Who Is Election Energy, And Why It Matters

On November 28, 2012, in Candidates, Justice, by tommy

Last week, we discussed Verified Twitter Accounts – specifically, that Minnesota Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson had one. On Monday, we looked at Chief Justice Lorie Gildea’s expenses on her Campaign Finance Reports (“CFB”) for her campaign website – well, specifically, the lack thereof.

Today, we’re going to look at website expenses for the campaign of Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson – and several other prominent Republicans. We’ll start with one such prominent Republican, the soon-to-be former GOP Senate Caucus Leader Dave Senjem – a screenshot from Senjem’s CFB report is above. On Sen Senjem’s CFB report, you’ll note the expenses of $250 and $12 on 31 July and 17 September 2012 for website related fees to “Election Energy” to a street address in Apple Valley. That street address matches the address listed which was found during a Domain Search for www.ElectionEnergy.com; link to screenshot here.

Justice G. Barry Anderson also used Election Energy as a vendor; on his latest CFB report it’s his largest vendor – accounting for almost 30% of his campaign’s expenditures (almost $19k). Except, on Anderson’s CFB report, there’s a different address for Election Energy; it’s listed as a P. O. Box.

Hmmm…. Time to check property tax records for the address reported by Senjem’s campaign! And what do we find? It seems the address used by Senjem, and NOT used by Anderson, is owned by: “Grant B. and Louise H. Anderson”.

Sources have confirmed the address used by Senjem, but NOT by Anderson, is indeed Justice G. Barry Anderson’s home.

Of course, it’s possible that “Election Energy” – using a business address of State Supreme Court Justice Grant B. Anderson, who goes by “G. Barry Anderson” – isn’t owned by Justice Anderson; it’s possible it’s owned by his son, Grant Anderson, who is acting as Justice Anderson’s digital director.

Better check with the Secretary of State’s Office, and find out who is the registered owner(s) of “Election Energy”!

Hmmmm….. An on-line search, via the Secretary of State’s office reveals: “No results match the criteria entered.”. Hmmm, maybe I’m doing something wrong? No, said the nice person at the Secretary of State’s Business Services Section – they couldn’t find any record of registration either.

Does a website company that’s physically located in Minnesota, has customers in Minnesota, and is soliciting for more business need to be registered? Well, according to the nice person at the Secretary of State’s office, who did NOT know the nature of the people involved – a sitting State Supreme Court justice, for one – said while not an attorney, it appears that under statutes 303 and 331 – the short answer is yes.

To recap: what we appear to have is an unlicensed business being run out of the home of a Supreme Court Justice that has said Justice as a customer. Additional customers include current GOP Senator Senjem, former GOP State Rep Keith Downey, soon-to-be GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, and fellow Supreme Court Justice David Stras, whose campaign sent $5,000 to Election Energy’s P.O. Box.

Here’s what I wrote in the post about Gildea:

If there is anyone who’s campaign finance reports should be squeaky clean and transparent, it’s a judge running for re-election – especially the judge running to retain the seat for Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court.

Consider that said about Justice G. Barry too. There’s some ‘splainin’ to do….

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

Last week, we discussed Verified Twitter Accounts – specifically, that Minnesota Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson had one, and we were looking at his re-election Campaign Finance Reports. And we are; stay tuned for what’s turned up! While doing so, we also took a look at two of the other candidates for re-election to the Supreme Court – Justice David Stras, who also had a Twitter Verified Account, and Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, who didn’t. Something stuck out while going through Chief Justice Gildea’s reports – by omission.

Everybody these days has a campaign web site; candidates for State Supreme Court being no different. And as anybody that’s ever set one up knows, they cost dough. Pick a domain name, register it, build the website, host it… Well, picking the name is free. Registration and building a website and hosting it? Not so much. The image, above, is from 2007, back when Pawlenty Appointee Justice Gildea first ran for re-election; the domain for the website is www.JusticeLorieGildea.com.

A review of Justice Gildea’s Campaign Finance Reports for 2007 does not show an expenditure nor an in-kind donation for any of that. Nor does her 2008 Report. Clearly it’s there; registered 09 Feb 07.

Fast forward to February 2012, and the image to the right. It’s the “Who Is” Domain Registration (www.ChiefJusticeLorieGildea.com) information for the Pawlenty appointed Gildea, who is now running for re-election for Chief State Supreme Court Justice.

On Chief Justice’s campaign website, the disclaimer on the bottom reads “Prepared and paid for by Minnesotans for Chief Justice Gildea, P.O. Box…”

Yet again, a review of Chief Justice Gildea’s Campaign Finance Reports for 2012 does not show an expenditure nor an in-kind donation for the new campaign website domain. Nor for building a new website, nor for hosting a website.

If there is anyone who’s campaign finance reports should be squeaky clean and transparent, it’s a judge running for re-election – especially the judge running to retain the seat for Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court.

An email and phone call for an explanation to the Campaign Treasurer for both campaigns have not been returned.

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

About Those Twitter “Verified Accounts”

On November 23, 2012, in Candidates, Justice, by tommy

Regular Readers will probably remember yours truly, the ol’ TwoPutter, had media credentials for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. And we had a LOT of fun covering Charlotte 2012, beginning with finding fake lemons in the tree outside of failed Veep Candidate Paul Ryan’s WI Office. While in the media area of Charlotte 2012, I happened across the Twitter Office of, well, Twitter – picture to the right.

So I stopped to talk to the nice people at Twitter, and asked ‘em how yours truly, the ol’ TwoPutter, could get one o’ those elusive, but coveted, blue checkmarks for my Twitter account – signifying a Twitter “Verified Account”. There’s a screenshot, below, on what these check marks look like.

Here’s what Twitter says about ‘em:

What kinds of accounts get verified?

Twitter proactively verifies accounts on an ongoing basis to make it easier for users to find who they’re looking for. We concentrate on highly sought users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, advertising, business, and other key interest areas. We verify business partners from time to time and individuals at high risk of impersonation.

We do not accept requests for verification from the general public. If you fall under one of the above categories and your Twitter account meets our qualifications for verification, we may reach out to you in the future.(emphasis added)

I figured it’d be a slam dunker; there I was with the media credentials, and I already had worked with Twitter to get a few nasty fake twitter accounts (stuff)-canned that had been causing problems for yours truly, the ol’ TwoPutter.

So when I asked the nice person at Twitter, in the media area, at Charlotte 2012 about it, the nice person handed me off to another nice person working for Twitter – in sales.

Yes, “sales.” And here’s what I was told:

For most folks, it takes dough to get one of those elusive, but coveted, blue check marks that indicate a “verified account;” a blue check mark like you see to the right on a screen shot of Minnesota Supreme Court G. Barry Anderson’s Twitter account.

How much dough, I asked. $15,000.00 was the answer; but not necessarily all at once – it could be spread out over a couple of months. I explained I had read the Twitter “Verified Account” policy; it seemed I qualified for a freebee for two reasons (as outlined above). Reply? Nope. Cash. Well, it was also explained that if someone who was already spending dough on Twitter ads and promoted tweets, etc already had one, Twitter often gave one o’ those elusive but coveted check marks to a friend/associate/whatever of one of said spenders as a comp.

I checked around with a few media types in the media areas while in Charlotte, and heard in essence: yep, that’s how the “Verified Account” game was played. Did a little digging on google too. No biggie; if that’s the way the game was played and since I didn’t have – let alone plan on spending – $15 biggies, no blue check mark for yours truly, the ol’ TwoPutter.

Fast forward to October 8th, 2012, and a story by Strib Reporter Rachel Stassen-Berger: “Promoted Justice On Twitter”. Rachel writes about the blue “verified account” check mark that’s shown on the screen shot you see just a little bit above on the Twitter Account of G. Barry Anderson, running for re-election for his seat on the bench on Minnesota’s Supreme Court.

Here’s Rachel’s lede:

Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson may be making history, 140-characters at a time.

The justice, first appointed to the high court by Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2004, is using promoted tweets to advance his campaign to stay on the court. He is among the first prominent Minnesota politicians to use promotion, Twitter’s version of online advertising, in his campaign. (emphasis added)

Rachel also noted that Justice Anderson’s Digital Director is the Justice’s son, Grant Anderson. Noted now is that Justice Anderson’s campaign web page is credited, on the web page, to Election Energy.

Didn’t think much of Rachel’s story, at the time. And pretty much forgot about it, until I saw and retweeted the tweet to the right. OK, a lot has been said by a lot of people about Michael Brodkorb – including by me – for, ahem, “a variety of reasons.”

One thing a lot of people that have said a lot about Michael Brodkorb also say is that when it comes down to political skills and instincts, it pays to pay attention to Michael Brodkorb. So if Michael thought “the campaign spending & contribution report” of Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson was “interesting” – well, yours truly, the ol’ TwoPutter, pays attention.

And said report is indeed interesting – and we’ll get to what yours truly, the ol’ TwoPutter has found.

So – stay tuned!!!

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject; comments welcome there)