In 2007, Rep. Michele Bachmann sent President Bush a letter recommending he pardon a man who is a major contributor to her campaign even though he lives outside of her district. Last Thursday, Bachmannwithdrew that letter, written on behalf of Frank Vennes, after FBI, IRS and U.S Postal Inspection officials seized numerous items from Vennes’ home in connection with the ongoing investigation of Vennes’ business associate Tom Petters.
Vennes served time in the 1980s for illegally selling a firearm, cocaine distribution and money laundering. While in prison, he became a devout Christian, and after his release he became a devout Bachmann campaign contributor. Prior to Bachmann’s election (and letter writing), Vennes contributed $14,200 to her campaign; in 2008, he has contributed $4,600. Vennes’ wife Kimberly, who uses the same P.O. box number as Vennes, has contributed another $8,800 over the last three years.
Vennes is a businessman in Excelsior and maintains a residence in Shorewood. Neither location is in the 6th Congressional District.
Petters and a number of his business associates have been raided and/or arrested in connection with what authorities are calling a scheme to make money by defrauding investors. Federal officials say Petters and company collected money from investors to put into electronics that didn’t exist.