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Bachmann the subject of ethics inquiry

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Last week was a rather unpleasant one for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), including literally fleeing from a reporter asking her to defend her own comments. This week, it turns out, isn't shaping up to be much better for the unhinged lawmaker.

Representative Michelle Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota, is the subject of an ethics investigation examining allegations of wrongdoing that emerged in the aftermath of her failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, a lawyer for the lawmaker confirmed Monday.

The inquiry by the Office of Congressional Ethics -- a quasi-independent agency that acts like a grand jury to address allegations of wrongdoing by House lawmakers and their staff -- follows claims by her former campaign aides that Ms. Bachmann may have improperly used money raised by one of her House-affiliated political action committees to assist her presidential efforts in advance of the Iowa presidential caucuses in January 2012.

As a rule, probes such as these are only made public after ethics committee staff believes the charges are credible enough to warrant further investigation. That said, we do not yet know whether the investigation into the allegations will continue or whether the committee will examine the allegations and drop the matter.

Either way, it's certainly not good news for Bachmann.

The right-wing Minnesotan has faced accusations from several former campaign staffers about alleged wrongdoing, including charges that she stole a voter database, which is a matter now also being investigated by law enforcement in Iowa.

The Daily Beastreported yesterday that former Bachmann staffers have already been asked by investigators "about allegations of improper transfer of funds and under-the-table payments actions by Bachmann's presidential campaign." The questions reportedly focused on what the congresswoman knew about her aides' actions "and when she knew it."

And, of course, this comes on top of the Federal Elections Commission's Bachmann probe, following complaints from former aides about alleged campaign finance violations.