Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

Recently, I’ve written about a corrupt government agency that’s titled the IRRRB, aka the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board. In this post, I wrote about something that the IRRRB funded:

It was a company with direct ties and allegiance to the Democratic Party. After Republican President Richard Nixon’s resignation over the Watergate scandal the business created an “innovative small donor fundraising program called the Dollars for Democrats program,” according to the Meyer Teleservices website.

This afternoon, I wrote this post to talk about how the IRRRB resurrected that program with a little twist:

EVELETH, Minn.— Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) Commissioner Tony Sertich today announced that New Partners Consultants, Inc. will operate a call center for its customers at Progress Park in Eveleth. The company is finalizing plans to lease the space that formerly housed Meyer Associates, Inc. New Partners will utilize some equipment from the Meyer operation, which is currently under IRRRB’s ownership.

The Minnesota offices of Dollars for Democrats went bankrupt a few weeks ago, leaving Minnesota taxpayers on the hook for $650,000 in unpaid loans from the IRRRB. What’s disgusting beyond the stupidity of making $650,000 worth of loans to a company on the verge of bankruptcy is that taxpayers were paying for a political operation.

That shouldn’t happen. Ever. Still, it’s happened twice in the past couple months. Government, whether it’s state or federal government, shouldn’t make loans or give grants to political operations. Period. If a political party wants to open a call center or coordination center, they should do it with their own money. Taxpayers shouldn’t finance political operations.

Here’s the IRRRB’s mission statement:

Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) is a State of Minnesota development agency located in Eveleth, Minnesota. IRRRB’s mission is to promote and invest in business, community and workforce development for the betterment of northeastern Minnesota.

IRRRB provides vital funding, including low or no interest loans, grants and loan guarantees for businesses relocating or expanding in the region. Additionally, a variety of grants are available to local units of government, education institutions, and nonprofits that promote workforce development and sustainable communities.

How can the IRRRB or New Partners say that getting equipment from a bankrupt company is investing businesses, communities or workforce development?

Another thing that’s disgusting is New Partners is an operation for national Democrats. Here’s part of New Partners’ leadership team:

Paul Tewes
In 2007, Paul began the Obama for America campaign as State Director for the Iowa caucuses. For nearly a year, Paul and his team built the largest grassroots organization in caucus history. The year culminated with an Obama win in January 2008, a win that launched his historical campaign. Paul was also instrumental in putting together the blueprint for President Obama’s organizational efforts in the General Election.

Tom McMahon
From 2005-2009, McMahon served as Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). There he was one of the principal architects of the ground-breaking “50 state strategy” that transformed and modernized the Democratic Party resulting in historic electoral gains in both 2006 and 2008 at the state, local and federal levels and laying the groundwork for President Obama’s historic win in 2008.

Cara Morris Stern
From 2000-2004, Cara served as a spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. During her tenure at the DSCC, Cara worked with national political reporters to help frame the nation’s most visible and competitive Senate campaigns as well as develop message for donor communications.

The IRRRB, led by former DFL House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, just provided seed money and equipment to a political organization whose goal is to elect Democrats. Minnesota taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for any political operation from any political party. Period.

That’s before talking about whether the business model makes sense. (It doesn’t.) This is what politically motivated crony capitalism looks like. Inevitably, crony capitalism is corrupt, which this operation certainly is.

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The Iron Range branch office of the DFL, aka the IRRRB, just announced that it’s spending taxpayers’ money on a bankrupt business venture:

EVELETH, Minn.— Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) Commissioner Tony Sertich today announced that New Partners Consultants, Inc. will operate a call center for its customers at Progress Park in Eveleth. The company is finalizing plans to lease the space that formerly housed Meyer Associates, Inc. New Partners will utilize some equipment from the Meyer operation, which is currently under IRRRB’s ownership. Staffing will begin as soon as all agreements are in place, possibly as early as next week.

“We are pleased to have played a role in facilitating the reopening of the center,” said Sertich. “This project will result in new job opportunities, particularly for those displaced by the Meyer closing.”

Sertich recognized Gilbert native Jerry Samargia of New Partners, stating, “I am thankful to Jerry for investing in the center and the people of the Iron Range.”

He also praised Virginia Eveleth Economic Development Authority representatives and Gary Owen, former owner of Meyer, for putting a deal together in such a short time.

New Partners isn’t well-known. I think it’s time it got some notoriety. Here’s what New Partners is in their own words:

New Partners is more than just a new firm with new people and new ideas. We also represent a new way of doing business. Whether the goal is to win an election, affect reputation, organize an advocacy campaign, raise money, or build a movement, our extensive expertise and groundbreaking strategies will get results.

We are all operating in a new environment based on a fundamental shift in how we organize, how we communicate and how we advocate. From the campaign that defeated President Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security, and implementing Governor Howard Dean’s landmark 50 State Strategy, to spearheading an innovative and successful development effort for the One Campaign, and the unprecedented Iowa caucus campaign that led to President Obama’s breakthrough victory, the team at New Partners has been at the epicenter of that shift.

What we have learned from our experience is that no two issues, organizations or campaigns are the same. Each requires a unique approach based on new ideas and new strategies that will lead to new results.

That means that the IRRRB is spending taxpayers’ money on a company committed to electing Democrats. The list of New Partners’ leadership reads like a who’s who from the Obama campaign.

If the Democratic Party want to put an organization together, that’s their right. It’s just that this type of operation shouldn’t be paid for by taxpayers. And there’s no question it’s being funded by taxpayers. That’s the IRRRB’s way. The IRRRB hasn’t met a project benefitting the Democratic Party that they didn’t like.

The DNC should finance this operation. Minnesota taxpayers shouldn’t finance it. Having taxpayers finance the DNC’s operations is the definition of crony capitalism meeting single party government. That’s the definition of corruption.

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The DFL must see the Bill of Rights, specifically the First Amendment, as utterly annoying. What other reason would the DFL have for pushing that’s already been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court? This language from HF1944 looks familiar:

Subdivision 1. Electioneering communication. (a) “Electioneering communication” means a communication distributed by television, radio, satellite, or cable broadcasting system; by means of printed material, signs, or billboards; or through the use of telephone communications that:
(1) refers to a clearly identified candidate;
(2) is made within:
(i) 30 days before a primary election or special primary election for the office sought by the candidate; or (ii) 60 days before a general election or special election for the office sought by the candidate; (3) is targeted to the relevant electorate; and (4) is made without the express or implied consent, authorization, or cooperation of, and not in concert with or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate or a candidate’s principal campaign committee or agent.
(b) If an electioneering communication clearly directs recipients to another communication, including a Web site, on-demand or streaming video, or similar communications, the electioneering communication consists of both the original electioneering communication and the communication to which recipients are directed and the cost of both must be included when determining if disclosure is required under this section.

McCain-Feingold, aka the BCRA, prohibited certain types of speech 30 days before a primary election and/or 60 days before the general election. Here’s the relevant part of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling:

The statute is underinclusive; it only protects a dissenting shareholder’s interests in certain media for 30 or 60 days before an election when such interests would be implicated in any media at any time.

Here’s another important part of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. the FEC:

Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy—it is the means to hold officials ac-countable to the people—political speech must prevail against lawsthat would suppress it by design or inadvertence. Laws burdening such speech are subject to strict scrutiny, which requires the Government to prove that the restriction “furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.”

Despite that clear ruling, the DFL insists on pushing a bill that includes provisions that the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled unconstitutional. It isn’t just that they’ve ruled these provisions unconstitutional, either. It’s that they said future legislation had to pass strict scrutiny, which is described like this:

subject to strict scrutiny, which requires the Government to prove that the restriction “furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.”

The DFL knows that this is an extra-high hurdle that they likely can’t overcome. What’s disturbing is that the DFL isn’t hesitating in writing legislation that violates people’s rights to participate in the political process.

This is the definition of shameful, too:

Question: Why do Democrats hate certain types of political speech?

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According to this article, Sen. Tom Bakk folded like a cheap suit the minute his bluff was called. All it took was for Gov. Dayton to finally show a little leadership:

Hobbling on crutches, Gov. Mark Dayton made his first public appearance at the Capitol in five weeks Tuesday to blast fellow DFLers in the Legislature for holding up tax cuts for Minnesotans while they squabble over whether to build a Senate office building.

The issue apparently was resolved about 90 minutes after Dayton’s verbal broadside when Senate Democratic-Farmer-Labor leaders announced they intend to pass the tax cuts the governor wants without any office building strings attached.
Debate on the Senate bill begins Wednesday morning in the Senate Tax Committee.

Dayton, who is recovering from hip surgery, said at a Capitol news conference Tuesday that he was “very, very, very disappointed” the DFL-controlled Legislature had not passed a tax bill.

Sen. Bakk’s announcement means the House Rules Committee can reject Bakk’s $90,000,000 office building and parking ramp project without hurting taxpayers. Sen. Bakk just folded like a cheap suit on his signature issue.

If Rep. Murphy and her committee approve Sen. Bakk’s project, it’ll be proof that they aren’t fit for governing because they don’t care about Minnesota taxpayers. They should have their gavels taken away with this November’s elections if they approve Bakk’s ill-advided project.

Predictably, Sen. Bakk insisted that he wasn’t playing hardball:

A short time later, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, defused the dispute by proclaiming the Senate Tax Committee would hold hearings on its tax cut bill Wednesday and Thursday morning and the full Senate likely would vote on the measure later Thursday. “The Senate building is not in the bill,” Bakk said.

The House passed its tax-cut bill March 6. Bakk said the Senate had always planned to pass its version by the end of March, after a review of the proposed changes. “There has been no delay,” he said.

Right. Governors frequently and publicly criticize leaders of their own party.

Sen. Bakk has been rolled on this. Now he doesn’t have any leverage to bargain with that’ll force the House to approve his office building and parking ramp project. The only other bill that the DFL wants to pass is the bill raising the minimum wage. Sen. Bakk doesn’t have any justification for holding that up. If he held the minimum wage bill hostage, he’d be ending his political career.

Playing hardball with that bill within an all-DFL legislature would end Sen. Bakk’s time as majority leader and end any hope he’d have of running for governor. The activists might draw and quarter him if he tried that. It wouldn’t be pretty.

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Hans Spakovsky’s post on the Heritage Foundation’s blog is a fantastic one-stop-shopping-center for what the IRS’s proposed rules mean:

On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee questioned IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. The Committee released an email it had obtained from inside the Treasury Department showing that back in 2012 when it appears that the IRS was in the middle of trying to prevent conservative organizations from being granted tax exempt status, the administration was already planning to draft new regulations restricting the political activity of the same organizations. The email was sent by Ruth Madrigal of the Office of Tax Policy at Treasury to Lois Lerner, the IRS official who refused to answer questions from Congress about the scandal by asserting her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

That June 14, 2012, email indicated that Madrigal and Lerner would be devising the new rules “off-plan,” which is federal government-speak meaning that their plan would not be published on the public schedule of the IRS. What is significant about this email is that it flatly contradicts prior assertions by the Obama administration that the proposed new regulations defining “candidate-related political activity” were planned only after the IRS scandal was made public in order to “clarify” the regulations. Instead, it appears the administration not only tried to delay and prevent conservative organizations from receiving their tax-exempt status prior to the 2012 election, but was also already planning new regulations that would stifle their political speech and potential criticism of the administration.

In short, the Obama administration intended to silence its critics while violating Americans’ constitutional rights. The Obama administration didn’t hesitate in crushing TEA Party organizations’ First Amendment rights.

If we had an attorney general that was interested in justice, Lois Lerner would’ve been prosecuted and convicted already. That’s because she lied to Congress about the IRS scandal was restricted to a couple rogue IRS agents in their Cincinnati office. That’s before finding out that she knew about the proposed new rules that would intentionally trample TEA Party organizations’ First Amendment rights.

What’s most important is that Chuck Schumer and Al Franken think it’s a good idea for the IRS to redouble their efforts of improperly investigating and harassing these TEA Party organizations.

This is just the continuation of the Democrats’ assault against the Citizens United ruling. That’s the ruling which said that it’s better to have more political speech. Democrats disagree, insisting that less political speech, especially that which happens close to an election or primary, is desirable.

When the Citizens United ruling took away the FEC’s ability to limit speech in 2010, the administration switched to Plan B. That meant the IRS would replace the FEC as the federal government’s agency in charge of limiting political speech. John Hinderaker’s post highlights what the Obama administration thinks of political speech. Here’s part of a speech Lois Lerner gave on the subject:

What happened last year was the Supreme Court–the law kept getting chipped away, chipped away, in the federal election arena. The Supreme Court dealt a huge blow, overturning a 100-year-old precedent that basically corporations couldn’t give directly to political campaigns. And everyone is up in arms because they don’t like it. The Federal Election Commission can’t do anything about it.

They want the IRS to fix the problem. The IRS laws are not set up to fix the problem: (c)(4)s can do straight political activity. They can go out and pay for an ad that says “Vote for Joe Blow.” That’s something they can do as long as their primary activity is their (c)(4) activity, which is social welfare.

Q: When did political speech become a problem to be fixed? A: When this administration took over. It’s been their habit to eliminate political speech that doesn’t sing from their hymnal.

The telling line in Ms. Lerner’s speech is “The IRS Laws aren’t set up to fix the problem: c4s can do straight political activity.” Corporations still can’t contribute to candidates’ campaigns. That shouldn’t mean they can’t spend money campaigning on issues important to them. If unions have the right to campaign on issues important to them, then corporations have the right to do the same.

This article does an excellent job explaining the IRS’s proposed new rules:

But under the proposed rules, which would remove a 501(c)(4)’s tax exemption if it engages in virtually any political activity, if they choose to do so collectively, rather than individually, the organization will be subject to income tax on the amount it collects. If an individual spends $1,000 on posters, he will get $1,000 worth; but if he donates $1,000 to the organization, it will have to pay $350 to the IRS and will be left with only $650 to purchase posters.

That’s the Obama administration’s ‘fix’ to the free speech ‘problem’.
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Thursday, Cleta Mitchell testified that the IRS scandal is real and that the investigation is a sham:

I wholeheartedly agree. During her testimony, Ms. Mitchell delivered this devastating information:

When Lois Lerner and President Obama accused line agents in Cincinnati of being responsible, ladies and gentlemen, that is a lie and I knew when Lois Lerner said that in May of 2010, when she admitted it was happening, after we knew it was happening — we knew we were being targeted — it’s just that she admitted it. But I knew it hadn’t happened in Cincinnati because the first time I became aware of this, another group I represent filed for tax exempt status in 2009. And besides cashing our check for our filing fee, we did not hear from the IRS again until June of 2010. And we didn’t hear from Cincinnati. We heard from Washington.

Ms. Mitchell was a one-woman Cat-4 hurricane yesterday. Unfortunately for Democrats, she wasn’t done with that refutation of the Democrats’ chanting points:

This group did one thing, one thing only. For all of the fall of 2009 until the spring of 2010, it lobbied against Obamacare, something that it is allowed to do 100% of the time. We did not get the tax exempt status for that organization until July of 2013.

Ms. Mitchell’s law firm is one of the top law firms in the nation. They didn’t get that reputation by being sloppy. Their record-keeping is meticulous. For the Democrats to insist that this is a sideshow and that the scandal is phony is belied by these documents. It’s real. It’s chilling political speech. That’s the Chicago Machine’s way.

The IRS is picking up where the FEC was told it couldn’t go in Citizens United v. the FEC. The IRS is using the FEC’s definitions in its rulemaking to stifle political speech.

Watch the entire video. It’s riveting TV. In fact, I’d recommend watching Catherine Engelbrecht’s opening statement, too:

I’m thankful that citizens like Cleta Mitchell and Catherine Engelbrecht have stepped forward rather than being silenced. They’re the personification of American patriots.

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If it’s Sunday morning, rest assured I’m taping At Issue. This week, DFL Party Chair Ken Martin was asked about the DFL filing a complaint with the Campaign Finance Disclosure Board. The DFL filed this nuisance complaint in an attempt to deflect complaints about 13 DFL senators willfully breaking campaign finance laws by coordinating their ad campaigns with outside groups.

Allegedly, the GOP spent some money but didn’t report spending the money in the right place on the report. At best, the GOP might’ve committed a minor infraction. What the DFL did was painfully illegal:

On Tuesday the Board levied the fine against the DFL after it was discovered that 13 DFL candidates coordinated their campaigns illegally, since properly reclassifying the expenditures means that the candidates illegally exceeded their campaign contribution and/or spending limits. A total of over $300,000 in illegal contributions were not reported by the campaigns.. The board also plans to fine each individual campaign directly, according to a press release from the Minnesota Republican Party.

These 13 DFL senators broke one of the most straightforward campaign finance laws on the books. I knew that candidates couldn’t coordinate their advertising campaigns with special interests’ ad campaigns. That law’s been on the books since the Nixon/Watergate era.

Putting this most succinctly, these DFL senate candidates wanted to win their races so badly that they didn’t hesitate in breaking Minnesota’s campaign finance laws. It isn’t a stretch to think that Alida Messinger would’ve been willing to write the check for the fines in exchange for a DFL-controlled state government.

DFL lawmakers disagreed with the board’s ruling said that they are glad to put the matter to rest.

“Ultimately, it is best to set this distraction aside and allow our members to focus on governing,” DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said.

It’s infuriating to hear Martin dismiss breaking one of Minnesota’s biggest campaign finance laws by essentially calling it a “distraction.” Then again, it shouldn’t surprise people, especially considering the fact that Martin played a major role in the biggest smear campaigns in Minnesota gubernatorial history. Let’s remember that Martin was an official with the Alliance for a Better Minnesota:

Martin is currently the director of “Win Minnesota“. If you read this blog, you know who they are: they are a PAC that launders the Dayton family’s political contributions to “Alliance For A Better Minnesota” and the “2010 Fund” and the other arms of the Dayton Campaign’s tightly-wound little money-laundering and distribution machine.

ABM was criticized by local reporters and national organizations for their lies. Martin was part of that. Now he’s running the DFL, where he’s dismissing outright cheating as a distraction.

Finally, Martin’s statement that we shouldn’t be ‘distracted’ by their cheating because they’ve got to govern is silly. Thus far, the DFL’s governance has been a disaster. Their tax increases hurt the middle class more than they hurt “the rich.” Their implementation of MNsure has been a total disaster. Gov. Dayton has made statements that question whether he knows what’s happening within his administration.

It’s time for Minnesota to head in a different direction.

Earlier this morning, I wrote this post about the recent vote on whether to extend the increased student fees that started in 2010. This post will ask lots of questions about the election that was just held. First, though, it’s important to remind people of the administration’s recent behavior:

In an open statement at the Dec. 12 SG meeting she spoke of a meeting between Petersen, herself and Vice President of Student Life and Development Wanda Overland.

“When I got to her office she brought in Eric Petersen, and the two of them began accusing me of tampering with the elections results, and informed me that any case we tried to make against Athletics was invalid because it did not follow the schedule timeline that neither the chief justice or I were made aware of on the due dates of the Judicial cases,” Downing said. “Then they got on the topic of my own moral and ethical standard causing a problem and then spoke of the chief justice and myself being part of a group to take down Athletics.”

First, Vice President Overland and Student Government President Petersen rejected Ms. Downing’s claims because Ms. Downing allegedly didn’t document the electioneering. That’s rich because she witnessed the electioneering first hand. If that isn’t enough, then Overland and Petersen allegedly accused Ms. Downing of being part of a group that wanted to “take down Athletics.” What’s disgusting is the fact that they made this accusation without any documentation.

What’s wrong with this picture? Courtney Downing witnessed the electioneering but didn’t follow the rules that nobody knew about and is vilified and intimidated. Ms. Downing’s intimidators accuse her of a wild conspiracy theory that they can’t document. Not only does the administration side with Ms. Downing’s accusers but they’re participants in this intimidation.

What’s particularly upsetting is that VP Overland cared more about Ms. Downing not following procedures than she cared about the fact that some students had been accused of electioneering. Had I been in VP Overland’s position, my first objective would’ve been to find out if the accusations were verifiable. It wouldn’t have been to intimidate (bully is another verb that fits) a student over not following process.

It’s also noteworthy that VP Borland and SG President Petersen eventually resorted to personal attacks. That’s the quintessential definition of the politics of personal destruction. It’s true, too, that this is a case of shooting the messenger.

That’s upsetting but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This student fee increase started in FY2010. At the time, President Potter said that the fee increase was needed. If they didn’t pass it, he said they might have to eliminate the football program. It’s important that we put this in historical context. FY2010 was the peak year of SCSU enrollment. That year, the FYE enrollment was 15,096. That year, the dorms were 96% full. Tuition revenues should’ve been the highest they’ve ever been. Dorm rental revenues should’ve been through the roof, too.

With SCSU having that much revenue flowing in, why would they need to close the football program if the student fee increase didn’t pass?

Here’s another question that hasn’t been asked, much less answered. If the SG and the administration were worried about documenting the wrongdoing, why didn’t they care that voting was electronic? Electronic voting can’t be reconstructed the vote if it’s a tight vote and a recount is required.

Here’s another question: why didn’t the SG and the administration publicize the vote so all students could participate and cast an informed vote? The student fee increase literally affects every student on campus. Shouldn’t the SG and the administration work to make sure everyone knows what’s happening and the possible ramifications? If they shouldn’t have publicized it, why shouldn’t they have publicized it more?

One possibility is obvious: athletes were certain to turn out. If other students didn’t know about the vote, student-athletes could win in a landslide. That appears to be what happened.

Here’s another question: Why was the vote held near the end of the semester? End of semester is a terrible time for student participation because it’s the most hectic time of the semester. Had the SG wanted greater student participation, they should’ve held the vote in late January, not early December.

The more I think about the timing of the vote and the almost non-existent publicity of this important vote, coupled with the threats and intimidation against Ms. Downing for doing the right thing, the more I question the integrity of this vote.

If the SG is genuinely interested in a clean vote with greater student participation, they should announce that this vote won’t be certified and that a new vote will be held in January. Further, the SG and the administration should publicize the next election so the students can cast informed votes.

If these things aren’t done, we’ll understand what the SG and the administration wanted to do.

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Two weeks ago, we learned that there were some discouraging irregularities during the student fees vote at St. Cloud State. That was only the start of things. Later that weekend, St. Cloud State put out this wierd-looking press release:

At the time, I questioned how the administration would know that the referendum had passed but it didn’t have the final vote count. Further, clicking on the links brought me to blank pages. As unsettling as that information is, that’s just the beginning. This article takes things to another level:

In a press release from Student Government, the decision to investigate the results came when members of Student Government saw reason to invalidate a portion of the ballot items based on claims of inappropriate campaigning behavior within proximity of the polling place.

Currently the results have not been validated by the Judicial Council as there are not enough members on the council to validate the results, with one member being terminated and another stepping down. The impact of these results will not be felt until the next academic year.

That there aren’t enough members on the Judicial Council is odd enough but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s additional information on why the Judicial Council is short members:

With one member being terminated and another stepping down, the Judicial Council is unable to validate the results as there are not enough members on the council to do so.

Those members are Courtney Downing, Minnesota State University Student Association representative, SG parliamentarian and SG Constitution representative, and Chief Justice of the Judicial Committee and SG chair Devon Bowker.

I’m confident that people are shaking their heads in disbelief at what’s happening. Fasten those seatbelts because we’re just starting. Check this out:

Downing was made aware that students were allegedly soliciting votes at voting stands. Solicitation during voting is legal, but must be done at least 50 feet away from stands.

If this was true the voting results could possibly be considered invalid.

“We were looking for any written documentation that would have been used to invalidate any of the elections,” Petersen said. “We had no written documentation to invalidate any portion.”

Downing claims to have witnessed this personally.

In an open statement at the Dec. 12 SG meeting she spoke of a meeting between Petersen, herself and Vice President of Student Life and Development Wanda Overland.

“When I got to her office she brought in Eric Petersen, and the two of them began accusing me of tampering with the elections results, and informed me that any case we tried to make against Athletics was invalid because it did not follow the schedule timeline that neither the chief justice or I were made aware of on the due dates of the Judicial cases,” Downing said. “Then they got on the topic of my own moral and ethical standard causing a problem and then spoke of the chief justice and myself being part of a group to take down Athletics.”

That’s proof that a little paranoia goes a long way. It isn’t just that Petersen and Overland attempted to intimidate Ms. Downing. It’s that their accusation is without merit. According to SCSU’s balance sheet posted on the MnSCU website, SCSU made almost $500,000 last year. If Question 1 doesn’t pass, that means the SCSU Athletic Department would be about $10,000 in the red.

It isn’t credible to say that a student could take down the SCSU Athletic Department when, at worst, it’s losing $10,000 a year. Put a different way, it’s a BS accusation. What makes it rich is that Overland and Petersen accused Ms. Downing of having “no written documentation” of the things she witnessed personally. It’s incredible that they’d accuse her of not having documentation when their accusation is refuted by MnSCU documentation.

Bullying a student is bad enough. Bullying a student with faulty information is worse. In light of this information, I’d like to apologize to Chicago. As awful as their elections are, they could learn from St. Cloud State.

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This article about the SCSU student referendum on whether to use student fees to fund the Athletic Department brings tons of questions to mind. First, this part bothers me:

Downing said in an interview that rules were violated at the election table. She said she witnessed numerous times in which student-athletes were encouraging voters to vote yes on the first question and no on the second. Downing said she recommended the vote be invalidated and that another referendum be conducted in the spring.

“If a student were to have been running or a senator had come to a table, they would have been removed from the ballot instantly,” Downing said.

The issue is not clear cut, said Adam Hammer, a spokesman for the university. No one documented the alleged violations and it is unclear whether the students who might have been campaigning too close to the voting booth were athletes, Hammer said.

The rules are also not clear because the vote was conducted by computer and cell phones, and it is difficult to determine what constitutes a polling place. The student government set a table with a computer in the student union where students could vote.

“There is no absolute validity to these claims and that is part of the problem,” Hammer said.

The first question I have about Hammer’s statement is this: why is he making statements about a vote administered by the student government? There’s no question that the administration has a lot riding on the vote but that doesn’t mean they’re making informed statements. Last week, Hammer made a different statement:

To maintain the integrity of the review, causes for the review will not be released. “This is a learning community,” said Adam Hammer, director media relations and publications. “Student organizations help our students learn how to be part of a representative democracy.”

If “student organizations” are helping the students conduct the election and if the review process was conducted by the Student Government’s Election Committee, why did the administration feel the need to have Mr. Hammer make these statements? Here’s what was posted over the weekend:

The reality is that this administration wanted this outcome…badly. With enrollments declining…Who am I kidding? They’re falling off a steep cliff. Let’s start over. With FYE enrollment falling off a cliff and tuition revenues sharply dropping and especially after signing the ill-advised contract with the Wedum Foundation that’s costing SCSU an average of $1,000,000 a year, SCSU isn’t far removed from retrenchment and significant budget cuts, cuts that will dwarf this year’s announced cuts of $2,861,000.

President Potter’s administration couldn’t sit on the sidelines with this much riding on the vote. Perhaps next time, they’ll fix the enrollment problem and eliminate the foolish spending so they can afford to support the basics.

Unfortunately, that isn’t likely to happen.

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