Will Michele Bachmann be fined for missing the filing deadline on her Financial Disclosure Statement?


Michele Bachmann finally got around to filing her 2008 Financial Disclosure Statement, but it appears it may be a day late and $200 short.

Bachmann’s statement was hand-delivered to the Legislative Resource Center in the Office of the Clerk at 9:05 a.m. on June 16, 2008.

However, according to the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, “The next annual Financial Disclosure Statement will cover 2007 and must be filed on or before Thursday, May 15, 2008 … A $200 late filing fee shall be assessed against any individual who files more than 30 days after the due date of a report or amendment (or the due date of any extension).

No request for an extension was filed with her report, nor was any document granting an extension filed.

Stan Simpson, director of financial disclosure review for the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, said he cannot divulge whether a member has been or will be fined for violating the filing deadline. He said that’s a matter between the Committee and the House member. Simpson also said a member can request that a fine be waived, but that such a request—or even the existence of one—could not be divulged either.

Simpson declined to respond when asked if a fine levied on a House member by a House ethics committee wasn’t a public record. Simpson added that the member could pay the fine personally to the Office of the Clerk of the House, and offered the phone number of the Clerk’s office.

Bachmann has a long history of sloppy campaign finance bookkeeping and ethical lapses dating back to her days in the Minnesota State Senate.

Besides Bachmann’s inability to comply with the House Standards of Official Conduct, her 2008 disclosure statement raises more questions than it answers.

In her list of “assets and unearned income,” Bachmann listed the Bachmann Farm Family Limited Partnership in Independence, WI. But she failed to list any value for that asset. She also failed to fill out the income portion of the form for the Bachmann Farm Family LP.

On her 2007 disclosure form, Bachmann listed the value of her Bachmann Farm Family LP asset at between $101,000 and $250,000, and income from the family farm of between $2,501 and $5,000.

One can only speculate as to why Bachmann failed to disclose the value of her farm assets and income.

Bachmann has come under fire for collecting federal farm subsidies on her family farm at the same time she rails against them as examples of pork. The Bachmann family farm has collected $257,481 in total federal farm subsidies from 1995-2007. However, in 2007, Bachmann voted against an amendment to the farm bill that would have prohibited payment of federal farm subsidies to farms with adjusted gross annual incomes over $250,000, thus preserving subsidies for wealthier farm owners like herself.

Karl Bremer is a Stillwater writer.