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Mike Rothman has announced his immediate resignation as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce. In a separate statement, Rothman announced that he will run for the job of Minnesota Attorney General.

MPR’s Tim Pugmire is reporting “Mike Rothman is stepping down as commissioner of the Minnesota Department Commerce and plans to run for state attorney general. Rothman announced his intentions Friday in a resignation letter to Gov. Mark Dayton.”

In his statement, Rothman said “Thank you for the incredible opportunity to serve the people of Minnesota. You placed great trust in me – and every day, I dedicated myself to fulfilling that trust by doing my very best to improve the lives of Minnesotans. I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish together.”

Frankly, Rothman was a failure because he was anti-commerce and because he did his utmost to kill the Line 3 Pipeline replacement project. Simply put, he’s an environmental activist. Imagine the destruction he could cause as Minnesota’s Attorney General. That’s a frightening thought.

In his statement, Gov. Dayton said “For nearly seven years, Mike Rothman has devoted himself to protecting consumers, improving the lives of Minnesotans, and ensuring fair regulatory environments for Minnesota’s businesses.” Rep. Kelly Fenton wasn’t that kind, saying “Commissioner Rothman’s tenure was stained by his failure to protect Minnesota consumers and tax dollars. His poor judgment is well documented.”

This KSTP article contains information that Pugmire’s article doesn’t have:

The news comes as the Office of the Legislative Auditor confirmed it had been asked to investigate actions taken by various DOC officials in connection to an investigation into an auto glass company a federal judge ruled was ‘unjustified.’ “As you may know, the case has involved considerable litigation that continues in process,” legislative auditor James Nobles wrote in an email to KSTP. “The case is very complex, and we are reviewing all of the documents related to the legal proceedings at both the state and federal levels.

“In sum, we are at a preliminary stage, and our review will undoubtedly take us into next year. So, yes, we are investigating what happened in the Commerce/Safelight case.” In that case, federal judge Susan Nelson ruled the DOC carried out an “unjustified” investigation into Safelite Auto Glass for its billing practices with insurance companies.

Nelson also said the DOC “initiated a baseless investigation against Safelite based on financially-motivated complaints from competitors.” Further, Nelson said there was testimony from a DOC employees stating “an assistant commissioner made a ‘deal’ to provide information on Safelite in order to ‘get Safelite out of Minnesota.'”

The last thing Minnesota needs is a crooked AG. That being said, Rothman wouldn’t be the first crooked Minnesota AG. Mike Hatch blazed that trail long ago.

Gov. Dayton’s statement is predictable. It’s also BS. Here’s why:

In December 2011, Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman and Community Action of Minneapolis CEO Bill Davis stood side-by-side at a press conference to plead for more federal money to help low-income people pay their heating bills. As the pair made their case in front of the cameras, however, staffers inside the Commerce Department were struggling to figure out how Davis’ nonprofit had already misspent more than $1 million in energy funds.

Commerce analysts had grown increasingly alarmed that money meant to aid the poor was going to people who were not eligible to receive it. Those staffers, who requested anonymity because they aren’t authorized to speak, say the red flags raised in 2011 were the first alerting Rothman that Davis, his DFL political ally, was mismanaging money from the energy assistance fund run by Commerce. The warnings, they say, were repeated over the years but went nowhere. Rothman would not sever ties with Community Action. Several in the department say they were told the contracts would continue because “the political ramifications are greater than staff would understand,” a characterization Rothman does not dispute.

Gov. Dayton, how can you say that Commissioner Rothman protected consumers or improved Minnesotans’ lives while ignoring Community Action of Minneapolis’ outright corruption? These DFL thieves stole money meant to pay poor people’s heating bills.

Instead of paying poor people’s heating bills, Community Action paid for a trip to New York City for State Sen. Jeffrey Hayden and his wife. They’ve since repaid the money.

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After the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in Gov. Dayton’s favor, he tried spinning the situation as best he could, saying “It is time for us all to agree that this dispute has been concluded and resume working together for the best interests of Minnesota.” The legislature quickly said, essentially, ‘Thanks but no thanks.’ They said that because Gov. Dayton negotiated a budget settlement in bad faith. Gov. Dayton pushed this lawsuit in his attempt to intimidate the legislature into caving on tax relief. Thankfully, the legislature didn’t relent. Here’s something worth considering, Gov. Dayton. The legislature worked in the best interest of their constituents. They did their best to enact much-needed tax relief while reforming teacher licensure.

The first thing that the legislature will do when the next session convenes on Feb. 20, 2018 is pass a budget restoring their budget. It will sail through the House and pass the Senate. That’s when things get interesting. Will Gov. Dayton veto that funding, setting up a high-stakes showdown on an override vote? That’s a lose-lose situation for Gov. Dayton. If he vetoes the funding, it’s likely that he’ll get overridden.

That’s because I don’t think it’s likely that outstate DFL legislators will vote to end their political careers to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto. If the DFL legislators vote to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto, they can kiss their political careers goodbye. Republicans should portray each DFL legislator as representing Gov. Dayton first, their special interest allies second and their constituents somewhere down their list of priorities.

If Gov. Dayton signs the appropriation, he will have won a victory in court but lost the PR war. Pyrrhic victories don’t make for great legacies. Either way, Gov. Dayton’s victory will be short-lived.

Top legislative leaders are refusing to make key payments on a new Senate office building, an action that could hurt the state’s credit rating, and they won’t allow the executive branch to use nonpartisan staff to draft proposals. “I am not willing to bail the governor out,” Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt said Thursday. “He needs to own that.”

This video perfectly explains what Gov. Dayton has done with his line-item veto:

Republicans need to not let Gov. Dayton off the hook. Gov. Dayton is a lame duck governor who must be thinking about what his legacy will be. At this point, a significant portion of his legacy will be shutting down government once and calling special sessions to finish the budget. Will he want to preside over a downgrading of Minnesota’s credit rating, too? That will be on him if he vetoes February’s appropriation funding the legislature.

Each time Republicans have stood up to him over the budget, Gov. Dayton has lost stature while losing the fight. There’s no reason to think he won’t lose this fight, too.

Finally, the Supreme Court disgraced themselves yesterday. They didn’t rule on whether Gov. Dayton’s line-item veto achieved an unconstitutional result, which is the central question. They didn’t rule on that question while pretending to exercise judicial restraint. They exercised judicial cowardice, not judicial restraint. They did that because they didn’t want to hand Gov. Dayton a political defeat.

That’s pathetic. Whatever it is, it isn’t justice.

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When the Minnesota State Supreme Court said that governors couldn’t use part of the state’s constitution to achieve an unconstitutional result, they must not have meant it. Moments ago, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in Gov. Dayton’s favor.

According to the article, “The Minnesota Supreme Court has upheld Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto of the Legislature’s operating budget. The state’s high court says Dayton’s veto complied with the law, and that the state constitution does not allow the courts to order funding for the Legislature without an appropriation.”

The article further states that “Thursday’s decision hands Dayton a major legal victory as he seeks to rework costly tax breaks and other measures he signed into law this spring as part of a new state budget.” That’s pro-DFL spin. That sentence should read “Thursday’s decision hands Minnesotans a major legal defeat because they’ll soon be without representation in St. Paul.”

The DFL operatives on the Supreme Court decided that Minnesotans didn’t really have a constitutional right to 3 fully functioning branches of government. That’s one of the things they required in their in initial ruling. In this post, titled “D-Day for Dayton, Supreme Court”, I said that, whether the Supreme Court knew it or not, they were on trial. This morning, they handed down a ruling that essentially said that they’d failed.

I’d love hearing them explain how legislators can represent their constituents without getting paid. I can’t wait to hear them explain how this doesn’t give the governor a weapon in getting everything they want in budget negotiations.

The thing is that I’ll have to wait for those things because they can’t explain those things to me. There isn’t a logical explanation for their actions. Gov. Dayton packed the court. This morning, they repaid him for their appointments.

Now it’s time to throw out the DFL operatives that Gov. Dayton appointed to the Supreme Court. That can be done through the ballot box. Minnesotans, do you really want a governor who essentially has the power of an emperor? I don’t!

Brian Bakst posted a prediction on what will happen next. I agree with him:

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Thursday will be D-Day for Gov. Dayton and the Minnesota Supreme Court. According to Brian Bakst’s reporting, the “Minnesota Supreme Court is expected to deliver its long-awaited decision Thursday in a court case between the governor and Legislature. A notice from the clerk of courts to parties in the case said a decision has been made in the lawsuit regarding Gov. Mark Dayton’s vetoes.”

Bakst continued, saying “If [the] high court invalidates the line-item vetoes, it would cause funding to spring back. If [the] justices uphold the vetoes, it will push the Legislature toward a financial crisis.” That’s true but more than that, if the Supreme Court sides with Gov. Dayton, it will have reversed itself.

In this post, I highlighted the fact that the Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Dayton, like previous governors, has line-item veto authority. I also highlighted the fact that the Supreme Court said that a constitutional provision (the line-item veto) can’t “be used to achieve an unconstitutional result.” In the Supreme Court’s ruling, they also said that Minnesotans have a “constitutional right to three independent branches of government.”

The Minnesota Supreme Court, whether it realizes it or not, is on trial here. If they rule that the legislature must spend down the money appropriated to the Legislative Coordinating Commission, aka the LCC, they will be violating multiple Minnesota statutes. First, part of the money appropriated to the LCC pays for the operations of the Office of Legislative Auditor, aka OLA. In this post, I wrote “Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles has already expressed concerns about certain functions of his office being suspended – specifically the certification of state financial reports that support the state’s credit rating and the receipt of federal funds.” It’s inconceivable to me that the Supreme Court would rule against funding the OLA simply for those reasons.

I don’t doubt that the DFL operatives in black robes want to justify siding with Gov. Dayton. It’s just that I can’t imagine them saying in their preliminary ruling that you can’t use part of the state constitution to achieve an unconstitutional result. Saying that a governor has the right to temporarily disable the part of the government that represents the people is incomprehensible.

Check in with LFR Thursday for the Supreme Court’s final ruling in this important case.

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One of the little-talked-about storylines about Gov. Dayton’s line-item veto controversy is that Gov. Dayton wants the legislature to spend the money appropriated for the Office of Legislative Auditor. According to the OLA’s website, the OLA’s mission is to promote accountability, strengthen legislative oversight, support good management and enhance program effectiveness. Part of the OLA’s statutory authority gives “the Legislative Auditor broad authority to audit state agencies, evaluate public programs, and investigate alleged misuse of public money.”

What is Gov. Dayton hiding? What doesn’t he want audited? Is Gov. Dayton trying to make sure there isn’t enough money left for the OLA to “investigate alleged misuse of public money”? These aren’t trivial matters. Accountability is important.

Gov. Dayton hasn’t made a convincing argument for why the judicial and executive branches have the constitutional authority to tell the legislative branch how to spend money that’s been properly appropriated. I’m confident that that’s because the judicial and executive branches don’t have that authority thanks to something known as the Separation of Powers contained within the Constitution. The legislative branch doesn’t have the authority to rule of the constitutionality of laws. The executive branch doesn’t have the constitutional authority to pass laws. The judicial branch doesn’t have the constitutional authority to tell sign bills into law.

Gov. Dayton is upset that Republicans called him out for attempting to bully the legislature. He insisted that the legislature renegotiate a bill he’d already signed into law. The legislature said no so Gov. Dayton, in another of his hissy fits, acted like the spoiled rich brat that he is.

It isn’t a secret that Gov. Dayton hates cutting taxes. He didn’t hesitate in raising taxes in 2013, too. I think Gov. Dayton’s legacy will be that of a tax raiser and anti-mining environmentalist. That’s a good thing if you’re a Metrocrat but a bad thing if you don’t fit that description. Finally, we know that he didn’t push too hard to clean up corruption when Jeffrey Hayden got caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar. We know that April Todd-Malmlov didn’t get punished for her corruption. Ted Mondale and Michelle Kelm-Helgen certainly weren’t punished for their participation in the US Bank Stadium Suite ‘promotion’ scandal.

If there was a part of the government that Gov. Dayton would target other than the legislature, it would’ve been the OLA.

Something jumped out at me while reading this article. Specifically, I’m upset with Melissa Hortman after she said “I think that Senator Gazelka should work with Democrats like Governor Dayton and me and Senator Bakk to solve a problem rather than using people as pawns in a political dispute.” Actually, Gov. Dayton is the problem. If he hadn’t negotiated in bad faith, this wouldn’t have happened. In fact, he negotiated in bad faith twice, once when he said he’d sign the Republicans’ tax relief plan 2 years ago. He negotiated in bad faith this year when he signed the tax relief bill, then line-item vetoed the funding for the legislature.

Gov. Dayton’s holding the people of Minnesota hostage because he wants to renegotiate legislation he’s already signed. Giving a governor that type of authority is unforgiveable. With that authority, governors could hold the legislature hostage every budget session. Is the Supreme Court willing to give the executive branch that authority over the legislative branch? If they’re willing to do that, then the Supreme Court is corrupt. They’re willing to give one branch of government the upper hand in budget negotiations. It isn’t difficult to envision a governor holding the legislature hostage if the legislature doesn’t give him what he wants.

Here’s what I’d tell Rep. Hortman. Rather than defending people in the DFL, she should defend the people of Minnesota. Thus far, she’s defended the DFL. She hasn’t defended Minnesotans.

By vetoing the legislature’s funding, then filing the appeal after losing the first court case, Gov. Dayton has endangered the funding for the Office of Legislative Auditor, aka OLA, and the Revisor’s Office. I wrote in this post that those offices aren’t inconsequential offices:

The office of the Legislative Auditor is funded through the LCC. Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles has already expressed concerns about certain functions of his office being suspended – specifically the certification of state financial reports that support the state’s credit rating and the receipt of federal funds.

The Office of the Revisor of Statutes is also funded through the LCC and they work year-round with state agencies on rule making authority. The Revisor’s office would also be necessary to draft a bill to restore legislative functions once session begins in February.

Thanks to Gov. Dayton’s line-item veto, the office that certifies Minnesota’s financial reports that keep our credit rating healthy is getting its funding stripped. The Revisor of Statutes Office is essential to Minnesota’s rule-making and legislation writing processes. What is Gov. Dayton thinking when he’s stripping funding from these essential offices? Was Gov. Dayton thinking when he forced the stripping of these funds?

Anyone that’s willing to shortchange these offices just so he can renegotiate a bill that he’s already signed is disgusting. Gov. Dayton isn’t a man of integrity. He’s a man who thinks that the ends justify the means. How pathetic.

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Minutes ago, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka announced that the Minnesota Senate is suspending operations. Specifically, his statement says “Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka announced today the Minnesota Senate will run out of money on December 1, 2017 unless new funding becomes available or the courts restore the legislative appropriation vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton.”

Sen. Gazelka continues, saying ““We don’t take the suspension of operations of the Minnesota Senate lightly – this is not a game – but we really have no other choice today. The Senate is running out of money due to Governor Dayton’s veto of our appropriation. Even though we prevailed in our lawsuit in Ramsey County District Court, the Governor refuses to recognize that order and is forcing us to spend down our carry forward.”

It’s worth noting that the Senate isn’t the only institution affected by Gov. Dayton’s petulant behavior. The statement highlights the fact that “The office of the Legislative Auditor is funded through the LCC. Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles has already expressed concerns about certain functions of his office being suspended – specifically the certification of state financial reports that support the state’s credit rating and the receipt of federal funds.”

This is the Supreme Court’s moment of truth. They punted, leaving many unresolved questions. One thing they said in their ruling was that Minnesotans had the right to a “fully-functioning legislature.” As part of the legislative branch, the OLA has the obligation to certify “state financial reports that support the state’s credit rating and the receipt of federal funds.”

Sen. Gazelka added this reminder to his statement:

“Further, a proper respect for our co-equal branches of government counsels that we intervene in their dispute only when absolutely necessary. It has become ‘absolutely necessary’ for the court to weigh in. The people of Minnesota will no longer have a voice in the legislative branch after the first of the year, not to mention the pain inflicted on our employees.”

That’s from the Court’s ruling. The question now is whether the Court will enforce the principles it stated in its rulings. If they don’t, I’ll know that they’re just DFL politicians in black robes. I’ll know that they aren’t jurists making rulings based on the Constitution. I’ll know that they’re politicians first.

Finally, there’s this:

The Office of the Revisor of Statutes is also funded through the LCC and they work year-round with state agencies on rule making authority. The Revisor’s office would also be necessary to draft a bill to restore legislative functions once session begins in February.

It’s time for the Supreme Court to issue a ruling. Their spineless dithering put the state in this mess. It’s time they stopped their dithering and did their jobs as jurists.

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Based on the number of refugees admitted into the country, there’s no mistaking the fact that there’s a new administration in charge. These statistics don’t tap-dance around the differences between the Obama administration and the Trump administration.

For instance, “In October 2017, the first month of FY 2018, only 275 refugees from … Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen were admitted to the United States under the Refugee Admissions Program. In contrast, in October 2016, the first month of FY 2017, a total of 4,581 refugees from these seven countries were admitted into the United States under the Refugee Admissions Program (1,352 from Somalia, 1,323 from Iraq, 1,297 from Syria, 414 from Iran, and none from either Libya or Yemen.)”

That’s what I like seeing! If people want to call me Islamophobic, that’s fine. It isn’t true but I won’t shrivel if I’m called that. I won’t worry if Gov. Dayton says I need to find another state, either:

These refugees cost communities tons of money. It costs schools lots of extra money to get refugees up to speed in speaking English. It costs workers tons of money in lower wages, too. Then there’s this:

Refugee Council USA, the “trade organization” of the refugee resettlement industry, issued a statement last week that it “is appalled by the Administration’s proposed changes to refugee processing. These changes enact another ban on refugee admissions and are driven by ideology rather than necessity.”

TRANSLATION: Our clients need the cheap labor provided by these refugees. Trump is spoiling that for our clients.

If you think I’m being sarcastic about what RCUSA is complaining about, I’m not. I wrote about the refugee resettlement racket in this post. It’s another of DC’s cottage industries.

If we know anything about Gov. Dayton, it’s that he’s a political opportunist. This article insists that Gov. Dayton has “shrewd political instincts”, too. J. Patrick Coolican’s article is nothing more than another Strib pro-Dayton puff piece.

It opens by saying “Since Gov. Mark Dayton came out in favor of a controversial proposal by PolyMet to mine copper, nickel and other precious metals in northeastern Minnesota, he and his allies have said that his support is guided by sound environmental and economic policy, not politics. But Dayton’s decision and its timing showed the shrewd political instincts, as well as the loyalty to the DFL Party, that have helped him win statewide office four times. By giving his public support to PolyMet he offered an olive branch to the Iron Range, knowing that he could take the political hit from environmentalists since he’s not running for re-election next year, and at the same time forge a temporary peace in the ongoing conflict.”

Actually, it’s guided by politics. Gov. Dayton hasn’t changed into a consistent supporter of the Range. He’s still opposed to the Twin Metals project. He’s still vehemently opposed to the Line 3 Pipeline project that would create approximately 3 times as many jobs as a typical end-of-session bonding bill would create.

This quote is telling:

“It diminishes PolyMet as an issue going forward. It’s one less flash point. That’s what a responsible steward of his party would do,” said Joe Radinovich, a former DFL state legislator who was U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan’s 2016 campaign manager.

It hasn’t had that effect whatsoever. It’s telling that Coolican said that Gov. Dayton “could take the political hit from environmentalists since he’s not running for re-election next year.” Doesn’t that mean that the candidates running to replace him can’t afford to get on the environmental activists’ bad side? Further, a page will get turned when the DFL picks their gubernatorial candidate. From that point forward, the Range will make their decision based on that candidate.

This paragraph is telling, too:

For some, it came too late. Dayton’s DFL has taken heavy losses in legislative districts in greater Minnesota, as Republicans have successfully tied them to Twin Cities environmentalists and other progressives at the expense of economic development in struggling communities.

Do the people in this video sound like they’re pro-mining?

Further, Coolican is right. Republicans have flipped rural Minnesota. The DFL have repeatedly proven that they’re anti-farmer, anti-labor. You can’t be anti-mining and pro-labor. You can’t ignore the farmers’ agenda and stay on the farmers’ good side.

This isn’t just about PolyMet. The Range wants to vote for someone who’ll always have their backs. The DFL is still the divided party, with a heavy anti-mining slant:

The DFL factions hit a breaking point recently when Reid Carron, well-known environmentalist in Ely, made disparaging remarks about miners in a Sunday New York Times Magazine story. “They want somebody to just give them a job so they can all drink beer with their buddies and go four-wheeling and snowmobiling with their buddies, not have to think about anything except punching a clock,” he said, before later apologizing.

It didn’t take long for Gov. Dayton suddenly react to the article:

So Dayton stepped on the fire. Just eight days after publication of the explosive story in the Times, the governor announced in an interview that he favors the PolyMet project if it meets permitting requirements and financial assurances that would protect Minnesota taxpayers in the event of a fiscal or environmental catastrophe.

What a coincidence! Immediately after environmental activists show their true colors, Gov. Dayton made his pro-mining announcement. If he was truly pro-mining, why hasn’t Gov. Dayton done anything to make the permitting process fair and transparent? If he’s truly pro-mining, why didn’t Gov. Dayton take on the environmental activists?

Perhaps, it’s because he’s a political opportunist who isn’t really pro-mining.

Last week, Gov. Dayton announced that he’s finally supporting the PolyMet precious metals project. In this post, I wrote “Why should Rangers tolerate a regulatory system that’s this convoluted? How many studies are enough? How many hearings need to be held? Chip Cravaack tried getting this pushed through when he was in office. He was elected in 2010, the same election that gave us Gov. Dayton. It’s clear that Gov. Dayton hasn’t jettisoned the environmentalists. He’s still siding with the environmentalists on Twin Metals and the Line 3 Pipeline project.”

Speaking of the Line 3 Pipeline project, Rep. Matt Grossell, Rep. Sandy Layman, Rep. Matt Bliss, Rep. Dale Lueck, Rep. Debra Kiel, Sen. Justin Eichorn and Sen. Paul Utke wrote a letter to Gov. Dayton. Their letter’s opening paragraph says “The proposed Line 3 Replacement Project (L3R) is a vital energy infrastructure project for Minnesota and the region that will generate more than $3 billion in private investment. It will create thousands of good-paying construction jobs and provide millions in much-needed tax revenue to local governments in our districts and our region.” Follow this link to read the entire letter.

It isn’t likely that Gov. Dayton will back off. His Commerce Department testified that (a) the L3R isn’t required and (b) the existing pipeline should be shut down. That’s the public part of Gov. Dayton’s policy. That doesn’t mean, though, that he doesn’t see the political difficulties and complexities this might cause the DFL.

Yesterday on @Issue with Tom Hauser, former DFL Chair Brian Melendez said that Gov. Dayton allegedly told environmentalists ‘Good luck with the Republican governor in 2019′, implying that the environmental activists’ demands will hurt the DFL in 2018.

This video is part of the reason why Gov. Dayton won’t abandon environmental activists:

The truth is that Gov. Dayton and the DFL aren’t consistent with their beliefs. First, they’re constantly talking about the importance of infrastructure projects. When this infrastructure project was proposed, though, they ran from it like it was toxic waste. Finally, the DFL is constantly pushing bonding bills as their annual “jobs bill”. This pipeline project is the size of three bonding bills.

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