Waldron maintains, Sorenson could not perform paid work for a presidential campaign.
As the Tribune reports, from July to November 2011, Bachmann’s campaign paid Short $104,580 through his company, C&M Strategies. At the same time, MichelePAC was paying Short around $5,000 a month. But the campaign stopped paying Short in the weeks leading up to the Iowa caucus on Jan. 3, 2012. Short told campaign staffers that he was volunteering on the presidential campaign, and others were asked to do the same. But it turns out that MichelePAC paid Short $40,000 between Dec. 6, 2011 and Jan. 3, 2012.
“He engineered the caucus strategy,” Waldron told the Tribune. “He was the one who decided who went where and did what. They can’t pay a PAC employee to function as a senior staff member in a supervisory role in a presidential campaign.”
Waldron’s complaint came a few days after Waldron went public with an accusation that Bachmann was withholding money owed to former staffers to keep them from talking about the final months of the campaign.
James Pollack, Bachmann’s former national finance chairman, called Waldron’s allegations last week “false, inaccurate and misleading.”
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com