It has just been reported that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) recently became a citizen of Switzerland (based on her husband's Swiss descent). This is wrong on so many levels.
American citizens should not have any other citizenship. Before I even became naturalized, I renounced my Russian citizenship (and had to pay the Russian embassy for the pleasure). Then, at the naturalization ceremony I had to declare that "I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen," and so does every naturalized citizen.
Still, I can understand that U.S. citizens may acquire some other citizenship without actually taking any action e.g. by virtue of being born to American parents in a foreign country granting automatic citizenship to all newborns. But it is an entirely different matter to apply for foreign citizenship, let alone on such flimsy grounds as having foreign-born in-laws.
What makes it worse, is that Mrs. Bachmann has repeatedly and proudly proclaimed her American patriotism, especially during her recent presidential campaign (I am really curious to know whether she applied for foreign citizenship while still running for president of the United States). To make it even worse, she is a member of Congress (currently running for re-election). I am not aware of any other sitting member of Congress ever obtaining foreign citizenship.
And if you think it cannot get any worse than that -- well, it can. Bachmann is a member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Financial Services Committee. So the former now includes not merely a foreign citizen, but a citizen of a country not even allied with the U.S., and the latter includes a citizen of a country that just happens to have 1) an exemption for tax evasion in its extradition treaty with the U.S. (an exemption that some convicted American tax evaders took full advantage of) and 2) banking secrecy laws which frequently cause no small amount of frustration to various parts of U.S. government, including, of course, the House Financial Services Committee! So, whose side will Rep. Bachmann be on in future clashes between American and Swiss banking regulators? Will she alternate her loyalties on different days of the week (perhaps making Wednesday the day of full neutrality, in the best Swiss traditions) or will she decide on a case by case basis?
I see only one way Michele Bachmann can resolve all these glaring conflicts of interests -- resign, or at least not seek re-election. If she fails to do that, the House leadership should immediately strip her of all committee assignments and initiate the expulsion proceedings. The American people have a right to be represented by legislators with undivided loyalties.
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