WASHINGTON – Rep. Michele Bachmann deflected allegations that she and her family benefited from government assistance programs and said that hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to her family farm and a counseling clinic went instead to her employees and her in-laws.

“My husband and I did not get the money,” the Minnesota Republican said on television shows Sunday.

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that Bachmann, a Republican candidate for president, portrayed herself as a fiscal conservative while receiving government funds and federal farm subsidies.

An examination of her record and finances showed that a counseling clinic run by her husband received nearly $30,000 from the state of Minnesota in the past five years, some of which came from the federal government. And a family farm in Wisconsin, for which she is listed as a partner, received about $260,000 in federal subsidies.

Bachmann and her staff declined to talk to about the government assistance for the L.A. Times article.

But asked about the issue on “Fox News Sunday,” she said she and her husband had not benefited at the expense of federal and state taxpayers.

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“First of all,” she said, “the money that went to the clinic was actually training money for employees. The clinic did not get the money. And my husband and I did not get the money either. That’s mental health training money that went to employees.”

As for the farm, she said it belonged to her father-in-law. “And my husband and I have never gotten a penny of money from the farm.”

As the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday, however, in financial disclosure forms, Bachmann reported receiving $32,503 to $105,000 in income from the farm, at minimum, between 2006 and 2009.

Bachmann also repeated her stance that she was opposed to federal earmarks for pet projects in the home districts of members of Congress, and that “the states have to build roads and bridges,” not the federal government.

But asked whether that was an inconsistency given that her family appeared to be benefiting from government aid, she said the clinic money was spent to train employees when they otherwise would have been there working.

“It actually took away from the clinic because these were training hours where employees were not able to bring more income in,” she said. “This is onetime money that came in from the federal government, and it certainly didn’t help our clinic. It was something that was additional training to help employees.”

Bachmann was the preferred candidate for 22 percent of likely caucus-goers in a new Des Moines Register poll, compared with 23 percent for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

“Part of it is because I was born in Iowa,” she said on Fox. “In Iowa, I have a distinct advantage there, I think. And also, I think, since the debate” earlier this month with other Republican contenders, “people have paid attention, and they’ve recognized that I am very serious about what I want to do.”

 


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