CREW Requests Investigation of Rep. Bachmann After Anti-Health Care Bill Rally at Capitol

For Immediate Release

CREW Requests Investigation of Rep. Bachmann After Anti-Health Care Bill Rally at Capitol

WASHINGTON - Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
requested that the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) investigate
whether Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) violated House rules by organizing
and holding a November 5th rally on the U.S. Capitol grounds to oppose
a health care reform bill.

CREW contends that Rep. Bachmann misused her official
congressional website by urging people to come to the Capitol to
protest the legislation despite House rules restricting members from
using their websites to engage in "grassroots lobbying or solicit
support for a Member's position." Rep. Bachmann's website urged people
to come to the Capitol rally "and tell their Representatives to vote
no" on the health care reform bill.

"Taxpayers fund members' websites and because of that those sites
may not be used to organize a public rally for or against any
particular legislation," said Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director.

CREW also asked OCE to determine if Rep. Bachmann and other members
violated House rules by failing to acquire a permit for the Nov. 5
rally and by falsely calling the event a "press conference," though no
questions were asked by the media. Politico quoted from a Republican
Study Committee email directing staff members to "please make sure your
boss does not term this event a rally." A Capitol Police spokeswoman
confirmed the lawmakers had no permit for a demonstration. In a TV
interview, however, Rep. Bachmann urged opponents of the bill "to come
to Washington, D.C. by the car load."

"Whoever heard of a press conference without questions?" asked
Sloan. "Calling a rally a press conference to circumvent congressional
rules is like calling a Hummer a Prius to meet fuel efficiency
standards." Sloan continued, "The OCE needs to make clear that members
must abide by all rules, even those they find politically inconvenient."

Click here for a copy of CREW's letter requesting the OCE investigation and click here for the letter's exhibits.Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
requested that the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) investigate
whether Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) violated House rules by organizing
and holding a November 5th rally on the U.S. Capitol grounds to oppose
a health care reform bill.

CREW contends that Rep. Bachmann misused her official
congressional website by urging people to come to the Capitol to
protest the legislation despite House rules restricting members from
using their websites to engage in "grassroots lobbying or solicit
support for a Member's position." Rep. Bachmann's website urged people
to come to the Capitol rally "and tell their Representatives to vote
no" on the health care reform bill.

"Taxpayers fund members' websites and because of that those sites
may not be used to organize a public rally for or against any
particular legislation," said Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director.

CREW also asked OCE to determine if Rep. Bachmann and other members
violated House rules by failing to acquire a permit for the Nov. 5
rally and by falsely calling the event a "press conference," though no
questions were asked by the media. Politico quoted from a Republican
Study Committee email directing staff members to "please make sure your
boss does not term this event a rally." A Capitol Police spokeswoman
confirmed the lawmakers had no permit for a demonstration. In a TV
interview, however, Rep. Bachmann urged opponents of the bill "to come
to Washington, D.C. by the car load."

"Whoever heard of a press conference without questions?" asked
Sloan. "Calling a rally a press conference to circumvent congressional
rules is like calling a Hummer a Prius to meet fuel efficiency
standards." Sloan continued, "The OCE needs to make clear that members
must abide by all rules, even those they find politically inconvenient."

Click here for a copy of CREW's letter requesting the OCE investigation and click here for the letter's exhibits.

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Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests. CREW advances its mission using a combination of research, litigation and media outreach.

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