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Michele Bachmann Now A Citizen Of Switzerland

Michele Bachmann, the Congresswoman from Minnesota who most recently ran for President of the United States, is now a Swiss citizen:

Rep. Michele Bachmann is now officially a Swiss miss.

Bachmann (R-Minn.) recently became a citizen of Switzerland, making her eligible to run for office in the tiny European nation, according to a Swiss TV report Tuesday.

Arthur Honegger, a reporter for public broadcaster Schweizer Fernsehen, told POLITICO the Swiss consulate in Chicago has confirmed that the former Republican presidential candidate became a citizen March 19.

The Swiss consulate in Chicago covers the state of Minnesota, which Bachmann represents.

Marcus Bachmann, the congresswoman’s husband since 1978, reportedly was eligible for Swiss citizenship due to his parents’ nationality — but only registered it with the Swiss government Feb. 15. Once the process was finalized on March 19, Michele automatically became a citizen as well, according to Honegger.

Bachmann’s three youngest children are also now Swiss citizens, and her two older children are eligible to apply for a fast-track citizenship process, according to an email from the consulate provided and translated by Honegger.

Bachmann’s office confirmed that the congresswoman had received Swiss citizenship, and attributed the decision to her children.

“Congresswoman Bachmann’s husband is of Swiss descent, so she has been eligible for dual-citizenship since they got married in 1978. However, recently some of their children wanted to exercise their eligibility for dual-citizenship so they went through the process as a family,” said Bachmann spokesperson Becky Rogness.

The Minnesota congresswoman was interviewed by Swiss national public television in D.C. on Tuesday while with a group of Swiss parliamentarians.

“My husband is a 100 percent Swiss, and his parents were raised in Switzerland, they were married there, they came to the United States, they bought a farm in Wisconsin and raised their three sons there,” said Bachmann.

Asked if she would run for office in Switzerland — as she is now eligible to do — Bachmann joked that the competition “would be very stiff because they are very good,” referring to the parliamentarians behind her.

Each Swiss citizen belongs specifically to a canton, and Bachmann’s is the canton of Thurgau in Northeast Switzerland.

There seems to be no comment as of yet about the oddity of a Member of Congress holding dual citizenship. Perhaps it has happened before, and I don’t necessarily have a problem with it, but one has to wonder how Bachmann and her fellow Republicans would react if a Democrat did something like this.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Russell says:

    one has to wonder how Bachmann and her fellow Republicans would react if a Democrat did something like this.

    But not very hard

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  2. Dean Barnett says:

    Does dual-citizenship disqualify her from another run for the Presidency? I would think so, and it would thereby be delicious if her husband’s valid birth certificate made her ineligible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  3. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    Michelle,

    Don’t let the door hit you on your way out and enjoy your new country!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  4. The 1934 Swiss Banking Act makes a distinction between tax fraud and tax evasion, and Swiss banks are legally prevented from sharing information regarding account holders accused merely of tax evasion. They recently reached an agreement with other countries where the law was changed to remove the protection for foreign tax evaders, but retain it for Swiss citizens accused of tax evasion by other countries.

    Anyone care to speculate as to why the Bachmann’s would suddenly be interested in becoming Swiss citizens?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  5. Dazedandconfused says:

    Sounds like her husband was born here but it doesn’t say. Just says his parents were Swiss, so the indication is he was not, and had to apply. I would guess that if he had been born there to Swiss parents there would be no question at all.

    Seems this extended to the grand kids as well. Wonder where the cut-off is, if any.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Muffler says:

    Michelle: I am an American except in cases where I have to pay taxes.. then I’m Swiss, but I would make a great President because I believe in US Exceptionalism unless I have to pay taxes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  7. John Burgess says:

    @Dean Barnett: Nope, not a disqualifier unless Bachman herself sought the citizenship. If she acquired it through a fact of marriage, it’s just a fact. Intentionally seeking citizenship other than/in addition to US citizenship would knock her out.

    As for how far down the line Swiss citizenship decisions go, well that’s a matter of Swiss law. Irish citizenship law goes down to grandchildren of Irish nationals and imagine the Swiss likely draw the line there as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. Dave Schuler says:

    Under Swiss law Swiss nationality makes one eligible for Swiss citizenship automatically. My great-great-grandfather was born in Switzerland. Technically, that makes me eligible for Swiss citizenship. I’d just need to go to the Swiss consulate here with the necessary documentation and register.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Have to imagine it is reasonably common for dual-citizenship especially as some nations use blood-line citizenship. I know several good friends of mine were informed recently that they were eligible for Canadian citizenship despite only ever spending three glorious drunken days in Montreal because of their grandparents’ Canadian citizenship.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. @Dave Anderson:

    I know several good friends of mine were informed recently that they were eligible for Canadian citizenship

    There’s a distinction between being elligible for something and actually pursuing it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  11. @John Burgess: It’s not a disqualification at all, whether she sought it or not. Dual citizenship has no bearing on whether someone is eligible to the Presidency – native citizenship is all that is required.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  12. al-Ameda says:

    When did Switzerland lower their standards?
    Switzerland has my sincere condolences.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Barry says:

    @Russell: Molly Ivins said once that if you want to know what the right is up to, just listen to what they accuse the left of.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Barry says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “Anyone care to speculate as to why the Bachmann‚Äôs would suddenly be interested in becoming Swiss citizens? ”

    Sweet, sweet campaign cash which needs a new ID and address?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Anderson says:

    Why are we doing this to Switzerland?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0