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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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The editors at the Mesabi Daily News are being respectful of Gov. Dayton, though they aren’t letting him off the hook either. In this Our View Editorial, they simply ask what Gov. Dayton meant when he said he supports PolyMet.

It’s clear that the Mesabi Daily News welcomed the headline when they stated “Dayton’s support is more than welcome around the Iron Range, which has been through the ups and downs and review process with the project for more than a decade. Having the top DFLer in Minnesota give it the thumbs up cannot be understated.” Still, they aren’t excited about Gov. Dayton’s statement because they then wrote “But what does Dayton’s support mean to the project in real terms?”

The reason why they don’t trust him is stated clearly when they wrote “Every time PolyMet celebrates a new achievement on its way to breaking ground, a new lawsuit swoops in to try and delay it. Will Dayton help call off the dogs as the project’s bigger milestones enter the horizon?” That’s a totally fair question. It’s easy to say you support mining if you know that environmental activists will file another lawsuit that adds another delay to the project.

There’s a bigger point that’s important to make, too. 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. While the lawsuits fly, PolyMet sits in limbo:

If they get through the permitting and the lawsuits, this will be part of PolyMet’s processing plant. So much for preserving pristine waters.

Forgive me if I’m more than a little skeptical that Gov. Dayton’s sudden support of PolyMet is sincere. First, Gov. Dayton said “Nothing of that magnitude is risk free but I think it’s a risk worth taking and I support the project. But they still have to meet the environmental permitting requirements.” Nothing has changed in the sense that PolyMet always would have to meet the standards set out in Minnesota law.

Further, I’m suspicious of his statement because it comes so close to Bill Hanna’s statement that “the days of blind Range voting allegiance to the DFL Party are history. Consider this: State Sen. David Tomassoni’s district is in the heart of DFL country. Yet, it was carried by Republican Donald Trump not Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. That reflects a troubling trend for the DFL and rural Minnesota, according to Tomassoni. There were 21 rural DFL senators in the Legislature in 2009. Now there are seven, he said.”

The true test of whether Gov. Dayton has changed is whether he’ll support the Line 3 Pipeline project. It, too, would have to meet stringent environmental requirements. If Gov. Dayton doesn’t support the Line 3 Pipeline project, we’ll know that his support for PolyMet isn’t sincere.

This is utterly laughable:

The project has been studied for more than a decade and is still undergoing scrutiny. Dayton’s declaration that he supports the project does not negate or short-circuit that ongoing permitting examination. Several state agencies are currently examining the proposed mine.

“I don’t interfere with those determinations,” Dayton said.

Gov. Dayton, you don’t have to “interfere” in the process because you’ve stacked the regulating agencies with hard-core environmental activists who will do your dirty work. That’s if it gets that far. This chart explains the permitting process:

The next step in the process is to have Native Americans review the process. Let’s just say that I’m not betting they’ll approve the project. If they can’t get past that, the project suffers another expensive, time-wasting major setback.

Forgive me if I think that the DFL politician who negotiated this year’s budget deal in bad faith isn’t acting in good faith now. This is telling:

And the two sides are further and further apart on that project and on the proposed Enbridge oil pipeline, creating a tinderbox of emotion. “If I had a magic wand I would bring folks together,” he said. “I don’t see the middle ground on either one.”

Gov. Dayton, often, there isn’t middle ground. Often, it just requires a leader to make a decision. It’s apparent that you aren’t that leader.

The first thought I had after reading this article was “That’s the best you’ve got? Seriously?” Speaking to the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Annual Conference, Gov. Dayton said “The face of our country’s federal government is grotesque. The damage they’re doing to so many people, from destroying families through deportations, encouraging discrimination against transgender youth, to taking affordable health care away from the indigent and the elderly, is already severe and is becoming worse with every 3 a.m. tweet.”

What’s stunning is that Minnesota’s chief law enforcement officer, Gov. Dayton, is advocating for people to break the law to move into this nation. Later, Gov. Dayton accuses President Trump of “taking affordable health care away from the indigent and the elderly” just a year after Gov. Dayton admitted “Ultimately, the reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for an increasing number of people. We’re going to need both state and federal governments to step in and do what they need to do to remedy these problems.”

Gov. Dayton, it’s impossible to take “affordable health care away from” people if “the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for an increasing number of people.”

Asked about the president’s decision to halt federal subsidy payments to health insurance companies, Dayton said it was a “destructive” and “cruel-hearted” action.

There’s a common theme found throughout Gov. Dayton’s statements. According to him, President Obama did the noble thing by unilaterally ordering bailouts of insurance companies without Congress appropriating the money. That’s otherwise known as breaking the law. Further, rather than addressing the ACA’s structural flaws, President Obama attempted to hide that major flaw by employing an unconstitutional action.

Much like Gov. Dayton’s my-way-or-the-highway style of negotiating, President Obama tried insisting that Republicans do things his way. When they didn’t, he started whining rather than negotiating.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

When the Dayton-Rothman Commerce Department testified that there wasn’t a need to replace the Line 3 Pipeline, we knew they weren’t being totally honest. This week, Enbridge fired back, saying in their official statement “The suggestion that Line 3 can be shut down without any impact on Minnesota is simply not true. Apportionment and property tax reductions would have an immediate effect on Minnesota. Reduced pipeline capacity would increase rail shipments, with as many as 32 additional mile-long trains every day crossing Minnesota. Additional rail facilities would also be required for refineries to utilize rail shipments. The impact on Minnesota’s agricultural economy would be costly and disruptive as evidenced by the agricultural commerce curtailed in 2013-2014 due to increased crude by rail movements.”

The Dayton-DFL-Rothman Commerce Department insisted that “In light of the serious risks and effects on the natural and socioeconomic environments of the existing Line 3 and the limited benefit that the existing Line 3 provides to Minnesota refineries, it is reasonable to conclude that Minnesota would be better off if Enbridge proposed to cease operations of the existing Line 3, without any new pipeline being built.”

Later, in its testimony, Enbridge replied “Contrary to the DOC testimony, the Enbridge system, which includes Line 3, is currently full and in apportionment. This means demand for capacity exceeds what’s available, and refineries in Minnesota and the Midwest cannot obtain all the crude supply they request. When refiners can’t get the supply they need, they are either forced to produce less or source it through other more costly modes of transportation, like rail, which drives up costs and impacts their competitiveness. Line 3 will ensure an adequate supply for refiners and enable them to continue to provide the energy Minnesotans need.”

In other words, Enbridge’s statement all but officially accuses the Dayton-Rothman Commerce Department of telling whoppers. This graphic speaks volumes:

“Denial of the Line 3 replacement program does not change the supply of crude oil in Canada or anywhere else … or demand for crude oil in the Minnesota or in the U.S.,” said Neil Earnest, president of energy market consultants Muse, Stancil & Co. “What it does do is shift it off pipelines and onto rail.'” The demand for Canadian crude oil is there, officials reasoned, and supply is only growing.

The indisputable truth is that demand for oil won’t decrease anytime soon. Whenever environmental activists predict something, it’s best to figure that it’s wildly inaccurate. The first time I heard an environmental activist predict something was about the Alaskan Pipeline in the mid-1970s. The president of the Sierra Club argued against its construction, saying that it would disrupt “the migration pattern of the Barrows Caribou. And for what? Maybe 4-5 years worth of oil?” That pipeline opened in the late 1970s. It’s still transporting oil 40 years later.

Enbridge is right to fight the Dayton administration’s environmental activists because their predictions are frequently wrong.