Archive for the ‘Corruption’ Category
Jay Kolls’ article highlights the Department of Human Services’ incompetence:
The Minnesota Department of Human Services sent 3,000 letters to homes of MinnesotaCare recipients who may have received incorrect monthly billing statements after they applied for health coverage through MNsure, the state’s new health care exchange. The letter tells those recipients the bills may have been wrong for several months, but they encouraged those clients to keep paying the bills anyway.
It’s ironic (and infuriating) that the Department of Human Services quickly sent out letters to MinnesotaCare applicant to keep paying their insurance premiums but they’re still working on sending out the letters to people who applied for MinnesotaCare but didn’t submit all of the paperwork that’s required for application approval.
Put a little differently, Dayton’s Department of Human Services wants its money ASAP but it isn’t that interested in getting MinnesotaCare applicants insured.
That’s a terrible priority to set.
State Sen. Michelle Benson, (R) Ham Lake, sits on the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee. She says the MNsure vendors still play a role in this problem even though the billing is handled by DHS.
“If a private company told its clients to keep paying monthly health insurance premiums even if they might be incorrect, the Minnesota Department of Commerce would come in and clean house,” Benson said.
In addition to the Department of Commerce getting involved, it isn’t a stretch to think that Lori Swanson, Minnesota’s Attorney General, might start an investigation if a private company did this.
MNsure representatives did not want to do an on-camera interview with us because DHS handles all of its billing practices.
DHS officials also declined to comment on-camera but issued a statement that says, in part, “We are working with our IT staff and MNsure vendors to correct these issues, and MinnesotaCare coverage for those households remains in place.”
It isn’t surprising that the Dayton administration didn’t want to answer KSTP’s questions. They’re probably thinking that the last thing they want is to subject themselves to tough questions about a difficult situation.
With MNsure certain to not work again when this year’s open enrollment period begins and with the Dayton administration’s incompetence still manifesting itself, it’s a matter of whether Minnesotans will accept this level of incompetence. If they don’t, this won’t be a good year for Democrats.
Andrew Napolitano’s op-ed for Fox News is a great history lesson of the Nixon administration’s and the Obama administration’s attempts to suppress political speech. It’s today’s must reading. Here’s Judge Napolitano’s illustration of how the Nixon administration suppressed speech:
Classic examples of “chilling” occurred in the 1970s, when FBI agents and U.S. Army soldiers, in business suits with badges displayed or in full uniform, showed up at anti-war rallies and proceeded to photograph and tape record protesters. When an umbrella group of protesters sued the government, the Supreme Court dismissed the case, ruling that the protesters lacked standing, meaning, because they could not show that they were actually harmed, they could not invoke the federal courts for redress.
Here’s what Judge Napolitano highlighted about the Obama administration’s attempt to suppress political speech:
So, what has the Obama administration done to stifle, or chill, the words of its detractors? For starters, it has subpoenaed the emails and home telephone records of journalists who have either challenged it or exposed its dark secrets. Among those journalists are James Risen of The New York Times and my colleague and friend James Rosen of Fox News. This is more personal than the NSA spying on everyone, because a subpoena is an announcement that a specific person’s words or effects have been targeted by the government, and that person continues to remain in the government’s crosshairs until it decides to let go.
This necessitates hiring legal counsel and paying legal fees. Yet, the targeting of Risen and Rosen was not because the feds alleged that they broke the law, there were no such allegations. Rather, the feds wanted to see their sources and their means of acquiring information. What journalist could perform his work with the feds watching? The reason we have a First Amendment is to assure that no journalist would need to endure that.
To his credit, Rosen hasn’t stopped asking tough questions while reporting on the touchiest of subjects. Though there’s no question that Mr. Rosen and his family have felt pressured by the government, Mr. Rosen has continued doing his job.
I suspect that that’s due in large part to his bosses, Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch, have told him that they have his back. Further, I’m certain that his co-workers, people like Bret Baier, Brit Hume, Megyn Kelly, Greta van Susteren, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Fox’s correspondents, have showed him that they’ve got his back, too.
The point is that people can withstand a tyrannical administration’s attempts to chill political speech if a) they’re suppported by their colleagues and b) they’re willing to show that administration that they won’t be intimidated.
That’s the lesson in this tyranny. There’s nothing that’ll send a stronger message to a tyrant than saying that you can’t be intimidated. Admittedly, that’s easier said than done. Still, the rewards can be tremendous and the respect gained from colleagues immense. It’s what’s needed in stopping a bully like this:
Two weeks ago, a notorious pot stirrer in Norfolk, Neb., built a mock outhouse, put it on a truck and drove the truck with permission in a local Fourth of July parade. In front of the outhouse, he placed a mannequin that he claimed looked like himself, and on the outhouse, he posted a sign that stated: “Obama Presidential Library.”
Some thought this was crude, and some thought it was funny; yet it is fully protected speech. It is protected because satire and opinion about public figures are absolutely protected, as well as is all criticism of the government. Yet, the Department of Justice has sent a team to investigate this event because a local official called it racist. Such an allegation by a public official and such a federal investigation are chilling. The reason we have a First Amendment is to ensure that the government stays out of investigating speech.
There’s no question that President Obama and his chief henchman bristled when they saw this. President Obama has the thinnest skin of any American president in my lifetime. It’s one thing to not like it when people poke fun at you. It’s quite another to start a federal investigation when someone pokes fun at the president.
President Obama’s history has been to eliminate his political opponents whenever possible. When that isn’t possible, he’s resorted to Gestapo-like tactic. Threats and intimidation are definitely part of his ‘weaponry.’
The most indespensible tool in fights like this, again, is to show people you’re willing to stand up to their bullying tactics. Another great tool is to get people rallying around you. That’ happened in Rosen’s case. What hasn’t happened, though, is that Democrats haven’t shown they’ve got the integrity required to stand up to a thug in their own party.
The whole purpose of the First Amendment is to permit, encourage and even foment open, wide, robust debate about the policies and personnel of the government. That amendment presumes that individuals, not the government, will decide what language to read and hear. Because of that amendment, the marketplace of ideas, not the government, will determine which criticisms will sink in and sting and which will fall by the wayside and be forgotten.
This is one of those times when the best defense is a great offense. Nothing stops a bully as quickly as giving them a bloody nose or taking out their knee. That’ll send the message that you’re prepared for battle. That, more than anything else, will give a bully pause.
Now that people are questisoning some of Chancellor Rosenstone’s decisions, like his decision to pay a consulting firm $2,000,000 or the Trustees’ decision to extend Chancellor Rosenstone’s contract before giving him a performance review, perhaps it’s time to ask what his qualifications were. This chart shows that Rosenstone wasn’t as qualified as the other finalist:
It’s too late to void Chancellor Rosenstone’s sweetheart deal but it isn’t too late to question whether the Trustees serve a useful purpose. Based on this side-by-side comparison and their decision to hire a less qualified candidate, I’d argue that their decisionmaking abilitie are questionable at best.
Further, it’s time to admit that Gene Pelowski, Bud Nornes, Michelle Fischbach and Terry Bonoff haven’t done the job Minnesotans needed them to do. Their refusal to conduct oversight hearings is an indictment against their chairmanships.
What Minnesota needs is for the Trustees to disappear and for the legislature to play a more hands-on role in MnSCU, especially with regards to hiring chancellors and negotiating the chancellor’s contracts. I don’t want people who can’t be held accountable to make these important decisions. I expect people who can be held accountable at election time to make these decisions.
The best way to produce terrible results is to look the other way and not demand explanations for important decisions. Part of why Chancellor Rosenstone is making questionable decisions is because he wasn’t qualified. Another reason why he’s making questionable decisions is because he isn’t disciplined when he makes decisions like hiring a do-nothing consulting firm for $2,000,000.
I can’t say that Minnesota’s higher ed system is worthless. I can say, however, that MnSCU has made lots of foolish spending decisions that shouldn’t have gotten made.
That’s why MnSCU reform should be a high priority for the next legislature.
Technorati: Steven Rosenstone, Contract Negotiations, Performance Reviews, Job Qualifications, MnSCU, Gene Pelowski, Bud Nornes, Terry Bonoff, Michelle Fischbach, Oversight Hearings, Board of Trustees, MnSCU Reform
Harry Reid is one of the most deceitful men to ever serve in Washington, DC. He isn’t too bright, either. The things he said in this video contradict each other:
Here’s what Sen. Reid said:
“From all the reports I’ve gotten, the answer for me is no, I won’t support it,” he said.
“I believe our No. 1 concern should be this narrow issue of we take care of this situation we have on the border. As I’ve been told, the Cornyn-Cuellar legislation covers a lot of other issues other than the problem we’re having on the border,” he said.
As foolish as that statement is, this statement is breathtakingly dishonest:
“The border is secure,” he told reporters after the Senate Democrats’ weekly policy lunch. “[Sen.] Martin Heinrich [(D-N.M.)] talked to the caucus today. He’s a border state senator. He said he can say without any equivocation the border is secure.”
I wish I’d been one of the reporters at Sen. Reid’s press availability. I would’ve asked him why a supplemental appropriation was needed to handle the flood of illegal immigrants if the border was secure. This isn’t rocket science. If the border is secure, then they wouldn’t be predicting 90,000 children from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
The best way to tell whether Sen. Reid is lying is to determine whether his lips are moving. If they are, it’s likely that he’s lying.
Rick Perry’s op-ed exposes Sen. Reid’s dishonesty:
In recent months, tens of thousands of children have come across the border and are now housed in federal facilities across the U.S., the result of failed federal policies and Washington’s indifference to securing the border.
I visited one of these facilities in June and saw these children, frightened and alone, who left their homes and families, survived a harrowing trip, and are now facing an unknown future. It was staggering to realize that this humanitarian crisis is not the result of a natural disaster, but of our nation’s own misguided laws and misplaced priorities. It’s nothing less than a moral outrage.
President Obama last week proposed $3.7 billion in spending to deal with the continuing crisis. But only a small fraction of that money would go to the actual core of this problem: the lack of sufficient resources to secure the border. The majority of the billions he proposes to spend—including on housing and transporting the minors around the country—is treating the symptoms of the problem instead of addressing its root cause.
Unlike Sen. Reid, Gov. Perry has been to the border. He’s seen the unaccompanied children. He’s gotten daily briefings from his staff on the flood of illegal aliens coming into the US.
Sen. Reid is attempting to hide the fact that 70% of the Border Patrol has been pulled from their normal jobs to help process the illegal aliens. There’s only 2 explanations for doing that. Either President Obama wants to leave the Tex-Mex border unsecured or the agents are being pulled to help with the flood of illegal immigrants who’ve crossed an unsecured border.
Just once, I wish a DC reporter would stand up to Sen. Reid and ask him why he’s saying such obviously contradictory things. You don’t need a $3,700,000,000 supplemental appropriation to handle a flood of illegal immigrants if the border is secure. Period.
Hollee Saville just published this information on her Facebook page:
With breakneck speed, the BMS has set the mail-ballot election for SEIU’s attempted unionization of home care providers to begin on Friday, August 1. DHS and SEIU are prohibited from the unfair labor and election practices for which SEIU is often known. If you are threatened, coerced, or harassed in any way, please contact the police and the BMS and please let us know so we can keep a record of it. Please share this information with EVERY PCA you know so that they know that they can vote NO to unionize.
We are trying to set up mailings and phone calls to inform PCAs. If you would like to help with this, please let Hollee know.
Here’s the important “fine print”:
Ballots will be mailed to each eligible employee at the home address supplied by the State of Minnesota, Department of Human Services, together with a letter of explanation and a stamped, self-addressed return envelope.
Ballots will be mailed on Friday, August 1, 2014, and must be returned to the Bureau of Mediation Services, 1380 Energy Lane, Suite 2, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108-5253, in the envelopes furnished for that purpose in order to be counted.
Any eligible employee who has not received their ballot by Friday, August 8, 2014, must personally call the Bureau at (651) 649-5421 and request that a second ballot be mailed to them.
All ballots must be returned to the Bureau office no later than 4:30 pm on Monday, August 25, 2014.
To say that Hollee and others aren’t sitting still is understatement. To say that the DFL, SEIU and AFSCME don’t get it that this will hurt them this November is understatement. I published 4 articles written by child care providers who are Democrats who oppose SEIU’s and AFSCME’s unionization drive. See here, here, here and here.
After the Harris v. Quinn ruling, SEIU and AFSCME said that the ruling wouldn’t prevent them from continuing their organizing drive. This news is proof they meant what they said. The thing is that the Harris v. Quinn ruling didn’t say they couldn’t organize. The heart of that ruling said that PCAs and others who are quasi-government employees couldn’t be forced into paying dues or fair share fees.
This organizing drive is just reminding these small business owners that the DFL doesn’t listen to them, that the DFL only listens to the special interests write big checks for their campaigns. The so-called party of the people is really the party of, by and for the elitists and special interests.
This organizing drive is proof that the DFL will always give a higher priority to bigger campaign contributions than it puts on doing the right thing. That’s a sickening thought.
This afternoon, I was sent a copy of a letter that Jim Grabowska sent to MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone about MnSCU’s hiring of McKinsey and Co. as consultants. Grabowska is the president of the Inter Faculty Organization, aka the IFO. Here’s part of Grabowska’s letter:
You can well imagine our dismay this morning when we found out about the $2 million contract that existed with McKinsey to support Charting the Future. We are writing to ask what the firm actually did for the $2 million they collected from Minnesota taxpayers and students. What assessment/criteria lead to the conclusion that the System Office needed a consultant firm to assist staff on implementation? Of specific concern is why it was determined before our collective internal implementation teams were even formed, or allowed to make recommendations for an implementation plan.
What’s disappointing (infuriating?) is that the IFO president asked more probing questions in that paragraph than the St. Cloud Times reporters have asked of President Potter since he was hired years ago.
The IFO asked substantive questions that question Chancellor Rosenstone’s justification for hiring McKinsey in that paragraph in a respectful fashion. Here’s more from the IFO’s letter:
From the story in the Pioneer Press, it sounds like consultants were hired on January 2nd, began work in March and finished in June. What could they have done in three or four months that wasn’t noticed but was worth $2 million?
I suspected that this consulting contract wasn’t legitimate. The fact that the IFO is questioning what McKinsey did to earn the money highlights why they’re questioning Rosenstone’s decision. There’s nothing that I’ve seen that suggests McKinsey’s work product was worth $2,000,000.
In the article, you justify the expenditure by saying students and their families might save $14 million if 10% of the students graduate faster. The problem is there is no indication that the $2 million spent will result in $14 million of savings — or any savings at all.
In the past decade, MnSCU has spent money by the tens of millions on IT consultants that claimed they would create efficiencies that would result in efficiencies for students — student tuitions still continued to skyrocket. The only savings we have seen for students in recent years came from the legislative buy down of tuition rates.
As much as this letter is an indictment of Chancellor Rosenstone, it’s an indictment of MnSCU’s trustees and the chairs of the higher education committees the past few years. This has been a bipartisan failing, with Bud Nornes and Michelle Fischbach failing to conduct proper oversight before Gene Pelowski and Terry Bonoff failed in their oversight responsibilities.
It’s a frightening statement that the IFO’s oversight of MnSCU outdistances the oversight provided by the MnSCU Trustees and the higher ed committees in the legislature. Combined.
At this point, it’s reasonable to ask whether MnSCU serves as anything more than another do-nothing bureaucracy. Further, it’s reasonable to ask whether the higher ed committees’ leadership pays attention to anything other than appropriating money. I haven’t seen proof that they’ve paid attention to what’s happening at MnSCU or the universities.
Taxpayers can’t afford this consistent nonchalance from Chancellor Rosenston, the Trustees or the higher ed committee chairs. Their performance, or lack thereof, has been infuriating.
UPDATE: Here’s the IFO’s letter to Chancellor Rosenstone:
Technorati: IFO, Jim Grabowska, MnSCU, Board of Trustees, Steven Rosenstone, Higher Ed Committees, Gene Pelowski, Bud Nornes, Terry Bonoff, Michelle Fischbach, Oversight Hearings, McKinsey & Co., Consultants, Tuition Increases
If there’s anything that can be gleaned from Juan Williams’ article, it’s that he’s exceptionally gullible. Here’s what I’m talking about:
Last week, however, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) invited me and a few other columnists to his office to deliver a message: The paralyzed, polarized government is not due to the president’s failure to win friends in Congress. Nor is it because Reid is a “dictator.” In his view, the stalled Senate is the result of an intentional strategy pursued by the Republicans.
Reid pointed to constant filibusters by the GOP minority. Republicans also refuse to allow the use of unanimous consent to move along Senate business, he charged.
Reid asserted that after President Obama was first elected, the GOP met with Frank Luntz, the political adviser, who told them to block everything Obama and Democrats tried to accomplish and then tell voters that Obama was a failure and government could not get anything done.
First, let’s address the issue of whether Reid is a dictator. There’s no question that he is. Since Republicans took over the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections, Sen. Reid hasn’t brought a single bill passed by the House of Representatives come up for a vote in the Senate. Many of the bills sitting on Sen. Reid’s desk got overwhelming support, some getting more than 350 votes in the House.
There’s no justification for Sen. Reid’s actions.
Second, Sen. Reid’s legislative tactics are best described as my-way-or-the-highway. Republicans rarely get to offer their amendments. When they do, which is rare, they’re shot down on a party line vote.
That sounds rather dictatorial, doesn’t it?
Next, let’s tackle the part about Republicans blocking everything President Obama proposed. In 2009-2010, Democrats had a filibuster-proof Senate for well over a year. They didn’t have the ability to block anything President Obama proposed. Further, there’s overwhelming proof that Democrats ignored the people’s will. That overwhelming proof comes in the form of the worst “shellacking” in recent midterm election history. It isn’t just that Republicans won 63 seats in the House. It’s that they flipped 680 seats in state legislatures, too, which helped them flip 19 legislative majorities and 5 governorships.
Wave elections are rare enough. Wave elections of that magnitude don’t happen much more than once a century. They only happen when the people get utterly pissed with DC. That’s what happened in 2010. Democrats ignored the people on health care reform. People were reading the bills, then reciting them to Democrat politicians at August townhall meetings. Many of those who spoke out had never taken the political process seriously. Many of those who spoke out were women.
Harry Reid didn’t care what they said. He passed the ACA, aka Obamacare, anyway.
Most of the people who spoke out for the first time in their lives didn’t know Frank Luntz. They didn’t listen to Republicans. They attended TEA Party rallies that were filled with like-minded people who simply wanted politicians to pay attention to them. Many of the TEA Party activists that were created were upset with Republicans, too, though not nearly as upset as they were with Democrats.
Finally, people don’t need Republicans telling them that HealthCare.gov failed. They didn’t need Republicans telling them that the IRS was attacking the organizations that simply wanted their voices heard. They didn’t need Republicans telling them that the VA crisis was proof that the federal government is inept.
Reid’s frustration led him to announce last week that he is considering a vote to change Senate rules and break the power of the GOP filibuster. After the midterm elections, he wants to expand on the so-called ‘Nuclear Option,’ approved by the Senate last year. Under that rule, only 50 votes are required to confirm most judicial nominees. Reid is considering applying the same standard to bills.
Reid isn’t frustrated. He’s pissed that Republicans haven’t rolled over to President Obama’s demands. Further, the question must be asked how President Obama’s policies have worked. Thus far, President Obama’s policies have failed, whether we’re talking about the economy, the ACA, foreign policy or national security.
Finally, let’s look at the destructive role President Obama plays in this mess. Let’s remember him inviting Republicans to the White House for their ideas on the Stimulus bill. When Eric Cantor made some suggestions, President Obama brushed them aside, saying that “We won.” The tone was set. Harry Reid’s marching orders became clear at that point. His job was to shove as many things down Republicans’ throats as possible.
Now Sen. Reid is peddling the BS that all he wants to do is legislate. That isn’t credible coming from the man who’s repeatedly called the Koch brothers un-American, who’s lied on the Senate Floor that he has word that Mitt Romney hasn’t paid taxes in over a decade and who’s been President Obama’s protector since 2011.
The Senate will be a far better place the minute Harry Reid is run out of office. He’s a despicable low-life who isn’t capable of doing what’s right for the nation. He’s only capable of doing what he’s told to do by the worst president in the last 75 years.
Yesterday, I wrote this post to highlight how the media is letting the people down. In this instance, I criticized the St. Cloud Times for their kid glove treatment of SCSU President Earl Potter III. This part especially upset me:
The struggle to fill St. Cloud State University’s Coborn’s Plaza, high-end student housing, needs to be viewed as an opportunity, not a blame game.
In my commentary, I said that that type of thinking is what helps people continue making terrible decisions. Anytime the media doesn’t question decisionmakers’ decisions, the media breaks their trust with We The People. That’s unacceptable. In fact, it’s downright dangerous.
It’s aggravating that the Times couldn’t even publish accurate information before making their editorial statements:
To the former, from fiscal 2012 through fiscal 2015, the annual subsidy is projected to decline from $1.348 million to $937,800. While that’s progress, it only amounts to an annual decline of about $105,000. So how much longer will it take to break even?
Had the Times read my post on that matter, they wouldn’t have asked that question:
At the April 30, 2013 meeting of the Budget Advisory Committee, Patrick Jacobson-Schulte, Associate Vice President for Financial Management and Budget, informed the committee that, even under the best scenario of 100% occupancy, Coborn’s Plaza would lose between $50,000 and $150,000 annually.
This brings us to two important questions. First, why didn’t the Times learn about this information? Second, why did the Times hesitate in affixing blame on President Potter? They certainly didn’t hesitate in criticizing former SCSU President Saigo.
This isn’t meant as a critique of Dr. Saigo. Frankly, I didn’t pay that much attention to St. Cloud State prior to Potter’s administration. I won’t use this post to praise or criticize him. I’ll just use this post to highlight the fact that the St. Cloud Times frequently criticized Dr. Saigo but they refuse to criticize President Potter. What’s up with that?
It isn’t like President Potter hasn’t made lots of questionable decisions. For instance, he spent $50,000 on the Great Place to Work Institute’s Trust Index Survey. Here’s what the Trust Index Survey found:
Even after seeing these results, the Times insisted that both sides needed to ask themselves what they can do to make SCSU a better place to work. When 26% of respondents say that management delivers on its promises, there isn’t much that the faculty can do to change that figure, with the exception of lying. When 24% of respondents say that “management’s actions match its words”, it’s management’s responsibility to fix that crisis.
It isn’t the Times’ responsibility to say that ‘both sides can do better.’ It’s the Times’ responsibility to accurately state that it’s President Potter’s responsibility to fix the problem. Each time that the Times takes a on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand approach, it lets President Potter off the hook.
More importantly, the Times lets down the community by not giving people the information they need to make informed decisions. Each time the Times deflects attention away from President Potter, it’s taking sides. That, in turn, helps him pretend that he’s doing a good job.
Technorati: Earl Potter, St. Cloud State, Wedum Foundation, Great Place to Work Institute, Trust Index Survey, St. Cloud Times, Media Bias, Editorial Board, Our View Editorials, Bloggers, Investigative Reporting, Corruption
Bill Hanna’s article apparently touched a nerve with Ken Martin, the chair of the DFL. Check out Martin’s testiness:
Martin, in a telephone interview on Saturday that got testy at times, said the issue has nothing to do with PolyMet or investments.
“It’s about transparency in politics and government. And I don’t begrudge anyone for investments. I don’t care if it would be a DFLer, a Republican or someone with the Green Party … she was late in filing her disclosure statement and should not have been,” Martin said.
Of the 42 candidates who have filed for the state’s constitutional offices, only Housley and Sharon Anderson, who is seeking the GOP nomination for attorney general, missed the filing deadline.
Housley has since made her disclosure filing and said missing the deadline was just an honest oversight. “It was in my outbox and never went out. It’s there now,” she said in the PIM story. Housley said her stake in PolyMet is only about $300.
But Martin said emphatically the amount is not the issue. “It doesn’t matter how much. What matters is she didn’t have full disclosure as required on time,” he said in the MDN interview.
So why was PolyMet the only business Martin mentioned in the news release regarding Housley? “Again, this has nothing to do with PolyMet,” he said emphatically.
Then why was PolyMet cited in his news release? “I don’t care what company it was or what industry. What matters is the company is regulated by the State of Minnesota and she had not disclosed her investments.”
But why PolyMet? What about other companies? “I don’t know if she has investments in any other companies regulated by Minnesota. Researchers went through her last statement (filed as a state senator) and PolyMet popped out to them,” Martin said.
Martin’s diatribe was triggered by his getting trapped talking about a subject he wishes would disappear entirely. Further, this isn’t about transparency. If transparency mattered to the DFL, DFL legislators wouldn’t have coordinated campaign expenditures with the DFL in 2012:
The Minnesota campaign finance agency on Tuesday slapped the Minnesota DFL Senate campaign with a $100,000 fine improperly coordinating 2012 campaign mailings with candidates.
The result of investigation and settlement talks that lasted more than a year, the fine is one of the largest ever levied in Minnesota for campaign violations. The penalty stems from candidates and the party committee violating rules that ban coordination between independent spending and what is controlled by a candidate.
Apparently, Chairman Martin didn’t think transparency was important then:
“Ultimately, it is best to set this distraction aside and allow our members to focus on governing,” Martin said.
Karin Housley omitting a $300 invenstment got Martin’s attention but the DFL getting hammered with one of the biggest campaign fines in Minnesota history is “a distraction”? But I digress.
Notice Martin’s evasiveness when Hanna asked why he singled out PolyMet. Here’s a revealing insight into Martin’s behavior:
Martin made it clear in the MDN interview he has grown increasingly “fed up” with both sides of the issue.
Martin’s wish is that he didn’t have to ever deal with this issue because it’s a can’t-win issue for the DFL. It’s something Hanna notes in his article:
PolyMet is a controversial and touchy subject politically for the DFL Party on the Range, which has been a traditional bastion of Democratic support in elections. But there is a widening political chasm on the issue this election year.
The extreme environmental wing of the party both on the Range and in the Twin Cities, which has great influence among activists, is strongly against PolyMet and other copper/nickel/precious metals venture in the works, such as Twin Metals Minnesota near Ely and Babbitt. And some are against all mining or even exploration drilling.
Martin knows that Rick Nolan will likely lose his congressional seat if the Iron Range doesn’t overwhelmingly and enthusiastically support Nolan. Further, he knows that Gov. Dayton and Sen. Franken will be in the fight of their political lives if they aren’ enthusiastically supported by the Iron Range.
The truth is that this issue might split the DFL into tiny pieces. That’s the best explanation of what triggered Chairman Martin’s diatribe. He got testy with Bill Hanna because he’s seeing a brewing crisis for the DFL on the Range. The other explanation for Martin’s diatribe is because he isn’t used to reporters questioning the DFL. He’s gotten used to getting the red carpet treatment.
That won’t work this time because people on the Range are tired with the DFL’s ‘lip service support’ of the Range. They’re demanding authentic support, not just lip service support.
Technorati: Ken Martin, Culture of Corruption, Campaign Finance Fines, Environmental Activists, Polymet Mining, DFL Stronghold Mark Dayton, Rick Nolan, Al Franken, Campaign Coordination, DFL, Election 2014
When President Obama told Bill O’Reilly that there wasn’t even a smidgen of corruption at the IRS, Americans rolled their eyes. They knew he was full of it. They knew it because they’d gotten to know Catherine Engelbrecht and how the federal government was used to persecute her for having the audacity of participating in the political process.
Ed Rogers’ article highlights the fact that more smidgens are popping up weekly. This week, some significant smidgens showed up:
In a stunning revelation this week, it was disclosed that former IRS official Lois Lerner told colleagues, “we need to be cautious about what we say in emails” and then proceeded to ask the IRS IT department, in an e-mail, “if [instant messaging] conversations were also searchable.” When she was told they were not, she e-mailed back, “Perfect.” This is a smoking gun e-mail in that it makes plain she had a cover-up in mind. There is no other plausible explanation.
Josh Earnest, the Obama administration’s latest version of Baghdad Bob, undoubtedly will explain that Republicans are grasping at straws because their fishing expedition is going nowhere. He’ll then recite the BS that the administration has turned over tens of thousands of documents and cooperate fully with the investigation.
What Earnest won’t be able to do is explain away Jim Jordan’s interrogation of John Koskinen yielding this stunning admission:
“Has anyone at the Justice Department talked to you or anyone at the Internal Revenue Service about Lois Lerner’s lost emails?” Jordan asked Koskinen. “I have no idea whether the Justice Department has talked to anyone at the agency,” said Koskinen, who started his job last December. “They have not talked to me.”
It’s important to note that DOJ allegedly started their investigation a year ago. That admission is a major bombshell on multiple fronts. First, it says that Justice isn’t interested in investigating the IRS. Second, it sends the message to the IRS that they don’t have to worry about stonewalling Congress. These are major smidgens of corruption.
The terrible news for the administration is that their stonewalling will end, thanks to a pair of no-nonsense judges. On Thursday, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that the IRS had to explain what happened to Lois Lerner’s hard drive and emails:
Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court in Washington gave the Internal Revenue Service exactly a month, until Aug. 10, to file a report, which he demanded as part of a lawsuit from a conservative watchdog, Judicial Watch, against the agency.
On Friday, Judge Reggie Walton issued a similar ruling. Greta van Susteren posted Judge Walton’s ruling:
ORDERED that, on or before July 18, 2014, defendant the Internal Revenue Service shall submit to the Court an affidavit or declaration signed under oath by an appropriate individual with firsthand knowledge that: Case 1:13-cv-00734-RBW Document 91 Filed 07/11/14
1. outlines the expertise and qualifications of the individual or individuals currently conducting the forensic examination as part of the Inspector General’s investigation;
2. outlines the expertise and qualifications of the individual or individuals who previously conducted forensic examinations or otherwise attempted to recover information from the computer hard drive at issue;
3. provides a projected date of completion of the Inspector General’s investigation;
4. states whether the serial number, if any, assigned to the computer hard drive at issue is known; and
5. if the serial number is known, why the computer hard drive cannot be identified and preserved.
During her interview on Megyn Kelly’s show last night, Cleta Mitchell noted that this can’t be filled out by a political appointee like John Koskinen because his statements are inadmissable in a court of law because they’re hearsay. His statements aren’t based on firsthand knowledge. They’re based on what someone told him, at best.
Further, Judge Sullivan’s ruling and Judge Walton’s rulings have teeth in them. Prior to this, if Koskinen or Lerner or whomever misled House committees, the most that those committees could do is refer the case to the Justice Department for investigation. Thanks to Eric Holder’s corruption, that wasn’t a stick. It was a twig, if that.
These judges, however, have the authority to appoint a special prosecutor with the ability to put people in prison if they’re found guilty in a trial.
The smidgens are adding up. The American people reached their boiling point long ago. If the IRS tries playing games with these stiff-spined judges, Judges Sullivan and Walton will reach their boiling points, too. Time is running out on the Holder Justice Department. They can’t stonewall much longer and get away with it.
In the end, the smidgens will win.
Technorati: IRS, Lois Lerner, John Koskinen, Eric Holder, Justice Department, Reggie Walton, Emmet Sullivan, Lawsuits, True the Vote, Cleta Mitchell, Judicial Watch, Tom Fitton