Public Money Puts Bachmann On Defensive

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — As Rep. Michele Bachmann tours the country criticizing government as too big and too expensive, the Republican presidential candidate has come under mounting scrutiny over public dollars flowing to family business interests.

There’s $259,000 in federal subsidies paid since 1995 to a family farm of which Bachmann is a part owner. Another $30,000 went to Bachmann and Associates Counseling Clinic in the last five years from various Minnesota government agencies, including one small payment logged the day after the congresswoman’s official 2012 kickoff.

In addition, at least $137,000 came from Medicaid-backed programs for patients using the mental health clinic run by her husband, Marcus Bachmann.

All of the money poured through legitimate channels. Bachmann maintains none of the farm subsidies wound up in her pocket, although she disclosed the income on her congressional financial disclosure forms. And most public payments to the clinic are connected to services it provided, although it did receive a federal health grant for employee training.

The arrangements threaten to pose image problems for the tea party heroine — and could give rivals an opening to exploit in ads or other ways as the White House race drags on. All week, Bachmann has been forced to explain how her fervent talk of bloated government squares with a family that sometimes benefits from it.

Asked Monday about commodity subsidies for the Wisconsin family farm, she insisted to The Associated Press that “none of the income goes to my husband and I. All of the income goes to the farm.”

Campaigning in South Carolina on Wednesday, neither Michele nor Marcus Bachmann would discuss the money his clinic draws from the Medicaid program, which Minnesota officials administer using a mix of state and federal money. The payments were first reported by NBC News.

Instead, campaign press secretary Alice Stewart issued a statement saying it would be “discriminatory” for the clinic to turn away patients enrolled in the subsidized program. “As a state-sponsored counseling service, Bachmann and Associates has a responsibility to provide Medicaid and medical assistance, regardless of a patient’s financial situation,” Stewart wrote.

It’s routine for Minnesota health providers to draw Medicaid payments, said Karen Smigielski, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

“To be able to serve clients on our programs you have to enroll as a provider. Most everybody in the state enrolls as a matter of course,” she said. “So almost anyone who does health care serves some of our clients.”

Smigielski said the $137,000 paid to the clinic over the last seven years isn’t all it received because the amount only reflects costs billed directly to the state. Some patients in public programs who used the clinic are in separately operated managed care health plans, but the state doesn’t routinely compile those costs.

The Bachmann clinic also received about $24,000 — split between the state and federal governments — for a grant program to train counselors who treat people with both mental illness and substance abuse issues. According to state documents, the money was intended to offset anticipated revenue losses for clinics during the training.

Over the years, the clinic has received smaller payments from other government entities, some for providing mental health care to crime victims and others for helping officials determine eligibility for disability or rehabilitation services. One Minnesota agency sent the clinic $35 on Tuesday, a day after Bachmann’s formal campaign announcement in Iowa.

Throughout her career in the state legislature and Congress, Bachmann has fashioned herself as one of the fiercest foes of government spending. She fired up a crowd Wednesday in Lexington, S.C., with vows to trim government, telling her audience the nation can’t afford “four more years of unrestricted spending.”

Dante Scala, chairman of the University of New Hampshire’s political science department, said the focus on Bachmann’s own financial ties to government is a sign she’s being taken more seriously. But he doubts voters are paying enough attention where the questions will immediately damage her bid.

“It’s a small drip,” Scala said. “It’s the type of thing that an opposition research person in a rival campaign will tuck away in a folder and keep it until it’s useful.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Al

    We all somewhat benefit from government spending. Doesn’t mean the government shouldn’t be reined in. I just love the liberal news media – they really are the cheap shot artists of the century unless it is the agenda they want to push.

    • Ann W

      I am not a Bachmann fan, nor will I vote for her. But, I do give her credit for disclosing the money in her paperwork. If she was trying to hide something, she never would have disclosed any of it. It seems like she was trying to do something right and it is completely backfiring…

      • ???

        She has to disclose this info. She did not do this to be a good person or anything like that.

    • A. Brockman

      OH contrary!! The cheap shots are from the Republicans who think the ideology of no taxes and no government is the way to go, irrespective of the country’s debt due to Bush wars and tax breaks for the very wealthy. No responsibility, just blank statement criticism’s and disregard for the middle class and the need for government regulatory role in protecting it citizens and the need to provide for the sick, elderly and disadvantaged.

  • Angus

    Hey, Al: Cheap shots? The media has been very lenient on Bachmann. They start to ask tough questions and the right goes into attack mode. Remember when the right wing was spreading rumors that Obama would not say the Pledge of Allegeance, he went to a terrorist training camp, wasn’t born an American citizen, but that is ok to say.
    Remember, Backmann voted against the Stimulus program but when it was approved she was in there grabbing every cent she could get. She and her family have worked the government for every cent she can get. It is legal, but don’t run around the country screaming we have to cut government spending.

    • stubby

      Wake up Angus, we Repubs couldn’t even say obama’s middle name without being called racist. If obama got the same tough media coverage as Bachmann, there is no way he would be president today. Bill Ayres, you know the terrorist, his pastor, j. wright. that fact that he never worked in the private sector, the fact that he was only a senator of 134 days before he started running for office. This guy is so unqualified to be president, it’s tragic and the country is paying the price.

      • Tom

        @ Stubby

        And if I remember right when McCain was seen hanging out and coming off the plane with the Rev Hagee the conservaties defended that. So being associated with Pastor Wriight was no different than McCain being associated with Hagee and others!

        And the other thing is your Pride and Joy is getting so much press coverage is because she keeps on saying stupid stuff and is constantly being corrected!

      • A. Brockman

        A large percentage of.republicans in my opinion ARE RACIST.. The slanderous attacks comparing him to Hitler, vilification and personal attacks have demonstrated BEYOND DOUBT this fact. I am disgusted with your comments because a Harvard educated and a constitutional Law Professor and student of foreign policy.. you could not ASK for a BETTER QUALIFIED PRESIDENT.. of which you should be PROUD TO HAVE.. no you would rather have socialite Bachman? .. or celebrity dip stick Palin? …. The Repub party fighting for corporations instead of the ordinary citizen, makes me wonder why ANYONE would want to be one!! ?? . Go fight the good fight and watch $$ leave for the Caymans’ or Switzerland and jobs go to India.. and fat cats just getting fatter.

    • meow

      I rememer the rediculous attack ads on TV from the Republicans making claims that Obama was associated with terrorists. What a load of fear based BS. It’ll be interesting if they still use that lame tactic this election since he actually helped the focus on the location and death of Osama bin Laden.

      • What???

        Not to mention the face that even though it is on a number of web sites, the state and Obama himself brought out his birth certificate there are still some of you that cannot read what is put right in front of your face and say he is an illegal and should not be Pres. You cannot have it both ways. Both sides sling mud now days and you cannot cry every time the person you like gets a little dirty. Repubs are funny creatures, they always seem to live by the do as I say and not as I do statement. That and they cannot EVER say the three magic words…. I was wrong. It just turns into…. I was misinformed. Just like MB and the shot heard round the world.

        • What???

          Not to mention the fact… not face sorry.

    • A. Brockman

      Agree WHOLEHEARTEDLY!! ..Well stated!

  • GOP

    Oh I see, uh huh.

  • getaclue

    No…you probably don’t
    This is not a partisan thing, this is a person caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

    It’s v-e-r-y simple, don’t go around whining about government handouts if you are going to take government handouts. How can anyone not get that.

    • GOP

      The original comment was written in sarcasm. I fully understand that the GOP is COMPLETELY without merit in any way, shape or form.

    • Tom


      Very True! Its called being a Hyprocrit! Thats just how conservatives view things if they are doing it it for legit reasons and it is defendable if someone is doing they are scamming the system.

    • Meow

      LMAO … I agree fully with ‘getaclue’. What is even more rediculous are those who are defending her and her flip flop back talk.

  • Andy

    When we vote for a candidate today that belongs to a specirfic party they will follow that party path no matter who they are. Whatevever the situation Bachmann is is, legitament or not, the Republican party and Tea Party seems to be jumping up and down frantically that goverment is spending too much. They make it appear as if those who use goverment money for whatever are abusing the system and they MUST stop the abuse. They are so loud about that. She has no defense. She is whom she critisizes.

  • Yep

    No way she wins. She makes too many mistakes when speaking and these money issues are just the beginning. Imagine the digging that will happen the closer we get to the election.

  • sw

    I have listened to all these tea partiers call me a leech on the system because I am a teacher. I have absolutely no tolerance for Bachmann’s hypocrisy here. While I don’t have any issue with people who take farm subsidies, it is the height of hypocrisy to take the subsidy, then turn around and either vote republican, or become a “tea-party favorite” running for office. Walk the talk; very simple. There is no way to spin this thing into anything that looks morally right for Bachmann.

    • Bob

      I was unemployed at the beginning of 2009 and heard enough nasty from the Republicans and Tea Party about whom they think I am and what my major problems are as if I am no good and deserve to eat road kill. They shout loudly how I am just sitting around watching TV on their hard earned money. NONE of that is true for many whom are in the same situation as me. So I don’t care if she is getting money from goverment for good reason or not. She gets my laugh when she calls me trash and she won’t get my vote no way no how.

      • Kally

        I have to agree with sw and Bob…. I am an x-Bachman supporter now.
        I’m sorry, I can not look past this… Bob we hope you find a job soon, you are a good person!

  • Steve

    Republician Party = party of Hyprocrisy.



  • pat

    This is outrageous, only Democrats are able to take subsidies! I can imagine the uproar if her husband had refused to treat someone because they were on medicaid. Take a look at who gives money to President Obama…pretty scary.

    • Jim

      pat, Bachmann is giving speech after speech complaining about out-of-control government spending. Meanwhile, she personally profits from the very programs she complains about and labels as socialist. That’s called being a hypocrite. If President Obama were to complain about the very existence of Medicare and then personally profit from its existence, then I would say the same about him. Some of us are not blind partisans and can call people out on both sides when they deserve it.

      • mike

        Jim, If we got rid of the damm handouts , she and no one else would be getting them. So if she is willing to do away with the subsides she no longer will have to explain taking what is legally available.
        When it comes right down to it, probably anyone running for office today would be ridiculed for something in their past or something they said that could be twisted to mean something else. I know that what is going on now in government isn’t working and we have to make a change . Hopefully for the better. Our current president seems to want to sit on the sidelines and second guess what is being done since he sure as hell isn’t getting in there and fighting for the good of the country. He can’t get in there and fight, because he’s never around.

        • Jim

          Wow, you people are obsessed with the president. This article, in fact, is about Representative Bachmann and doesn’t, in fact, mention the president of the United States at all. Not even once. The sign of a true partisan is when someone on your side gets caught lying or is shown to be a hypocrite, the first thing you do is point at the other side and claim they did it first.

          I agree that the president has not done a great job so far. I voted for him but have been unhappy with his performance, and I truly don’t know who I’ll vote for in 2012. Does that make you feel better, pat and mike? Can you now address this article, rather than deflecting to the president?

          • carla

            Jim, i agree with almost everything you just said until you got to the part of Obama not doing a great job so far. It seems that every time he tries to do something, he is blocked by the GOP. He came into his Presidency facing a near depression. Yes, the recovery is slow but ti’s happening. The companies that were bailed out have now paid it back and are still in business. Osama Bin Ladien is no longer around. You’re right that this article is not about Obama but give this guy a chance. It’s only been 3 years to recover from an 8 yr. old mess.

      • pat

        President Obama wants to cram substandard health care down our throats, health care he will never have to endure, now there is a hypocrite. So let’s see if you say the same about him now? you have to admit that if Mr. Bachman were to refuse to treat someone on medicaid you would be in an uproar about that. And farm subsidies? I farm and outside of the last 2 years with the expense of input costs, if you didn’t take the subsidies you’d go broke, now thanks to ethanol the price for crops is up to the point that subsidies can be eliminated. But cheap food is no longer available either.

        • Reasonable

          substandard health care? Your doctor didn’t suddenly become a federalie just because the Affordable Care Act was (sort of) passed. What happened is that there will be a slow move towards govt funded health insurance which guarantees access.
          It’s ok if you want to lie to me because I can figure out the truth. But please sir, do not lie to yourself as it is just pathetic.

          Let’s just remember that all the things that Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann rants against, are either things that she is or once was. She worked in President Carter’s campaign. She accepts govt pay not only for her “farm” but is a govt employee herself whose income is paid purely by our taxes. Her education credentials are suspect at best, she’s a former IRS agent and while she likes to claim that she and her husband are “job producers” I’d like to see some actual evidence that she has produced enough jobs to even remotely justify the waste of public money that she herself is.

    • Huh?!?!?

      While not nearly anything near outrageous, I do wonder what the big deal is about taking patients that are on Medicad. That is the right thing to do. But over a quarter of a million dollars went to their farm… but not to them?!?!? What kind of insane statement is that? If someone wants to give a quarter million to my house, I’d feel like I’d won the lottery, even if it wasn’t to me.

    • What???

      Pat stop reading what you want and read what is post. Did anyone say only Dems this or only Dems that? Then shut up as you have no leg to stand on. I am sick and tired of you idiots twisting words and making them into something that suits your argument. Just because you are not intelligent enough to keep up with the conversation does not mean you can play the victim card. If you really think that Dems are saying that only they can benefit from anything than you may want to stop reading and watching adult news. You should be ashamed to even post that stupidity and now we would know why you can support someone like MB. You have blinders on yet still think you can see everything.

  • meow

    WOW… this is the best that the GOP has to offer? She is absolutely rediculous and it’s a shame she has ties with MN. I’m actually feeling a bit ashamed. I hope the people of America realize she doens’t represent the good folks of MN in any way, just like Palin didn’t represent the honest folks of Alaska. Maybe she should go visit her husbands mental health clinic. (shudder)

  • mbsux


  • Kevin

    Another woman being attacked by the liberl media! While women and NOW sit and smile. Hillary…..Palin……Bachman…..the list goes on……so…I guess I will join the brain dead liberals and media…..women should not be in politics! They should be barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen……..She is a fine looking woman! I wonder whats under that skirt? Shouldnt she be shopping?

    • lib

      Kevin, you are absolutely right, the biggest critics of Palin and Bachman come from women who are educated and in the work force themselves in high profile jobs, I have spoken to many who feel Pailn and Bachman should be home raising their children in stead of running for office! Now there is some hypocracy for you, they work out but feel only liberal women can hold office.

      • con

        Your post made absolutely no sense at all.

      • buzzcut

        Attack the news media rather than defend her actions with gov’t handouts.

        Sad, Sad, Sad

    • What???

      I have asked this many times and no response. How is the AP liberal? Give me proof, is it liberal to tell the truth? Wait that was a dumb question, I have yet to hear the truth from a Repub and I am not going to hold my breath. Truth is just like a swear word to the GOP, it makes their ears bleed and they start crying.

  • Common Man

    I am a Bachman supporter but this is just not washing very well…
    If she did not get the money from the farm why did she disclosure it on the fancial disclouser? And even if it goes back to the farm she owns a percent of the farm so she does get the money.

  • Al

    We MUST cut out of control spending… we need to stop the insane government handouts… we need less government… blah blah blah

  • Murph

    iT’S ALL A GAME! Hide the money and tell a lie.Then yell about government hand outs once YOUR hand is full! They ALL do it because they can! If you or I do it then that’s a big problem because not everybody can suck on these huge mammary’s or they’d go dry! Michele won’t win and the public handouts she get’s might be just a small pat of that! Her absurd statements and outright fibbing is the real problem for her.How could anyone trust her?But she still gets a higher mark than Pawlenty,he’s just plain evil and slimey!

  • Michele Bachmann

    We recieved two hundred and fourteen cents fromn the goverment last year while our out of control president spent seventy five thousand dollars on hair cuts. Mr. Obama we cannot have you in office for four more years. You need to take advice from our greatest president Alexander Hamilton who said, ““I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value.” We must stop the goverment handouts and put it in the hands of WE the people….

    • Hank D.

      That makes no sense at all Michelle. But I support you and will repeat it. I will also update Wikipedia and make Hamilton a presidient.

    • Matt

      Hamilton was president? I guess he was. Another new tidbit from our best we got in Minnesota, birth place of America I think,… I’ll email Michele to verify that.

  • Miles Hamlin

    there is a great new group on facebook “sodomites for michele bachmann”
    it is open for anyone to join and post.

  • RON

    The difference between Republicans and Democrats can be summed up in ONE word. For Democrats the main word is WE. The main word for Republicans is the same word UPSIDE DOWN — ME.!!!

  • anna

    Michele Bachmann claims how she is a Tea Party player, has anyone else thought about how much money she and her husband made while they “cared ” for those 23 foster children????? They did not bring in those children and offer them food and shelter and medical benefits from their back pockets! She needs to realize she may be a “tea partier”, but she uses the government money for many of her deeds!!

blog comments powered by Disqus
Thursday Night Football

Listen Live