Like most prominent politicians, Michele Bachmann has a “leadership PAC” that makes contributions to others in the Republican party. That’s how they gain influence over their colleagues and do favors that must be repaid. But Bachmann’s PAC is now little more than a legal defense fund.
In 2010, Bachmann registered the Many Individual Conservatives Helping Elect Leaders Everywhere political action committee (MICHELE PAC) with the Federal Election Commission. In 2012, the PAC raised more than $1.2 million from supporters. More than $100,000 of that went to conservative Republican candidates for U.S. House and Senate. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is reportedly investigating whether some of the money was also improperly spent to pay the national political director of her unsuccessful 2012 presidential campaign.
But a ThinkProgress analysis of campaign finance data reveals that, so far this year, the PAC has done almost nothing that would qualify as “political action.” Between January 1 and June 30, the committee reported raising nearly $300,000 and has spent more than $250,000. Of that, just 0.16 percent — a $400 contribution to a former staffer running for Mahaska County Supervisor in Oskaloosa, Iowa — went to the PAC’s alleged purpose of “helping elect leaders everywhere.”
Where did the rest of the money go? More than $58,000 went to legal fees — unsurprising given the legal imbroglio, but hardly helpful to her political cause. About $170,000 went to telemarketing, direct mailing, list rental, credit card fees, and other expenses associated with fundraising. The rest went to accounting and other overhead.
I suspect that all those legal investigations are going to hit her hard. I think that’s why she decided not to run again.