As Rep. Michele Bachmann formally launches her White House 2012 bid Monday, a new report shows that the Minnesota Republican has benefited from the kind of government aid she frequently criticizes on Capitol Hill and on the campaign trail.
According to the report, published Sunday by the Los Angeles Times, a Bachmann family farm in Wisconsin has received $260,000 in federal subsidies over 13 years, while a counseling clinic run by the congresswoman’s husband has received $30,000 in state and federal funding since 2006.
The farm was owned by Bachmann’s late father-in-law, but Bachmann is listed as a partner. The counseling clinic is listed on Bachmann’s financial disclosure forms as one of the congresswoman’s assets; most of the government funding it received was in the form of grants for staff training.
The report is the latest example of the increased scrutiny on Bachmann since the Minnesota Republican began making moves toward announcing her presidential bid. It also underscores that while campaigning against federal spending may be politically popular at a time of record debt, the reality of doing so is often somewhat more complicated.
Bachmann defended herself Sunday in an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” describing the clinic funding as “one-time training money” and noting that it went toward the employees and not to Bachmann and her husband themselves.
“First of all, the money that went to the clinic was actually training money for employees,” she told Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace. “The clinic did not get the money. And my husband and I did not get the money either. That’s mental health training money that went to employees.”
She also argued that the farm belongs to her late father-in-law and that she and her husband “have never gotten a penny of money from the farm.”