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Bachmann accused of not paying campaign staff

This post has been updated.

The presidential campaign of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is refusing to pay five Iowa staffers and asking that they sign non-disclosure agreements, a former campaign aide has alleged. 

Peter Waldron, who served as Bachmann's national field coordinator, says that the former employees were repeatedly told they would be paid. But long after the campaign ended, still without their payments, he says they were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements that would prohibit them from discussing any immoral, unethical or criminal behavior with the media, the police or an attorney. "This agreement came out of left field," he said.  

"I'm disappointed," Waldron said. "Working with her, I know her to be a person of good faith. However, I also know that she is surrounded by what the Bible says is men of lesser sorts." According to Waldron, who first made his allegations on Christian Newswire, Bachmann Finance Chairman James Pollack is the one dealing with the unpaid staffers. Pollack has not yet returned a request for comment. 

But Eric Woolson, who managed Bachmann's Iowa campaign, says staffers were paid in full and that no one expected to be paid for the entire month of January. (Bachmann left the race on Jan. 10.) 

"I can tell you from firsthand experience that there is absolutely no connection between the investigation that Peter referenced and payment to staff," Woolson said. "I personally provided more information to the local investigator than anyone and I was paid by the campaign with full knowledge that I had done so."

Waldron is no stranger to controversy; the longtime Republican operative was arrested in Uganda in 2006 and spent over a month in prison.  

Barb Heki, a former Bachmann staffer from Iowa, is suing the congresswoman and former senior aides over the misappropriation of a list of Iowa homeschoolers by the campaign. Heki, a Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators board member, alleges that Bachmann staff stole the list off her computer and then blamed her when the misuse went public. She also filed a criminal complaint in September.

Bachmann ended her presidential campaign in with $1 million in debt. But she paid off most of that debt by the end of the year with money from her congressional re-election campaign.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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