ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Already facing bipartisan criticism for explosive allegations, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann has accused a fellow Minnesota congressman of having associations with the Muslim Brotherhood, a fundamentalist group with political strength in Egypt.
In an interview with conservative commentator Glenn Beck on Thursday, Bachmann defended her call for national security agencies to investigate alleged Muslim Brotherhood connections to U.S. government and said Democrat Keith Ellison has an ulterior motive for wanting to block a probe.
"Well, he has a long record of being associated with CAIR and with the Muslim Brotherhood," she said of Ellison, referencing the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator, as stated in the large terrorist financing case that we've had in the United States of America and so he came out and essentially wanted to shut down the inspectors general from even looking into any of the questions that we were asking."
The third-term Minnesota congresswoman has been scolded by leading Democratic and Republican lawmakers for insinuating that a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has family ties to the group. And Ellison, who represents a district adjacent to Bachmann's, has condemned her remarks about alleged State Department infiltration as akin to McCarthyism.
Ellison called Bachmann's accusation about him and his motives untrue.
"I don't have any Muslim Brotherhood connections that she's talking about," he said on CNN. Ellison was not made available to The Associated Press on Friday.
Bachmann, a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, has not fulfilled an interview request from The AP.
In recent days, Republicans ranging from House Speaker John Boehner to Arizona Sen. John McCain have denounced suggestions from Bachmann and four congressional allies that longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin has family connections to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations. The unsubstantiated allegations were initially drawn from a think tank study and Internet reports.
"I'm not sure what the basis of these claims may be, but this is dangerous stuff to be throwing around without a lot of facts," Boehner said Thursday on CNN.
Bachmann told Beck that her critics were off base.
"Now what's happened is the attack machine has been turned on myself and the other members of Congress who have been asking the questions, that somehow we're the Muslim haters, we're the witch-hunters, we're the new Joe McCarthyites because we're asking these questions," she said.
Bachmann, who ran for president last year, is seeking a fourth term representing a district that covers several northern Twin Cities suburbs and runs west to St. Cloud.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.