Bachmann campaign probe forwarded to House Ethics panel

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A congressional probe of Rep. Michele Bachmann's 2012 presidential campaign on Tuesday was formally forwarded to the House Ethics Committee, the Star Tribune reports.

The independent Office of Congressional Ethics investigated alleged improprieties of the Minnesota Republican's campaign and found "substantial reason to believe a violation may have occurred," warranting a review by the House Ethics Committee, the newspaper reported.

The panel is believed to have been examining potential campaign finance violations by the congresswoman's former campaign, as well as allegations that she brought along campaign staffers on a book tour for her book, “Core of Conviction,” a political memoir, the Star Tribune reports. A lawyer for the Bachmann campaign said he was confident the House panel would dismiss all allegations, the newspaper reports.

Bachmann denies she did anything wrong. USA Today reported that in the last three months, the lawmaker's presidential, congressional and leadership campaign committees spent more than $185,000 on Washington lawyers – a huge spike compared to an average quarter – as she sought to fend off ethics-breach allegations.

Bachmann in May announced she will not seek re-election to a fifth term in Congress, although she stressed that the decision had nothing to do with ethics inquiries. She later said she plans to remain active in public forums.

Bachmann has been in headlines for other stories this week. One of her aides was charged with theft, accused of stealing money from her office.

Meanwhile, Bachmann raised eyebrows this week by suggesting that Congress needed to "spank" President Obama, and "pinch his ears back."

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