One of the most entertaining right-wing fruitcakes, Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN), former presidential candidate and a leader of the Tea Party Caucus in Washington, is being attacked left and right (pun intended) because of money owed to former staffers. Her fellow Christians are angry that it’s been over a year since Bachmann quit the presidential race, but she has still refused to pay all of her former campaign staffers. The ChristianNewsWire reported Thursday that while most staff were finally paid recently, five former staffers haven’t been paid, even though James Pollack promised repeatedly that they would be.
“Recently Mr. Pollack demanded that each unpaid staff member sign a non-disclosure agreement [NDA] that prohibits any discussion of any criminal, moral, and/or unethical behavior witnessed during Mrs. Bachmann’s campaign in Iowa. In fact, Mr. Pollack insists that each staffer not speak to law enforcement and/or lawyers without first speaking with Mrs. Bachmann’s attorneys,” said reports Dr. Peter Waldron, her former President National Field Coordinator. ”I feel a moral obligation to see that my Christian brothers and sisters are paid for worked performed in good faith. I’ve continually communicated by telephone and email with Mr. Pollack for 1 year but he broke every promise made to me to pay the staff. I appealed to Dr. Bachmann for help. I appealed to Representative Bachmann’s Chief of Staff Robert Boland to intercede with Mrs. Bachmann on behalf of her loyal Iowa staff – all of whom are married, all have children.” (Source: ChristianNewsWire)
Dr. Waldron continued by saying, “It is sobering to think that a Christian member of Congress would betray her testimony to the Lord and the public by withholding earned wages from deserving staff.”
Staff reportedly aren’t being paid because they’ve refused to sign the non-disclosure agreement (NDA). “They wanted us to have no further conversation [with police] without first notifying Michelle’s attorneys, and we just refused,” he told Salon. “We’ve been lied to at every turn.”
“This story is important. I’ve got five soldiers, as it were, five men who are willing to stand and not capitulate to this unnatural pressure that is coming from the Bachmann campaign. It’s just immoral what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to shut us up. You want to get paid? You gotta sign this agreement and not talk to either the police or lawyers,”
Bachmann has over $2 million left in her campaign account, reports Waldron, but still refused to fork over the paltry $5,000 owed to the staffers. Furthermore, as per her own Personal Financial Disclosure, Bachmann has a net worth between $1,300,000 and $2,800,000.
As of 11/26/12 (Post General Report) Bachmann for Congress reported $2,170,422.02 for cash on hand. As of 11/26/12 (Post General Report) Bachmann for President reported $53,451.03 for cash on hand and $169,588 as debt
As of 11/26/12 (Post General Report) MichelePAC reported $72,396.77 for cash on hand. If you add up all the cash at her disposal and subtract the debt she has $2,126,681.22 at her disposal.
According to Waldron, the NDA and non-payment issue stems from an illegally obtained email list. Barbe Heki, a Bachmann campaign volunteer and Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators (NICHE) board member, ”inadvertently transferred the organization’s email list to the campaign’s database” from her laptop.
Justin LaVan, president of the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators, told ABCNews that Heki had “a computer with NICHE stuff and campaign stuff and somehow the files got mixed up. In an email to the people on the list, he said “I want to apologize on behalf of the NICHE Board and advise you that we discovered that our list of home school contacts was uploaded without our knowledge or permission by the Michele Bachmann Campaign and used twice for e-mails from her campaign.”
I’m sure it was just a coincidence that the homeschooler constituency was credited with helping Bachmann’s fellow nut-job politician Mike Huckabee win the Iowa caucuses in 2008. Surely, the Bachmann campaign wouldn’t want to capitalize on that? (holding up sarcasm sign here!) This claim was reported by ABCNews in December 2011. Bachmann currently is a defendant in a Polk County, Iowa lawsuit, where Urbandale, Iowa police are investigating the alleged theft of the email list.
This isn’t the first time that Bachmann has tried to exploit staffers for free labor. In July 2011, the campaign’s entire New Hampshire staff quit for a number of reasons, one of them being lack of payment. Ed Rollins, Bachmann’s first campaign manager and Waldron’s supervisor in the campaign, quit shortly thereafter and publicly criticized Bachmann. Waldron, who has known Rollins since the late 1980s said that his decision to remain on board the Bachmann campaign when Rollins left was a “tactical error.”
Waldron to The Washington Post: “I’m disappointed. Working with her, I know her to be a person of good faith. However, I also know that she is surrounded by what the Bible says is men of lesser sorts.”
Really? Can a politician get any “lesser” than Michele Bachmann at this point? I think that not paying hard-working campaign staffers — all of whom have children – wages that are due them is about as low as a politician can go.
I am an unapologetic member of the Christian Left, and have spent a lot of time working with “the least of these” and disadvantaged and oppressed populations. I’m passionate about their struggles. To stay on top of topics I discuss, subscribe to my public updates on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me via LinkedIn. I also have a grossly neglected blog. Find me somewhere and let’s discuss stuff.