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Reading ISAIAH’s recent email survey certainly makes me question whether they’ve violated the IRS’s prohibitions on 501(c)(3) organizations with regard to political campaigns. In their email, Laura Johnson, ISAIAH’s Lead Organizer, wrote “As we think about 2020, we want to dig in on the things that work and that make honest connections with voters, and stop doing the ones that people hate or that don’t get people engaged.”

Based on this information, it certainly sounds like they’ve overstepped their boundaries:

Some activities that the IRS has found to violate the prohibition on political campaigning include:

  1. inviting a political candidate to make a campaign speech at an event hosted by the organization
  2. using the organization’s funds to publish materials that support (or oppose) a candidate
  3. donating money from the organization to a political candidate
  4. any statements by the organization’s executive director, in his or her official capacity, that support a candidate
  5. criticizing or supporting a candidate on the organization’s website
  6. inviting one candidate to speak at a well-publicized and well-attended event, and inviting the other candidate to speak at a lesser function
  7. inviting all candidates to speak at an event, but arranging the speaking event or choosing the questions in such a way that it is obvious that the organization favors one candidate over the others
  8. conducting a “get out the vote” telephone drive in a partisan manner by selecting caller responses for further follow-up based on candidate preference, and
  9. using the organization’s website to link to only one candidate’s profile.

“Making connections with voters certainly sounds like they’re “conducting a ‘get out the vote’ drive, doesn’t it? It certainly doesn’t sound like they’re conducting a voter registration drive, which is allowed. This confirms my suspicions:

Indigenous, Black, Hispanic and Muslim Minnesotans Partner in GOTV for Day of Action

This is a picture from ISAIAH’s blog. They aren’t trying to hide the fact that they’re engaging in a GOTV operation. As I highlighted earlier, the IRS has long found that GOTV operations as violating 501(c)(3) rules. I don’t know how a case could be more open-and-shut than that.

At a time when there’s major distrust of institutions of government, you’d think that government closest to the people would hold themselves to a higher level of listening to their constituents. That certainly isn’t what’s happening at the ISD742 monthly meetings.

A loyal reader of LFR sent me an email highlighting the fact that the school board welcomes people to their meetings but doesn’t want the public’s input. Contained in the email is a sentence that says “This is a public meeting and any residents are welcome to attend and listen, but there is not a public input session scheduled at this meeting.”

BTW, here’s the email:

I’m not a constitutional law professor but I can’t see how this isn’t a violation of the First Amendment. This judge’s ruling seems to strengthen that belief:

A section of a Virginia school board’s bylaws violates the First Amendment and results in stifled speech, according to a ruling by a federal district judge on April 27. U.S. District Court Judge Henry C. Morgan Jr. held that the Virginia Beach School Board’s rule banning personal “attacks or accusations” during public comment periods at board meetings was a form of prior restraint.

The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed last July by David and Nicole Bach, who are parents in the school district. The Bachs claimed that school district officials enacted the provision in retaliation for the Bachs’ criticism of the district’s gifted education program. After the school board imposed the restriction, the Bachs argued that the bylaw stifled their free speech rights. The judge ordered the school board to strike the contested provision from the bylaw, but also allowed the other rules for the public comment portion of meetings to remain.

This is directly on point. Most importantly, it’s an attempt to stifle speech that the school board doesn’t want to hear.

That’s tough. If these politicians don’t want to hear from their constituents, they should resign. If they can’t stand the heat, they shouldn’t be in the kitchen.

The next time that the St. Cloud School Board meets, citizens should insist on giving input. If the board doesn’t permit it, the citizens should notify the school board that they’re filing a lawsuit in federal court claiming that their practices violate their First Amendment rights.

Citizens shouldn’t be stifled by the ruling class. It’s clear that they don’t see themselves as public servants. How sad is that?

When Jim Comey testified behind closed doors, Mr. Comey frequently testified that he didn’t know the answer to the question he was asked or FBI counsel testified that he wasn’t allowed to testify per FBI rules. One such instance got fairly heated. Here it is:

Mr. Gowdy: I think the whole world has read the memo and — or most of the world. My question is whether or not Director Comey — I think he’s already answered he had no conversations with Rod Rosenstein. My question is, whether or not — and he’s entitled to his opinion — whether or not he believes that that framed a sufficient factual basis for his termination as the FBI Director.
Ms. Bessee: He is entitled to his opinion, but to the extent — because he also stated that he is also a witness in the investigation.
Mr. Gowdy: Which investigation is he a witness in?
Ms. Bessee: To the special counsel. He said he is a potential witness.
Mr. Gowdy: Well, you just said witness. Is there an obstruction of justice investigation?
Ms. Bessee: I believe there is an investigation that the special counsel is looking into.
Mr. Gowdy: Well, we all know that. Is it an obstruction of justice investigation?
Ms. Bessee: Mr. Chairman, can you rephrase the question, please?
Mr. Gowdy: Yes. Director Comey, you’re familiar with the memo drafted by Rod Rosenstein. You have not talked to Rod Rosenstein, as I understand your testimony. Do you believe the memo, just on the cold four pages of the memo, four corners of that document, do you believe it provides sufficient basis for your termination? Even if you would have done it differently, is it a basis for your termination?
Mr. Comey: I can’t answer that, Mr. Chairman, because it requires me to get into the mind of the decisionmaker, who is the President, and I’m not in a position to do that.
Mr. Gowdy: Do you have any evidence the memo was subterfuge to fire you, but not for the — but for a different reason?
Mr. Comey: I have no evidence at all about how the memo came to be created. I know that it was part of the documentation that was attached, what was sent to me, delivered to the FBI on the day I was fired. That’s the only thing I have personal knowledge of.

That’s just one of the heated exchanges between Chairman Gowdy, Director Comey and Ms. Bessee. Here’s the entire transcript:


What I found fascinating about this video is Chairman Gowdy’s statistics:

According to Chairman Gowdy, Comey replied “I don’t remember” 71 times, “I don’t know” 166 times and “I don’t recall” 8 times. That’s a pretty pathetic performance for a man leading the premier law enforcement agency in the world. These weren’t insignificant questions about things that happened long ago. They were central questions about major recent investigations that he supposedly headed.

It’s rather disgusting to hear Mr. Comey talk about transparency after hiding behind the FBI’s attorney. It’s clear that the FBI’s attorney’s mission was singular: protect Mueller. The FBI’s attorney didn’t care a whit about informing the public or the committees. She primarily cared about hiding important facts.

Fresh off its victory against Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, Judicial Watch has filed another FOIA lawsuit, this time to obtain “records on sites that were considered for the resettlement of refugees in the United States during the last two years of the Obama administration.’

According to the press release announcing the lawsuit, Judicial Watch said “In October 2016, Judicial Watch made public 128 pages of documents it obtained from the mayor of Rutland, Vermont, showing a concerted effort by the mayor and a number of private organizations to conceal from the public their plans to resettle 100 Syrian refugees into the small southern Vermont town. The mayor and resettlement organizations shrouded the plan in such secrecy that not even the town’s aldermen were informed of what was taking place behind closed doors.”

Apparently, it isn’t unconstitutional to look into the program. Apparently, all it takes is someone with integrity. Check this out:

The aldermen eventually wrote to the U.S. Department of State protesting the plan and opened an investigation into the mayor’s actions.

It’s impossible to picture the St. Cloud City Council opening an investigation into Mayor Kleis or the program’s principles unless his name was Jeff Johnson. St. Cloud’s City Council has too many misinformed, gullible people on it to do something smart like open an investigation.

Rest assured that Judicial Watch will get to the bottom of this situation. It might take some time but they’ll find out what’s happening.

After hearing reports that Jim Comey wasn’t answering key questions that Republicans have asked him about, Comey didn’t seem the least bit bothered by his evasiveness. Darrell Issa spoke to reporters about Comey’s attitude, telling reporters “that some lawmakers have been frustrated with the testimony so far and that Comey didn’t seem upset about being told by his lawyers that he doesn’t have to answer certain questions.”

People shouldn’t think that Jim Comey is a man of integrity. He isn’t that. Right after the election, Comey insisted that he’d only testify in an open hearing, saying that he worried about Republicans would selectively leak portions of his answers. Comey pretended to be a warrior for transparency. That doesn’t square with his gleeful evasiveness in not answering the committees’ questions.

I hope that the transcript of the hearing is published soon. I suspect that lots of people want to read it to see which questions Mr. Comey didn’t answer. Let’s be clear about something important. The FBI’s political appointees aren’t men of integrity. Throughout his sham investigation, Robert Mueller has used tactics that people of integrity wouldn’t think of using.

“The details of what’s going on in there will remain private until after the deposition,” Issa said. “… [T]here is an amazing amount of things that reasonably the public will need to know that the Department of Justice and FBI attorney are guiding him not to answer.”

It’s time for the DOJ to stop protecting Comey and the other rats that have infiltrated, then ruined, the FBI. There’s nothing worthwhile about a law enforcement agency that has the ability to destroy its political enemies. Further, there’s nothing worthwhile about an agency that’s willing to turn a blind eye towards the FBI leadership. It’s time to dump the FBI’s leadership so the FBI can start restoring the trust it’s lost over the past 8+ years.

ISSA QUOTE OF THE DAY: “You’re not going to accept the answers as the answers that a forthright individual would give.”

I want to thank Congressman Issa for exposing Dir. Comey’s evasive testimony. It’s now difficult to believe that Mr. Comey is interested in transparency. It’s also impossible to think that the FBI isn’t attempting to hide lots of embarrassing pieces of information, information that’d likely show how corrupt that organization is.

UPDATE: What chutzpah:

It’s rather disheartening to see the senior leadership of Minnesota State, formerly known as MnSCU and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, wasting time on this initiative. To be fair, though, they admitted one thing that’s been obvious for years. They asked the question “How does the Minnesota State Board of Trustees enable a large, complex, risk-and change-averse organization to transition itself into a more nimble, responsive, and dynamic enterprise centered on enhancing student success”?

Admitting that a large government entity is “risk- and change-averse” is a nice first step. That being said, it’s just a first step. This bunch still isn’t capable of transferring credits from one MnSCU campus to another MnSCU campus. Why would I suddenly think that they’ll go from failing at such a basic function to being proficient at complex functions in times that Amazon would be proud of?

The reality is that government doesn’t have the incentives, aka profits, to be proficient. If Minnesota State is terrible at something, how does that senior management get punished for making a terrible decision? A: They don’t! As long as the business model doesn’t change, the incentive won’t change, either.

On Pg. 4, they ask “Why Reimagine Minnesota State?” The reply is “Our current approaches have had little impact on key outcomes of student success.” On Pg. 6 of the report, they write “Create the structures, policies, procedures, and funding models that will recognize and accelerate the innovative approaches already occurring on our campuses.”

The ‘business model’ used by private companies is entirely different than that of public institutions. Private companies rely on a profit incentive to drive efficiency. That incentive doesn’t exist in the public sector. They know that if they get things wrong, they just grab more money from taxpayers, then dress it up as their newest innovation.

In the end, this is just another waste of money that won’t accomplish what they want it to accomplish. When you put philosophers in charge, mediocrity soon follows.

Prof. John Spry’s op-ed talks about the DFL’s Minnesota Health Plan. In Part I of this series, I highlighted the fact that this bill, if passed and signed into law, would have the authority to raise taxes unilaterally:

(f) Premiums and other revenues collected each year must be sufficient to cover that year’s projected costs.

Prof. Spry then notes this:

The Democrats’ legislation says that regional health boards would select eight members of the new Minnesota Health Board. The first eight members selected by regional health boards would then appoint seven additional members who would have to be members of specified health care interest groups. These 15 appointees would never be accountable to the voters at a ballot box. They would have control over life and death decisions for every Minnesotan.

This bill provides for a lengthy list of ‘benefits’ for Minnesotans. See Part I for the benefits. The DFL doesn’t hesitate in telling Minnesotans that they have to buy expensive health care plans. This is especially unfair to young healthy people. Why do they need policies with 31 different coverages?

Prof. Spry then writes:

Americans have proudly rejected authoritarian rule by unelected officials. Our Revolutionary patriots proclaimed “No Taxation without Representation.” In that American tradition, the Minnesota Constitution gives the power of taxation to an elected Legislature. It further requires that this “power of taxation shall never be surrendered, suspended or contracted away.” It is democratic to never let the elected Legislature surrender its power of taxation to an unelected Minnesota Health Board.

The thing that must be noted is that this takes virtually all decision-making out of the hands of families (in terms of what policies they want to purchase) and the legislature (in terms of taxation.) There is nothing democratic about the DFL’s bill. The DFL’s legislation is more fascistic than democratic.

That’s why it must be immediately rejected. Prof. Spry then asks this important question:

Why do Minnesota Democrats want to give the power to tax and spend to the appointed members of the Minnesota Health Board?

Then he provides their answer:

They explain at the marketing website for the single-payer Minnesota Health Plan (MHP):

“The Legislature and Governor would have no authority over the MHP revenues. This is necessary in order to prevent the use of MHP premiums to balance the state budget, and would also prevent politicians from starving the health plan of needed funds, a problem that occurs in some of the countries where politicians are responsible for funding their national health plans.”

In other words, they don’t want accountable people exercising control over their health care plan.

Jackass Jim Acosta made another spectacle today, questioning White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders about whether she thinks “the press is the enemy of the people.” Rather than answering directly, Huckabee-Sander replied “It’s ironic, Jim, that not only you and the media attack the president for his rhetoric when they frequently lower the level of conversation in this country. Repeatedly, repeatedly the media resorts to personal attacks without any content other than to incite anger.” She then continued, saying “Including your own network said I should be harassed as a life sentence. That I should be choked. ICE officials are not welcomed in their place of worship” before finishing by saying “When I was hosted by the Correspondents’ Association, which almost all of you are members of, you brought a comedian up to attack my appearance and call me a traitor to my own gender. As far as I know, I’m the first press secretary in the history of the United States that’s required Secret Service protection.”

Later, Acosta walked out of the briefing before tweeting this:


Here’s the video of their fiery exchange:

The truth is that Jim Acosta is a spoiled brat with no manners. It’s impossible to take him seriously. Further, his unprofessionalism is obvious to anyone with a functioning brain.

What’s painfully obvious is that this was another attempt to get attention. This was the first time that Acosta talked about the White House Correspondents Dinner fiasco. He didn’t bring it up, either. He spoke to it after Sarah Huckabee-Sanders brought it up along with a lengthy litany of other abuses she’s suffered through. If the media wants to rebuild their credibility, they should stop acting like jackasses. Further, they should stop hiring insulting comediennes for the White House Correspondents Dinner. Nothing says ‘Don’t take me seriously’ like an unfunny, unserious comedian.

The only thing that’s worse is this:

Including your own network said I should be harassed as a life sentence. That I should be choked.

That qualifies as a legitimate reason to say that the press is the enemy of the people. That’s what bitter, hateful people say. That isn’t what a professional with self-respect says. Kicking a reporter out for asking a controversial statement is one thing.

Today’s episode goes far beyond that. That was just mean-spirited unprofessional behavior. Acosta shouldn’t have been allowed to walk out early. He should’ve been kicked out. Then the White House should’ve issued a statement highlighting acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

Tim Pawlenty has started running an ad that takes a shot at Gov. Dayton’s incompetence in administering government assistance programs. Before we watch the ad, though, it’s important to note that Pawlenty has listed this issue as a high priority on his campaign’s issues page.

He wrote “Whether it is a driver’s license renewal system that doesn’t work, broken healthcare websites, or childcare providers allegedly defrauding the state of a massive amount of money and sending some of that money to terrorists overseas, state government needs to be held more accountable. Too often, state government is not held accountable and taxpayers are left to pay the price. As just one example, a recent audit from the Office of the Legislative Auditor found the state is paying hundreds of millions in benefits to people not even eligible because state government fails to verify income eligibility. We will properly verify eligibility and use the hundreds of millions currently being wasted to lower health care costs and provide better care to Minnesotans in need. It’s time to hold state government more accountable and put hardworking Minnesotans first.”

Here’s Pawlenty’s ad:

Rating this ad

I consider this ad to be effective. First, Pawlenty ‘narrates’ the ad, in essence telling people what he thinks is important while highlighting what’s wrong with government. Next, he closes by saying that he’d use those savings to lower health care costs for Minnesotans who work hard and obey the law.

Next up is Karin Housley’s first ad:

Rating this ad

I rate this ad effective, too. First, Sen. Housley speaks for herself, which is always the most effective way of getting the message across. Next, she explains her governing philosophy. Simply put, she wants to ‘drain the swamp’ and get government out of the average citizen’s way. She wants government “working for you, not against you.” Finally, she tells voters that she understands “that the best place for your hard-earned money is in your pocket.”

In both cases, the ads were short, concise and about things that Minnesotans care about.

UPDATE: I saw Jeff Johnson’s first ad tonight:

Rating this ad

Johnson’s ad definitely goes after Tim Pawlenty, which is what I’d expect since Johnson first has to win the primary. I thought it was gratuitous for Johnson to say that Gov. Pawlenty “gave us higher spending.” When Gov. Pawlenty started in office, Jim Knoblach chaired the House Ways and Means Committee. It’s foolish to think that there was a massive spending increase at that time because Gov. Pawlenty inherited a $4.2 billion projected deficit from Jesse Ventura. Pawlenty and Knoblach eliminated that deficit without raising taxes. It’s fair, however, to mention the fee increases.

The ad is a bit misleading in that Pawlenty had to battle DFL supermajorities in the 2007 and 2009 budget sessions. That’s when Republicans relied on Gov. Pawlenty to be our goalie.

Overall, the ad is somewhat effective because it’s somewhat misleading.

This Politico article contains some of the best news I’ve seen all day. When I read “the party’s base is demanding Schumer and his colleagues wage a knock-down, drag-out fight”, I couldn’t help but smile from ear-to-ear.

Let’s be upfront about this. I don’t expect this to happen. Still, if the Democrats want to imperil their most vulnerable senators, I’ll be happy to see that happen. I’d love to see Republicans pick up 6-7 seats instead of 2-3 seats in the Senate.

Still, if the Democrats’ base insists on a knock-down-drag-out fight, Republicans should smile, then hit these red-state Democrats hard until they’re too toxic to win. In some cases, that shouldn’t be that difficult. It’s important that we remember that this vote isn’t the only thing that senators like Manchin, Donnelly, Tester, Heitkamp and Nelson will be judged on. Tester and Nelson voted against Gorsuch. All of them voted against the Trump/GOP tax cuts. Don’t think that those votes won’t be included in the GOP’s closing arguments in late October and early November.

Still, how long at-risk Democrats can or should hold out is a complicated political equation that could affect their survival in November. As long as they remain undecided, deep-pocketed conservative groups like the Judicial Crisis Network and Americans for Prosperity will continue pounding them with pro-Kavanaugh ads and activism in their states.

A spokeswoman for JCN said it would pull ads when and if Democratic senators come out in support of Kavanaugh and shift to thanking the nominee’s supporters. Meanwhile, GOP opponents, who expect some of these Democrats to ultimately support Kavanaugh, are hitting them for their supposed indecision.

Organizations like the Judicial Crisis Network are already running ads like this against Democrats:

This is another hard-hitting ad from JCN:

Good luck dealing with that pressure.
UPDATE: Rand Paul has announced that he’s supporting Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The pressure just got a lot more intense for Manchin, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Tester, etc.