Minnesota Republican congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s former chief of staff Andy Parrish will testify on Thursday before an Iowa Senate Ethics Panel, concerning current investigations into her failed 2012 presidential bid. Parrish is expected to provide an affidavit that will support claims made by Bachmann’s former national field coordinator, Peter Waldron.
The first ethical question is the denial of pay to staffers who refused to sign a nondisclosure agreement that prohibited them from discussing campaign activities with authorities and the media. This came after the campaign sent two emails to members of The Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators (NICHE), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that did not provide the list of member email addresses to the campaign. Former Bachmann staffer Barbara Heki, who also sits on the board of NICHE, suspects Iowa Republican senator Kent Sorenson stole the email list from her computer–she has since filed a lawsuit against the state senator.
The second ethical question before the panel that Parrish is expected to discuss in the affidavit includes Senator Sorenson’s involvement in the campaign. Waldron and Parrish claim that Sorenson was receiving upwards of $7,500 a month in campaign funds through an outside company managed by Guy Short, Bachmann’s fundraiser.
Bachmann faces additional charges from the Office of Congressional Ethics after claims that she used campaign staff and resources to sponsor her 2011 book tour.
Bachmann, Sorenson, and Bachmann’s Finance Chairman James Pollack continue to deny any unlawful or unethical activity.
AP Photo/Jim Cole