In 2008, Craig Howse contributed $3,000 to the Michele Bachmann campaign, in four installments. Howse is or was a lobbiest for Frank Vennes. Frank Vennes is a convicted felon who served Federal time for drug and firearm charges as well as money-laundering. Vennes contributed significant funds to Bachmann’s campaign this year and during the last election.
Vennes was “saved by Jesus” while in the stir, which took the heat off him when he got out (because people mistakingly believe that being ‘saved by Jesus’ makes you less likely to be a felon).
But Vennes is now under suspicion following a September 24th raid on his home and eight other localities linked to other people in connection with the Ponzi Scheme investigation by the FBI of the Tom Petters affair. (A “Ponzi” scheme is like a pyramid scheme.)
Petters was, until his sudden resignation last week, and upstanding citizen and CEO of Petters Group, affiliated with Sun Country Airlines and Polaroid, as well as other companies.
Petters was nabbed by the Men In Black last Friday in Wayzata and he, Vennes and others are being investigated for money laundering, fraud, and related charges. Specially, Petters and an associate from Vegas are being charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and obstruction. Other members of Petters association are under similar charges.
One member of this gang (who has not been fingered publicly) seems to be copping a plea, and, we presume, is singing like a canary.
Vennes’ link to Petters seems to be as a facilitator of the movement of investment money, for which he has collected more than 28 million dollars in personal profit. Which is good, because otherwise he would not be able to afford his multiple multi-million dollar homes.
So, what is the connection to Congresswoman Michell Bachmann?
As stated, Vennes gave quite a bit of money to Bachmann last election (2006) as well as this year, with the implication that he has funneled more money her way via associates as indicated at the beginning of this post. Funneling money is, after all, his specialty.
There seems to have been an expectation of a payback; Michelle Marston, Bachmann’s chief of staff, has acknowledged that Bachmann was approached by Vennes and asked to support a pardon from President Bush for his 1986 convictions. Bachmann complied and wrote such a letter. However, when the dog doo hit the fan last week, and it became publicly known that Vennes was still likely deep in the whole fraud and felony thing, Bachmann withdrew her support of his pardon.
I would love to see this letter. It will probably mention Vennes’ extensive activities (and contributions) in charity, and his activities on boards of charitable causes. It will probably mention his religiosity and church activities, and talk about how he was saved in Prison by Jesus and has been a good Christian ever since. It will probably be sweet and sappy with talk of providence, intervention, sacrifice for the sake of beliefs, and a commitment to do good for all of humanity.
One Born Again Fundamentalist (Michele Bachmann) speaking to another (George Bush) about a third (Frankie Vennes) … one big happy god-fearing Jesus-loving family.
Star Tribune: Reformed convict part of Petters probe
“Michele Bachmann’s Pardongate” by Avidor
Photo of Bachmann from the City Pages.