In Part 1, we looked at how FEC Tony Sutton’s (pictured, right) MN GOP couldn’t (wouldn’t?) accurately report to the FEC how much they owed a vendor they hired to ensure accurate FEC reports. In Part 2, we noted there are now 2 citizen watchdog groups looking into the MN GOP’s Cooked Books — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – which nailed ‘em last time (the MN GOP got smacked with a near-record $170,000 fine), and Common Cause MN. In Part 3, we looked at how a payroll deductions “no, NO!” that got the MN GOP in trouble last time seems to be a pattern. In Part 4 we looked at the MN GOP using a strange address for one of it’s fundraisers.

In Part 5 we looked at at the official FEC Complaint – filed 12 Jan 2012 – by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”). In Part 6 we looked at the MN GOP misrepresenting their expenses. In Part & we looked at how the MN GOP categorized pay for a guy that they very well may have been paying to run for state senate – Lakeville’s Dave Thompson in SD-36.

Today in Part 8 of the continuing Cooked Books Series we’re going to take a look at a MN GOP Campaign Finance Report line item that begs the question: did the State GOP pay for a lawyer for a State Representative’s lawyer in a drunk driving case?

Here’s the background: endorsed GOPer 2010 candidate for Governor Tom Emmer’s campaign was getting hammered over alcohol related incidents, including a certain paid campaign staffer that happened to be Emmer’s kid. The campaign did NOT need any more alocohol-related incidents. Apparently, campaign “consultant” Mark Buesgens, state rep from district 35-B, didn’t get the memo – he got caught driving drunk with an open bottle of vodka.

Team Emmer’s Drinking Team promptly dumped Buesgens. Note the “note” at the bottom of the last entry: “final payment.”


(link to image here)

Now, the “official story” put out by Team Emmer’s Drinking Team was: “Hey! It’s just a coincidence, but: just the day before Buesgens got caught driving drunk into the ditch, we ditched him and he went to work for the State GOP!!!”

Yeah, “right.”

Let’s take a look at the timeline, as reported on Buesgen’s court records:

(link to image here)

September 18th, 2010 – Busgens gets caught in a ditch with an open bottle of vodka; blows a .16 blood-alcohol content.

September 24th, 2010 – Buesgens cited in Wright County

November 5th, 2010 – Guilty plea entered, case all but settled (final disposition November 23rd, 2010.

Now, remember how in the scramble to distance themselves from the guy in the ditch (with an open bottle of vodka), Team Emmer’s Drinking Team said “Hey! Buesgen’s isn’t OUR bad boy; he’s the GOP’s!!!”

Well, Buesgens does indeed show up on the State GOP’s state Campaign Finance Report for 2010:

Five days after blowing a .16, Buesgens has the good fortune of getting a check from the State GOP for $2,584.62.

Five days before his drunk driving & open bottle case is all but over, Buesgens pulls another check from FEC Tony & Co for $8, 615.38 — for a grand total of eleven grand: $11,000.00.

Coincidences? Or, do those checks look like “retainer & final payment” to defend a drunk driving & open bottle case?

At any rate, it sure looks like a sweet deal for Buesgens; he goes from about $7k a month with Emmer to $11k with the GOP!!!

I’d ask the State GOP for an explanation of why Buesgen’s $11k paydays – in about a month – was for actual work, and not just a pass-through to Buesgen’s lawyer, but: it’s not like they really like to talk to the ol’ TwoPutter. Not that I – or anyone else for that matter – would/should believe ‘em; after all: reasonable people no longer have any reason to believe anything a GOPer official – party nor elected – has to say.

The State GOP needs to prove that the $11k Buesgens got was for actual work – because it sure looks like it simply paid a defense attorney for the actual work of defending one of their own.

If I were a GOPer, I’d be mad as (heck) to think my political donations went to a defense attorney for a guy that drove drunk into the ditch with an open bottle of vodka.

As a progressive, I’m simply not surprised. After all, today’s GOP is morally bankrupt, intellectually dishonest, and institutionally corrupt.

There’s a LOT more, in the GOP’s state and federal financial reports so:

Stay tuned!

And, let’s hope some prosecutor, somewhere, is thinking: “Isn’t it about time to get a Grand Jury together, and do a little digging ourselves?”

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

In Part 1, we looked at how FEC Tony Sutton’s (pictured, right) MN GOP couldn’t (wouldn’t?) accurately report to the FEC how much they owed a vendor they hired to ensure accurate FEC reports. In Part 2, we noted there are now 2 citizen watchdog groups looking into the MN GOP’s Cooked Books — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – which nailed ‘em last time (the MN GOP got smacked with a near-record $170,000 fine), and Common Cause MN. In Part 3, we looked at how a payroll deductions “no, NO!” that got the MN GOP in trouble last time seems to be a pattern. In Part 4 we looked at the MN GOP using a strange address for one of it’s fundraisers. In Part 5 we looked at at the official FEC Complaint – filed 12 Jan 2012 – by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”). In Part 6 we looked at the MN GOP misrepresenting their expenses.

Today in Part 7 of the continuing Cooked Books Series we’re going to take a look at how the MN GOP categorized pay for a guy that they very well may have been paying to run for state senate – Lakeville’s Dave Thompson in SD-36.

Long story, short: for over 7 years, Thompson was a RWNJ Shock-Jock on AM radio in the Twin Cities. Looking for a better gig, he decided to run in 2009 against FEC Tony (pictured above) for state GOP Party Chair. Thompson lost; as best as I remember it, it really came down to this: Thompson wanted the $100k (+/-) that came with the job; ol’ FEC Tony would do the gig for free. Why would FEC Tony do the gig for free? That, gentle readers, is a story for a later day! At any rate, FEC Tony beats Thmpson for party Chair. Here’s where it gets interesting….

According to media reports, shortly after winning, FEC Tony & Dave Thompson agreed to a contract wherein Thompson would do consulting for GOP candidates. All told, the number being reported is Thompson has taken home a cool $70k.

Here’s the kicker: that $70k being reported, is being reported as coming from FEC reports. Because, the MN GOP hasn’t reported any dough being sent Thompson’s way on their State Campaign Finance Reports.

Which means for the MN GOP to NOT have any more FEC problems than they already have, ALL of the dough better have been spent for Thompson “consulting” for Federal Candidates only.

Stay tuned!

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

Here’s where we’re at: The GOPer controlled Minnesota Legislature refused to send DFL Governor Mark Dayton a budget Dayton could/would sign. The session ended at Midnight on Monday, May 23rd. The Press asked the Governor what was the wrench in the gears of government, holding up a deal. The Governor pointed at all the newbie, Freshmen GOPer Legislators; he called them (correctly, IMNSHO) “right wing extremists.”

Here’s what Minnesota Public Radio reported on Wednesday, 5-25:

Throughout the five months of the legislative session, Dayton aimed most of his criticism at GOP legislative leaders. But in recent days, he’s been critical of the roughly 50 new members of the Legislature.

He blamed what he called “an extremist right-wing group” of Republican legislators for refusing to move off their position that the state should spend $34 billion over the next two years and not a penny more.

“First it’s $34 billion, then they prefer $32 billion, and then $31 billion,” Dayton said. “They don’t even know what those numbers mean. They never developed a budget for 32 or 31. All they know is the number 31 is less than 32. And that makes it a good idea because they’re just anti-government.”

Again, IMNSHO, Gov Dayton is correct; those GOPers don’t seem to have a clue about the history of that $31/$32/$34 Billion they keep talking about. And many of those thin-skinned – when the barbs are pointed THEIR direction – Freshman went ballistic about being called “extremist.” Some of ‘em held a presser and everything! At it, GOPer Sen Ted Lillie claimed “We’re not being extreme. We’re being mainstream.” “Mainstream”? Yeah, “right.” Others, such as Sean Nienow, took to twitter:

So, I responded:

So far, GOPer Rep. Nienow has declined to say what he considers himself.

So I figured we should have a poll!

Now for some background – from the May 13th Politics In Minnesota:

By last Monday, posters had begun popping up on Republican legislators’ office doors depicting an overflowing bag of cash with “$34 billion” stenciled on the front and the legend “Not a Penny More” inscribed above. Many of the members who have hung the signs are new to the Capitol, including freshman Assistant Majority Leader Kurt Daudt as well as Reps. Mary Franson and Doug Wardlow.

The Rochester PostBulletin’s Heather Carlson has a photo of that “Not A Penny More” sack, to the right, in a story about a visit to a Freshman GOPer Legislator. Carlson reports:

Recently stopped by Rochester Rep. Mike Benson’s office and couldn’t help but notice the big poster on his door declaring “Not a penny more.” So what’s the story behind the poster?

Benson said a group of 34 GOP House members have joined the Not a Penny More Caucus pledging that they will not approve any budget solution that would go beyond $34 billion. That’s the figure House and Senate Republicans’ budgets are based on, which relies on no new tax increases to balance the state’s projected $5 billion budget deficit.

Bottom line? There is no doubt that the 50 or so newbie, GOPer Freshmen Legislators have influence. There is no doubt those Freshmen Fifty are against a budget compromise – newbie GOPers didn’t get endorsed by the GOPer Faithful to go on the November 2010 ballot by running on a “work together and compromise” platform. There is no doubt they don’t like that “right wing extremist” label.

So what are they? Now is where you, Gentle Reader, step in – vote!

Final results in a couple of days…..

***

Cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; votes and/or comments welcome there.

…Today’s Example Of The Consistently Inconsistent GOP.

GOPer State Senators Dave Thompson, David Hann, and Gen Olson are shameless in their desire to inflict heavy-handed state control upon local school boards. Ostensibly, they claim they’re trying to “help” local school boards; their manner of doing so – tying local school boards hands – is (of course) the exact opposite of today’s “get big-government out of local government’s business” GOPer mantra.

OK, if these “conservatives” feel that the power of the State is justified in removing decision making ability for local school boards is just swell, why not continue down that path and take away local decision making authority for small towns and cities, too?

Want to see how easy it will be for Thompson, et al to go down that path? Here’s what Thompson said on the subject of usurping local control of local school boards:

“We all want our teachers to prosper, but we cannot ignore economic realities. All taxpayers, whether business owners or employees, are struggling. We must not add to their burden, but still find a way to maintain our high standards for public education,” Senator Thompson added.

Let’s just change a couple of words (two, to be exact):

“We all want our COPS to prosper, but we cannot ignore economic realities. All taxpayers, whether business owners or employees, are struggling. We must not add to their burden, but still find a way to maintain our high standards for public SAFETY,” Senator Thompson added. (emphasis added)

Here’s how the Strib quotes that noted “conservative” David Hann in advocating for freezing teacher salaries:

Hann, who long advocated similar measures when DFLers controlled the Senate, said the bill would “be a way to help the school districts manage their costs in a period in which they know they’re not going to be getting additional revenue.”(Strib)

Let’s assume that Hann would be consistent (yeah, “right”) and apply that same principle for screwing the teachers freezing teacher salaries, to tying local municipalities hands by screwing the cops freezing police salaries:

Hann, who long advocated similar measures when DFLers controlled the Senate, said the bill would “be a way to help small towns and cities manage their costs in a period in which they know they’re not going to be getting additional revenue.”

Is that what Hann is really going to be saying next? That’s EXACTLY what Hann (and Thompson, and Olson, and all the rest of the “let’s screw the teachers freeze the teachers salaries” GOPers will be saying – IF (and that’s a mighty big “if”) those GOPers had any consistency in ‘em — which those that pay attention know they don’t.

Here’s what Gen Olson, GOP=GreedOverPrinciples was quoted as saying:

“Holding the line for a couple of years we didn’t think was too much to ask,” she said. “And I think the school districts would appreciate that assistance as they try to continue to function effectively on behalf of their students and get through this time.”

To be consistent, here’s what Olson will be saying next:

“Holding the line for a couple of years we didn’t think was too much to ask,” she said. “And I think the municipalities would appreciate that assistance as they try to continue to function effectively on behalf of their taxpayers and get through this time.”

Here’s what Thompson’s campaign website proudly proclaimed, while he was running for State Senator:

Education policy should be set at the local level. Parents, family members, friends and neighbors are in the best position to determine what is best for their children.

Is there anyone that’s really going to argue that a local school board deciding what and how to pay their teachers is NOT “setting policy”? Class? Anyone? Anyone?

Well, anyone except that flip-flopping Dave Thompson, that is…

It’s time for the GOPers to come clean – either they believe in local control, or they don’t.

Thompson especially.

And if they aren’t honest enough to admit that Senate File #56 isn’t just an underhanded attempt to screw the teachers and their union, the cops in this state better be more than a little worried because they (and their union) just may be next.

Unless it’s firefighters….

(cross posted to MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

I read it on a rightwing blog:

“We all want our teachers to prosper, but we cannot ignore economic realities. All taxpayers, whether business owners or employees, are struggling. We must not add to their burden, but still find a way to maintain our high standards for public education,” Senator Thompson added. (emphasis added)

“ALL”??!? ROFLMAO!!!

A quick google search of “unitedhealth ceo compensation” found this, about those poor, struggling corporate boardroom types:

UnitedHealth CEO reaps nearly $100 million from stock options

By David S. Hilzenrath
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 16, 2010; 6:07 AM

The chief executive of UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, reaped almost $100 million from exercising stock options last year, the company reported Thursday.

Stephen J. Hemsley exercised 4.9 million options in February 2009 at a gain of $98.6 million, the company said in a regulatory filing.

Earth to WaterBoy, Earth to WaterBoy: some of those you tote for are doing very well – and they appreciate your hard work, Senator.

Senator Dave Thomson, GOP=GreedOverPrinciples, has no problemo bashing teachers in the classroom, while protecting suits in the boardroom.

Which is why Thompson, in his first elected term, has been put in a “leadership” position – he knows how to lead the way in carrying water for those whom this economic slump has affected not a whit.

(cross posted to MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)