Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign is currently under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics. Her campaign attorney, William McGinley of the high-powered firm Patton Boggs, said the campaign has been engaging with the OCE since last year, and he expects the board to come up empty-handed.
The OCE, a bipartisan office, is not allowed to discuss ongoing ethics probes, but the Daily Beast is reporting that former campaign staffers have been questioned about improper transfer of funds and under the table payments by Bachmann's presidential campaign to two campaign advisors.
"At this point, no allegations are heard directly, but the fact that it's been referred to a House ethics committee is more than just simply routine," Hamline University professor David Schultz said.
Alleged improper fund transfers and under-the-table payments are in question by the OCE in connection with the campaign's national political director, Guy Short, the Daily Beast said. Bachmann's Iowa campaign chairman, state Sen. Kent Sorenson is also purportedly related to the improper funding. Neither returned calls for comment.
Bachmann's staff troubles have been widely reported. Schultz says high maintenance and high turnover could spell trouble for defending the accusations.
"There may be a lot of disgruntled people still looking for jobs who have something to get even with Michele Bachmann at this point, or clearly have nothing to fear by talking to an ethics investigation committee," Schultz said.
Bachmann ended her campaign for president in early January 2012 following a last-place finish in the Iowa Caucus.
A spokesperson for Bachmann's Washington, D.C., office says the disclosure of the ethics review is a predictable and politically motivated attack by Democrats who are willing to do or say anything in an attempt to defeat her in 2014.