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House ethics panel confirms, continues investigation of Bachmann

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The House Ethics Committee confirmed Friday that it is conducting and continuing an investigation into U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's unsuccessful 2012 presidential campaign, several news outlets are reporting.

While the news is no surprise, it is the first official confirmation that the investigation continues and is perhaps a signal that the investigation is tightening around Bachmann herself, rather than staffers and an Iowa lawmaker.

As Minnesota Public Radio reports, the case was referred to the committee by the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. The office, along with the FBI and Federal Election Commission, have been looking into various allegations regarding the conduct of Bachmann’s presidential bid.

The Star Tribune reports that the OCE referred the report to the House ethics panel - a separate entity - on June 13. As the Strib notes the referral is routine, but it does mark the first public acknowledgement by any federal entity of many allegations of campaign finance or ethical lapses by her campaign.

WCCO notes that Bachmann has cooperated thus far.

KSTP-TV says the committee will announce its course of action in September and notes that an extension does not in itself indicate an ethics violation.

Bachmann announced in May that should would not seek office again.

The Star Tribune also reports that the House panel had until Sunday to investigate or drop the matter; the committee now has until Sept. 11 to pursue or end the investigation.

Officials in Iowa are still investigating allegations of improper payments to state Sen. Kent Sorenson, Bachmann’s Iowa chairman. Bachmann recently settled a lawsuit with ex-staffer Barb Hedeki, who accused the campaign of stealing a database of potential voters.

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