A Preview Of A GOP 2014 Lit Piece

On April 24, 2013, in Gov. Dayton, Veterans, by tommy

I wrote a Community Voices story over at Twin Cities Daily Planet – “Governor’s Office, Legislature at odds over funding for Veterans Home” – because I’m a recipient of a Media Skills Fellowship and I’ll be covering veterans issues. From it:

Long story short: the Minnesota Veterans Home in Minneapolis used to be a pit. Among the Home’s campus were old buildings that had not been well maintained along with others that even had they been properly maintained were obsolete anyway. And, a dangerous one. In addition to the deferred maintenance there were problems with care to the point that patients had died. So a plan was put in place, and the turn around began.

Bottom line? There’s a 3 phase plan; phase 1 has been completed. Phase 2 has been funded, but cannot commence until Phase 3 has been funded. So this project to fix a major problem is on hold, because for some reason, the leadership hasn’t figured out what Governor Dayton’s office has: not only is it the right thing to do, it’s political suicide to do the wrong thing and NOT fund it. Right now, in the veteran community, Dayton is a hero. House and Senate leadership? Not so much, to put it mildly….

Here’s a quote from a GOPer on this very subject:

“We started renovation of the Minneapolis home back in 2009,” said Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake). “Are we really doing what we should be doing for our men and women who have served our country? I really feel that the perception out there that we’re not. We’re putting money into museums, state trails, sculpture gardens, nature centers and so forth. I think our men and women that have served our country over the years really deserve better. … I think we should be looking at finishing that project in Minneapolis and then going forward with some of these other concepts.”

Does anyone really think that if the DFL-led House and Senate pass a bonding bill without funding a project that’s already started that Democrats across the state won’t be seeing lit pieces based on that above quote hitting mail boxes in their districts?

This is an unforced error. And that’s becoming a pattern; just last week The Big E wrote about this one: “First raise the minimum wage”.

Any bets the GOP 2014 Lit Piece on not funding the veterans home will include that one, too?

The House and the Senate need to step up their games, and fast. Funding the veterans home, which includes a large chunk of federal money, is a good start.

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com)

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“Let’s Do The Time Warp Again!”

The call went out, to far and wide (even Facebook!) for The WingNut Faithful to gather at a bar in Arden Hills (where presumably, they didn’t have to tip because Waitrons make $100,000 a year! for a special, heart-searching event: “MnGOP Panel: Where Do We Go From Here? – What went wrong in 2012, and moving forward in 2013″

And what a panel it was! “Moderated” by EXTREME right wingers Mitch Berg and Jeff Johnson, Senator Dave Thompson, Walter Hudson, Andy Parrish, Sarah Janecek, Dan “Dac” Severson, Marianne Stebbins and Mark Westphal were the main draws!

I didn’t go; watching the action on Twitter Hashtags #wdwgfh & #MnGOP13) was entertainment enough for yours truly, the ol’ TwoPutter!

And clearly, these assembled party faithful have not a clue.

Which, for a Progressive, is GREAT news! But, the best news, is the apparent formation of a “Draft Emmer” clown car – here’s the tweet that clued me in!!!


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And here’s the photo in that tweet!

YES!!! That’s THE ticket!!!

Dear Tom Emmer – I hear Brad Biers is available! Of course, that might get Brad in a little hot water with his boss….

In all seriousness, I didn’t catch a tweet that got to the nub of what is wrong with today’s scandal-plagued Mn GOP; especially how you couldn’t trust the GOP then, you still can’t now, and tomorrow won’t be any different – “right”, Senator Hann?

For those that are interested in what’s REALLY wrong with today’s GOP, Hamline Professor David Schultz recently penned “The Moral Crisis of the Republican Party”. I highly recommend those reading this, read it.

Obviously, those in attendence last night hadn’t.

Here’s an example of the candidacy of Tom Emmer in 2010, and why those GOPers that are electable are not endorsable (and those GOPers endorsable are not electable) in today’s MnGOP – via YouTube:

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject; comments welcome there)

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Last July we looked at the continuing fiscal mismanagement of the MN GOP – “Today’s Examples Of Republicans Believe In Fiscal Accountability (Except When They Don’t)” – we looked at their seemingly Enronesque accounting methods and the way the deadbeats were stiffing Counties over their recount debts for the 2010 Governor’s race (among other things).

For instance, Doug Groh, auditor/treasurer of Mower County, was told on three different occasions that – literally – “the check was in the mail.”

The check, of course, was not.

And we asked: “how does the GOP Faithful reward FEC Tony for his financial mismanagement – besides promoting him from the elected Treasurer to Chair?”

We answered: “By putting FEC Tony on the party payroll! $100,000 smackers worth! Good thing – for FEC Tony – that Tom Emmer covered the deadbeat RPM’s recount bills to the counties!”

This was before the Federal Elections Commission smacked the MN GOP with one of their largest fines ever — $170,000.00 smackers, to be exact. FEC Tony was MN GOP Treasurer when those shenanigans occurred.

So I wasn’t surprised to see this story, in today’s Strib:

State GOP faces $533,000 in debt
Article by: Baird Helgeson, Star Tribune
October 27, 2011
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Sutton said he made a calculated gamble to spend heavily on the 2010 elections and that it paid off politically. Republicans won control of the Legislature for the first time in a generation and then were able to block DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposed income tax increases.

“It was totally worth it to not raise taxes,” Sutton said.(empasis added)

But it left the party deeply in debt. Sutton took the helm of the state GOP in 2009 with more than $1 million in the bank and by January of this year the party owed creditors $750,000.
(more, here)

So it’s “totally worth it” to go into debt to avoid raising taxes in FEC Tony’s world??!?

Remember that, the next tome some pompous jack@ss GOPer spews the “you can’t spend more than in the check book” tripe they always do.

Of course, they actually believe that — YOU can’t (but THEY can).

The simple fact is that GOPers believe in “fiscal accountability” — except when they don’t. GOPers are always demanding “fiscal responsibility” – of OTHERS.

Reasonable people have no reason to reasonably believe anything GOPers say.

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

Immediately after last November’s election, the Republican Party of Minnesota (“RPM”) demanded – yes, “demanded” – Minnesota’s counties make thousands and thousands and thousands of copies for the upcoming recount of the governor’s race. And the RPM demanded – yes, “demanded” – that all that copying be done immediately. Not surprisingly, payment by the RPM to MN Counties for services rendered has NOT been “immediate” nor “prompt” nor “timely.” Far from it, as has been documented over and Over and OVER and OVER – and that’s just here and on MPP. As previously noted, SallyJo at Bluestem Prairie has been all over this one, too.

As have a lot of people. Jeff Rosenberg at MnPublius , early in the month last March, (last March!!!) pointed out a quote by the Mower County Auditor/Treasurer:

“Since December, I’ve had repeated conversations about when we’ll get paid,” said Doug Groh, auditor/treasurer of Mower County. “I had no problem with the Democrats paying, but the Republicans are fudging, because they’re short of money — that’s what I was told in December.”

Since then, Groh said, he’s been told the invoice was lost; on three different occasions, he was told — literally — the check was in the mail.

So when you read the following quote – you might think it, too, has to do with Tony Sutton’s RPM stiffing Minnesota Counties on the rightfully owed Recount bills:

“Not paying vendors on a timely basis, berating them when they call for payment, and then refusing to pay interest charges owed them for services rendered in good faith.”

Yep! Sounds EXACTLY like what FEC Tony’s RPM has been doin’ lately!!!

Well, except for the interest charges; the Counties haven’t been charging interest.

But that quote’s actually from several years ago.

You see, the RPM is notorious for it’s internal financial mismanagement. And I’m calling Minnesota’s GOP party “RPM” because that’s how they’re referred to by the Federal Elections Commission- a Federal Elections Commission that’s very familiar with the RPM (“Republican Party of Minnesota”) and Tony Sutton – reasons that cause me to refer to Tony Sutton, current chair of the RPM, as “FEC Tony.”

I’ll let Spot, at The Cucking Stool, do the intro:

Friday, July 31, 2009

Where have I heard that name before?

Something that’s been percolating around my brain for a while is a question about this Tony Sutton dude. No, not whether the Mexican restaurant chain is introducing a line of chimichangas named after prominent GOP gasbags, but his new gig as Chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota. As I read about his new job, I had this sneaking suspicion that his name was not entirely new to me, that there was something in the past that he’d done.

Then it came flooding back to me. This Sutton guy was, before ascending to the throne room at the RPM, the treasurer of the RPM. He’s the one whose name is most closely associated with the horrific accounting and auditing nightmare that is the treasury of the RPM. He’s been front and center in that complaint filed with the Federal Elections Commission and he’s the one who has had rather pointed questions directed at him by the FEC here, here, here, and here. He also had to send in those humiliating letters – over and over and over again – stating that “An amended report correcting this error will be filed when the committee’s internal audit has been completed.” In short, he was apparently the doofus in charge as this mess was allowed to fester and grow into what some think will eventually lead to the largest FEC fine in history for poor bookkeeping.

For most of us, being so intimately connected with this monumental mess would be such a professional embarrassment that we’d slink off to North Dakota or something. We’d at least have the good sense to drop out of politics.

But not Mr. Sutton.
(more, here)

Indeed – not Mr. Sutton, a/k/a “FEC Tony”.

Yes, this quote – “Not paying vendors on a timely basis, berating them when they call for payment, and then refusing to pay interest charges owed them for services rendered in god faith.” – is from a RPM Staffer, back in February 2007, back when FEC Tony was RPM Treasurer.

This quote - “Since December, I’ve had repeated conversations about when we’ll get paid,” said Doug Groh, auditor/treasurer of Mower County. “I had no problem with the Democrats paying, but the Republicans are fudging, because they’re short of money — that’s what I was told in December.” – is from a RPM Vendor, this year, with FEC Tony as the RPM Chair.

And how does the GOP Faithful reward FEC Tony for his financial mismanagement – besides promoting him from the elected Treasurer to Chair?

By putting FEC Tony on the party payroll! $100,000 smackers worth! Good thing – for FEC Tony – that Tom Emmer covered the deadbeat RMP’s recount bills to the counties!

If there were any justice in this world, whey you googled “Peter Principle” a picture of FEC Tony would pop up – a picture from back during his tenure as RPM Treasurer, that is. Because as those two quotes show, the more things change, the more the fiscal mismanagement at the RPM doesn’t.

Hey – at least FEC Tony is on the RPM Payroll; the RPM Deputy Chair – Michael Brodkorb – well, the RPM stuck him on the Taxpayer’s tab.

Reasonable people have no reason to reasonably believe anything the RPM says. This whole sordid and scandalous RPM County Recount saga demonstrates once again that Republicans believe in fiscal accountability (except when they don’t) – and that Republicans are always demanding “fiscal responsibility” – of OTHERS.

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(image credit: Tildology)

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

… are very comfortable with where we are.”

Say WHAT??!?

Our guys, obviously, are very comfortable with where we are.” — House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove — 30 June 2011, 8:30pm

Well, actually that’s true – because “their guys” are The Top 2% of wage earners; their guys are their Boardroom Base; their guys are the guys this recession hasn’t even hit.

Here’s Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton explaining last night exactly why the GOP chose to shut down the great state of Minnesota today:

“I cannot accept a Minnesota where people with disabilities lose part of the time they are cared for by personal care attendants so that millionaires do not have to pay $1 more in taxes.

I cannot accept a Minnesota where young people cannot afford the rising tuitions at the University of Minnesota or a MnSCU campus, so that millionaires do not have to pay $1 more in taxes.

I cannot accept a Minnesota where elderly widows are denied the at-home services that permit them to remain healthy and able to live in their own homes. Or a Minnesota where local governments have to further slash their firefighter and police forces. Or a Minnesota where special education is being cut, so that millionaires do not have to pay $1 more in taxes. That is not Minnesota.” – Governor Mark Dayton, 30 June 2011

GOP: “Our guys, obviously, are very comfortable with where we are.”

Governor Dayton: “I cannot accept a Minnesota where (fill in GOPer slash ‘n burn) so that millionaires do not have to pay $1 more in taxes.”

Will you stand for the GOP’s Boardroom Base, which includes “guys” like Target Corp CEO Gregg Steinhafel?

Or will you stand with the workers in the middle class?

Pick your side, Ladies and Gentlemen – pick your side.

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

For months and Months and MONTHS , I’ve covered the Deadbeat MnGOP’s refusal to pay their debts to Minnesota Counties for the services they demanded – DEMANDED – concerning the November 2010 Election Recount.

And that’s just here, at MPP – - SallyJo at Bluestem Prairie has been all over this scandal, too.

And just this morning, I found two, and possibly three, Counties that STILL HAVEN’T BEEN PAID – Cass, Fillmore, and Grant. There may be more; after two “No” and a “Don’t think so; will get back to you” why keep going?

The funny thing is, despite Tony Sutton claiming way back in March that the MnGOP would pay it’s bills, it took someone else to to it!

Yes, Beltrami, Chisago, and Clearwater counties told me earlier today that Tom Emmer stepped up and did what Tony Sutton’s MnGOP wouldn’t – pay some bills.

Does it really surprise anyone that a party that would stiff counties for months and Months and MONTHS would drive a state to shutdown? Because that’s exactly what the MnGOP will do this Friday – shut this state down.

Oh – and can someone call Emmer, and tell him there’s still a few more counties out there, that Tony Sutton’s MnGOP has stiffed?

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Previous MPP Posts:

“Deadbeat MnGOP Still Owes Omsted County” – 13 April 2011

“Deadbeat MnGOP Still Owes Martin, Nicollet, And Sibley Counties, or…” “…GOPers are always demanding “fiscal responsibility” – of OTHERS.” — 25 April 2011

“Today’s Example Of Why Reasonable People Cannot Reasonably Believe What GOPers Say: Recount” — 07 June 2011

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject; comments welcome there)

Ever since Target decided to wade in on the MN-GOV election last year with a big check for notoriously anti-gay Tom Emmer, I haven’t shopped there. And I’m hardly the only one; for instance, check out the YouTube below.

Why Target’s CEO – Greg Steinhafel – hasn’t been fired is beyond me. And it’s not that Steinhafel – personally – is a big donor to the Mn GOP and GOP candidates – it’s his money, and it’s his right to donate to who he wants. It’s that Steinhafel is the guy who apparently has “The Buck Stops THERE!!!” sign on his desk. Steinhafel has given me no reason to once again shop at Target; if anything, his actions make me more determined that until Steinfels goes, I don’t go to Target.

Steinfel’s latest Mea Nota Culpa? From CityPages.com:

Now, CEO Gregg Steinhafel is telling Target shareholders that the company isn’t taking a position on the gay marriage ban campaign now getting cranked up ahead of the 2012 elections.

“We are going to be neutral on that particular issue, as we would be on other social issues that have polarizing points of view,” Steinhafel says.

So, why is that a complete BS? From the Strib:

(Steinhafel) said Target will stay politically neutral when it comes to social issues such as gay marriage but wants “a seat at the table” when it comes to business issues such as credit-card swipe fees, health care, tax and trade issues.

“…business issues…”? “…BUSINESS ISSUES..”??!?

Apparently, in the cruel and cold-hearted conservative world Steinhafel lives, the happiness and well-being of employees that happen to love someone of the same sex and want the same right to wed as everyone else isn’t a “business issue.”

Maybe Steinhafel thinks The Bradlee Dean Anti-Marriage Amendment is a “social issue” – I think not. It’s a human rights issue.

If Steinhafel wants Target Corp’s Corporate Treasury donating to candidates based on their business beliefs, he better be sending Target dough to help defeat The Bradlee Dean Anti-Marriage Amendment.

Or he’d better not be sending anything from Target Corp’s Corporate Treasury to anybody.

Once Steinhafel quits these flip-flopping “contortions” (that’s what CityPages calls ‘em; go on over there for their take AND links to some coverage City Pages has given Steinhafel’s FUBAR) he might just mend a few fences and regain a few customers.

Of course, if Target Corp simply decided to (stuff)-can Steinhafel, and replace him with someone that isn’t the cold-hearted conservative Steinhafel is, they might regain a lot.

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject; comments welcome there)

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… numbers don’t lie, but GOPers use numbers.

Well, it could also be: …those that forget the lessons of history tend to vote GOP.

Share photos on twitter with TwitpicActually, it’s “both” and it has to do with Pawlenty in 2009 doing something with the budget process that the State Supreme Court, in 2010, said he couldn’t, and recent claims by the Minnesota GOPers that – surprisingly – bring Pawlenty’s unallotment actions up at, coincidentally, the same time Pawlenty officially announces his presidential run.

Here’s the deal – in January of 2010, I wrote a post titled “The Minnesota Budget Crisis, By The Numbers”. The post was about how Minnesota got into Governor TBag’s Unallotment mess. Suffice it to say, GOPers were makin’ (stuff) up about THAT deal, too.

In a nutshell, here’s what happened during the 2009 Legislative Session: the February 2009 Forecast predicted revenues of $31.1 Billion (rounded). Knowing that number, Gov. TBag proceeded to sign Spending Bills of $33.8 Billion (rounded) anyway.

This created a deficit of $2.7 Billion (rounded) from Governor-approved spending — remember, when TBag signed those spending bills, they were now law). A bill to balance that deficit, HF-2323, was passed and presented to Gov. TBag to sign. Except, TBag didn’t sign that revenue bill to balance the budget; he vetoed it.

Upon creating an unbalanced budget, rather than call a Special Session, TBag immediately claimed unilateral power to fix the problem he created, and then hit the campaign trail. As to TBag’s actions creating an anticipated budget problem, then using powers to deal with unanticipated budget problems? The Court was not amused.

The only reason GOPers today can use that “$32 Billion” number, is because in 2009 Pawlenty did something the Supreme Court ruled he couldn’t.

The reality is that the “$34 Billion” compromise number the Kochzellerstan crowd is crowing about today, is really the same “$33.8 Billion” number that Pawlenty signed into law, before he went all Nixonian by utilizing excessive - and illegalUnitary Executive Power (Nixon would be so proud!)

The bottom line is that in 2009, GOPer Governor Tim Pawlenty took state budgeting into unchartered waters; waters the Supreme Court eventually found illegal. In 2011, GOPer Majorities in both the State House and State Senate are again taking the state into unchartered waters – by refusing to negotiate and submit budget bills Governor Dayton would be willing to sign.

The fact that they are making (stuff) up by claiming to have “compromised” to a number Pawlenty already was at 2 years ago only goes to show, once again, that numbers don’t lie, but GOPers use numbers.

And, of course, anybody that falls for the BS GOPer line that they compromised to $34B also goes to show, once again, that those that forget the lessons of history tend to vote GOP.

***

That picture, above? I found it via a tweet by GOPer Freshman State Rep Kurt Daudt:

(crossposted at MnProgressiveProject; comments welcome there)

GOPers are always demanding “fiscal responsibility” – of OTHERS.

Last November’s election result for Governor looked like it was headed towards recount. The crack legal beagles on the GOPer side sprung into action, and demanded all 87 counties make copies of election related materials – and pronto. The GOPer attorneys threatened legal action if these documents weren’t received fast enough; one such county so threatened was Nicollet County – the same county the GOP has since stiffed for payment.

On March 27th, Bluestem Prairie reported FEC Tony’s Republican Party of Minnesota still – STILL – owed Olmsted County money from bills they incurred from the pathetic Emmer Recount.

Here’s what FEC Tony Sutton said, towards the end of March:

“The checks … are going out before the end of next week,” Sutton said. “By the end of the month (March), they’ll have their payment.”

Following up on FEC Tony’s promise was worth a phone call, so on April 13th I made one, to Olmsted County. No surprise by the response; read: “Deadbeat MNGOP Still Owes Olmsted County”.

Also no surprise was Sally Jo at Bluestem Prairie digging deeper, the very next day she wrote: Failed burrito baron and party boss Tony Sutton stiffs counties, looks to MNGOP to stuff tortilla.

One might think all of this negative publicity might shame FEC Tony into paying the bills; alas – today’s GOPer has no shame. Just last Friday, The Mankato Free Press reported:

April 22, 2011
Counties awaiting Republican payments
By Brian Ojanpa The Free Press

Some area counties continue to wait for money owed them by the Republican Party of Minnesota for document-copying costs following November’s gubernatorial election.

Martin County is still owed $350, Nicollet County is owed $1,300 and Sibley County is waiting on $1,623.

Now, keep in mind since FEC Tony said that the GOP is broke and can’t pay their bills in a timely manner back in late March, the GOP had their State Central Committee Meeting at the Ramada by the Mall of America on April 16th, and today are doing a statewide flyaround.

Some people might nitpick, and say “yeah, but – that’s the legislative GOPers spending dough, NOT the party.”

Yeah, “right.” Remember how the party stuck their party’s Deputy Chair – ol’ MudSlingerMike – onto the taxpayer’s back?

The State GOP – and FEC Tony in particular – have a long and sordid history of playing fast and loose with finances; for those not familiar with it, I’d highly recommend you link to read the Tostenson Memo, the Strib’s story on it by Dan Browning and Pat Doyle, and “A Key Element Of The Tostenson Memo” by yours truly.

Keep in mind, The Tostenson Memo was written by a party insider; here’s the lede from the Strib story:

At least two staff members have left the Minnesota Republican Party since February after they complained that the party misused employee retirement money, improperly reported its finances and ignored or retaliated against staff who reported the problems.

The departures included former finance director and GOP stalwart Dwight Tostenson. He wrote in a Feb. 15 confidential memo that state GOP chairman Ron Carey fired him after he repeatedly pressed the chairman to address what Tostenson regarded as serious financial problems in the state GOP office.

Keep in mind FEC Tony was Party Treasurer during that time.

So it’s understandable that the GOP can spend dough for the re-coronation of Sutton as Party Chair – and Brodkorb as Deputy Chair – and do a statewide flyaround (“The Cooked Books Tour”), all the while still owing money to counties for work requested by the Party many months ago – GOPers are always demanding “fiscal responsibility” – of OTHERS.

(Graphic, at the top, courtesy of Tildology.com)

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

On March 27th, Bluestem Prairie reported FEC Tony’s Republican Party of Minnesota still – STILL – owed Olmsted County money from bills they incurred from the pathetic Emmer Recount:

Mar 27, 2011

Recount: MNGOP promises to pay Olmsted County $3,050 and Mower County $2,424 soon

The Rochester Post Bulletin reports in Recount costs to be paid soon, Republicans say:

Unpaid bills owed to Olmsted and Mower counties from last year’s governor’s race recount are set to be paid soon, state Republican Party chairman Tony Sutton said.

“The checks … are going out before the end of next week,” Sutton said. “By the end of the month, they’ll have their payment.”

I just got off the phone with Pam Fuller of Olmsted County, and – no surprise here – they have NOT gotten a check for the money the GOPers owe (email to Mower County hasn’t been returned).

I guess it could be worse – they could have received a check written in the style of Bounced Checks Berg

(crossposted at MnProgressiveProject; comments welcome there)

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