8 juicy allegations from the new Bachmann “tell-all” book

“She fired a staffer with seven children, the eighth on the way, on Christmas Eve”

Topics: Michele Bachmann, Ethics Investigation, Elections 2012, Tea Party, Books, Conservatives, Congress, Editor's Picks, ,

8 juicy allegations from the new Bachmann "tell-all" book

A new book co-written by a former senior staffer on Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign alleges that the conservative congresswoman is a fake Christian diva who fires pregnant staffers on Christmas Eve and takes advantage of her devoted supporters, when not being taken advantage of by the political consultants she hired.

Published on Amazon for Kindle late last night, “Bachmannnistan: Behind the Lines, a Report From the Inside“ bills itself as “the explosive first tell all book about the secretive world of Michele Bachmann … immoral, illegal and unethical.”

It paints Peter Waldron, who was Bachmann’s field coordinator and evangelical outreach lead (and who also happens to have co-written the book), as the nearly lone island of virtue in a sea of money-grubbing advisers and sinister politicians willing to break the law to get what they want. At the center is Bachmann, whom Bachmannistan portrays as alternatively clueless or cruel, but above all: “Hard as nails, vicious, self-centered, phony, in it for herself.”

The book’s other author, John Gilmore, says: “This book is to the grassroots what ‘This Town’ is to the political and consulting class. That sounds self-serving but I’m not really trying to be.” (The book is written in third person, which leads to some awkward moments of Waldron praising himself — at one point he compares himself to Edward Snowden — by writing things like, “There was that series of dirty tricks he was ordered to undertake, and which he executed to brilliant effect with no fingerprints.”)

Before we go any further, we should again reiterate that these are allegations made by the author. The campaign is without a doubt facing ethics investigations, launched in part by complaints that Waldron himself filed with various authorities, but the details and dialogue are from Waldron’s perspective only, and he obviously has an interest in presenting himself in a certain way.

There’s the fact that he was arrested in Uganda on terrorism charges, an incident “Bachmannnistan” dismisses as “a mistake” (the congresswoman does has “exceedingly poor judgement,” Waldron write about her personnel decisions, though not about his own hiring, of course). “For those readers who before this book had never heard of him, Peter Waldron would be tagged as some kook who tried to overthrow the Ugandan government in 2006 with two AK-47’s and rapid fire Bible speak. A cubicle-bound Dilbert life he has not led. But the tag on him as some ersatz revolutionary in simply incorrect,” the book explains.

We read the whole book today so you don’t have to, and here are some of the juiciest allegations:

  • “She fired a staffer with seven children, the eighth on the way, on Christmas Eve.”
  • During Bachmann’s 2006 campaign, Andy Parrish, her former chief of staff who is now testifying against her (the guy he replaced learned he was fired via Politico), allegedly grew concerned with “her reliance on World Net Daily, which he thought just a little too tin foil hat, even for him.”
  • “There was an intercessory prayer group formed during the presidential campaign for the sole purpose of praying for Michele Bachmann and, at times, her partial, specific intentions.” The wife of Bachmann’s pastor was in charge and it included a number of “well-known and powerful pastors,” including the daughter of televangelist Kenneth Copeland.
  • Tension between Bachmann’s secular and evangelical worlds led many to question Bachamnn’s faith and prompted a “faith intervention.”
  • Bachmann’s husband, Marcus, devised a test to determine whether she should run for president:

You Might Also Like

“He instructed her to get off of their bed and go to the full-length mirror in the bedroom. ‘If you can look at yourself and say it, then you are ready to run and you should,’ he explained. She listened, nodding internally and then got off the bed. Traversing the bedroom, she stood in front of the mirror.
Said Michele Bachmann, looking at herself: ‘I am President of the United States of America.’”

  • Many Iowa workers allegedly never got paid after the campaign folded, but they were all asked to sign nondisclosure agreements by the lawyers Bachmann retained at Patton Boggs, a powerful D.C. law firm. The NDAs “came well after the work was performed, were never an original term or condition of employment and the signing of them the only fast and ready way to be paid, without interest of course.”
  • Even as workers were asked to cut their pay in half in October 2011, one of the out-of-state consultants — many of whom were reportedly hired on the recommendation of Republican operator Charlie Black — cut himself two $40,000 checks.
  • Bachmann knew about the theft of a home-schooling mailing list from a volunteer, “Bachmannistan” alleges, but didn’t say anything even after the volunteer was kicked off the board of directors of her home schooling organization. Finally, at the campaign party on the night of the Iowa Caucus, Bachmann told the volunteer, that, “yeah,” Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson stole the list (he is also under investigation in Iowa).

As we said, these are allegations. James Pollack, who was the finance chairman for Bachmann’s presidential campaign dismissed the book as “fiction” in a statement:

“This former staffer with an ax to grind has been peddling these same reckless falsehoods, half-truths, and innuendos for well over a year in his attempt to maliciously smear Congresswoman Bachmann’s name. Doing this to someone of her immense character is despicable. Whether his motivation is an attempt to selfishly get 15 minutes of fame, or reap an economic benefit on this e-book, it is unconscionable. Congresswoman Bachmann always complied with all laws and regulations during her Presidential Campaign. To the extent this e-book claims otherwise, it lacks credibility, and is thus a reprehensible piece of fiction.”

We’ll probably learn more as the investigation before the House Ethics Committee works its way through the process, and perhaps from the reported FBI investigation in campaign finance irregularities. In any case, it’s all a bit of a footnote now that Bachmann has said she’s retiring.

Alex Seitz-Wald
Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.
Alex Halperin is news editor at Salon. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhalperin.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    DAYA  
    Young Daya has yet to become entirely jaded, but she has the character's trademark skeptical pout down pat. And with a piece-of-work mother like Aleida -- who oscillates between jealousy and scorn for her creatively gifted daughter, chucking out the artwork she brings home from summer camp -- who can blame her?

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    MORELLO   
    With her marriage to prison penpal Vince Muccio, Lorna finally got to wear the white veil she has fantasized about since childhood (even if it was made of toilet paper).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CINDY   
    Cindy's embrace of Judaism makes sense when we see her childhood, lived under the fist of a terrifying father who preached a fire-and-brimstone version of Christianity. As she put it: "I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray. And if I was bad, I’d go to hell."

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CAPUTO   
    Joey Caputo has always tried to be a good guy, whether it's offering to fight a disabled wrestler at a high school wrestling event or giving up his musical ambitions to raise another man's child. But trying to be a nice guy never exactly worked out for him -- which might explain why he decides to take the selfish route in the Season 3 finale.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    BOO   
    In one of the season's more moving flashbacks, we see a young Boo -- who rejected the traditional trappings of femininity from a young age -- clashing with her mother over what to wear. Later, she makes the decision not to visit her mother on her deathbed if it means pretending to be something she's not. As she puts it, "I refuse to be invisible, Daddy. Not for you, not for Mom, not for anybody.”

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    SOSO
    We still don't know what landed Brooke Soso in the slammer, but a late-season flashback suggests that some seriously overbearing parenting may have been the impetus for her downward spiral.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    POUSSEY
    We already know a little about Poussey's relationship with her military father, but this season we saw a softer side of the spunky fan-favorite, who still pines for the loving mom that she lost too young.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    PENNSATUCKY
    Pennsatucky had something of a redemption arc this season, and glimpses of her childhood only serve to increase viewer sympathy for the character, whose mother forced her to chug Mountain Dew outside the Social Security Administration office and stripped her of her sexual agency before she was even old enough to comprehend it.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CHANG
    This season, we got an intense look at the teenage life of one of Litchfield's most isolated and underexplored inmates. Rebuffed and scorned by her suitor at an arranged marriage, the young Chinese immigrant stored up a grudge, and ultimately exacted a merciless revenge.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    HEALY
    It's difficult to sympathize with the racist, misogynist CO Sam Healy, but the snippets we get of his childhood -- raised by a mentally ill mother, vomited on by a homeless man he mistakes for Jesus when he runs to the church for help -- certainly help us understand him better.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NORMA
    This season, we learned a lot about one of Litchfield's biggest enigmas, as we saw the roots of Norma's silence (a childhood stutter) and the reason for her incarceration (killing the oppressive cult leader she followed for decades).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NICKI
    While Nicki's mother certainly isn't entirely to blame for her daughter's struggles with addiction, an early childhood flashback -- of an adorable young Nicki being rebuffed on Mother's Day -- certainly helps us understand the roots of Nicki's scarred psyche.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...