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Last night, I watched the Almanac Roundtable debate featuring the candidates for Secretary of State. The lasting impression I left with was straightforward. Steve Simon is Mark Ritchie in an expensive suit. He’s thoroughly indoctrinated in liberal ideology with regards to voting fraud. The other thing about him is that he apparently thinks voters are incredibly stupid.

Let’s take that last one first. After Dan Severson highlighted the vulnerabilities of Minnesota’s election system, Rep. Simon replied, saying “Would Minnesota have the highest voter turnout rate in the nation if people didn’t trust it?” That’s a nice-sounding answer but it doesn’t have anything to do with whether the system is secure. The fact that Democrats continually talk about Minnesota’s election system as the nation’s gold standard is because they don’t want people checking out the details of whether the system is fraught with vulnerabilities.

Rep. Simon’s answer totally ignores the vulnerabilities in Minnesota’s voting system. I know more than a little about this since I wrote a series of articles highlighting those vulnerabilities. (See here, here, here and here.)

Part IV is particularly disturbing because it shows how protective the election machine is of their system:

Thanks to KSTP-TV’s reporting, we learned that cities threw “up legal roadblocks” to their investigation. We learned that Bloomington “even suggested that felony charges could be pursued against” KSTP-TV if they “reported what [they] found.”

A system that’s the gold standard for election participation shouldn’t threaten people examining the system. They especially shouldn’t threaten reporters investigating Minnesota’s election system. The thought that they’d throw up legal roadblocks and suggest that they’d file felony charges against KSTP’s reporters strongly suggests that Minnesota’s election system is anything but impervious to voter fraud.

The DFL says that there’s little proof of fraud existing. That isn’t true but let’s say it is. The video shows that there’s a number of vulnerabilities in the absentee ballot system. Why wouldn’t we want to eliminate those vulnerabilities?

Another of the DFL’s chanting points is that we should want high voter participation rates. That sounds nice but it comes with a catch. The insinuation always comes with the suggestion that everyone who requests a ballot should get a ballot. There’s never a mention that this should be done within the context of the requirements in Minnesota’s constitution.

Steve Simon doesn’t have Mark Ritchie’s history of corruption. Still, Simon is nothing if not a puppet doing the same things Mark Ritchie did. That’s a step sideways after a major step backwards in 2006. We don’t need Mark Ritchie in a better suit. We need a man of integrity who won’t blindly incorporate the DFL’s chanting points into Minnesota state statutes.

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Something kept gnawing at me after I wrote this post. Here’s what kept bothering me:

That probe, begun almost 18 months ago, had centered on whether the university failed to return federal financial aid money it was required to return if the students whose grades were changed became ineligible to keep that financial aid.

I’ve finally figured out why that bothered me. The transcript scandal was pushed by the Faculty Association during their monthly Meet&Confer meetings with President Potter and members of his administration. If the FA hadn’t pushed the subject, it wouldn’t have seen the light of day.

That’s proven by the verifiable facts surrounding the scandal. First, as I wrote here, SCSU administration doesn’t think that an investigation is needed:

FA: I have a clarifying question. I heard you say this is a preliminary investigation at looking so once you do your preliminary then am I hearing you say then you will decide what your next step is going to be in terms of your going after other data collection for the past four years before this?

Admin: Sure so then we have as to what kind of data is relevant and we go there and we can collect the information so that it makes sense for you. The other thing is I won’t call it an investigation I would call analysis. So it’s a data analysis to understand if there is a spike and then understand whether it is due to factors outside our control or if it is factors of the band of discretion becoming wider.

Second, Potter’s administration hasn’t talked with professors who’ve reported students’ participation in their class deleted:

Chemistry Prof. Tamara Leenay also noticed discrepancies in 2012 and gave the documentation to McKenna. “It was just odd, all of the sudden, these grades are being changed,” she said.

Leenay said she has been out of state on vacation and did not meet with federal investigators. She also said that since she discovered the discrepancies and shared them with McKenna, no one from the administration has talked to her about the issue or asked for her records.

These incidents are proof that the Potter administration isn’t interested in investigating this scandal. This isn’t open to various interpretations. There’s just one explanation for the Potter administration’s inaction. They weren’t interested in the transcript scandal.

That’s important to the claim that “the probe” “had centered on whether the University failed to return federal financial aid money.”

Think about this. Why would professors worry about something that’s the administration’s responsibility? The professors consistently spoke out about the disappearing grades. LFR has covered this story extensively and exhaustively. LFR has reported more details about this scandal than all the other news agencies in the state…combined. While it’s true that professors I’ve interviewed on background were curious if SCSU had returned federal financial aid money, that was always a secondary issue. Transcript integrity and the damage done to SCSU’s academic reputation always topped their list of concerns.

That’s as it should be. Professors have enough responsibilities. They shouldn’t be required to monitor whether the administration has dealt with financial assistance from the federal government. That’s the administration’s responsibility.

The University’s insistence that the transcript scandal was always about “whether the university failed to return federal financial aid money” is pure Potter spin. That’s consistent. One of the things that’s been consistent from the Potter administration about this scandal is their spin. The other thing that’s been consistent about the Potter administration’s behavior during the transcript scandal is that they’ve refused to conduct a serious investigation into this major breech of academic integrity.

The only thing that’s worse than the Potter administration’s dishonesty is the St. Cloud Times’ gullibility.

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The least competent DFL governor of my lifetime criticized the most successful DFL governor of my lifetime during Tuesday’s debate in Duluth. Here’s what Gov. Dayton, the least competent DFL governor of my lifetime said:

“I’ve seen the hucksters go up there and promise chopstick factories.”

There’s only one person that fits Gov. Dayton’s description:

Jul. 19, 1989 11:06 AM ET
HIBBING, MINN. HIBBING, Minn. (AP) _ Lakewood Industries, a Hibbing chopsticks factory that Gov. Rudy Perpich had called a major step in efforts to revitalize northern Minnesota’s Iron Range, has closed.

Lakewood Forest Products, the plant’s parent firm in Canada, said Tuesday that it closed the factory because of a financial restructuring. The company said in a press release that it had been talking with a potential overseas investor, but that discussions broke off Tuesday.

Discussions with other potential investors are continuing, but management “has determined that in light of the company’s working capital position it is necessary to close the plant until adequate financing sources have been identified and a financial restructuring plan implemented,” the release said.

In case that date doesn’t remind you of something, this paragraph will:

On its first anniversary, the Hibbing plant was criticized by Independent-Republican leaders as a government-backed boondoggle conceived for Perpich’s hometown. Perpich was unavailable for comment on the closing.

Here’s Gov. Dayton’s full criticism of Gov. Perpich:

“Irresponsible…you’re just doing it for political advantage,” he said. “I’ve been working on behalf of northeastern Minnesota for 37 years and I’ve seen the hucksters go up there and promise chopstick factories…and all those other things because they are dangling out the prospects of jobs. Well we’re going to do this one responsibly.”

I’d love hearing Gov. Dayton explain how preventing PolyMet from being built is irresponsible but funding DFL GOTV call centers is responsible:

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

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

The man running the IRRRB is Tony Sertich, who was appointed by Gov. Dayton. If anything fits the definition of hucksterism, that fits. By the way, here’s the definition of huckster:

someone who sells or advertises something in an aggressive, dishonest, or annoying way

It’s disgusting that Gov. Dayton accused Commissioner Johnson of hucksterism while Gov. Dayton is engaging in hucksterism. Commissioner Johnson is simply fighting for PolyMet and for the streamlining of a process that’s corrupted by rich special interests. By comparison, Gov. Dayton is fine with maintaining the corrupt status quo.

Why shouldn’t Gov. Dayton? The activists corrupting the environmental review are Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s biggest supporters. Putting the puzzle together, it’s obvious that Gov. Dayton and the DFL don’t want a straightforward, streamlined review process. If it was streamlined, the environmental activists wouldn’t have the multiple opportunities to kill important projects that they hate. Right now, PolyMet and Sandpiper top their list of projects to kill.

Gov. Dayton and the DFL don’t share Minnesota’s priorities. They’ve proven that by calling people names without explaining why they’re fighting for the corrupt status quo. Yesterday, Gov. Dayton got out of control, criticizing his first boss for being a huckster. I’m not even sure he realizes what he did.

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After reading this Our View editorial, it’s clear that the St. Cloud Times doesn’t understand what the transcript scandal at St. Cloud State is about.

That probe, begun almost 18 months ago, had centered on whether the university failed to return federal financial aid money it was required to return if the students whose grades were changed became ineligible to keep that financial aid.

That isn’t how the scandal started. That came months later. By the time the US Department of Education showed up on the SCSU campus, along with the FBI, members of the FA had started questioning the Potter administration about why students’ participation in classes were disappearing from SCSU’s official transcript system. By the time the FBI and the DoE visited SCSU, the Potter administration had told the Faculty Association that they didn’t view the transcript scandal as an investigation. The Potter administration said that they thought of it as data analysis:

FA: I have a clarifying question. I heard you say this is a preliminary investigation at looking so once you do your preliminary then am I hearing you say then you will decide what your next step is going to be in terms of your going after other data collection for the past four years before this?

Admin: Sure so then we have as to what kind of data is relevant and we go there and we can collect the information so that it makes sense for you. The other thing is I won’t call it an investigation I would call analysis. So it’s a data analysis to understand if there is a spike and then understand whether it is due to factors outside our control or if it is factors of the band of discretion becoming wider.

It’s clear that the Potter administration, including Devinder Malhotra, then SCSU’s Provost, and Adam Hammer, President Potter’s spokesman, spun the situation:

In addressing this concern at a meet and confirm meeting conducted amongst university professors and administration, Hammer said the cause for concern primarily dealt with late drops and withdrawals.

Recently, questions about student registration and transcript changes, specifically late withdrawals and drops, at St. Cloud State University have been reported in a few media outlets. — Devinder Malhotra

Here’s what Tamara Leenay said about the scandal:

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Last spring, Tamara Leenay, a chemistry professor at St. Cloud State University, was reviewing grades when she came across the transcript of a student who failed an organic chemistry class she taught a couple of years earlier.

“I noticed the course was not even on his transcript,” Leenay said. “There was no ‘F.’ There was no course number…It was completely gone. And I have [a] record that he was in my class and that I gave him a grade…and I was never notified of any of these changes.”

The St. Cloud Times either doesn’t know about this video or they simply chose to not report on it:

In the video, Dr. Tracey Ore explained how easy it is to scrub grades from students’ transcripts:

PROFESSOR: How long, um, how, Tracy, how long will it be ah, I guess she got the grades off of there. Is that, is that a semester-long process or is that a short process?
DR. ORE: It can happen in a day.
PROFESSOR: Oh, ok.
DR. ORE: When I did it last year, Sue wanted to meet with me and say here’s my documentation and it might have to check with disability student services, check with the math department, check with whoever else. Considering all this, yeah…

I wrote that in late January, 2014. The St. Cloud Times has never reported on this tape. I know they have it because professors who met with them told them about it.

Contrary to the St. Cloud Times’ Editorial Board’s editorial, this isn’t about the Faculty Association making additional suggestions. It’s about the Potter administration’s admitting that people within the administration, starting with Dr. Tracy Ore, started altering students’ transcripts without justification. It’s about the Potter administration conducting a thorough investigation into what really happened. That thorough investigation must start with interviewing Dr. Tamara Leenay, Dr. Phyllis VanBuren and other professors whose students had their transcripts altered to remove failing grades after they’d completed their classes.

Finally, it’s time the St. Cloud Times stopped accepting everything President Potter, Bernie Omann and Adam Hammer said as gospel fact. It’s time they started questioning their statements because their statements are questionable, if not laughable.

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Dick Andzenge’s monthly column includes this ridiculous statement:

The university’s Faculty Association complained that many student grades, given by classroom faculty, were changed by administrators without using the proper protocol for making such changes, and often without the knowledge of the professors who had assigned those grades. In some cases, the complaint was that some students’ names simply disappeared from class rosters.

While the dispute focused on faculty rights, compliance with due process and academic integrity, the investigation by the U.S. Department of Education focused on the possible violation of federal law.

It’s time to squash the administration’s BS that the US DoE investigation was about potential “violation of federal law.” First, Adam Hammer insisted that there wasn’t an investigation. Is Mr. Hammer willing to admit that he lied then? Second, when asked about the status of the transcript investigation, the administration said it wasn’t an investigation:

FA: I have a clarifying question. I heard you say this is a preliminary investigation at looking so once you do your preliminary then am I hearing you say then you will decide what your next step is going to be in terms of your going after other data collection for the past four years before this?

Admin: Sure so then we have as to what kind of data is relevant and we go there and we can collect the information so that it makes sense for you. The other thing is I won’t call it an investigation I would call analysis. So it’s a data analysis to understand if there is a spike and then understand whether it is due to factors outside our control or if it is factors of the band of discretion becoming wider.

In other words, the investigation that didn’t exist was always about whether federal laws were broken. Except when it was considered data analysis. Except when Devinder Malhotra emphatically insisted that transcript integrity was among SCSU’s highest priorities:

“Integrity of transcripts and the record is very, very important and so is the involvement of the faculty in that process,” Malhotra said. “There’s no question about that in my mind. And it’s our attempt to make sure that going forward we do our due diligence and we make sure that the faculty input is not only taken but recorded.”

Other than those things, Dr. Andzenge’s statement is fairly accurate.

This question has a simple answer:

Have the university’s administration and its academic faculty come to a mutual understanding about what actually happened regarding the grade changes and missing names class lists?

That answer is no. The administration is still spinning constantly that this was just an administrative misunderstanding. The administration insists that it wasn’t transcript corruption. It was just bureaucrats making wrong decisions.

The faculty, starting with Dr. Tamara Leenay and including Dr. Phyllis VanBuren, insist that students who did all their class work, took all their tests and who failed their classes had their participation in those classes deleted from St. Cloud State’s official transcript system. This isn’t about late drops and withdrawals, which is what President Potter and his administration have insisted. It’s about a system where the administration let students who failed their classes off the hook.

It isn’t logical to say that students who simply failed classes should benefit from administrative corruption.

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Recently, I got another smear campaign mailer from the DFL smearing Jim Knoblach. It isn’t shocking that the DFL is into smearing Republicans. It’s that the DFL’s mailer has a picture of a senior citizen with the caption “Tell Jim Knoblach to keep his hands off our Social Security and Medicare.”

It’s painfully obvious that the DFL knows that state legislators don’t have anything to do with Medicare or Social Security. Just because the DFL is without character and can’t be shamed because they don’t have a conscience, that doesn’t mean that they’re stupid.

They’re just disgustingly unprincipled and utterly without virtue.

While it’s true that Jim Knoblach supported giving people the option of putting a portion of their FICA taxes into a government-approved equity account when he ran for Congress in 2006, that’s utterly irrelevant in this race. Jim Knoblach, if he’s elected, will never cast a vote on Social Security or Medicare because they’re federal programs.

This DFL’s intent with this mailer is to scare senior citizens into voting for Zach Dorholt. If’s apparent that the DFL doesn’t care that it’s fearmongering at its worst. It’s important to remember what Howard Dean said after being elected chair of the DNC:

It’s a battle between good and evil…and we’re the good.

In Dean’s mind, the ends justified the means. If that meant smearing people with lies, that’s the path he’d take without hesitation. That’s the mindset that Ken Martin brought with him from ABM to the DFL.

In Martin’s mind, the only thing that matters is winning elections and checking items off the DFL’s ideological checklist. It’s irrelevant if it helps Minnesotans. It’s only relevant if it makes their special interests’ lives better.

The DFL insists that it’s for the little guy. That’s BS and it’s verifiable. The Metrocrat wing of the DFL, made up mostly by plutocrats and elitists, has done everything to prevent PolyMet from getting built. If the DFL cared about Iron Range voters, they wouldn’t say that building the mine is important but dragging the regulatory review for 9 years is more important.

If the DFL cared about the little guy, they wouldn’t have shoved forced unionization onto child care providers.

Zach Dorholt voted for the forced unionization of child care providers. He voted for major business-to-business sales tax increases and the Senate Office Building. After the session, he caught hell from St. Cloud businesses for creating these new taxes. These businesses lobbied him hard during the session. He ignored them then. It wasn’t until after the session that he started listening to these businesses.

Dorholt is chair of the House Higher Ed Committee. That’s a position of authority yet he hasn’t lifted a finger to investigate the wasteful spending at MnSCU’s Central Office nor has he looked into the financial mismanagement at SCSU. Despite the fact that SCSU is facing $8,000,000-$10,000,000 of budget cuts this year and despite the fact that the Potter administration hasn’t published a budget report yet, Zach Dorholt hasn’t looked into these issues.

All he cares about is whether he can report that he increased spending on Higher Education.

How does that qualify as helping the little guy or middle class families? That’s before asking Mr. Dorholt how the Dayton-Dorholt-DFL budget is creating part-time, low wage jobs helps grow the economy from the middle class out?

The truth is that the DFL doesn’t care about prosperity. They don’t care about great jobs throughout the state. They don’t care if public institutions foolishly spend the taxpayers’ money. How dare they send out mailers that frighten senior citizens while smearing a great policymaker.

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If there’s anything that’s obvious about this article, it’s that the Burke campaign and the security detail for Michelle Obama went too far last week:

Political campaigns make otherwise reasonable people go over the edge. The latest example surrounds Michelle Obama’s campaign visit to Milwaukee this week in support of Mary Burke, who is trying to unseat incumbent Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter, Meg Kissinger, was trying to interview people who were attending the event when campaign workers stopped her.

This sounds too much like a totalitarian state:

The partisan attacks worry Burke campaign spokesman Joe Zepecki. He called the Journal Sentinel newsroom and tried to have the mention of press restrictions deleted from the online news article. Editors refused. Zepecki then complained bitterly in emails to Kissinger and said it wasn’t news, nor was her inclusion in the article that people at the rally who needed to sit down were having trouble finding chairs.

Zepecki later told me no other reporters mentioned any of this in their news accounts. That just proves Kissinger is the only one who got it right. We can’t have politicians or their staffs dictating how news is covered, because you know they’d love to.

There’s a difference between controlling the message and controlling the reporters. Zepecki tried controlling the reporters. There’s no justification for that.

Fans of press freedom, and, yes, there are some left, praised Kissinger for exposing such a ridiculous rule and then interviewing anyone she darn well pleased. Opponents of Burke seized the opportunity to say, see, she would make a lousy governor who will keep all the people’s quotes for herself.

This isn’t proof that Burke would make a lousy governor. It’s proof that her first instinct is to control the media. That’s un-American. It shouldn’t be tolerated.

Thankfully, Ms. Kissinger didn’t let the thugs masquerading as campaign workers prevent her from telling the world what happened.

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It isn’t that Dave Unze’s article for the SCTimes isn’t accurate. It’s that it doesn’t speak to the initial, central complaint. Here’s what I’m talking about:

The U.S. Department of Education has closed an investigation at St. Cloud State University without a finding of wrongdoing after looking into changes to students’ transcripts.

The Office of Inspector General determined that “there appears to be no federal violation” of student loan rules and the “case is recommended for closure,” according to information provided to the St. Cloud Times through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The department was investigating whether the university failed to return federal financial aid money it was required to return if the students whose grades were changed became ineligible to keep that financial aid.

It’s true that the US Department of Education visited SCSU’s campus. Likewise, they visited because they’d gotten complaints that some federal laws might’ve been broken. Still, it’s misleading to suggest that that’s the heart of the scandal. It’s what the Potter administration has worked hard to portray as the heart of the scandal but it isn’t close to being the heart of the scandal. This gets to the heart of the scandal:

Two years ago, a student in my class completed all requirements but the final, requesting to take the final in early January. She did not then nor in April, when another faculty member contacted me on her behalf for yet another chance. Her grade for the semester was a solid F — even if she would have earned 100 percent on the written final.

However, a year later, she requested a withdrawal for all her courses. I provided detailed evidence that she had completed the semester and reasons for denying the appeal. I later received an email that her request had been granted despite my recommendation. I contacted the registrar’s office to learn that two professors had denied her request and two had complied. Yet a W was awarded for all four classes. My prompt reaction re-instated the earned grade for my class.

That isn’t the only example of the Potter administration trying to pervert SCSU’s transcript system. MPR’s article documents what’s at the heart of the Potter-SCSU transcript scandal:

Last spring, Tamara Leenay, a chemistry professor at St. Cloud State University, was reviewing grades when she came across the transcript of a student who failed an organic chemistry class she taught a couple of years earlier.

“I noticed the course was not even on his transcript,” Leenay said. “There was no ‘F.’ There was no course number … It was completely gone. And I have [a] record that he was in my class and that I gave him a grade … and I was never notified of any of these changes.”

That’s the heart of the Potter-SCSU transcript scandal. It wasn’t that transcripts were getting changed without a professor’s permission. It’s that people who had taken courses, completed their assignments, then failed their class talked the Potter administration into eliminating a student’s participation in a class from their transcript.

I’m happy to hear that SCSU didn’t break federal laws while corrupting their official transcript system. Unfortunately, students’ grades were deleted from St. Cloud State’s transcripts after they’d done the work but failed the classes.

If a student does all the work for the class, then fails, that student shouldn’t have the right to petition the administration to have that grade removed. Deleting a student’s participation in a class from the transcripts is dishonest.

The investigation determined that a “large amount” of the transcript alterations were from “a backlog of late-withdraw requests, not no-show students, and that most of the transcript alterations affected students that attended classes for some time and were thus eligible to keep a portion or all of the Title IV aid they received.”

President Potter, former Provost Malhotra and spokesman Adam Hammer have tried portraying the situation as being about late drops and withdrawals. Nobody protested the fact that late drops and withdrawals were appropriate in certain situations. The faculty’s protests were about students who had their participation in class scrubbed from their official transcripts after the student failed the professor’s class.

President Potter still insists that that there never was a problem and that this was all about some professors venting. It’s unfortunate that President Potter didn’t take this seriously. It’s worse that the SCTimes didn’t do a real investigation. What’s worst is that the SCTimes just took President Potter’s word hook, line and sinker.

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Wednesday night, Jeff Johnson highlighted the differences between his main street governing approach and Gov. Dayton’s metrocentric governing approach. This video highlights that difference:

Here’s the transcript of Commissioner Johnson’s response:

There was an increase in local government aid last year under the all-DFL government we have but there was also the largest portion, I believe, that we’ve ever seen of local government aid going to Minneapolis. That’s at the direct expense of communities in Greater Minnesota. And that has been a pretty common theme in the Dayton administration. Greater Minnesota, in many ways, has become an afterthought in this state, whether you’re talking about where we’re spending our transportation dollars at, whether you’re looking at K-12 education funding formula, whether you’re looking at some of the regulations that are killing our farmers and our miners and our loggers in this state or whether you’re looking at LGA. There’s a very metrocentric philosophy at the Capitol right now.

That reply exposed the DFL’s metro-first governing philosophy while highlighting Commissioner Johnson’s prioritizing Greater Minnesota. A vote for Gov. Dayton isn’t just a vote for reckless spending. It’s a vote for the DFL to ignore Greater Minnesota for another 4 years.

This was the biggest jaw-dropping moment of the debate:

Earlier in the day, Gov. Dayton said that he hasn’t lost sleep over MNsure in his attempt to sound like MNsure’s problems are fixed. They definitely aren’t fixed. Here’s the next bombshell that Commissioner Johnson dropped on Gov. Dayton:

Saying that he’ll “fire the entire MNsure board and top staff because they’re incompetent” was definitely unexpected. It’s definitely justified, though. When Pat Kessler says that he thinks that people at MNsure lied to him. Jim Nobles, the Legislative Auditor, is auditing MNsure.

I didn’t notice this initially but it’s noteworthy because it’s Gov. Dayton’s government-knows-best moment:

This won’t hurt Gov. Dayton within the DFL but it might hurt him with women. It’s possible that they’ll say that they know what their families need and that they don’t need government telling them what they need.

It took more than 40 minutes but they finally got to the Dayton-DFL economy before jumping into PolyMet. Commissioner Johnson’s back-and-forth with Gov. Dayton was especially interesting:

Gov. Dayton better hope that people on the Range don’t hear him say that he’s opposed to pushing mining without a lengthy, expensive, environmental review. They’ve endured 9 years of review for PolyMet. There’s no question that it’s safe. The only people who think precious metals mining isn’t safe are the environmental activists in the Twin Cities, which is the dominant wing in the DFL right now.

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Jeff Johnson is taking the fight to Gov. Dayton, this time in Virginia, MN:

Johnson has been a persistent critic of MNsure created under Gov. Dayton. But his opposition reached a new and higher level when PreferredOne, which had 60 percent of the MNsure market pulled out for business reasons.

Johnson even alluded to a possibility that Dayton’s Department of Commerce may have allowed PreferredOne to participate in MNsure even though it couldn’t sustain the low rates. “The Commerce Department’s role is to make sure that the rates are actuarially sound. It doesn’t appear that they were,” Johnson said more than a week ago when PreferredOne left the exchange.

PreferredOne’s decision to not participate in MNsure is a big deal because it’ll mean higher insurance premiums. PreferredOne left MNsure because it was a bureaucratic nightmare, which meant PreferredOne couldn’t make a profit. Commissioner Johnson’s statement must’ve hit a nerve with the Dayton campaign, which released this statement:

Dayton has admitted mistakes with MNsure and has shown his displeasure with its rollout. But the governor’s campaign fired back over Johnson’s allegation of possible political tinkering with the state Commerce Department.

“Commissioner Johnson’s accusations that the governor engaged in illegal activity are unfounded and untrue. We will not dignify Commissioner Johnson’s smear attempt with any response,” a statement from the campaign said.

That’s right. The Dayton administration has never broken. Except when they illegally put people on Medicaid:

We first reported Tuesday the Minnesota Legislative Auditor was investigating complaints that MNsure was placing people incorrectly on Medicaid. Now, we have emails between Minnesota House Research staff and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) that show state officials and MNsure have known about this problem since January of this year.

Mike Franklin is one of those people. Franklin and his wife combined make more than the $65,000 limit for dependent children to qualify for Medicaid, yet Franklin says he received notice from MNsure that his children had been placed on Medicaid without his consent. Franklin says he even received notices that Medicaid had paid some medical bills for his two children, even after he asked MNsure to discontinue the coverage because he did not qualify. Franklin says it took six months and action by an Administrative Judge to discontinue the Medicaid policy.

That’s right. Gov. Dayton’s Department of Human Services knew that Gov. Dayton’s MNsure was illegally putting children on Medicaid even though their parents made too much for the children to qualify for Medicaid.

That’s the definition of breaking the law. It isn’t just that the Dayton administration broke the law. It’s that the administration knew that they’d broken the law and sat silent, at least publicly.

That means that the Dayton campaign’s statement that Gov. Dayton didn’t engage in illegal activity is 100% spin. Jeff Johnson accused Gov. Dayton’s administration of breaking the law. Jeff Johnson didn’t accuse Gov. Dayton of personally breaking the law.

The important point is that MNsure is a failure that’s hurting lots of Minnesota families. Insurance premiums will increase this fall. The only thing undetermined is by how much they’ll jump. It’s a fact that MNsure will be a disaster for people trying to renew their policies. It’s a fact that people who are trying to add babies to their coverage are being asked by MNsure if their newborn baby is married.

In other words, it isn’t just that the Dayton administration is utterly incompetent. It’s also verified truth that the Dayton administration has broken the law.

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