Ethics challenges continue to plague Michele Bachmann.
July 11, a legislative aide was arrested in connection with stealing cash from the congresswoman's office in the Rayburn House Office Building. The former staffer's attorney contends the allegations have been exaggerated by the media.
On July 16, the independent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) released a report indicating that seven ethics cases would come before a panel for review, including Bachmann's 2012 presidential campaign financial dealings. Now Javier Sanchez, a former senior legislative assistant for the conservative lawmaker, has been charged with theft II – allegedly stealing $80 from a petty cash envelope in the congresswoman's office.
Federal criminal attorney David Benowitz of the DC-based Price Benowitz LLP is representing Sanchez.
"We deny any charges of wrongdoing in this case and we intend to defend this case to the utmost," Benowitz says.
Benowitz said Capitol Police filed the charges claiming there were a string of thefts, which Sanchez denies.
"They seem to be trying to make a bigger deal than it is," he points out. "Again, it is one misdemeanor count, with an $80 theft."
Last year Capitol Police reported numerous burglaries in the offices of several representatives in the Longworth and Rayburn buildings on Capitol Hill.
If found guilty, Sanchez could face up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.