Is Michele Bachmann violating Wisconsin financial laws?

Michele Bachmann following her debate on KSTP-TV's "At Issue"

The “Ripple in Stillwater” blog on Michele Bachmann’s home turf reports that the right-wing Minnesota Congresswoman’s family farm in Buffalo County, Wisc., may be operating in violation of Wisconsin’s financial institutions laws. Namely, Bachmann’s deceased father-in-law, Paul Bachmann, is still registered as the agent and general partner for a family farm that has provided her federal farm subsidies. Paul Bachmann passed away in May 2009. According to a Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions spokesman, if a registered agent or general partner dies, the law requires that the partnership file notice with the state. That office has received no notice of a change in general partner or registered agent for the Bachmann Farm Family Limited Partnership since its initial filing in 2001. That puts the partnership in violation of Wisconsin state law, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Financial Institutions.

The Bachmann Farm Family Partnership comprises 951 acres with at least one home on 38 parcels in Independence, Wisc., with a total assessed value of $664,950. Bachmann has claimed between $17,502 and $105,000 in income from the farm since 2007, according to her congressional financial disclosure forms for 2007, 2009 and 2010. She still has not reported her 2008 income from the farm on her disclosure form from that year—an apparent violation of yet another law — congressional reporting requirements. This is the same Bachmann family farm that has collected a total of $154,755 in federal farm subsidies since the partnership was formed in 2001, most of it in corn and dairy subsidies. Paul Bachmann collected a total of $259,332 in federal farm subsidies from 1995-2009.

Last year, the Federal Elections Commission in a 10-page letter rapped the congresswoman’s campaign for 71 improper entries and 18 unacceptable employer or occupation entries in its 2009 end-of-year report.

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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