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Michele Bachmann gives up Swiss citizenship

Though her dual Swiss-U.S. citizenship was a 'non-story,' Rep. Michele Bachmann now wants to make clear her allegiance to the United States.

May 11, 2012|By Kim Geiger, Los Angeles Times
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann on the campaign trail last year.
Rep. Michele Bachmann on the campaign trail last year. (Steve Helber, Associated…)

WASHINGTON — One day after calling her dual Swiss-U.S. citizenship a "non-story," Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann asked the Swiss government Thursday to take her name off its rolls.

"I am and always have been 100% committed to our United States Constitution and the United States of America," said Bachmann, a tea party favorite and former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.

Swiss citizenship was automatically conferred in 1978 when she married Marcus Bachmann, the son of Swiss immigrants, she said, and the recent news was merely because she and her family had updated their documents.

But, she said, she was withdrawing it to underscore her allegiance to the U.S.

"Today I sent a letter to the Swiss Consulate requesting withdrawal of my dual Swiss citizenship, which was conferred upon me by operation of Swiss law when I married my husband in 1978," Bachmann said in a statement. "I took this action because I want to make it perfectly clear: I was born in America and I am a proud American citizen."

The Swiss Embassy confirmed its Chicago consulate had received her request.

Bachmann, who has often criticized President Obama for his "socialist" policies, had seemed the most unlikely American politician to have dual citizenship with a European country ruled in part by the Social Democratic Party. Swiss TV broke the news this week.

On Wednesday, Bachmann's spokeswoman, Becky Rogness, said the Bachmann family had sought Swiss citizenship.

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

On Thursday, Bachmann underscored her American heritage.

"As the daughter of an Air Force veteran, stepdaughter of an Army veteran and sister of a Navy veteran, I am proud of my allegiance to the greatest nation the world has ever known," she said.

Bachmann, who is running for reelection, took heat from her Democratic rival, Jim Graves.

"Earlier this year, Rep. Michele Bachmann was Iowan, earlier this week she was Swiss and today she's an American," the Graves campaign said in a statement. "Jim Graves has always known where he's from, where he raised his family and where he built his businesses — St. Cloud, Minnesota."

kim.geiger@latimes.com

The Associated Press was used in compiling this report.

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