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)

On Journalism

On May 27, 2012, in Videos, War, by tommy

Here at MPP, Regular Readers recognize that on occasion we’ve been critical of reporting/reporters – but only for the old-fashioned reason: it’s been earned.

When the Strib took Reporter Mark Brunswick off of politics and assigned him to work on Veterans stories, I was a little worried. I wondered if they’d allocate the time and resources needed to do the job. IMNSHO, I’m here to say those worries were unfounded.

Today the Star Tribune has what I consider a really Really REALLY solid piece of journalism on the front page. It’s a story by Mark Brunswick about the four day trip home from Afghanistan for Members of Minnesota’s Air National Guard.

As it’s Memorial Day Weekend, I consider this story a “must read” — and the video on the Strib webpage a “must watch.”

Here’s the link to today’s story: “Minn. Air Guard: From war to home in four days”

Here’s the link to the Strib containing the series of stories: “Marching Home: An occasional series”

Some may have seen what I’ve posted on facebook with links to the Strib story:

“All gave some; some gave all.” Who wrote it is unknown but it’s true. Tomorrow on Memorial Day we honor the latter. Today in the Star Tribune is a great story about the former.

I wish everyone a happy and safe Memorial Day to honor the some that gave all.

And I’ll give the Strib a shout-out for some outstanding journalism.

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject; comments welcome there)

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Last Sunday, after reading noted GOPer apologist Jason Lewis’ latest rant in the Star Tribune, I posted “Who Is The Whiny 9 Year Old Here?” In it, I wrote: “I’d fact-check Jason, but what’s the point? It’s not like pointing out (once again) that Reagan said “facts are stupid things” and GOPers live it will really change their deceitful ways.”

Well, yesterday – over at MinnPost – Eric Black took a look at Lewis’ rant, too – in a post entitled “Jason Lewis’ wrong and exaggerated arguments about freedom”. And it’s well worth the read — so go read it! Here’s a teaser:

Everything the right likes can be phrased as a form of “freedom,” as in freedom of the rich from paying higher taxes, freedom of corporations from government regulation, freedom to pollute, freedom of those with almost unlimited resources to use those resources to influence elections, freedom of the wealthiest 1 percent to accumulate any damn portion of the society’s wealth and income without shame, freedom to overthrow foreign governments (but only in order to bring freedom to the oppressed of those nations) and a few other important freedoms that you can think of on your own.
(more, here)

One area Eric Black pokes a big hole in Lewis’ rant is the wingnut right’s fixation on “the Founders” and their alleged anti-tax views. Again, Reagan said “Facts are stupid things” and wingnuts like Lewis prove it on a regular basis. That’s why I stuck that picture of ol’ Ben Franklin and that quote up there – ripping “money manipulators”. OK, that quote was probably misattributed to ol’ Ben. Be that as it may, Ben was a wise man indeed and – IMNSHO – would be standing with today’s Occupy Wall Street protestors; protesting today’s dishonest monetary system.

Eric blows a hole in Lewis’ misuse of Federalist #21. I like the following quote from the second paragraph of Federalist #2:

“Nothing is more certain than the indispensable necessity of government, and it is equally undeniable, that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers.” — Publius (John Jay), October 31st, 1787

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Only a fool would believe what GOPers say – and what their apologists, like Jason Lewis and Katherine Kersten, write.

Noted GOPer apologist Jason Lewis is simply an example of: “You Couldn’t Trust The GOP Then, You Still Can’t Now, And Tomorrow Won’t Be Any Different.”

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

A while ago, then-GOP National Chair Michael Steele said – and this is an exact quote: “You have absolutely no reason – none – to trust our words or our actions at this point.”

In today’s Star Tribune, noted GOPer apologist Jason Lewis demonstrates this continues to be true. I’d fact-check Jason, but what’s the point? It’s not like pointing out (one again) that Reagan said “facts are stupid things” and GOPers live it will really change their deceitful ways. No, today Jason whipped out something that needs to simply be mocked, ridiculed and scorned: Jason calling the pot black. Here’s what he wrote:

“The glorified mob, from Athens to New York, is threatening social instability if it doesn’t get what it wants (as Chris Christie once pointed out, this trait is also quite prevalent among 9-year-olds), but it will bring about only the economic chaos it pretends to oppose.” (emphasis added)

Earth to Jason; earth to Jason! Republicans gave Wall Street Banksters everything – EVERYTHING – they wanted, and the results is not only the economic chaos we are still in, but driving the world’s economic system to the brink of meltdown.

When reading Lewis, and Kersten too, it’s pretty easy to tell who are the whiny 9 year olds demanding everything they want – it’s the less-regulation/no regulation, “my way or the highway” GOP.

Gentle Readers may recall GOPers – like the whiny, (mentally) 9 year old Lewis – ranting about their belief in “free markets” and “competition” and what wonderful things that “competition” will do for the economy. Well, remember those words while we take a look at the results of their deeds:

Only a fool would believe what GOPers say – and what their apologists, like Jason Lewis and Katherine Kersten, write.

Jason Lewis is simply today’s example of: “You Couldn’t Trust The GOP Then, You Still Can’t Now, And Tomorrow Won’t Be Any Different.”

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

I often say that today’s GOP Party is morally bankrupt, intellectually dishonest, and institutionally corrupt. All three are self-evident; for “morally bankrupt” (for starters) consider GOPers Mark “Is There A Page In The House?” Foely, “Diaper” David Vitter, and John “She’s My Best Friend’s Wife” Ensign. Remember, that’s just for starters, and keep in mind how many other GOPers covered for those miscreants.

For a few examples of the intellectually dishonest GOPers in today’s GreedOverPrinciples Party, look no further than Minnesota’s Tim “Any Way The Wind Blows” Pawlenty and Michele “Passing Out Pork Is A Happy Day” Bachmann, let alone the current crop of anti-intellectuals running for President, with the possible and notable exception of Jon Huntsman.

Today’s Example of the GOP Party’s institutionalized corruption goes back several years here in Minnesota; it was brought to light in a June 2007 story in the Star Tribune: “Internal complaints roil state GOP office”

Here’s the lede:

Staff members who asked the leadership to address questions of how money was used say they were ignored or faced retaliation.

The Strib story was brought to light by folk that worked for the Minnesota GOP.

Let me say that again – the Strib story was brought to light by folk that worked for the Minnesota GOP!!!

The Strib just reported the Federal Elections Commission Settlement in the case (brought to their attention by the good folks at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington):

“Minnesota Republican Party to pay $170K fine for federal campaign finance violations”

So, what was the Minnesota GOP “leadership” response to getting whacked with a $170,000 fine? Remember, today’s GOP Party Chair – FEC Tony Sutton – was the then Party Treasurer….

Well, Spot MNObserver over at The Cucking Stool handled THAT one, earlier today – let’s look!!!

“A deal he couldn’t refuse”

By now, most have heard about the final resolution of the Republican Party of Minnesota’s numerous violations of federal election law that took place when its current chair, Tony Sutton, was holding down the fort as treasurer. We’ve highlighted this ongoing investigation here, here, here, and here. In a Conciliation Agreement with the Federal Election Commission, available as a pdf from the MPR website, the Party admitted to the violations and agreed to pay a fine of $170,000.
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A simple mea culpa might be expected from a more thoughtful organization, but we’re dealing with Tony Sutton here. So of course we get the unsurprising bellyaching we’ve grown to expect from Mr. Sutton. In a press release issued to address the issue (also available from MPR), no blame is accepted and all manner of excuses offered.

First, he claims that the complaint was filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a “liberal organization,” implying that – heck, I don’t know – that the financial mess didn’t exist because some liberal organization pointed it out? Calling those who disagree with him names is nothing new to Mr.Sutton, so this is to be expected. Then, Chairman Sutton insists that the party has “proactively made changes to its FEC accounting and reporting processes.” Not so fast, Mr. Sutton. In the agreement, the FEC specifically found (Par. 17) that the “proactive” steps taken “did not disclose all previously undisclosed debt.” Nice try, but no dice.

Then of course, there’s the excuse that “this is complicated stuff!” as if that excused one from following federal law. Withholding money from employees’ paychecks and not depositing the funds where they belong isn’t complicated, Mr. Sutton. Recording your debts – especially if they amount to over half a million bucks – isn’t complicated either. Ask any bookkeeper – such things happen all the time in the mysterious world of accrual accounting.
(there’s more…)

Spot MNObserver nailed that one – FEC Tony crying “Me-a NOT-a Culpa!

This needs to be pointed out over and Over and OVER – FEC Tony blaming anyone and everyone for his financial misconduct.

You see, this isn’t the first time FEC Tony dodges blame – does everyone remember how his deadbeat GOP stiffed Minnesota counties over the 2010 Recount??!?

One person Sutton didn’t slime when good and decent Republicans questioned their party’s “stewardship” by party leaders such as republiCon Ron Carey and FEC Tony Sutton was an officer and a gentlemen that is in Snopes.com because the story is actually true – LTC (ret) Joe Repya. I wrote about this back in May of 2008, in a blogpost entitled “Enemies Of The Party”. I’d guess the reason Sutton didn’t slime Col. Repya is his boss, republiCon Ron Carey, did. Here’s what republiCon Ron sent to the party gullible “faithful” on July 25th, 2007:

“When we ought to be working to unite our Party and win Minnesota in 2008, Joe Repya has apparently decided to further attempt to divide us by sending a letter with inaccurate information and over-the-top attacks.”

Seems that with the news of the Mn GreedOverPrinciples Party’s settlement, FEC Tony has a few apologies to hand out.

But since his Mea Culpa came out as he intended – Me-a NOT-a Culpa – I’d guess Col. Repya ought not be waiting by the phone, expecting FEC Tony’s call.

In an honest organization, FEC Tony would have been sacked, years ago. Instead, he’s rewarded for the errors of his way – which just goes to show the latter of what I often say: today’s GOP Party is morally bankrupt, intellectually dishonest, and institutionally corrupt.

(crossposted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

Starting out her column today (entitled “In Wisconsin, mob rule and intimidation”), Kersten compares unions (and supporters of unions) to “Nazi brownshirts.” Way to stay classy, Katy!

Katy quotes a couple o’ TV reports in her column; one of ‘em is Green Bay’s Faux Noise “Fox News” WLUK-TV. No point fiskin’ that; as discussed here, what’s the point?

Katy also quoted a story from Milwaukee’s WTMJ-TV – a NBC affiliate. Here’s what Katy cherrypicked from it:

“Meanwhile, hordes of protesters surged into the Capitol, muscling past police, kicking in doors, damaging windows and shouting “This is democracy looks like!” and “Whose house? Our house!”

Here’s what the story said, but Katy isn’t interested in “facts” – she’s interested in wingnut demagoguery:

Police held their positions at the Capitol for a time after the vote, but more and more protesters found a way in. Police believe some climbed through windows, Donovan said. He initially said protesters broke windows and door handles, but later backed off that statement, saying he wasn’t sure that was true. (emphasis added)

Cop says he isn’t sure reports of broken windows and (as Katy claims )-”kick(ed) in doors” are true; Katy uses story as source and claims it IS true.

Katy uses a source – Milwaukee’s WTMJ-TV – to make a claim, when the source clearly demonstrate Katy is simply makin’ (stuff) up.

Katy should be ashamed, but – as she has clearly demonstrated here and Here and Here and HERE and…. well, I could go on and On and ON….

Kersten has no shame.

That’s why Katy Kersen is today’s example of why reasonable people cannot reasonably believe anything a GOPer says.

Katy is also 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)

Did The Twinks Just Kill A Vikings Stadium Deal?

On February 17, 2011, in Sports, by tommy

Went out during this heatwave to pick up the dead-tree copy o’ my Strib (yes, I recently re-subscribed; the Strib has been getting better despite the occasional water-carrying by Kevin Diaz) and read this, on the front page:

Twins OK exclusive cable deal with FS North

Viewers who don’t have cable or satellite will be able to watch only eight scheduled games.

By NEAL JUSTIN, Star Tribune
Last update: February 17, 2011 – 6:57 AM

About that “Viewers that don’t have cable…” deal? Further into the story:

Add in cable subscribers who only pay for the basic tier, which FSN is not part of, and you’ve got a lot of fans crying foul.

Yep! Yours truly (and my fixed-income, senior-citizen mother) are included in that group o’ fans. Why?

Because, as residents of Hennepin County, we have/are/and will continue to pony up taxpayer dough for that fancy new palace where the Twinks play.

And now we’re going to have to pay more to watch the Twinks on TV (we only have basic cable) in a stadium we already have/are/will continue to pay for?

At the same time the Twinks decided to screw them that bought ‘em a dance floor, the Vikings are “negotiating” with Ramsey County for a new palace.

Say, Wilf? Thanks to what the Twinks just did, good luck with that.

(cross posted to MnProgressiveProject; comments welcome there)

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That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the beginning of a line in a June 3rd, 2007 story by Dan Browning and Pat Doyle of the Star Tribune. That story may be a key in explaining why the unDynamic Duo of Ron Carey and Tony Sutton had to amend and re-amend and sometimes even re-amend the re-amended FEC (Federal Election Commission) Reports. Here’s a key excerpts from Dan Browning and Pat Doyle’s June 3rd, 2007 story:

A key element of Tostenson’s memo deals with his accusation that the party appears to have violated federal law by repeatedly delaying the deposit of employee payroll contributions into their retirement accounts. He said the “misappropriation” helped cover party expenses before the money was deposited.

“As reported on our payables at the state executive meetings last summer there was as much as $12,000 not deposited at any one time,” he wrote. “This represented months of paycheck withholdings by the Party which had not been deposited within the 30-day legally required time limit.”

The party offers Simple Individual Retirement Accounts for some employees. Federal law requires that money deducted from employees’ checks for those accounts be deposited as soon as possible, and in no case later than 30 days after the month when it was withheld.

In cases of tardy deposits, employers may be required to make the plan whole by paying back any lost investment earnings. If they had mixed the employees’ retirement money with general operating funds they could be required to pay an excise tax.

Party records show that money was withheld for employee retirement plans from September 2005 through May 2006, but Federal Election Commission (FEC) records reflect no deposits into the accounts during that period. In June 2006, the party made two makeup payments totaling $12,243 into the accounts.

The delay in depositing the money could have benefitted the party by giving it temporary access to the employees’ funds.

Carey didn’t explain why the retirement money wasn’t deposited promptly.

“There seemed to be some gray areas as to what was the requirement,” Carey said. Asked to explain the gray areas, he said, “I really would prefer not to get into the weeds on something like that. (StarTribune.com)

“gray areas”??!? “…get into the weeds…”??!?

Yeah, “right.”

Supposedly, the newly-elected Chairman of the State GOP – Tony Sutton – is holding an overview of 2010 election today at 1:30 at GOP HQ; I’d bet they don’t get “into the weeds” on just how much GOP mismanagement – when Sutton was GOPer Treasurer – is going to figure into 2010.