Bachmann returns money from Petters associate

Author:
Updated:
Original:

The congressional campaign of Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has returned $14,000 in campaign cash from a Florida businessman who was an associate of Tom Petters, the Twin Cities businessman convicted in a high-profile $3.6 billion Ponzi scheme case.

Bachmann's camp sent the money to the bankruptcy trustee for Frank Vennes, a longtime Bachmann supporter, the Star Tribune reports. Bachmann returned the money after the Vennes trustee asked for the money back.

Vennes pleaded guilty in February to securities fraud and money laundering related to money Vennes had raised for investment in Petters' company.

Petters is seeking to appeal his 50-year prison sentence.

Vennes and Bachmann have a long history. He had been in prison previously, after he was snared in an Internal Revenue Service sting in Minnesota in 1986. He went to prison shortly thereafter for money laundering and firearms- and cocaine-related offenses, ProPublica reported.

After he got out, Vennes remade his life, set up a finance company, became religious and made a number of high-profile connections, ProPublica notes. He also made some big campaign contributions, including $26,000 to Bachmann's campaign. He gave her an additional $9,000 after she sent a letter on his behalf to the White House as he sought a pardon for previous crimes.

She later withdrew the letter when investigators tied Vennes to Petters.

In all, trustees have been trying to recover an estimated $500,000 in contributions made by Petters and his associates to a long list of politicians who include Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Sen. Norm Coleman, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Bachmann, the Star Tribune notes. Most of the contributions, including Bachmann’s, were returned or given to charity, the newspaper reports.

Next Up

Image from iOS (101)

Charges: Driver was drunk, speeding before crash that killed 1-year-old son

A total of five children were in the back seat at the time, according to the charges.

Jeff Gladney

Vikings release Jeff Gladney following domestic violence charge

His release is effective immediately, the team said.

Screen Shot 2021-08-03 at 3.28.56 PM

Body pulled from water near Lebanon Hills Park swimming area

Surveillance footage showed a man walking towards the beach on Sunday.

fire truck

Victims of double-fatal house fire in Wadena County identified

The man and woman died in the early Sunday house fire.

Screen Shot 2021-08-03 at 7.50.23 AM

Charges: Witness thought Austin man was 'joking' before he killed woman

The criminal complaint details what may have led to the 20-year-old's death.

Melvin Carter

Minneapolis and St. Paul to require face masks in city buildings

The mayors are also urging businesses to adopt mask rules for customers.

Reinbold

Charges detail murder of woman by fugitive bomb-maker husband

Eric Reinbold is accused of killing his 34-year-old wife.

Jeff Gladney

Vikings' 2020 first-round pick Gladney indicted by Texas grand jury

If convicted Gladney could be sentenced up to 10 years in prison.

face mask

List of places in Minnesota now requiring or recommending face masks

Businesses and organizations are changing their policies in response to the delta variant.

Minnesota State Fair - main gate day 2021

The 2021 Minnesota State Fair: Everything you need to know

From ticket prices to new foods to health protocols, we've got you covered.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Suspect steals unlocked squad car, leads officers on miles-long chase

The suspect also brandished a shotgun from the stolen vehicle out the window.

Related