Representative Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota Republican whose status as the leading Tea Party voice in Congress has faded in the wake of a widening investigation into her campaign spending, announced that she would not seek re-election in 2014.
Bachmann, 57, announced her decision via video and insisted that she would have won re-election had she tried. In the video, she also said that the legal inquiries had nothing to do with her decision. She also vowed to continue to fight for the principles she said she holds dear: religious liberty, traditional marriage, family values and opposition to abortion.
Given her growing troubles, Bachmann would have been one of the Democrats’ top targets in the 2014 elections. But now they are left with an unknown opponent in a conservative-leaning district who will probably not have her baggage. However, she was never as problematic as some of the other members of the Tea Party Caucus, a group she founded in 2010.
In the video, Bachmann indicated that she had no plans to withdraw from the limelight. “I will continue to do everything I can to advance our conservative constitutional principles that have served as the bedrock for who we are as a nation,” she said. Like other conservative politicians with a national profile, such as Sarah Palin, Bachmann, could possibly find many options available to her in talk radio, advocacy for conservative causes and the public speaking circuit.
Bachmann, whose provocative statements have sometimes drawn unwanted attention, has been under investigation since early this year. Bachmann is facing allegations that her campaign improperly used money from an affiliated political action committee to pay a fund-raising consultant who worked for her during the 2012 Iowa caucuses.
Her campaign has also been accused of making secret and improper payments to Kent Sorenson, an Iowa state senator and popular Republican conservative leader in the state, in advance of the nominating caucuses. On top of that, she has been accused of improperly using her campaign staff to help promote her book, “Core of Conviction.”
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