Late last night, a former senior aide for Michele Bachmann's abortive presidential campaign dropped a bombshell--five campaign staffers haven't been paid.
Peter Waldron, her controversial former national field coordinator, told Salon the dispute started when former Iowa straw poll staffers refused to sign a nondisclosure agreement that would bar them from discussing any “unethical, immoral, or criminal activity” they witnessed on the campaign with police or reporters.In a press release put out last night, Waldron claims that Bachmann's finance chairman, James Pollack, promised numerous times that the staffers would be paid--but the money never showed up. When Pollack insisted on the nondisclosure agreements, Waldron decided to go public.
Waldron said the staffers are owed a mere $5,000, and that Bachmann has more than $2 million in her campaign account, but has refused to pay unless the staffers sign the agreement.
According to Waldron, the dispute centers around the Bachmann campaign allegedly stealing an email list from the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators (NICHE), a large homeschooling group, and using it to send fundraising pitches. Bachmann's former homeschool coalitions director, Barb Heki, is suing the Bachmann campaign, saying the Bachmann campaign's Iowa chairman took the list from her computer. Waldron claims that the Bachmann campaign doesn't want the staffers to talk to the police without notifiying Bachmann's lawyers.
Pollack denies everything. But Waldron's story may have some truth to it. In October 2011, Bachmann's entire New Hampshire staff walked out in part because they hadn't been paid for some time.
Waldron is particularly stunned by this given Bachmann is a devout born-again Christian. He wrote in his press release, "It is sobering to think that a Christian member of Congress would betray her testimony to the Lord and the public by withholding earned wages from deserving staff." Not much of a surprise to those of us in the reality-based community.