On June 3rd, 2007, Dan Browning and Pat Doyle broke a story that rocked Minnesota’s political world and would have repercussions we’re still feeling today; it dealt with the now-infamous “Tostenson Memo”. Written by long-time MN GOP Finance Director Dwight Tostenson, it detailed the financial shenanigans – “Cooked Books” if you will – of the party, and became the basis for the Federal Election Commission’s near-record $170,000 fine last year. The GOP is still paying that fine off (unlike their rent). That newspaper story came out just before the MN GOP’s State Convention, the current chair, Ron Carey, was being challenged by a guy named Joe Repya on, boiled down, a “clean up/reform the party” platform.

Joe lost, Ron (and, status quo) won, and the Party’s problems Joe was running to correct: got worse.

The 2008 MN GOP State Convention in Rochester is mostly remembered for the shabby treatment of Ron Paul and his supporters. Paul was a bona fide candidate for the GOP nomination for president, even though he didn’t have a (deleted, for censors) chance in (deleted, again) of getting it. Doesn’t matter; as a party member, he should have been allowed to speak – Ron Paul wasn’t.

And then there’s the treatment of Ron Paul’s supporters at the Convention. Well, leading up to it, too – as you can read by linking here for but one account. There’s plenty more out there, like this one.

One significant event at that 2008 MN GOP State Convention isn’t remembered so much; fortunately, one Convention Delegate caught it on tape – let’s look!

Oh, and pay very, Very, VERY close attention to what then-Chair Ron Carey says, “right” at the very end!!!

(direct link to YouTube)

To recap that video: there’s a white-wash/cover up concerning the GOP’s FEC Reports; Joe Repya asks two pointed questions; Tony Sutton goes ballistic; Ron Carey bloviates! And what exactly did Carey say, “right” at the end?

“At the end of the day, those that are criticizing us are to be shamed – because the truth will get out and the truth shall set us free.”


And then, in compete violation of Robert’s Rules, State GOP “leadership” ended the convention.

Shameful. Sadly, today’s GOP has no shame. It’s like I always say: You Couldn’t Trust The GOP Then, You Still Can’t Now, And Tomorrow Won’t Be Any Different.

Today, Joe Repya has an op-ed in the Star Tribune; it’s entitled “End of the state GOP as we know it?”

I’d recommend everyone read it, and remember: the problems Repya was talking about five years ago, back in 2007? Repya was correct.

I’m still wondering, though – isn’t it about time a prosecutor started taking a hard look at the problems Repya has been talking about all these years?

Stay tuned!

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

EricF put up a post yesterday (with video!) where Plymouth Republican Sarah Anderson mistakes Rochester New York with Rochester Minnesota – while in session, at the capitol.

It’s the kind of stuff that can’t be made up. But hey – it’s not as if Sarah Anderson hasn’t had video-worthy activities in St. Paul before – let’s look!

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

If one were to base GOPer support in the race to replace deposed former Chair FEC Tony (pictured, right) by twitter traffic, one would suppose there was widespread support for GOPer Brandon Sawalich. Mr. Sawalich released a letter announcing his run for GOP State Party Chair; he listed a 5 Point Plan for “The Way Forward” – and we’ll look at just one of ‘em, bulleted “Financial integrity and transparency” – with pictures!

Before we get to ‘em, I’d like to point out what I said earlier today, when I updated the original “The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same, or… how Zellers’ election demonstrates – once again – that GOP still stands for GreedOverPrinciples.”, posted back in June of ’09:

There’s a fight in the MN GOP for the Chair position – and it’s roots go back to “The Tostenson Memo” and the 2008 MN GOP State Convention in Rochester. And it’s coming to a boil. Why? Because GOPers covered up their mess back then; and some of those same GOPers are doin’ their best to KEEP it covered up. (more, here)

And indeed it does go back to the GOP State Convention in Rochester MN, back in 2008! For a quick trip back to what happened then, here’s what I wrote back then! It’s called “Fear And Loathing In Rochester”. From it:

What everyone needs to remember is that the fact the Republican Party Of Minnesota’s financial problems have been under discussion for a year is a) the result of Republicans airing their own financial problems, and b) republiCon Ron refusing to face the problem publicly. Indeed, not only is republiCon Ron is still trying to hide this problem, he refuses to answer questions about it.

Yep – way back in 2008, financial mismanagement by the State GOP was a topic of conversation for a year! And, 4 years later, it still is!

OK, so who was GOPer Party Treasurer in 2008, before Tony Sutton took the Party Chair position in 2009?

Yep! FEC Tony was GOPer Treasurer, before he was GOPer Chair!

Above, in “Fear And Loathing In Rochester” we touched on the GOPer Party Establishment refusing to deal with the financial reformers at the 2008 Rochester Convention; but there was another dynamic at work – Ron Paul’s 2008 bid for the GOP Nomination! There were a bunch of Ron Paul supporters there; and the Party Establishment was none-too-happy to see them – or, even Ron Paul! In fact, GOPer Leadership refused to let Ron Paul address the GOP Convention.

Here’s what GOPer Blogger Martin Andrade wrote about the convention, back then:

At the MNGOP State Convention
Posted on May 30, 2008 by Marty Andrade

Notes and Thoughts from the Convention Floor:
-There are two different factions, the establishment faction called “Minnesota Conservative Delegate Team” and among the notable people on this list are Norm Coleman and Tim Pawlenty. The other faction, from what I can tell, is called “The Conservative Conscience Coalition” and these are partly Ron Paul supporters.
-On that contention, I will say I think the process was unfair this year. Ron Paul people were kept off the ballot, there were no nominations from the floor allowed, people were forced to vote for a certain number of people and there was some behind the scenes stuff I didn’t see. It is this attempt to silence dissent which upset me.
-Unfortunately, a great portion of the Ron Paul people were not allowed to speak nor were they on the ballot.

So, who was that “Minnesota Conservative Delegate Team” that dissed the Ron Paul people? Let’s look!

That’s their FEC Statement Of Organization, signed 5-27-2008 and received by the FEC on June 5th, 2008 – AFTER the convention closed. Hmmm….

So, where did the “Minnesota Conservative Delegate Team” get their dough? Let’s look!

Hmmm… from OpenSecrets.org, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics – a list of “major donors ($200+)” to the Minnesota Conservative Delegate Team… hmmm….

Brandon Salawich, 5-22-08: $3,000
Michael Vekich, 5-22-08: $1,000
Michael Brodkorb, 7-2-08: $500

I recognize those names!

As a matter o’ fact, Vekich just made the news, earlier today! From Minnesota Public Radio:

Vekich will advise state GOP on finances
Posted at 12:57 PM on December 12, 2011 by Tim Pugmire

The Republican Party of Minnesota has turned to businessman and accountant Mike Vekich to help clean up its financial problems.

The party’s acting chairwoman Kelly Fenton announced today that Vekich, who is CEO of Vekich Associates, will provide voluntary assistance until Dec. 31. That’s when the party’s state central committee is scheduled to elect a new chair.

In a news release, Fenton said Vekich may enlist others in his evaluation of party finances, if necessary. (more, here)

OK, so what did this “Minnesota Conservative Delegate Team” do? Well, let’s go to RonPaul.com and get their take, o’ what was done unto them!!!

Minnesota GOP: “Vote for McCain and Shut Up!”
20 Responses
by RonPaul.com on May 28, 2008
In Minnesota, John McCain got only 22% of the vote in the state’s caucuses on February 5, compared with Ron Paul’s 16%. The Minnesota party establishment is concerned enough to send out an unsigned letter to GOP members, signed only as “Friends of the Minnesota Conservative Delegate Team”.

In a chilling attack on free speech and open discussion among Republicans, the missive exhorts GOP members to attend the State Convention this Friday and assist the party establishment in stifling the growing number of dissenting voices:

And RonPaul.com goes on to reprint the “misive” sent out to GOPers. Want to read it? Go here.

Want to find out who produced it? Go to the FEC reports!!!

Well, based on the sketchy FEC Reports, it has to be these folks:

OK, let’s review: the 2008 GOP State Convention in Rochester was notable for 2 reasons – Chair Carey and Treasurer Sutton shouted down those that dared question Party Finances that ultimately resulted in a #170,000 FEC fine, and they shut out the Ron Paul Supporters.

Prior to, and at that Convention, Establishment GOPers passed out lit dissing Ron Paul supporters (at that time, many “establishment” GOPers were dissing those same Ron Paul supporters as “PaulBots” and “Ronulans”). Current Candidate for GOPer Chair, Brandon Sawalich, tossed down $3k to the group that prepared the lit before the convention, AND BEFORE THE GROUP filed their FEC paperwork.

And with a hat tip to deposed GOP Chair Tony Sutton, apparently the “Minnesota Ceonservative Delegate Team” didn’t bother paying off the bill to the prepareruntil months later.

And a few years later, Sawalich is running on a platform with a key bullet point, and I quote:

“Financial integrity and transparency”

Yeah, “right.” Only if “integrity” means “sweep it” and “transparency” means “under a rug.”

In Minnesota’s Greed Over Principles party, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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