Back in 2009, the tea party had their infamous "Kill the bill!" anti-health care reform, anti-"big" government rally... paid for by-- wait for it-- "big" government.
Irony isn't dead.
According to House expense reports, Bachmann and three conservative GOP colleagues — Reps. Tom Price (Ga.), Steve King (Iowa) and Todd Akin (Mo.) — each paid $3,407.50 that day, a total of $13,630, to a sound and stage company called National Events, apparently for the sound system used at the rally.
The money came from the Members' taxpayer-funded office accounts, despite House rules prohibiting the use of these funds for political activities. Bachmann's office insists the expense was a proper use of official funds.
Yeah, well, she also thinks "the very founders that wrote those documents [the Constitution] worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States." Moving on...
Bachmann called the event a "press conference." Official accounts can, indeed, cover those. There was just one teensy weensy little problem. She didn't take any questions from the press and it opened with a prayer, the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. Doesn't sound too press conference-y to me. Does it look like one to you?
She had also gone on Fox to recruit activists to come to D.C. to take part in the not-press conference, saying she would help them lobby Congress to kill the bill.
It's a no-no to use official funds for political reasons, per House rules. But then there's the question of what the word "political" means.
The ethics watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics at the time, claiming Bachmann had violated a clearer directive from the House Administration Committee that Member websites "may not include grassroots lobbying or solicit support for a Member's position." Bachmann had posted a release on her site announcing the event. The ethics office apparently investigated the complaint and dropped it.