Saturday afternoon, I received a letter to the Minnesota Special Redistricting Panel that exposes DTL-Minnesota’s redistricting plan as a scam. It’s a letter sent to the Minnesota Special Redistricting Panel by the Citizens Commission’s vice-chair, Kent Kaiser. Prof. Kaiser’s letter is an indictment of the sham process utilized by DTL-Minnesota, Common Cause MN and TakeAction Minnesota. Here’s Prof. Kaiser’s stunning recommendation to the Minnesota Special Redistricting Panel, followed by his explanation for that recommendation:

I appreciate the work that you have already done in regard to the extremely important process of redrawing the state’s legislative and congressional lines in the event the Governor and Legislature cannot reach an agreement.

I have been involved with an organization called “Draw the Line Minnesota,” as the organization’s vice chair. Our chair, Candi Walz, testified before the Panel at your hearing in Saint Paul.

Based on my experiences with Draw the Line over the past several months, I urge the Panel to reject the map submitted to the Panel by Draw the Line because the map drawing process was secretive and flawed and ultimately resulted in a partisan map that fails to reflect the objective demographic shifts that have occurred in Minnesota over the past decade.

I think that because of its high number of incumbent legislator pairings and because it pairs only Republican members of Congress, the map is too likely to benefit the Democratic Party. I am especially concerned that we commission members were not allowed sufficient time or access to the map to critique it objectively or to determine its implications before we were led to approve it.

When I first wrote about DTL-Minnesota’s website, I noted their principles for the process, especially the first 2 points:

Draw the Line Minnesota, led by the League of Women Voters Minnesota, is a network of nonprofit organizations working to reform the redistricting process in Minnesota.

The campaign seeks to create a better redistricting process in Minnesota that uses the following principles:

1. The redistricting process should be independent and nonpartisan, to minimize the influence of elected officials and political parties in creating districts to their own political advantage.

2. The redistricting process should be transparent to the public.

As Mr. Kaiser’s letter states, the “redistricting process” wasn’t “independent and nonpartisan”:

In addition, the mapping specialist who was hired at the last minute (Linden Weiswerda) and whom we originally thought was independent and nonpartisan turns out to have worked for President Obama’s campaign in 2008.

I’ve repeatedly stated that it’s impossible to take the partisanship out of redistricting. That said, it’s quite possible to find someone less partisan than a staffer of President Obama’s GOTV operation.

I didn’t have high expectations for DTL-Minnesota because of the partisan organizations listed as DTL-Minnesota’s partners. I especially didn’t trust Common Cause MN, Mike Dean or TakeAction Minnesota.

I didn’t trust TakeAction Minnesota because they’re the umbrella organization for the DFL’s hardline progressive allies. Here’s a partial list of TakeAction Minnesota’s member organizations:

Clean Water Action Alliance
Communication Workers State Council
Education Minnesota
Land Stewardship Project
Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE)
Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless
Minnesota Nurses Association

Unions, environmentalists and the poverty industry are well represented within TakeAction Minnesota. To think that they’d be interested in drawing maps that wouldn’t favor the DFL is foolish.

The thought that TakeAction Minnesota would be fair-minded is made more absurd considering the fact that TakeAction Minnesota was one of the organizations that funded the biggest political smear campaign in Minnesota gubernatorial history. That organization, the Alliance for a Better Minnesota is largely financed by Gov. Dayton’s first ex-wife, Alida Messinger.

Another reason not to trust DTL-Minnesota was Common Cause MN’s involvement, especially considering the fact that Mike Dean is their executive director.

When Mitch and I debated Dean about redistricting a month ago, Dean’s opening statement was that DTL-Minnesota’s main goal was to raise awareness to the redistricting process and to draw as competitive a map as possible.

Thanks to Mr. Kaiser’s letter to the Redistricting Panel, we now know that the Citizens Commission that Mr. Dean enthusiastically touted were stage props designed to hide DTL-Minnesota’s hardline progressive agenda. That’s a major reason why it’s impossible to trust Mr. Dean. He’s a political hack with a hard left predisposition. His civic-sounding words don’t mean a thing because his actions are the opposite of his words.

It isn’t likely that DTL-Minnesota’s main consideration was about transparency, accountability, nonpartisanship or citizen participation. DTL-Minnesota’s main purpose behind the Citizens Commission apparently was to use them as stage props. That’s why this statement is exceptionally telling:

Decisions about how to draw the map, about what criteria to emphasize in drawing the map, and about publicity and messaging about the map were determined heavily behind the scenes, by staff.

Common Cause MN constantly lectures government to be more transparent. In reality, they’re masters at manipulating the truth, using civic-minded people as stage props to advance the DFL’s agenda.

DTL-Minnesota and Common Cause MN are shills for the DFL. They’re utterly dishonest, utterly corrupt. They’re hypocrites. They can’t be trusted.

That’s why DTL-Minnesota’s map should and will be thrown out.

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2 Responses to “DTL-Minnesota’s redistricting scandal”

  • Duke Powell says:

    I question the Constitutional authority of either the Governor or the Courts in matters concerning redistricting. While I’m not a lawyer, I am able to read. The MN Constitution seems clear:

    “Article IV Sec. 3. CENSUS ENUMERATION APPORTIONMENT; CONGRESSIONAL AND LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT BOUNDARIES; SENATE DISTRICTS. At its first session after each enumeration of the inhabitants of this state made by the authority of the United States, the legislature shall have the power to prescribe the bounds of congressional and legislative districts.”

    Nearly all of you might react to this by saying, “But the Governor has the right to apporove or veto all bills passed by the Legislature.”

    My response is “Yeah, except for when he doesn’t.” Consider this section:

    “Article III Section 1. DIVISION OF POWERS. The powers of government shall be divided into three distinct departments: legislative, executive and judicial. No person or persons belonging to or constituting one of these departments shall exercise any of the powers properly belonging to either of the others except in the instances expressly provided in this constitution.”

    The powers of redistricting were expressly granted to the Legislative body. The Governor, nor the courts, are given a role.

    To further buttress this argument, consider this section:

    “Article IV Sec. 24. PRESENTATION OF ORDERS, RESOLUTIONS, AND VOTES TO GOVERNOR. Each order, resolution or vote requiring the concurrence of the two houses except such as relate to the business or adjournment of the legislature shall be presented to the governor and is subject to his veto as prescribed in case of a bill.”

    As we see, there are exceptions to the power of the Governor to veto as they “relate to the business… of the Legislature.”

    It is my position that the MN Constitution has made redistricting the “business” of the Legislature.

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