In Part 1, we looked at how FEC Tony Sutton’s (pictured, right) MN GOP couldn’t (wouldn’t?) accurately report to the FEC how much they owed a vendor they hired to ensure accurate FEC reports. In Part 2, we noted there are now 2 citizen watchdog groups looking into the MN GOP’s Cooked Books — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – which nailed ‘em last time (the MN GOP got smacked with a near-record $170,000 fine), and Common Cause MN. In Part 3, we looked at how a payroll deductions “no, NO!” that got the MN GOP in trouble last time seems to be a pattern. In Part 4 we looked at the MN GOP using a strange address for one of it’s fundraisers.

In Part 5 we looked at at the official FEC Complaint – filed 12 Jan 2012 – by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”). In Part 6 we looked at the MN GOP misrepresenting their expenses. In Part & we looked at how the MN GOP categorized pay for a guy that they very well may have been paying to run for state senate – Lakeville’s Dave Thompson in SD-36.

Today in Part 8 of the continuing Cooked Books Series we’re going to take a look at a MN GOP Campaign Finance Report line item that begs the question: did the State GOP pay for a lawyer for a State Representative’s lawyer in a drunk driving case?

Here’s the background: endorsed GOPer 2010 candidate for Governor Tom Emmer’s campaign was getting hammered over alcohol related incidents, including a certain paid campaign staffer that happened to be Emmer’s kid. The campaign did NOT need any more alocohol-related incidents. Apparently, campaign “consultant” Mark Buesgens, state rep from district 35-B, didn’t get the memo – he got caught driving drunk with an open bottle of vodka.

Team Emmer’s Drinking Team promptly dumped Buesgens. Note the “note” at the bottom of the last entry: “final payment.”


(link to image here)

Now, the “official story” put out by Team Emmer’s Drinking Team was: “Hey! It’s just a coincidence, but: just the day before Buesgens got caught driving drunk into the ditch, we ditched him and he went to work for the State GOP!!!”

Yeah, “right.”

Let’s take a look at the timeline, as reported on Buesgen’s court records:

(link to image here)

September 18th, 2010 – Busgens gets caught in a ditch with an open bottle of vodka; blows a .16 blood-alcohol content.

September 24th, 2010 – Buesgens cited in Wright County

November 5th, 2010 – Guilty plea entered, case all but settled (final disposition November 23rd, 2010.

Now, remember how in the scramble to distance themselves from the guy in the ditch (with an open bottle of vodka), Team Emmer’s Drinking Team said “Hey! Buesgen’s isn’t OUR bad boy; he’s the GOP’s!!!”

Well, Buesgens does indeed show up on the State GOP’s state Campaign Finance Report for 2010:

Five days after blowing a .16, Buesgens has the good fortune of getting a check from the State GOP for $2,584.62.

Five days before his drunk driving & open bottle case is all but over, Buesgens pulls another check from FEC Tony & Co for $8, 615.38 — for a grand total of eleven grand: $11,000.00.

Coincidences? Or, do those checks look like “retainer & final payment” to defend a drunk driving & open bottle case?

At any rate, it sure looks like a sweet deal for Buesgens; he goes from about $7k a month with Emmer to $11k with the GOP!!!

I’d ask the State GOP for an explanation of why Buesgen’s $11k paydays – in about a month – was for actual work, and not just a pass-through to Buesgen’s lawyer, but: it’s not like they really like to talk to the ol’ TwoPutter. Not that I – or anyone else for that matter – would/should believe ‘em; after all: reasonable people no longer have any reason to believe anything a GOPer official – party nor elected – has to say.

The State GOP needs to prove that the $11k Buesgens got was for actual work – because it sure looks like it simply paid a defense attorney for the actual work of defending one of their own.

If I were a GOPer, I’d be mad as (heck) to think my political donations went to a defense attorney for a guy that drove drunk into the ditch with an open bottle of vodka.

As a progressive, I’m simply not surprised. After all, today’s GOP is morally bankrupt, intellectually dishonest, and institutionally corrupt.

There’s a LOT more, in the GOP’s state and federal financial reports so:

Stay tuned!

And, let’s hope some prosecutor, somewhere, is thinking: “Isn’t it about time to get a Grand Jury together, and do a little digging ourselves?”

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

In Part 1, we looked at how FEC Tony Sutton’s (pictured, right) MN GOP couldn’t (wouldn’t?) accurately report to the FEC how much they owed a vendor they hired to ensure accurate FEC reports. In Part 2, we noted there are now 2 citizen watchdog groups looking into the MN GOP’s Cooked Books — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – which nailed ‘em last time (the MN GOP got smacked with a near-record $170,000 fine), and Common Cause MN. In Part 3, we looked at how a payroll deductions “no, NO!” that got the MN GOP in trouble last time seems to be a pattern. In Part 4 we looked at the MN GOP using a strange address for one of it’s fundraisers. In Part 5 we looked at at the official FEC Complaint – filed 12 Jan 2012 – by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”). In Part 6 we looked at the MN GOP misrepresenting their expenses.

Today in Part 7 of the continuing Cooked Books Series we’re going to take a look at how the MN GOP categorized pay for a guy that they very well may have been paying to run for state senate – Lakeville’s Dave Thompson in SD-36.

Long story, short: for over 7 years, Thompson was a RWNJ Shock-Jock on AM radio in the Twin Cities. Looking for a better gig, he decided to run in 2009 against FEC Tony (pictured above) for state GOP Party Chair. Thompson lost; as best as I remember it, it really came down to this: Thompson wanted the $100k (+/-) that came with the job; ol’ FEC Tony would do the gig for free. Why would FEC Tony do the gig for free? That, gentle readers, is a story for a later day! At any rate, FEC Tony beats Thmpson for party Chair. Here’s where it gets interesting….

According to media reports, shortly after winning, FEC Tony & Dave Thompson agreed to a contract wherein Thompson would do consulting for GOP candidates. All told, the number being reported is Thompson has taken home a cool $70k.

Here’s the kicker: that $70k being reported, is being reported as coming from FEC reports. Because, the MN GOP hasn’t reported any dough being sent Thompson’s way on their State Campaign Finance Reports.

Which means for the MN GOP to NOT have any more FEC problems than they already have, ALL of the dough better have been spent for Thompson “consulting” for Federal Candidates only.

Stay tuned!

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

Here’s where we’re at: The GOPer controlled Minnesota Legislature refused to send DFL Governor Mark Dayton a budget Dayton could/would sign. The session ended at Midnight on Monday, May 23rd. The Press asked the Governor what was the wrench in the gears of government, holding up a deal. The Governor pointed at all the newbie, Freshmen GOPer Legislators; he called them (correctly, IMNSHO) “right wing extremists.”

Here’s what Minnesota Public Radio reported on Wednesday, 5-25:

Throughout the five months of the legislative session, Dayton aimed most of his criticism at GOP legislative leaders. But in recent days, he’s been critical of the roughly 50 new members of the Legislature.

He blamed what he called “an extremist right-wing group” of Republican legislators for refusing to move off their position that the state should spend $34 billion over the next two years and not a penny more.

“First it’s $34 billion, then they prefer $32 billion, and then $31 billion,” Dayton said. “They don’t even know what those numbers mean. They never developed a budget for 32 or 31. All they know is the number 31 is less than 32. And that makes it a good idea because they’re just anti-government.”

Again, IMNSHO, Gov Dayton is correct; those GOPers don’t seem to have a clue about the history of that $31/$32/$34 Billion they keep talking about. And many of those thin-skinned – when the barbs are pointed THEIR direction – Freshman went ballistic about being called “extremist.” Some of ‘em held a presser and everything! At it, GOPer Sen Ted Lillie claimed “We’re not being extreme. We’re being mainstream.” “Mainstream”? Yeah, “right.” Others, such as Sean Nienow, took to twitter:

So, I responded:

So far, GOPer Rep. Nienow has declined to say what he considers himself.

So I figured we should have a poll!

Now for some background – from the May 13th Politics In Minnesota:

By last Monday, posters had begun popping up on Republican legislators’ office doors depicting an overflowing bag of cash with “$34 billion” stenciled on the front and the legend “Not a Penny More” inscribed above. Many of the members who have hung the signs are new to the Capitol, including freshman Assistant Majority Leader Kurt Daudt as well as Reps. Mary Franson and Doug Wardlow.

The Rochester PostBulletin’s Heather Carlson has a photo of that “Not A Penny More” sack, to the right, in a story about a visit to a Freshman GOPer Legislator. Carlson reports:

Recently stopped by Rochester Rep. Mike Benson’s office and couldn’t help but notice the big poster on his door declaring “Not a penny more.” So what’s the story behind the poster?

Benson said a group of 34 GOP House members have joined the Not a Penny More Caucus pledging that they will not approve any budget solution that would go beyond $34 billion. That’s the figure House and Senate Republicans’ budgets are based on, which relies on no new tax increases to balance the state’s projected $5 billion budget deficit.

Bottom line? There is no doubt that the 50 or so newbie, GOPer Freshmen Legislators have influence. There is no doubt those Freshmen Fifty are against a budget compromise – newbie GOPers didn’t get endorsed by the GOPer Faithful to go on the November 2010 ballot by running on a “work together and compromise” platform. There is no doubt they don’t like that “right wing extremist” label.

So what are they? Now is where you, Gentle Reader, step in – vote!

Final results in a couple of days…..

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Cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; votes and/or comments welcome there.