September 12, 2011 by Bob Livingston
Education: Bachelor’s degree from Winona State University, J.D. from O.W. Coburn School of Law at Oral Roberts University, L.L.M. in Tax Law from William & Mary.
Professional: She and her husband own a mental health practice and partial interest in a family farm. She worked as a Federal tax litigation attorney for the IRS from 1988-1993.
Family: Married with five children. She claims to have also cared for 23 foster children.
Political: Minnesota Senator 2001-2007, U.S. House of Representatives 2007-present.
State of residence: Minnesota
Campaign website: http://www.michelebachmann.com/
Bachmann claims the Tea Party mantle and is the founder of the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives. But while she was prominent at Capitol Hill Tea Party gatherings protesting the Obamacare vote and stimulus spending bills, some things in Bachmann’s background and some of her votes indicate she is not the conservative she tries to portray.
First of all, there is the troubling fact that her family’s farm has received $295,332 in Federal subsidies since 1995. Bachmann claimed income from the farm on her financial disclosure forms, but says her family did not profit from it. It was included on disclosure forms, Bachmann said, because her husband is a trustee. To be fair, the farm was registered in the name of her father-in-law until his death in 2009. The farm has not requested a subsidy since then. The Bachmann campaign told Bloomberg that the Bachmanns did not receive direct financial benefit from the farm subsidies.
That is the same claim Bachmann makes about the family’s mental health clinic, which received a $30,000 Federal grant for employee training.
Not directly benefiting has not stopped Bachmann from trying to get more money from the government. Despite criticizing Obama’s stimulus program as “fantasy economics,” Bachman petitioned the Federal government for direct financial aid or help on at least 16 separate occasions. Much of that money came from stimulus programs she opposed and has suggested she would eliminate.
One of Bachmann’s most grievous acts — if you cherish liberty — was to vote to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act. She is also an interventionist on foreign policy, believing the United States should continue to prosecute the “War on Terror” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Yemen, and should intervene in Iran’s quest to acquire nuclear weapons. At the GOP debate in Iowa in August, Bachmann said: “I sit on the House Select Committee on Intelligence. I can’t reveal classified information, but I can say this: As President of the United States, I will do everything to make sure that Iran does not become a nuclear power.”
One foreign policy feather she can put in her cap: She voted for a resolution in June that would have required President Barack Obama end U.S. participation in the NATO mission in Libya within 15 days. The resolution failed. But in light of the above statement, one has to wonder if she was just playing politics with her vote.
Bachmann refused to sign a pledge to cut, cap and balance the Federal budget, much to the chagrin of Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). But she did sign a values pledge created by the conservative Christian group The FAMiLY LEADER. By signing the pledge, Bachmann “vowed” to commit herself to 14 specific points to “uphold the institution of marriage as only between one man and one woman.” One of the points calls for banning “all forms” of pornography. She gave no explanation of how she proposed to get that one accomplished in light of that ever-pesky 1st Amendment.
From 1988 to 1992, Bachmann worked for the St. Paul, Minn., office of the Internal Revenue Service’s district counsel. While there she worked on hundreds of civil and criminal cases, according to her own Congressional website, in an effort to extort more money out of citizens and corporations for the government. She declined to answer questions posed by The Wall Street Journal about her time at IRS. In public comments she has made, she has said that she went to work at the IRS “because the first rule of war is to know your enemy.” So are we to believe her four years there were part of some grand plan?
She’s also prone to making dumb statements while ad-libbing. She has claimed, “the founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” She also said Americans fear the Soviet Union; told a New Hampshire crowd that “You’re the state where the shot was heard round the world at Lexington and Concord”; said there was an interesting coincidence that the swine flu broke out in the 1970s while Democrat Jimmy Carter was President and again when Democrat Barack Obama was President (even though the first outbreak came during Gerald Ford’s Presidency); and she wished Elvis Presley a happy birthday on Aug. 16 — which happened to be the anniversary of his death, not his birth.