Bachmann’s ex-staff in New Hampshire calls campaign ‘dishonest’ and ‘cruel’

Two days after the New Hampshire-based staff for Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign resigned en masse, the ex-aides released a statement affirming their departure and calling Bachmann's national campaign "rude, unprofessional, dishonest, and at times cruel."

"The manner in which some in the national team conducted themselves towards Team-NH was rude, unprofessional, dishonest, and at times cruel," the letter reads. "But more concerning was how abrasive, discourteous, and dismissive some within the national team were towards many New Hampshire citizens."

The shakeup was first reported by New Hampshire's WMUR-TV. Bachmann, a Republican representative from Minnesota, initially denied it and suggested the story had been fed to the media by one of her opponents' campaigns.

"That is a shocking story to me," Bachmann said on Radio Iowa last Friday. "I don't know where that came from. We have called staff in New Hampshire to find out where that came from and the staff have said that isn't true, so I don't know if this is just a bad story that's being fed by a different candidate or campaign. I have no idea where this came from, but we've made calls and it's certainly not true."

Read the full letter, which affirms the truth of the story, after the jump:

Bachmann's New Hampshire Campaign Departs
The Team cites lack of support and poor communication as reasons for leaving

Manchester, NH — October 23, 2011: For Immediate Release

The Team-NH of the Bachmann Campaign has chosen to release a joint statement regarding their departure from the campaign. This statement explains the following:

* The NH Team didn't want to leave the campaign, but it should be clear the entire NH team has departed.
* Everyone should understand that the NH Team realizes the importance of this election
* The NH team is committed to making Obama a one-term president, but it will be through other
* The team holds no ill will towards the candidate, but not longer feels relevant based on their poor relationship with the national team.

Team-NH of the Bachmann Campaign has decided to disband. This decision comes after much soul-searching by each individual and after countless hours of discussion as a team. Although the team members regret our departure from the campaign, we know there was very little choice.

The team also wants to clarify some of the confusion regarding their departure. While they collectively felt loyalty to the candidate, they no longer have faith in the national team. This is a sentiment that has been building since June, and was expressed on numerous occasions to members of the national team; it is now apparent that Team NH's concerns were not fully shared with Congresswoman Bachmann, and were not taken seriously by some members of the national team. These are symptoms of the disease that infects too many members of the national campaign team.

It is also important that the chain of events of our departure is properly reported. During Congresswoman Bachmann's recent trip to New Hampshire, several incidents happened that concerned some members of Team-NH. Those incidents will remain private, but they were serious enough for some members to depart the campaign. Jeff Chidester, the NH Campaign Manager, sent an e-mail on Thursday, October 13, 2011 to a person he trusted who was connected to the campaign announcing that Chidester was "done," and would no longer stay with the team. The recipient of that e-mail asked if the entire NH team was also departing. Chidester informed this individual that some members of the team might be interested in staying, but that major changes needed to occur and that the national team must make contact with each member.

Additionally, members of Team-NH made numerous attempts to directly contact a senior member of the national team on Friday, October 14, 2011, expressing a possible desire to remain with the campaign, but they wanted to clear up a few matters. This senior member of the national campaign did not attempt to contact the NH campaign staffers. The staffers took this as a signal that the national team did not want to engage in a conversation that might have resulted in the staffers remaining with the campaign. The staffers no longer wish to be part of the campaign.

Regarding pay, there also seems to be some misunderstanding. The five departing members were full-time contract employees until September 11, 2011, when they were asked by the national team to temporarily "go off payroll", possibly until the middle of October (2011), due to financial concerns within the campaign. Moreover, Chidester voluntarily took himself off payroll (retroactive to September 1, 2011) for the remainder of the campaign in an effort to help the campaign financially. Some members went back on payroll for Congresswoman Bachmann's most recent trip; but to date, no member of Team-NH has received any notification to continue employment - yet another failure by the national team to communicate with Team-NH. Recent statements by some members of the national team regarding the employment status of Team-NH were dishonest and belittling, but indicative of the larger problems that led to Team-NH‟s departure.

Team-NH would like to stress that pay was not a primary motivation, and that each member was committed to the candidate and her principals. Team-NH regarded themselves as a team ready and willing to help Congresswoman Bachmann win New Hampshire. Sadly, they were deceived, constantly left out of the loop regarding key decisions, and relegated to second-class citizens within a campaign in which they were the original members.

The manner in which some in the national team conducted themselves towards Team-NH was rude, unprofessional, dishonest, and at times cruel. But more concerning was how abrasive, discourteous, and dismissive some within the national team were towards many New Hampshire citizens. These are our neighbors and our friends, and some within the national team treated them more as a nuisance than as potential supporters.

Through all this chaos, Team-NH was never involved in the shifting strategy discussions. Team members were repeatedly ignored regarding simple requests, sometimes going weeks with little or no contact with the national team. Yet the members of Team-NH remained committed to Congressman Bachmann, often at peril to their own personal and professional reputations within New Hampshire.

Sadly, all of this could have been avoided. It saddens this team to see a dedicated patriot - a person so desperately needed in the White House - sequestered behind a wall of pretense, guarded by political operatives consumed by their own egos.

It is distressing that the motives of the members of Team-NH who are now departing the campaign are being questioned. Team-NH has always been dedicated to Congresswoman Bachmann. They've worked very hard over the past several months to ensure her success in NH. We wish her well and will continue to work toward our shared goal of making President Obama a one-term president.

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