Back in February of 2007, then-Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller pushed through a $30-a-day increase in per diem payments for senators:

The Senate voted 59-7 to ratify an increase in daily expense allowances from $66 to $96 per senator, a 45 percent boost. The ratification came with a hitch: Those who voted for it automatically get the expense payments, known as per diems. The seven senators who voted against it don’t get it. “You can’t vote ‘no’ and take the dough,” Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, said after the vote.

The seven dissenters, all Republicans, can still collect expense checks. But first, they must tell the Senate fiscal staff how much they will take, and that paperwork will be public. Voting “no” were Sens. Ray Vandeveer, of Forest Lake; Dick Day, of Owatonna; David Hann, of Eden Prairie; Bill Ingebrigtsen, of Alexandria; Amy Koch, of Buffalo; Geoff Michel, of Edina; and Pat Pariseau, of Farmington.

One of the senators that voted for that outrageous increase was Julianne Ortman. According to this article, Sen. Ortman was a busy person that winter:

It’s been a busy and prosperous spring for Sen. Julianne Ortman.

For the past six weeks, Ortman has been working full time in her new $91,000-a-year job as chief financial manager for the office of Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, a political ally. At the same time, she has been collecting her $31,149-a-year legislative salary and a $96 daily expense allowance while missing some committee hearings and Senate floor sessions.

The dual roles of the Republican from Chanhassen, an assistant leader of the minority caucus, were evident May 11. Ortman was paid by Hennepin County as working on county business from 8 until 10 a.m., while state records show her answering a roll call for the start of the day’s Senate session in St. Paul at 9:20 a.m. A review of county payroll records and Senate documents from April and early May show that Ortman often bounced between her two jobs, at times starting one job just minutes after officially punching out from the other.

According to this search website, the article was first published by the Star Tribune on May 19, 2007. Mark Brunswick and Mike Kaszuba were the reporters. Mssrs. Brunswick and Kaszuba should be praised for their work in piecing this information puzzle together.

It’s bad enough that Sen. Ortman voted for that expensive per diem increase. I said at the time that $66 a day is more than enough, especially when the senators that voted for the per diem increase were getting the per diem 7 days a week from the first day of the session until the last night of the session.

It’s worse knowing that Sen. Ortman was on the clock for the legislature and for Hennepin County at the same time:

In two instances, she missed Senate committee meetings while working for the county, according to the records. Meanwhile, many of her county payroll records show her working long hours, evenings and weekends on days when the Senate was in session.

Sen. Ortman owes taxpayers an explanation for how she worked long hours for Hennepin County at the same time the Senate was also in session. They’d probably like to know how it’s possible to be in two places at the same time.

Obviously, this isn’t a policy difference. However, it’s the type of thing that raises ethical and potentially legal questions about Sen. Ortman.

Technorati: , , , , , ,

11 Responses to “Ortman two-timed taxpayers”

  • J. Ewing says:

    I’m sorry, but while I appreciate your taking notice of these failings, I am through discarding candidates on such a basis. We started the season with 6 candidates for US Senate, and I have already decided that I “just can’t vote for” two of them, for just this sort of one-time transgression. I do not want to arrive at the State Convention and find that I have left myself no choices. I also do not want to be one of those who, having previously vowed never to vote for someone who may be the endorsed Republican candidate, follows through and allows the Democrat to win in November.Yes, it’s going to make for a difficult decision at some point, but a decision among six flawed choices is better than having no decision at all. There is no perfect candidate.

  • walter hanson says:


    Since you say you’re going to be at the convention and will vote for the best possible candidate keep in mind Gary is trying to expose Ortman as a weak candidate not able to beat Franken. The Kurt Bills I heard on the radio in 2012 sounded like he cared about the issues but didn’t have an organization that took it to Amy K. Kennedy in 2006 was able to raise millions (and was cut off from national funding) yet Bills raised less than a million. Ortman’s fund raising is kind of indicating she will be like Bills in that sense.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • Mary L. Manfils says:

    Too funny!

    But this goof can win here, huh?

    Makes you wonder whether the party would stand by a woman as long as it has McFadden after so many stupid moments. The guy’s an embarrassment, and is about to make a mockery of Republicans. You heard it here first. Keep up the chauvinism, fellas! Keep driving women further and further from the GOP.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Playing the gender card is cheap. Ms. Ortman was the only female GOP legislator to propose raising taxes. She was the only female GOP legislator who told businesses what they should & shouldn’t earn.

    Then, to top it off, she denies doing what she did. Republicans don’t have to support a politician who’s prone to telling whoppers to win the women’s vote. Saying that they do is utter nonsense.

  • J. Ewing says:

    Well, let’s see now…. Clearly the race is between Ortman and McFadden. We can’t choose Ortman because she can’t raise the money and because she isn’t conservative enough. We can’t choose McFadden because he’s an “establishment” guy that raises too much money and won’t (or can’t) tell us where he stands. That leaves us with… whom, exactly? Bueller? Anybody?

  • Sheila says:

    Mr. Gross,

    Do you directly or indirectly work for Mike McFadden’s campaign, and/or have you had any contact with any members of the McFadden campaign within the last two weeks?

    Thank you.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Shame on you, Jerry. The ‘case’ that you made against McFadden is superficial. The case I’ve made against Ortman is extremely substantive & damning. If you want to play coy & not choose, that’s your option. That just isn’t leadership.

    Decisions require weighing the evidence, then making the most informed decision based on the information you can gather. You’re talking hypothetical possibles in the general election. I’m talking about the decision we need to make at the convention or in the primary.

    Sheila, I spoke with McFadden & one of his staffers this morning at the CD-6 convention. That’s it.

    I’m writing these articles because she’s lied. She’s telling the world that she’s always been for fully repealing Obamacare even though there’s video of her telling Tom Hauser that it’s the law of the land. She’s been praised as being pro-low taxes even though there’s proof she proposed raising taxes.

    If you’re comfortable with someone who’s outright lied to us as our candidate against Franken, then I’d get ready for another 6 year (at least) of Sen. Franken. I won’t settle for that.

  • Lisa Nystrom says:


    You should vote for the person less likely to affect other races on the ballot by presenting Democrats the opportunity to stereotype ALL REPUBLICANS as being empty-suit Neanderthals too cowardly to take a stand on an issue let alone stand up for their convictions. And the sorry fact of the matter is, just like Todd Akin and Mourdouck in ’12, Republicans as a whole could be dragged down by fielding a candidate as uncharismatic as he is seemingly unprepared for the spotlight as Mike McFadden has demonstrated that he is.

    What astonishes me is that Gary Gross doesn’t seem at all embarrassed by his continued support and advocacy for what has amounted to an embarrassing candidate. And everyone can infer by the fact that despite Gary’s candidate-of-choice Mike McFadden having conducted the aforementioned press conference — a press conference which, by the way, McFadden himself called — a few days ago, Gary has yet to so much as mention it anywhere on his blog. That’s the true measure of what a disaster it truly was — and the DFL has already released a video dubbing it “A Train Wreck” (note, when a DFL tracker doesn’t even have to resort to editing a video to make a Republican candidate look bad, you know that things really didn’t go as planned). When even McFadden’s most vociferous supporters are dumbfounded and silenced by his latest faux pas, something fundamentally flawed is happening in his campaign.

    Instead of highlighting Mike McFadden’s surreal press conference by attempting to make excuses for him, Gary here obviously thought it would be more productive to assail Ortman once more; that doing so would be a sufficient distraction to get people not to focus on McFadden’s debacle. That’s become Gary’s knee-jerk reaction to every situation where McFadden does something Gary would prefer you not know about: attack Ortman.

    In his latest attempt here, Gary has chosen to once again beat the “voted for tax increases” drum — which at best is specious and at its worst ad hominem. But, for argument’s sake, even if one was to conclude that Ortman sits around the capital all day/week/month/year long plotting ways in which she can raise taxes on Minnesotans, you would have to also conclude that it was something that made her less electable in the eyes of the general electorate before seeing Gary’s point in the light that he would prefer you see it in. But, sadly, if “raising taxes” was a pivotal issue for the majority of Minnesotans, Mark Dayton would be behind in the polls by 20 points instead of being up by 20 points.

    The fact is, Mike McFadden was handpicked as a candidate by former Democrat Norm Coleman — a man who himself lost an election as an incumbent to the most unqualified senatorial candidate in the history of Minnesota elections. Norm isn’t disillusioned in the sense that he believes McFadden could win; Norm knows that McFadden can’t win if only because dedicated conservatives and TEA Party activists will not vote for him. But it doesn’t matter to Norm since he chose McFadden on the sheer basis that McFadden can afford to pay Norm and his cronies the “consultation fees” they’re eager to hit a man with whose worth is approximated in excess of $60 million dollars. That way, win or lose (most likely lose), Norm still comes out of it with a fatter bank account than he had going into it.

    And Gary, the female issue is a legitimate one. The rumblings are getting louder if you haven’t noticed. How do you think it looks to women when someone as experienced in campaigns/debates/politics as Ortman is stepped around by the GOP for a MALE candidate with no experience in politics whatsoever and he reminds everyone of that fact every time he opens his mouth? Do you honestly think females aren’t going to have a problem with that?!?

  • walter hanson says:


    This is take two on my effort to respond to you since the computer ate the last one.

    Your rant is the exact reason why Ortman shouldn’t be the candidate. Your premise is that McFadden is going to embarrass the rest of the team so we can’t win the race for governor, the state house races, and the three(?) congressional races that we can pick up. What will be the major issue our governor candidate is going to run on let alone those state house candidates and those congressional candidates. It is Obamacare is bad and destroying the world’s greatest healthcare system. What will be the Democrats defense? Senator Ortman saying that it is the law of the land and shouldn’t be repealed.

    By the way are you in favor of Obamacare staying in place or being changed by the government spending more money and taking more control? In other posts on Ortman I’ve pointed out that she didn’t look excited when the reporter asked her the question on repeal and even worse didn’t try to lay out a vision of how it can be changed for the better. You might not like McFadden, but at least he has put it out there.

    And if you want to complain about not winning lets remember one reason why Romney wasn’t able to defeat Obama in 2012 was that he wouldn’t take Obama on the issue of Obamacare. Why repeat that mistake in 2014 for the US Senate when we are running against the candidate who’s presence made it possible to have it passed and become law?

    Since you want to attack Atkin for a second keep in mind one reason why Atkin was the poor candidate he was when lots of people told him to drop out (for the reasons you cited and I was one of many people who emailed him asking to drop out) he didn’t listen in part because people like you came to his defense and said he was right. That he will be selling out the prolife position if he dropped out. That he could still win.

    Based on the clip that Gary played of that interview I already know that Ortman can’t win. Are you one of those people who believed that Atkin was going to win despite his mistake because that explains why you think that Ortman is going to win while McFadden won’t win.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • J. Ewing says:

    Walter, let’s not mix Aiken and Ortman, here. It’s a deeply flawed analogy, and Aiken WAS right– scientifically speaking he was absolutely correct. The problem was that he said something in front of a hostile press (which is pretty much the only kind there is) and they had him crucified before he even got a chance to qualify his statement, and THEN the stupid Republicans refused to help him out of that fix, grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory. Our problem here is similarly twofold, however. First we have to find a candidate that says the right things IN THE RIGHT WAY, and then we have to help that candidate get the truth out past the media filter. Right now both front-runners are handicapped on one or the other or both. To me the best candidate is one who can clearly and convincingly articulate common sense solutions. It’s tough.

  • walter hanson says:


    Keep in mind it was Lisa who bought up Aiken and tried to link it to MacFadden. I was just trying to respond to her comment on that. So you should’ve directed it to Lisa not me.

    If you want to comment on Republicans who refused to come to Aiken’s aide so if Ortmann is the candidate are you saying (assuming that Ortmann is our candidate) we are suppose to smile and say that she was right to say not only was Obamacare the law of the land, that it shouldn’t be repealed, and for not even trying to lay out a vision for what bill or bills she will support to try to improve health care.

    Keep in mind the media will run with that through November and ignore the cancelled policies and the higher preiums. The only real way to make it an issue will be for our candidate to be giving the repeal and changing of healthcare for the better in every campaign appearance. Ortmann in a recent four page fund raising letter covered Franken being the Senator who provided the key 60th vote on Obamacare on just one small paragraph and went to other things for why I should give her money.

    Why should I vote for let alone give money to a candidate who seems clueless on what could be the key issue to winning?

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

Leave a Reply