FACT CHECK: Documents Reveal Bachmann Benefited From And Relied Upon Government-Funded Earmarks

For a presidential candidate who declares herself to be “very sincere in what I say,” Rep. Michele Bachmann is refusing to come clean about the public money she and her husband have received.

The Los Angeles Times reported on June 26 that Bachmann and her husband received around $290,000 in public funding in between 2007 and 2011 for two projects: 1) some $260,000 in subsidies given to a farm of which she is a partner and 2) close to $30,000 given to her husband’s clinic. Asked about the government aid on Fox News Sunday, Bachmann denied she and her husband had benefited from the money. Watch it:

The Los Angeles Times quickly debunked Bachmann’s claims about the farm subsidies. But was Bachmann any more truthful when discussing the public money given to the clinic?

Founded by Dr. Marcus Bachmann in summer 2003 in Minnesota, Bachmann & Associates, Inc. touts itself as a clinic that provides its patients with “quality Christian counseling” — and received $137,000 in Medicaid funds. A ThinkProgress review of of government contracts awarded to the Bachmann counseling center, available through the Minnesota Freedom of Information Act, indicate that Bachmann was not fully truthful about her government-funded support:

CLAIM: Bachmann: “The money that went to the clinic was actually training money for employees.”

FACT: Bachmann & Associates, Inc. also received a government contract that reimbursed it for services offered.

Dr. Bachmann’s clinic originally entered into a separate contract with Washington County in 2005 as a part of the county’s program to reimburse clinics that provided “chemical dependency treatment for adults and adolescents.” Over the course of five years, he collected as much as $5,600 in reimbursements from the CCDT Fund, which is supported by both state and federal dollars.

CLAIM: Bachmann: “The clinic did not get the money. And my husband and I did not get the money either.”

FACT: Bachmann & Associates, Inc. received grant money to cover administrative costs.

Although the state program utilizes employee training to encourage a certain mental-health treatment, the entire award does not go to clinician training. In the 2008 line budget for the grant, Dr. Bachmann reported $5,000 in administrative costs. In its 2009 budget, the clinic reported that the money would be divided in unspecified amounts between “administrative costs related to project implementation; clinician training costs; administrative costs related to training; resource materials purchase; administrative costs related to required data collection.”

The payment of administrative costs benefits the clinic and its owner Marcus Bachmann, not the employees.

CLAIM: Bachmann: “This is one-time training money that came in from the federal government.”

FACT: The clinic received multiple payments from both of its public contracts.

As the clinic received payments reimbursing each qualifying patient under its Washington County contract, the financial records kept by the state show the clinic collecting public money multiple times each year over the course of five years. In 2007 alone, Bachmann & Associates, Inc. received ten separate payments from the state totalling $1419.

Even if Bachmann only meant to refer to the funding provided for employee training, the money was awarded in allotments over the course of two separate fiscal years, in 2008 and in 2009.

While earmarks are certainly a common occurance among the political elite, misconstruing her financial records on the campaign trail doesn’t bode well for how Bachmann would represent U.S. interests as commander-in-chief.

Sarah Bufkin