Yesterday, The Big E published a blogpost, “David Hann in real trouble over campaign finance violation?”. Good question! A quick internet trip to Minnesota’s Statutes finds a section entitled “Corporate Political Contributions.” Now, I’m not a lawyer, but: this seems pretty clear to me:

Subd. 2. Prohibited contributions. A corporation may not make a contribution or offer or agree to make a contribution directly or indirectly, of any money, property, free service of its officers, employees, or members, or thing of monetary value to a major political party, organization, committee, or individual to promote or defeat the candidacy of an individual for nomination, election, or appointment to a political office.

Why is that important? Well, let’s look at just one Federal Elections Commission filing by an entity called “Senate Victory PAC” – whose Treasurer happens to be Republican State Senator David Hann:

That’s from filing FEC-865022, the Senate Victory PAC’s October 2012 filing.
3M Company PAC = $5,000
Centerpoint Energy, Inc. PAC = $500
Express Scripts Inc. Political Fund = $5,000
Koch Industries Inc PAC – $5,000

Those sure look like corporate contributions to me!

I looked at all the contributions to this “Senate Victory PAC” since it was started in November 2011, totalling $32,950, and they all look like corporate PAC contributions.

On November 18th, Rachel Stassen-Berger reported in the Star Tribune:

Hann said that as a former member of the state House and the state Senate Vandeveer, whom he considers a friend, has a good political sense of the Minnesota electorate. Hann said that he talks to Vandeveer, who did not run for re-election last year, “fairly often” and he has taken on various tasks to prepare Senate Republicans for the 2016 elections.

Why is that important? Because, also in that story, Rachel reported that Vandeveer had been paid out of the Senate Victory PAC – and that PAC’s only source of income appears to have been corporate PAC money.

A call to the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board for comment was made and a message left. This one isn’t going away; stay tuned!

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Well, and out of touch, too.

That screen shot, to the “far right” (pun intended)? Those are tweets that were fired off last night by Bob Koss – who bills himself as, and this is a quote: “Free thinking conservative. Proud staffer at the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus.” Koss is a Legislative Assistant for Joe Gimse.

The target of Koss’ tirade? Republican State Representative John Kriesel, an Iraq War Veteran. Rep. Kriesel’s offense, to “earn” comments such as “RINO” & “Piece of (stuff)” & “SOB” & “shameless self promoter”?

Kriesel had the audacity to speak his mind on the floor of the House of Representatives and then allow that speech to be included in a television ad advocating a “No” vote on the marriage restriction constitutional amendment.

Predictably, the media picked up on Koss’ WAY out of line attack; KSTP TV reported on it this morning – “Twitter War Breaks Out Between Rep. Kriesel, Staffer Koss” – and City Pages not only wrote about it; they have screen shots of the entire exchange.

This so-called “twitter war” is simply the latest example of an out of control Republican Senate Caucus.

And where are the Republican Senators? Senate Majority “Leader” Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, is in Rochester trying to save his political skin. Asistant Majority “Leader” David Hann, R-Eden Prairie (the alleged co-chair of the Republican Senate Re-Election effort) is, well, who knows where? He’s been ducking the press ever since Fox9 TV ran a story: “What Does Hann Do For A Living?”.

As far as I can tell, it’s understandable the Senate Republican Caucus’ Communications “Director” – Steve Sviggum – couldn’t jump into the fray and stop Koss, a caucus staffer, from committing poltical hari kari on twitter last night – because as far as I can tell, Sviggum – the Communications “Director” – isn’t even ON twitter.

It’s an insult to clown cars to call the scandal plagued Senate Republican Caucus a “clown car.”

Hopefully next Wednesday, they WILL be called “the MINORITY Republican Senate Caucus.”

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

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There Was A Day…

On May 19, 2012, in Candidates, by tommy

Back in the day, I was there when Giant’s Ridge Quarry Course opened (actually, on that same media day, so did The Wilderness; but that’s a different story).

And Tim “The Mullet” Pawlenty was there to speak.

And before we tee’d off; before the “Gentlemen, start your golf carts!” announcement, Tim got up to speak (before cutting the IRRRRRRRRRRRB ribbon): “So I’m on the way over here, and my aide goes: “Governor, you ready to play? Got your sticks? Shoes? Glove? Balls?”

Tim continues: “Listen, I’m a Republican that travelled willingly to the Range; I got plenty of balls!”

Don’t care who ya are; that’s a funny joke.

And: it doesn’t excuse Timmeh’s horrible record as Governor.

But: it does help explain why Timmeh won – TWICE. He’s personable, and he knows how to tell a joke.

DFL endorsed candidates should pay attention.

Well, the Party, on Plato, too.

So, watch out for Kurt Bills. He’s personable; the jury’s still out on if he can tell a joke. If he can, and with the Ron Paul Anointment, it may spell trouble…..

(cross posted at MnProgressivePeroject; comments welcome there)

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(OK, Strate wrote the post – and directed the YouTube! But hey – I’m in it, so I’m posting it, too!)

by: JeffStrate
Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 13:39:39 PM CDT

DFL Senate District 48, March 24th Convention video with the Junk Yard Democrats watching and reacting to Right Wing World Television. Plus DFL SD 48′s Senate and House endorsements. Eden Prairie and Minnetonka rock!

(direct link to YouTube)

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

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Saw the tweets from MPR’s @TomScheck (and if you’re not following Tom on Twitter, you should):

Here’s the lede and a snippet:

Former top Koch staffer raised concerns about her conduct months ago
by Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio,
Catharine Richert, Minnesota Public Radio
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Michel acknowledged that Sheehan’s comments contradict the comments he and three other senators made to reporters on Friday. At that time, Michel said the allegations about Koch’s behavior were first reported to them a few weeks ago. Michel said he wasn’t honest about the timeline in an attempt to protect Sheehan and other staffers.
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(more, and I suggest you read it here)

So, Michel only lied when he has to? Or, is it safe to say “Michel only lies when he has to”?

“Right” now, Michel is only the “Interim Senate Majority Leader.” Smart money should wager despite Michel’s role in this whole sordid affair, he’ll be endorsed for re-election in the Greed Over Principles Party anyway. Of course, if that happens, he might simply be the “Interim Senator from Edina.”

What Michel really is, is today’s example of what GOPer Michael Steele said back then: “you have absolutely no reason – none – to trust our words or actions at this point”.

True then, true now, and tomorrow won’t be any different. Nixon would be proud.

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

Zappadan commemorates the late composer/producer/musician Frank Zappa; it runs from December 4th – the day of Frank’s death in 1993 – through tomorrow, December 21st – the day of Frank’s birth in 1940. Zappadan is the blogger festival featuring all things Zappa. Frank took great delight in skewering hypocritical republiCons. Therefore, in his honor, today’s commemoration is the “Pew d’Etat” post! Recent hypocritical activities by certain members of Minnesota’s State Senate – GOPers, all of ‘em – have shown, once again, that the Party flying the “Family Values” flag believes in the sanctity of marriage (except when they don’t).

So today’s song choice, for the next to last day of Zappadan 2011, has to be “Dirty Love!” Now, Frank always had a “secret word” at his concerts, for fun and entertainment. With the sordid and scandalous behavior by drop trou GOPers at the Minnesota Senate, I picked this song cause there’s a secret word in it, too! Well, phrase, to be exact: “The poodle bites – c’mon Frenchy!” If what I’m hearing is correct, the significance of that “secret word” will become very apparent in just a pew, er, ‘scuse me, “few” days!

Which is why I added the “Pew d’Etat” to the title, there’s a new crew taking advantage and taking over the GOPer side o’ the aisle in the Minnesota State Senate! While past performance doesn’t guarantee future results, smart money is betting after their Pew d’Etate that it’ll just be SSDD….

Without any further ado – “Dirty Love!”

Frank Zappa tribute with ex-band members and many guests, recorded in November 1991 in New York City. Frank was too ill at this time, so he couldn´t attend.

Hope you enjoyed that; I’m sure Frank would be having a field day writing new songs based on the antics of Today’s GOP: Morally Bankrupt, Intellectually Dishonest, and Institutionally Corrupt.

***

Previous posts on MPP, referencing Frank Zappa:

“Zappadan 2011, Day 11″ by TPT on Wednesday December 14th

“Zappadan 2011, Day 6″ by TPT on Friday December 9th, 2011

“Zappadan 2011, Day 4″ by TPT on Wednesday December 7th, 2011

“Zappadan 2011, Day 2″ by TPT on Monday December 5th, 2011

“That’s right folks, don’t touch that dial!” by TPT on Saturday November 19th, 2011

“One Year Later – Who Opposes HCR? Or…a picture says a thousand words.” by TPT, Thursday March 24th, 2011

“Watermellon In Easter Hay – May 17th, 1988, Barcelona, Spain” by TPT, Friday August 21st, 2009

“Progressive Nation 2009 Concert Tour” by TPT, Wednesday June 17th, 2009

***
Where I get my Zappa music: The Electric Fetus

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject; comments welcome there)

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…”compromise is the DFL doing it OUR way.”

Rather than taking the time on the last day of the Easter Break to pay their overdue bills, Minnesota’s GOP “Leaders” took off on a fly around to eight cities yesterday – the “Cooked Books Tour.”

The goal was to sell their budget bills. Here’s how Big E, a couple o’ weeks ago, described the GOPer bills:

They have broken precedent and are using numbers created by business lobbyists and other states. The MMB and Dept of Revenue question the validity of their numbers.

Personally, I like the Twitter hashtag – #EnronAccounting – to describe the GOPer’s make (stuff) up numbers, but hey – that’s just me. So, while flying around the great state, did the GOPers leave any room for compromise between them and DFL Governor Mark Dayton? Let’s look!

First stop, Rochester. From the Post Bulletin, here’s the lede:

With less than a month until the legislative session deadline, GOP legislative leaders on Monday reiterated they will not consider tax increases as part of a final budget deal.

“There is a lot of room to compromise and we will compromise and we will cooperate with the governor. We’re just not going to compromise our principles and we’re not raising taxes. Minnesotans can’t afford it,” said Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo.

To recap: GOPers ran on not raising taxes, DFL Governor Mark Dayton ran on raising taxes on those paying less than their fair-share: the rich. It’s a matter of principle for both, and the GOP’s solution?

“Compromise is the DFL doing it OUR way.”

Next stop, Mankato. From The Free Press, here’s the lede:

MANKATO — During a stop in Mankato Monday, Republican leaders of the Minnesota House and Senate again vowed to oppose any of the state tax increases Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton is insisting be part of budget compromise.
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The legislative leaders were asked about a Minneapolis Star Tribune report on Sunday that backroom discussions at the Capitol showed some GOP willingness to consider possible revenue increases as part of a compromise budget, including closing tax loopholes that mostly benefit high-income Minnesotans. Dayton’s budget proposal focuses tax hikes on higher income tax brackets, based on the argument that wealthier Minnesotans are paying a lower percentage of their income in state and local taxes than middle-class residents.

“Don’t believe them,” Deputy Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel said. “Don’t believe the Star Tribune.”

Message from GOPers, at Mankato? Well, there’s TWO messages:

1 – “Compromise is the DFL doing it OUR way.”, and

2 – “Don’t believe the Star Tribune.”

Way to work the refs Geoff!

The fly around included Bemidji; from The Pioneer:

(GOPer Senator Amy) Koch said the business climate can’t improve until the state government gets the budget under control. With that accomplished, the economy will grow, she said.

“This is about so much more than making the books balance,” she said.

“…so much more than making the books balance.”??!?

Yeah, “right.” For the GOP, it’s about cookin’ the books, too.

From the St. Cloud Times:

Less than a month remains before May 23, the scheduled end to the 2011 legislative session that’s prescribed in Minnesota’s Constitution. Yet Republican legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton appear to be miles apart on how to dispatch the state’s deficit.

Republicans would balance the $5 billion deficit primarily with spending cuts, and by delaying repayment of a funding shift to school districts.

Dayton’s budget proposal also would delay repayment of the school-district shift, and would cut projected spending by an additional $300 million in the next two years.

But the Dayton plan also would generate about $3.3 billion in new state revenues, by hiking income taxes on the state’s highest earners and imposing new fees and surcharges on health care providers and individuals.

In an interview after Monday’s event, (St Cloud GOP State Senator John) Pederson expressed optimism that legislators and Dayton can find common ground.

“There probably is some room for compromise, if we can stay away from the tax increases,” Pederson said.

Once again, the GOP position is clear: “compromise is the DFL doing it OUR way.”

From the Alexandria Echo Press:

Published April 22, 2011, 12:00 AM

GOP leaders to stop in Alexandria Monday
Minnesota Senate and House GOP leaders will be doing a statewide fly-around on Monday, April 25. They will be arriving at the Alexandria Airport around 4:40 p.m.

Oops! The GOPer’s Cooked Books Tour couldn’t even get coverage; it seems one paper had the good sense to ignore the BS the GOP is spewing.

Here’s what the Duluth News Tribune had to say:

Published April 25, 2011, 08:57 AM
Minnesota GOP legislative leaders to tour Duluth, state
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and House Speaker Kurt Zellers start this morning in St. Paul before making stops in Rochester, Mankato, St. Cloud, Moorhead, Bemidji, Alexandria and Duluth.”

Oops, AGAIN!!!

From Fargo-Moorhead Forum:

MOORHEAD – Minnesota Re publican legislative leaders made a stop here Monday to promote their party’s plan for battling the state’s budget deficit.

“We say: ‘What’s in our checkbook is what we have to spend,’ ’’ said Sen. Majority Leader Amy Koch of Buffalo.

Three points – as noted here, GOPers were quite comfortable ordering recount copying services when they didn’t have the “money in the checkbook” to pay for it, and “what’s in the checkbook is what there is to spend” is obviously a concept unfamiliar to squawk-talker and reliable GOPer bootlicker Mitch Berg; and once again, GOPer Senator Amy Koch paints her party into a corner with no negotiating room, unless:

“compromise is the DFL doing it OUR way.”

Get ready for the GOPers to shut this state down, folks – in GOPer world, there is no compromise.

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

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Wednesday’s Strib had a story about financial problems in some K-12 school districts here on the frozen tundra; “Elk River looks for more school aid”. In it, was this:

Elk River schools officials are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to pry some more funding out of the Legislature.

Two bills have been introduced this session that would help offset the heavy amount of debt the district took on for major school construction and renovation that has occurred since 2001.

In other words, they’re looking for a bail out. Yes, a bail out.

The Cucking Stool took a closer look at who wrote those bills and wrote about it yesterday: Koch and Kiff: “cuts for thee, but not for me”. The bottom lines, there?

Operational starvation comes to Elk River schools as well as, say, Minneapolis schools, on the per pupil formula, but we’ll figure out a way to help the schools in Koch and Kiffmeyer’s districts – and Pat Garafalo’s, too, incidentally – but certainly not in Minneapolis.

Republican legislative leaders obviously recognize the inadequacy of education funding, but seem only willing to address it in weasely ways for favored districts. Disgusting.

Indeed.

Why might the Elk River school District be looking for that bailout now? Well, let’s take a look back in time:

Elk River likely to hold school levy vote in November

By NORMAN DRAPER
west today, Star Tribune
Last update: June 23, 2010

The district has had a mixed record in getting voters to approve levy and bond requests.

Voters turned down a $133 million bonding request three years ago to build a new high school and new K-8 school, among other things. They also rejected one $5.1-million-a-year levy request since Bezek started four years ago.

A year and a half ago, voters approved renewal of an expiring levy that provides $1.6 million a year.

In the past 15 years, the fast-growing Elk River district has held eight bond referendums to raise money for school construction and renovation. Three of those passed. In the same time span, the district posed 11 levy questions to voters, and won approval on six.

So, how did that levy request last November turn out?

New $3 million-a-year operating levy for 10 years to reduce the need for future budget cuts. Estimated tax impact on home with $150,000 assessed value: $74 a year.

Yes – 8,197 (33%)
No – 16,279 (67%)
(StarTribune.com)

To recap: as of June 2010, over a 15 year time span, local residents voted town 5 of 8 bond referendums and 5 of 11 property tax levy referendums; they voted – overwhelmingly – last November to turn down another property tax levy.

So now comes along Amy Koch and Mary Kiffmeyer riding to the rescue, asking the State’s Taxpayers to pay for what the Local Taxpayers won’t??!?

This stuff cannot be made up.

Nothing should be surprising coming from Kiffmeyer. Kiffmeyer, Gentle Readers, belongs to the GOP , which is always claiming “government should be run like a business.” And how did Kiffmeyer run one o’ her businesses, Riverview Community Bank in Otsego (a/k/a, “The bank that God built”) where that picture to the right (“Jesus At The Closing Table”) once adorned a wall?

“Into the ground” might be one description:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2009

Riverview Community Bank, Otsego, Minnesota, was closed today by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Central Bank, Stillwater, Minnesota, to assume all of the deposits of Riverview Community Bank. (FDIC.gov)

Now, I’m writing that Kiffmeyer owned Riverside Community Bank, but that’s only because Kiffmeyer reported to the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board that she was the owner; in a letter to the editor Kiffmeyer also claimed she wasn’t the owner (see “Was Mary Kiffmeyer Lying Then, Or Is She Lying Now?”).

And this little side trip of looking back at Kiffmeyer talking out of both sides of her mouth (“I owned it/no, I didn’t own it”) in conjunction with Koch and Kiffmeyer’s bailout bills is just another pathetic example of You Couldn’t Trust The GOP Then, You Still Can’t, And Tomorrow Won’t Be Any Different.

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

Incredible. At the same time Norm Coleman played the “gracious concession” act, the State Republican Party showed their true colors with their official press release:

St. Paul- Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman-elect Tony Sutton today issued the following statement regarding the Minnesota Supreme Court’s ruling in the U.S. Senate race.

“Today’s ruling wrongly disenfranchised thousands of Minnesotans who deserve to have their votes counted. Alongside Senator Coleman, the Republican Party of Minnesota has fought to make sure every vote counts and all voters are treated fairly and uniformly. As we move forward, our deeply flawed election system must be dramatically improved to ensure our state’s elections are fair, accurate and reliable.” (Republican Party of Minnesota)

In other words, “Norm wuz robbed.”

Classless.

That’s the way the state GOP Party was under former Chairman Ron Carey; that’s the way it will remain under new Chairman Tony Sutton.

(crossposted from MnProgressiveProject)