By Thursday the Federal Election Commission wants more information about where nearly $6 million in campaign donations to Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., came from.
On January 6th, the FEC sent three letters to Andy Parish, Treasurer of the Bachmann for Congress campaign committee, demanding answers relating to donations made from July-November, 2010. The FEC said clarification was needed pertaining to un-itemized donations. Campaigns are required by law to submit the name and address of anyone giving a candidate for federal office $200 or more. The deadline for response is fast approaching.
Nobody in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives raised more campaign cash in a single cycle than Rep. Michele Bachmann. The congresswoman has been a veritable campaign cash register, collecting in excess of $13 million on her way to winning her third term last November. She has also recently disclosed she is considering a bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.
Bachmann campaign treasurer Andy Fisher sent Fox an e-mail which suggests small donors may be why such a large bloc of money was not itemized in the FEC reports.
Fisher writes, "Requests for further information from the FEC are not uncommon and we will respond with the requested details. The campaign had more than 100,000 donors, demonstrating a broad base of support, but also requiring a large record-keeping operation. The campaign will continue to ensure that it acts in full compliance with FEC rules."
The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks who and where candidates get campaign cash from and how they spend it, indicates Bachmann got over half of her donations from people giving less than $200. These donations do not have to be itemized on campaign finance reports filed with the FEC. But if any donor gives multiple small donations adding up to $200 or more, then that person's name should be on the itemized list of donors.
Steve Brown is an author, radio broadcaster and seminary professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.