Let's be clear: Not running for office is Michele Bachmann's best bet at avoiding a criminal conviction. Once a candidate announces they're resigning, or not running for reelection, that's when the FBI usually (but not always) puts pending indictments of public officials on ice. It frustrated me as a reporter when they didn't follow through on those cases, but an FBI agent explained to me how much more efficient it was to let those investigations die. "We get a bad guy out of office and save the cost of going to trial, that's a win/win," he told me. (I didn't agree.)
So unless the FBI culture has changed, Bachmann won't go anywhere near a nominating petition:
In her first interview since announcing she will not seek reelection in 2014, Rep. Michele Bachmann said that decision doesn’t mean she’s going anywhere.
Speaking with Fox News’s Sean Hannity on Thursday night, Bachmann said she may even run for public office again.
“There’s just a time when you’ve served, and then it’s time to move on,” Bachmann said. “I’m not retiring, I’m not going silent, I’m not quitting my public involvement. In fact, I may run for another public office, that may happen, but for right now, I think I’m going to find another perch to weigh in on these matters.”
The Minnesota Republican also left open the possibility for another presidential bid in 2016.
“I’m not taking anything off the table, but … that’s not my No. 1 item that I’m looking at right now, either. I’m in the game for the long haul,” Bachmann said.
Michele, honey? You're even more full of hot air than usual. As David Shuster reported:
According to sources close to the criminal investigation of Bachmann's presidential campaign, the FBI has now been given sworn testimony and documents alleging Bachmann approved secret payments to Iowa state Senator Kent Sorenson in exchange for his help and support in that state's 2012 Presidential caucuses. Ethics rules explicitly prohibit Iowa lawmakers from accepting payments from Presidential campaigns or PACs. Investigation sources tell Take Action News the FBI is examining money laundering allegations against Bachmann, as well as possible wire fraud and mail fraud.
As we detailed on my nationally syndicated radio and YouTube show Take Action News this past Saturday, the key claims against Bachmann are coming from two of her former campaign insiders -- former Congressional chief of staff Andy Parrish and former national field coordinator Pete Waldron. Waldron has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission, alleging the payments to State Senator Sorenson were improper. Parrish has provided an affidavit to investigators, confirming Bachmann knew of and approved the payments.
[...] It's not unusual for a political campaign, with all of the paperwork and forms required by the FEC, to make mistakes. Furthermore, many U.S. lawmakers have been fined by the FEC for improper fundraising, spending, and misleading accounting records.
The Bachmann case, though, is different. Her own team is alleging the campaign violations, and declaring that Bachmann knew about the actions in advance. Presumably, Bachmann -- like other Presidential candidates -- signed hundreds of disclosure reports filed with the federal government. If she lied on those reports, or mailed misleading financial statements, however, she may face serious legal trouble.