For most of last year's presidential candidates, the election ended on Nov. 6 or earlier, but not for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Last week, one of the Republican lawmaker's closest former political advisers, Andy Parrish, said he would provide evidence that the campaign made secret payments to an Iowa state senator, the latest of many twists in this story.
Parrish was Bachmann's former chief of staff and managed her successful first bid for Congress. His lawyer, John Gilmore, said Parrish would provide an affidavit and evidence to the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee, one of the entities looking into Bachmann's campaign.
At issue in that case is whether Bachmann's campaign made $7,500 in under-the-table payments to Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson in exchange for his endorsement.
Sorenson, who denied receiving any payments from Bachmann's campaign, defected to support the presidential bid of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, just days before the Iowa caucus.
Gilmore said Parrish was acting merely to back up a complaint made by another former Bachmann staffer, Peter Waldron, who has been the source of many recent accusations against her.
"It may sound old-fashioned, self-serving or contrived," Gilmore said. "I guess we're all jaded to some degree these days, but for Mr. Parrish it does have to do with the truth."
Bachmann later fired Parrish, but Gilmore insisted that Parrish is not going public because he has an ax to grind.
"He remains a committed political supporter of the congresswoman," Gilmore said. "He considers her a personal friend."
In a statement, Bachmann's lawyer, Bill McGinley, said that Bachmann did nothing wrong and that he was confident the investigation will exonerate her.
As ugly as the allegations are, University of Northern Iowa political scientist Chris Larimer said the Iowa Senate's inquiry was not about Bachmann or her campaign: Iowa Senate ethics rules prohibit members from being paid by political campaigns.
"This is completely about state Sen. Kent Sorenson, and whatever the Ethics Committee decides to do will just be directed at him only," Larimer said.
If Parrish provides the evidence his lawyer says he has, it could also be fodder for an ongoing congressional ethics investigation into the campaign.
Campaigns are required to clearly disclose their expenses, and the payments were allegedly funneled through a company controlled by one of Bachmann's consultants.
The Star Tribune revealed last week that those investigators are also looking into accusations that Bachmann used campaign resources to pitch her autobiography in the weeks before the Iowa caucus, a possible breach of campaign finance laws.
The book ended up selling just 3,000 copies.
Investigators in Iowa and Washington have not drawn any conclusions about whether Bachmann or her campaign did anything wrong.
The news media's response to Bachmann's problems has followed a familiar pattern, said Norm Ornstein, a longtime congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
"It can become a feeding frenzy," Ornstein said.
One reason for the frenzy was that Bachmann is, in his words, a "world class publicity hound" who has a knack for getting news coverage by making outrageous, sometimes false statements.
"If you live by the media sword, you're going to die by the media sword in most instances," he said.
But Ornstein said one sign of the potential danger for Bachmann was that none of her Republican colleagues in Minnesota or Washington appeared to be defending her.
"If you don't know exactly what's happening," Ornstein said, "this is not exactly one you want to get out in front of."
Parrish's affidavit is due by the end of the week.