(WASHINGTON) — An investigation into Rep. Michele Bachmann, who sought the GOP nomination for president in 2012, has been extended by the House Ethics Committee for possible violations of House rules.
In a joint statement Friday, the committee’s chairman Rep. Michael Conaway and ranking Democrat Rep. Linda Sanchez announced they were taking a harder look into allegations surrounding the four-term congresswoman.
“[T]he mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject of the matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee,” the committee said in a statement.
Bachmann faces multiple questions, including allegations of ethics violations stemming from her 2011 book tour, and others stemming from accusations that she illegally used funds from her political action committee to pay her presidential campaign staffers, in addition to payment to an Iowa state senator, who was still serving in office.
The Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent non-partisan entity that was created in March 2009 in response to public criticism that the House Ethics Committee was failing to properly police its members, can either dismiss a case or recommend a full House Ethics Committee investigation. This time, it recommended June 13 that the full committee take a closer look.
The House Ethics Committee has the final say on whether a violation has taken place and what sanctions, if any, should be imposed.
The review of her case was extended by 45 days, so the latest its findings will be revealed is Sept. 11, the first week lawmakers are back in Washington after the summer recess.
Bachmann, the chair of the Tea Party Caucus, announced in May that she will not seek reelection to the House in 2014.
Ethics also announced Friday that it has extended investigations into Reps. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), John Tierney (D-Mass.), and Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.).
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Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Tal Kopan and Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Nate Sunderland, EastIdahoNews.com