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This morning on At Issue With Tom Hauser, Mr. Hauser raised the question about the DFL getting fined $100,000 for coordinating campaign activities between the candidates and DFL campaign committees. Hauser pointed out that “the DFL paid the fine without admitting wrongdoing.” (That’s fine. They don’t have to admit it. Everyone knows what they did was illegal.)

For his part, Andy Brehm nailed it by saying that this is Campaign 101, that everyone who’s ever been involved in a campaign knows that it’s illegal for candidates to coordinate their efforts with outside expenditure organizations, PACs or with a party’s campaign committee.

When it was Ember Reichgott-Junge’s turn, she said that “campaign finance laws are too complicated” before launching into the rules governing independent expenditure organizations, superPACs and other special interest efforts.

Saying it was a wimpy, insulting answer is understatement. While there’s many rules and regulations about reporting requirements, transparency requirements and other considerations, that’s irrelevant to this discussion. The only thing that’s relevant to this discussion is that DFL campaign committees knowingly violated campaign finance law by coordinating advertising with a dozen DFL state senatorial campaigns.

What’s also insulting about Reichgott-Junge’s statement is that it played into the ruling that the DFL campaign committees didn’t admit to wrongdoing. Like I wrote earlier, they didn’t need to. What they did has been illegal since Watergate. Reichgott-Junge knows this. She’s run for election. She can draw on her own experience.

She knows that the DFL was willing to do anything, legal or illegal, to have a DFL governor and DFL majorities in the House and Senate. They’re perfectly happy paying this fine. That’s a tiny price for ramming the entire DFL special interest wish list down Minnesota’s throats.

Does anyone think Tom Bakk lost sleep over this? Is it more likely that he laughed when he heard the ruling?

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From the start, the Obama administration insisted that the Benghazi talking points that UN Ambassador Susan Rice relied on were written almost exclusively by the CIA. According to this article, that story was pure fiction. What’s more is that the White House and the State Department knew it was fiction:

State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland raised specific objections to this paragraph drafted by the CIA in its earlier versions of the talking points:

“The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al-Qa’ida in Benghazi and eastern Libya. These noted that, since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador’s convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks.”

In an email to officials at the White House and the intelligence agencies, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland took issue with including that information because it “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either? Concerned …”

In other words, Victoria Nuland knew that the initial talking points from the “IC” included references to al-Qa’ida and the “five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi.” Ms. Nuland knew that those references were damaging to the State Department and this administration. That’s why she insisted that that information be deleted from the talking points.

Ms. Nuland was right. Members of Congress likely would’ve used the information to expose President Obama and Hillary Clinton for being inattentive about terrorism in general and Benghazi in specific.

It’s difficult to say that President Obama and Hillary Clinton paid attention to terrorism when they’re defending their decision to cut security forces in the aftermath of the previous terrorist attacks in Benghazi. It’s especially difficult to defend their decisions in light of the multiple frantic requests for more security troops.

These paragraphs are particularly disturbing:

In an email dated 9/14/12 at 9:34 p.m. — three days after the attack and two days before Ambassador Rice appeared on the Sunday shows, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes wrote an email saying the State Department’s concerns needed to be addressed.

“We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation. We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting.”

“The State Department’s concerns need to be addressed” is just a fancy way of saying the talking points must be rewritten to eliminate the information that makes this administration look bad.

Finally, this speaks for itself:

ABC News has obtained 12 different versions of the talking points that show they were extensively edited as they evolved from the drafts first written entirely by the CIA to the final version distributed to Congress and to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice before she appeared on five talk shows the Sunday after that attack.

It isn’t accurate to say that the talking points weren’t “the best analysis of the IC” as Jay Carney and Hillary Clinton insisted. The talking points were the product of a massive State Department rewrite.

This Tribune op-ed highlights the tax increases being imposed on Minnesotans. Here’s a glimpse:

The tax plans and budget proposals that’ll be debated and hammered together in St. Paul in the coming weeks do include healthy tax hikes on wealthy Minnesotans. But they also include taxes and fees every one of us will pay, no matter what our income level. In fact, some of the new and rising “revenue sources,” as lawmakers like to call tax hikes and fee increases, would be paid, disproportionately, by lower-income Minnesotans.

Most notably on the table are tax increases on beer, wine and booze, in a state that hasn’t had a tax increase on liquor in 26 years. But now we face the prospect of paying 7 cents more in taxes per drink and as much as $4 more in taxes for a case of beer.

The state’s cigarette tax also is almost certain to go up, to $2.83, a $1.60 increase, under a House proposal.

And if you thought Minnesota’s first-ever tax on clothing died when the governor dropped it after his initial budget proposal, well, not so fast. It’s still alive in the Senate, along with a long list of other previously untaxed services, including on car repairs, over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, tattoos and even dating services.

Sports fans can be on alert, too. The Senate has a new 13 percent wholesale tax on sports jerseys and other memorabilia to help cover the state’s portion of funding for a new Minnesota Vikings football stadium. The total sales tax on sports memorabilia, including sales tax, could push 20 percent in Minnesota.

If you think this was a Strib op-ed, I have to say that it isn’t. It’s in the Duluth News Tribune. If you thought that the Strib editorial board would write something like this, you really need to get back in touch with reality.

Two weekends ago, Matt Entenza tried spinning the DFL’s tax increases, which I wrote about here. Here’s how Entenza tried spinning the DFL’s tax increases:

Part of what Democrats are responding to is an election where people said ‘We’re tired of higher class sizes. We’re tired of roads that are falling apart and a Human Services Department that doesn’t work as well as it should.

Policy lightweights like Entenza know that raising taxes on cigarettes, income and liquor won’t fix a single pothole. They’re fixed by revenues from the gas tax. Period.

The heart of the DFL’s tax increases are summarized in this theory:

The type and formula of most schemes of philanthropy or humanitarianism is this: A and B put their heads together to decide what C shall be made to do for D. The radical vice of all these schemes, from a sociological point of view, is that C is not allowed a voice in the matter, and his position, character, and interests, as well as the ultimate effects on society through C’s interests, are entirely overlooked. I call C the Forgotten Man.

Last fall, the DFL ran on the Forgotten Man theory of taxation. This year, however, the Senate DFL, the ones that can’t count straight, have decided that the middle class aren’t paying their fair share. In addition to raising the plethora of regressive taxes listed earlier, the Senate, in Sen. Bakk’s finite wisdom, has decided to raise income taxes on the middle class.

What’s interesting is the sports memorabilia tax. It should be renamed the Boy-did-I-screw-up-the-Vikings-Stadium-funding-bill tax increase. Thanks to the Dayton administration’s willingness to buy into the gambling industries’ wildly optimistic projections on e-tabs, the state is forced to rethink their funding of the Vikings stadium.

Had the Dayton administration been honest about the e-tabs projections, the stadium likely wouldn’t have gotten support. Then again, if the DFL had honestly campaigned on raising taxes on everyone, they wouldn’t have gavels this year.

Thanks to the Duluth News Tribune’s editiorial, Minnesotans are finding out that the DFL won’t hesitate in lying about taxing the middle class and the working poor.

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While they campaigned last year, DFL legislators and candidates talked endlessly about their highest priority being creating jobs. This session, they’ve talked endlessly about creating jobs…while debating whether to pass legislation that made same sex marriage legal in Minnesota. Now there’s talk that giving gay couples the right to marry would add tens of millions of dollars to Minnesota’s economy:

Legalizing same-sex marriage in Minnesota would add $42 million to the state’s economy and $3 million in tax revenue in the first three years, according to an analysis from UCLA law school.

The Williams Institute at UCLA conducts research on “sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy,” according to its website. Last month, the institute estimated same-sex marriage in Illinois would generate more than $100 million in additional spending and $8.5 million in tax revenue in that state.

In Minnesota, analysts figured, about 5,000 gay couples would choose to marry in the three years following legalization of same-sex marriage. A bill to make gay marriage legal is expected to be come to a vote later this session in both the state House and Senate.

Roughly $28 million would be spent on those weddings, the analysts figured, plus about $14 million in tourism-related spending by out-of-town guests. That activity would yield roughly $3 million in tax revenue for state and local governments, the report said.

Saying that this ‘study’ is suspect is understatement. The UCLA law school is famous for their radicalism. That’s why people don’t take their studies seriously.

This UCLA ‘study’ is more of a lifeline to legislators in need of political cover than it is a serious, peer-reviewed report that passes the laugh test.

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be surprising if the DFL attempted to use the UCLA study to justify their pursuing their radical, special interest-driven agenda. They need their special interests engaged to win elections. If they have to say foolish things to keep their special interest contributors contributing, then that’s what they’ll do.

A vote on this ‘DFL jobs bill’ is expected before the end of this session. It’s great to see that the DFL is keeping its promise to put creating jobs at the top of its agenda.

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I never thought I’d see the day when a political party would attempt to collect sales taxes from kids shovelling snow, mowing lawns or babysitting. That day just arrived:

Here’s the key exchange between Rep. Kurt Zellers and Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Frans:

REP. ZELLERS: But if I pay him every month $20 or $100, is that going to be or is he going to have to start collecting sales tax and remitting it to the State of Minnesota?
COMMISSIONER FRANS: …He probably would. If it was a monthly charge, then there likely would be a sales tax charge.
REP. ZELLERS: So then someone mowing my lawn, someone shovelling snow for me during the winter time or a babysitter?
COMMISSIONER FRANS: Those services would generally all be covered by the sales tax.

Wasn’t it just 6 months ago that Gov. Dayton and the DFL were insisting that kids mowing lawns and shovelling snow weren’t paying their fair share? Didn’t they insist that babysitters weren’t paying their fair share?

Wait a second. That’s right. The DFL didn’t. The DFL insisted that “the rich” weren’t “paying their fair share.” The DFL insisted that they were the champions of “working families.”

There’s nothing centrist about forcing kids to collect sales tax, then send it into the Minnesota Department of Revenue, because they mow their neighbor’s lawn or shovel their sidewalks or babysit their kids. Only the DFL would think that’s appropriate.

That isn’t disgusting. That’s beyond disgusting. That’s something only the DFL would think of.

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It isn’t that there isn’t a fair amount of truth in this SC Times article. It’s that it didn’t talk about a truly disturbing pattern, namely ABM’s lies in their anti-GOP smear campaigns.

Jerry McCarter tried portraying himself as having tried to run a clean campaign on the issues. I wrote here why that’s BS. First, let’s look at what he said in the Times article:

“Part of what I was trying to do was show people you can do this without negative ads; you can do this without all the special-interest money,” he said. “I guess I showed them that you can’t.”

Now let’s look at something McCarter ran on:

McCarter, who’s running against Sen. John Pederson, R-St. Cloud, says the shutdown was part of what spurred him to run for Senate. “Like a lot of people, I found [it] unnecessary, politically motivated, and I think it damaged the state’s image long-term,” he said.

I’ve written repeatedly that Gov. Dayton shut the government down. It’s a matter of record that several GOP legislators submitted lights-on funding bills to prevent a state government shutdown. The one attracting most attention would’ve funded state government at its 2011-2012 levels through July 11. During that time, the goal was to negotiate a final settlement on the budget.

At 10:00 pm of June 30, 2011, Mark Dayton stepped to a microphone and announced that negotiations had failed and that state government was shutting down. Rather than calling a special session to pass a lights-on bill, Gov. Dayton put 23,000 state government employees on furlough.

For all of his I’m-running-a-clean-campaign rhetoric, the truth is that Mr. McCarter built much of his campaign on a verifiable lie.

That isn’t the only lie ABM peddled during the campaign. With their willing accomplices in the Twin Cities media, they put together this lie-filled ad:

One announcer said that “It was another day of deep budget cuts at the Capital.” Pat Kessler said “Cuts are so deep, it threatens public safety.” Dayton said “There are real consequences to every dollar cut.” It’s time to highlight the truth with the DFL’s own words:

SEN. COHEN: We’re going to be passing a budget that it billions and billions and billions and billions of dollars and at a level that we’ve never done before in the history of the state. The 12-13 budget will be $34.33 billions of dollars in general fund dollars taxed to the citizens of Minnesota. The 10-11 budget two years ago was $30.171 billion, I believe.

So the difference is over $4 billion, I believe. The largest state general fund budget ever, ever, ever, in the history of the state of Minnesota.

What this means is that Gov. Dayton’s words, Pat Kessler’s words and other biased media’s words didn’t have a hint of truth to them. It’s worth noting that ABM didn’t hesitate in using them in their statewide smear campaign against GOP candidates.

It’s time for Mr. Sommerhauser and other reporters to blister Alida Messinger, Gov. Dayton and the Twin Cities media for telling the whoppers that they told. If he won’t, citizen journalists like Mitch Berg and myself will expose the DFL for the corrupt political party it is.

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TakeAction Minnesota, one of the organizations that opposed the proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment, authorized this report to be published. Here’s a key statistic from the report:

According to recent testimony by the secretary of state’s office, the proposed photo ID amendment could adversely affect more than 700,000 eligible Minnesota voters. This total includes 215,000 registered voters who do not have a Minnesota driver’s license or ID card with a current address on it, and another 500,000 eligible voters who use Election Day registration.

Prior to this article, people have generally accepted the importance of Election Day registration, aka EDR. That’s changing thanks to this information:

2012
Ramsey County 278,821 votes; 279,513 registered voters, 99.75%VPR
Hennepin County: 674,149 votes, 678,074 RVs, 99.4% VPR
Anoka County: 186,461 votes, 195,424 RVs, 95.4% VPR
Benton County: 19,755 votes, 21,051 RVs, 93.8% VPR
Carlton County: 18,545 votes, 19,929 RVs, 93.1% VPR
Carver County: 52,899 votes, 55,366 RVs, 95.5% VPR
Dakota County: 230,992 votes, 240,100 RVs, 96.2% VPR
Morrison County: 16,836 votes, 17,998 RVs, 93.5% VPR
St. Louis County: 115,921 votes, 122,755 RVs, 94.4% VPR
Sherburne County: 46,707 votes, 48,691 RVs, 95.9% VPR
Wright County: 69,861 votes, 70,572 RVs, 99.0% VPR
Washington County: 142,133 votes, 151,803 RVs, 93.6% VPR
Registered Voters at 7AM: 3,085,277, Voting Eligible Population: 3,876,752

In addition to the astonishing participation rates, notice that 3,085,277 people were registered voters in 2012.

Let’s compare those figures with 2008′s participation figures and registered voter numbers:

2008
Ramsey County 278,169 votes; 317,028 RVs, 87.7%
Hennepin County: 665,485 votes, 722,777 RVs, 92.1% VPR
Anoka County: 182,559 votes, 189,349 RVs, 96.4% VPR
Benton County: 19,429 votes, 21,438 RVs, 90.6% VPR
Carlton County: 18,530 votes, 19,942 RVs, 92.9% VPR
Carver County: 49,806 votes, 53,059 RVs, 93.9% VPR
Dakota County: 225,933 votes, 241,276 RVs, 96.2% VPR
Morrison County: 16,850 votes, 18,979 RVs, 93.6% VPR
St. Louis County: 119,435 votes, 134,550 RVs 88.8% VPR
Sherburne County: 45,121 votes, 47,397 RVs, 95.2% VPR
Wright County: 65,479 votes, 67,959 RVs 96.4% VPR
Washington County: 137,323 votes, 147,347 RVs, 93.2% VPR
Registered Voters as of 7AM 11-04-08: 3,199,981

In 2012, there were 1,544,914 registered voters in Ramsey, Hennepin, Anoka, Dakota and Washington counties. According to the Secretary of State’s website, 1,512,556 people voted in those counties. That’s a participation rate of 97.9%.

Let’s compare those statistics with 2008 for those same counties. There were 1,617,777 registered voters in 2008, with 1,489,469 people voting in those counties. That’s a participation rate of 92.1%.

That isn’t the astonishing part, though. In 2008, there were 3,199,981 registered voters in Minnesota, compared with 3,085,277 registered voters in 2012.

If 500,000 people use EDR each presidential election in Minnesota, why were there 114,704 more registered voters in Minnesota in 2008 than in 2008?

That isn’t even the most astonishing statistic, though. Even though there were 114,704 fewer registered voters in Minnesota in 2012 than in 2008, 21,707 more votes were cast in 2012 than in 2008.

In 2008, the participation rate was 90.9%. In 2012, the participation rate was 95.03%, an increase of 4 points from a wave election.

With all due respect, it’s impossible to believe that the voter participation rate was 4 points higher this year than in a wave election. It’s impossible to believe that 500,000 people used EDR in 2008 and another 500,000 people in 2010 but there were 114,704 fewer registered voters in 2012 than in 2008.

Finally, where did those 1,000,000 registered voters disappear to? It isn’t a stretch to think that a significant portion of those voters who used EDR weren’t eligible to vote.

Without Photo ID, though, it’s almost impossible to tell.

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According to the Secretary of State’s website, 94.25% of registered voters voted in the presidential race. Actually, that isn’t right. With 4046 of 4102 precincts reporting, 94.25% of Minnesota’s registered voters had voted in the presidential election.

That means a voter participation rate of over 96%.

If that seems steep, that’s pathetic compared with the voter participation rate in Hennepin County, where 674,159 of the county’s 678,074 voters voted. That’s a VPR of 99.4%.

Still, that’s nothing compared with the most ‘civic-minded’ county in Minnesota. In Ramsey County, 278,821 of the county’s 279,513 registered voters voted. That’s a VPR of 99.75%.

St. Louis County is relatively apathetic, with ‘only’ 115,620 of their 122,755 voters voting this year. That’s a VPR of 94.19%. Dakota County had a VPR of 96.1%.

Does anyone seriously think that 4 major metro counties had voter participation rates over 94%? Does anyone seriously think that a statewide presidential race would trigger a voter partipation rate of more than 96%?

I’m betting against it.

Newt Gingrich is one of the best political strategists of our time. Whether you agree or disagree with his policies, whether you think he’s too temperamental or whether you think he’s utterly brilliant, there’s no denying the fact that he’s got a fantastic knack of understanding main street. This video is a tour de force presentation by Newt:

Here’s the first thing Newt said that caught my attention:

It’s great. It’s the American drama. After all the talk, after all the ads, after all the pontificating, the American people get to tell us.

I’ll just say this. It’s about time. Let’s get this started. I’ve had enough of looking at deceitful polls. I’m tired of listening to President Obama’s stump speech. It isn’t time for the pontificators to leave the stage. It’s just time for them to add insight into why the American people made the decision they made.

This is the next thing Newt said that caught my attention:

I’ll give you one example. They’re talking about Democratic early voting in Ohio but they’re counting the counties along the Ohio River, which is coal country, which are Second Amendment gun rights country, which are God-fearing counttry, which are the very things that Obama had contempt for in San Fransisco. Those Democrats are going to vote against Obama.

It’s wrong to think of these coal-mining Democrats as Romney Democrats, at least at this point. It’s possible they’d be accurately described as Romney Democrats. It’s entirely possible they’ll just join the GOP.

At this point, though, it’s best calling them anti-Obama Democrats. At this point, they’re best described as people agitated that a Democrat wouldn’t fight for the blue collar Democrats that once was the backbone of the Democratic Party.

This statement spoke volumes to me:

NEWT: I was struck by something Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times, hardly a right wing reporter, said that the states he’d been in this week, his phrase was “The organic enthusiasm was for Romney.” There was a mechanical machine for Obama but there was an organic enthusiasm for Romney. My experience in politics is that organic enthusiasm,. the whole wave effect, always defeats the mechanical machine.

Notice that Newt didn’t criticize the machine. He simply said that a mob of genuinely enthusiastic voters will defeat the machine every time. I couldn’t dispute that if I wanted to.

Later, they talked about Todd Akin. Here’s what Newt said there:

Well, first of all, Callista and I have both been out campaigning with him. I’ve really liked Todd Akin. He was given a very bum rap by the national establishment. She is a very Obama-like voter in a state that voted by 71% against Obamacare and then she voted for Obamacare six weeks later. And Romney’s going to carry the state by 8-12 point so I think Akin wins by 3 points.

Frankly, I hadn’t thought about the folks along Ohio River Democrats voting early for Mitt but it makes sense. If that’s what’s happened, then that drops Ohio comfortably into Mitt’s lap. Similarly, if Mitt’s winning Missouri by double-digits and if Missourans don’t like Claire McCaskill like I think is the case, then I think Todd Akin wins.

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It’s important to not accept a poll’s horserace numbers as Gospel fact. This poll is fatally flawed but it’s quite fixable. Here’s the horserace number:

Romney/Ryan, leaners: 49%
Obama/Biden, leaners: 49%

If people just read the horserace number, they’d think this race was a tie. They’d be wrong. This CNN poll has a D/R/I index of 41/30/29. In 2008, a year that was a tidal wave election, Democrats represented 39% of the electorate while Republicans represented 32% of the electorate. That means this poll vastly oversampled Democrats. Gallup recently did a poll of who would vote in this year’s election. Here’s what it said:

Independents 38%, Democrats 32%, Republicans 30%.

According to the CNN poll’s internals, Gov. Romney is getting 99% of the Republicans’ vote, 59% of the independents’ vote and 5% of the Democrats’ votes. Now let’s plug those numbers into my votes per hundred method. If Romney is getting 99% of the Republicans’ votes and Republicans represent 30% of all likely voters, that means he’ll get 29.7 votes per hundred from Republicans. If Mitt gets 59% of independents’ votes and they represent 38 voters per 100, that means Mitt would get 22.42 votes per hundred from independents. If Mitt gets 5% of the Democrats’ votes and they represent 32 voters per 100, that means he’ll get an additional 1.6 votes for a grand total of 53.72 votes per 100 for Mitt.

I don’t believe, however, that Mitt’s getting 99% of the Republicans’ votes. I don’t buy that President Obama is getting 95% of the Democrats’ vote. I think Mitt’s getting 85-90% of the Republicans’ votes. Likewise, I think President Obama is getting 85-90% of the Democrats’ votes. That changes the numbers to Mitt getting 25.5 votes per 100 of Republicans’ votes and 4.8 votes per 100 from Democrats. The independents’ number would stay the same. That means Mitt would get 52.72 votes per 100.

Far from being tied, this poll actually shows Mitt with a dominant 52.7%-47.3% lead. I’m betting that’s a ‘tie’ Mitt Romney would embrace tomorrow night.

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