Michele Bachmann
Three born again Christians … a member of the US Congress, the President of the United States, and a convicted felon now under investigation … have been caught in a complex conspiracy involving money and a Presidential Pardon. At the very least, this is an excellent example of how religion distorts and corrupts personal and professional judgment, governance, and one’s sense of justice.

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


State of Minnesota Lobbyist Registry

Michele Bachmann’s Pardongate” by Avidor

Photo of Bachmann from the City Pages.


  1. #1 themadlolscientist, FCD
    October 6, 2008

    “All you Christian politicians, you are going to Hell…”

  2. #2 llewelly
    October 6, 2008

    Maybe Jesus wants Petters to go back to prison so he can preach to the prisoners.

  3. #3 PaulB
    October 7, 2008

    Don’t disagree that religion is an odious & corrupting force in the world. But Presidential pardons have been “misused” often, high-calibre Presidents, included. Look at Clintons last day in office, it was an orgy of forgiveness. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clinton_pardons_controversy

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    October 7, 2008

    Paul: Really, look at the whole list of presidential pardons:


    Note that for the most part Republicans pardoned mafioso, felons, and each other (more felons). Democrats pardoned draft dodgers, imprisoned Native Americans, and so on.

    Bachmann was being PAID so support a pardon of an organized crime operative.

    Can’t wait to see who Georgie Bush pardons… himself, probably.

  5. #5 Jag
    October 7, 2008


    “Can’t wait to see who Georgie Bush pardons… himself, probably.”

    Actually he already has. It was buried in a presidential signing order and he pardoned himself and all his staff for all crimes relating to Gitmo and Abu Ghraib.

    They contend that they did nothing wrong, but preemptively pardoned themselves ???

  6. #6 michael
    October 7, 2008

    @themadlolscientist quoting the bastard fairies (Yellow Thunder Woman) FTW!!!!!

  7. #7 madder
    October 7, 2008

    The letter could probably* be obtained through a FOIA request, aimed at either Bachmann’s office, the White House, or both.

    * Assumes that both entities operate in the Real World under the Rule of Law; these assumptions are highly controversial and may not be borne out by experience.

  8. #8 Robin
    October 7, 2008

    “Rule of Law”?

    You have to be joking. That shit went out the window the moment Bush and his cronies went illegally into office.

  9. #9 TK
    October 7, 2008

    This is just a smear on a very honorable lady, Michelle Bachmann. I know someone else who did business with Frank Vennes and thought he was a great guy and never thought he would be involved with anything illegal.

  10. #10 Stephanie Z
    October 7, 2008

    TK, Bachmann had every reason to know that Vennes was capable of doing something illegal. She was, after all, trying to procure him a pardon. The fact that she accepted money from him while doing him this favor is, at best, evidence of terrible judgment.

  11. #11 Jim Lippard
    October 8, 2008

    “Note that for the most part Republicans pardoned mafioso, felons, and each other (more felons). Democrats pardoned draft dodgers, imprisoned Native Americans, and so on.”

    Eh? Just looking at Clinton I see pardons for bank robbery, cocaine possession, tax evasion, illegal trade with Iran, and white collar crime–all felonies. For Carter there are some draft dodgers, along with an attempted presidential assassin, a sentence commutation for G. Gordon Liddy (a Republican criminal), and one for the late Jefferson Davis (apparently to go along with Ford’s posthumous restoration of Robert E. Lee’s rights of citizenship). Truman commuted the death sentence of his own attempted assassin (the same one Carter later pardoned) to life imprisonment–I can respect that one.

    I don’t see a clear argument based on the Wikipedia-listed pardons that Republicans have been better or worse than Democrats.

  12. #12 Mick
    October 18, 2008

    You are all correct. Religion doesn’t work and we can be fooled by those who say their lives have changed because they met God. The “religious” are the very ones Jesus had the largest problems with and told them so. He does not have trouble with those of us who do wrong, admit it, desire change, and act rightly thereafter. There are those of us who really did become followers of Jesus. I was an alcoholic and worse until August 3, 1979 when I confessed my sins, cried out to God for forgiveness, tried to make it up to all those I hurt, and have worked to love Jesus and my fellow humans with all my heart since.
    When I screw up, I’m sure you’ll let me know, and my prayer is that I listen to you and get back on track.