The bloggers at Crooks and Liars hosted Tarryl Clark for a townhall Sunday afternoon. Their questions and Tarryl’s answers speak volumes about Tarryl’s campaign style and her priorities. This exchange is a great indicator of what’s in Tarryl’s stump speech:

DIGBY: Sorry I’m late. I’ve been avidly watching the Pete Peterson Deficit Scold Scam all morning, riveted by what a billion dollars can buy when you really want to convince people that debt 30 years from now is more important than millions of people unemployed today.

What’s your sense of people’s thoughts on all this deficit talk?

TARRYL: This is another place where Washington is not working for us. Michele Bachmann voted for the bloated Bush budgets and has voted against every real reform put in front of her. When it came down to it, she voted for higher taxes for 95% of Americans.

Congreswoman Bachmann likes to talk about fiscal responsibility, but in tough times, she has expanded her office, spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on campaign-style mailings, held a $14,000 rally at our expense, and even did radio ads on our dime.

I walk the walk of fiscal responsibility. When the economy tanked here in Minnesota, I cut my own compensation and my office expenses including gutting my stamp allowance. In Minnesota, I’ve advocated for real fiscal responsibility. I’ve championed accountability and transparency in our budget and will do so in Congress.

On the first day of the 2009 session, Sen. Amy Koch introduced an amendment that would’ve cut each senator’s stamp allowance from 5,500 stamps per biennium to 3,500 per biennium:

Each member of the Senate shall receipt to the Secretary of the Senate for the postage received.
Senator Koch moved to amend Senate Resolution No. 5 as follows:
Page 1, line 5, delete “5,500” and insert “3,500”
The question was taken on the adoption of the amendment.
The roll was called, and there were yeas 27 and nays 38.

One of the 38 people voting against cutting the stamp allowance was Tarryl Clark. In 2010, Tarryl didn’t vote for gutting her stamp allowance. She voted to maintain it:

Senate Resolution No. 141: A Senate resolution relating to postage.
For the 2010 session of the 86th Legislature, the Secretary of the Senate may purchase postage to furnish each member of the Senate 2,750 stamps. Each member named as chair of a standing committee in the Senate resolution designating committee assignments may be furnished with an additional 1,000 stamps for the necessary business of the committee.
The roll was called, and there were yeas 66 and nays 0.

It’s possible that Tarryl made the decision to cut her own postal usage but there’s no indication that she voted to cut her postal allowance or the allowances of any of her colleagues.

Tarryl is great at talking the talk but the information shows, in this instance, that she didn’t walk the walk.

That’s before talking about this statement:

When it came down to it, she voted for higher taxes for 95% of Americans.

This is the same lame line that she used in her interview with Esme Murphy:

During one of her answers, Tarryl said that “she voted for higher taxes for 95 percent of Americans when she voted against the Recovery Act.”

I can’t believe Tarryl’s repeating that discredited line. Michele Bachmann proudly voted against ARRA because it was $787,000,000,000 worth of pork. While it’s true there was a provision that gave taxpayers a $600 check, voting against the bill isn’t the same as voting for a tax increase.

For it to qualify as a tax increase, legislators would actually have to vote for a tax increase. It’s impossible to raise taxes by voting against a bill. Tarryl knows that.

Here’s another telling exchange between Howie Klein and Tarryl:

KLEIN: Tarryl, this is a kind of bipartisan question, since members of both parties are guilty. Most of the work in Congress takes place in committees, as I’m sure you’ll well aware. Do you think it’s right, or should be legal, for Members of Congress to take “donations” from executives and lobbyists whose business is the work of the committee the Member is on. In other words, if someone is on Financial Services, should they be taking money from banking lobbyists? If someone is on Agriculture, should they be taking money from Con-Agra?

I noticed that Bachmann took money from Joe Barton’s sleazy money laundering operation, the so-called Texas Freedom Fund, which allows Big Oil to donate to corrupt politicians without being tied directly to them. I also noticed she voted against the DISCLOSE Act Thursday. Would you have supported it?

TARRYL: Congresswoman Bachmann has proven time and again that she sides with special interests. Wall Street, big insurance, and big business are Congresswoman Bachmann’s constituents.

Michele Bachmann voted to keep our elections shrouded in secrecy, I would have voted to shine the light on who is influencing our elections. I would have voted for the DISCLOSE Act, despite some concerning loopholes. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision, something needed to be done now. However, more action will be needed to keep our elections fair in the future.

In Minnesota, we have very strong campaign finance laws. We signifcanly limit the amount that individuals and groups can give to candidates. We also limit how much a candidate can spend. We restrict PAC, lobbiests, and “big donors” to 20% of what we spend on a campaign. I would support a similar federal system.

I will always vote in favor of transparency and for fair and clean elections.

For all her talk about siding with the people and being an advocate for transparency, the DISCLOSE Act sides with the unions, carving out huge disclosure loopholes for unions. With all of her support from unions, of course, Tarryl could be counted on to give them preferential treatment. Here’s a comprehensive list of the unions that have endorsed her:

Greater Minnesota AFSCME, Council 65
Teamsters Joint Council 32
Minnesota Nurses Association
Minnesota Association of Professional Employees
SEIU Minnesota State Council
Minnesota AFL-CIO
Council 5 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
Education Minnesota

While Tarryl’s talking about siding with the people, she’s quietly siding with special interests of her own liking. That isn’t siding with the people. That’s just siding with a different set of special interests.

Did Tarryl side with small businesses and family farmers when she cast the 34th and deciding vote to raise their taxes? Did Tarryl side with the working poor when she voted for a list of regressive tax increases?

If that’s Tarryl’s idea of siding with ‘the people’, I’m fairly certain that they’d rather not have her on their side. This November, we’ll find out whether people bought Tarryl’s schtick.

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2 Responses to “Crooks & Liars Blog Hosts Tarryl Clark”

  • George Hayduke says:

    Can anyone tell me when Michele Bachmann has ever collected anything but a government paycheck? Can anyone tell me when Michele Bachmann ever voted against a pay raise for herself? Can anyone ever tell me when Michele Bachmann refused to take federal farm subsidies on her family farm?

    Just askin’…

  • Gary Gross says:

    George, This might surprise you but Michele’s work as a tax attorney was a private sector job. She got paid by private citizens.

    Not that that means anything to the nutty left. This is just their way of letting people know that they’re going to fight for Tarryl.


    I’m still waiting for proof that they’re going to start fighting intelligently & persuasively rather than fighting a tit-for-tat, childish fight.

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