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Former U.S. Representative Steve LaTourette served 18 years (1995-2013) in Congress as a center-right Republican from Ohio.  Yesterday, he had an op/ed in Politico, entitled "The Grifting Wing vs. The Governing Wing".  In it, LaTourette describes the internal civil war facing the GOP, as a party today.  Consider two grafs from it:

"The grifting wing of the party promises that you can have ideological purity—that you don’t have to compromise—and, of course, all you have to do is send them money to make it happen. The governing wing of the Republican Party knows that’s a damn lie. Our Founding Fathers set up a system of government that by its very nature excludes the possibility of one party or one ideological wing of one party getting everything it wants. Ted Cruz, who quotes the founders almost every chance he gets, ought to know this.

Even Ronald Reagan—who won in two of the biggest landslides in American history—was forced to compromise. It was President Reagan who cut deals with Democrats to extend the solvency of Social Security and put the federal budget on a sounder footing. It was Reagan who famously said that someone who votes with him 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally. Reagan’s record and rhetoric stands in marked contrast to the grifting win of the party today, even as the grifters invoke his memory in their disingenuous appeals.

That op/ed by LaTourette is exactly what's happening in next Tuesday's (12 Aug 14) GOP Primary for State House District 48B. Let's take a closer look at that graphic, above, which is a screenshot from  of Sheila Kihne's blog (with "Reagan" entered into the search field):

Invoke Reagan? Invoke "Founding Fathers"? Kihne does it all the time, just like LaTourette spoke of, in this op/ed linked above. Ms. Kihne is challenging State Representative Jenifer Loon in the primary because, essentially, Kihne feels Loon isn't conservative enough.  So much for Reagan's "80% and you're my friend" for Ms. Kihne...

Ms. Kihne appears to be a political opportunist - a grifter, if you will - of the worst sort.  Ms. Kihne's main attack on Rep. Loon is a vote to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota; a vote Rep. Loon describes in a recent Minnesota Public Radio ("MPR") story thusly:

"(Rep. Loon) said she voted for same-sex marriage after talking it over with constituents, noting that a majority in her district voted against the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in 2012.

She didn't regret the vote but added, "It was tough. I never had to make such a tough decision in the Legislature. I just think if people can understand the process, understand how much I wrestled with it, trying to be true to my own beliefs, to being true to what I felt my constituency was telling me. I did the best I could with a tough issue."

In the same story Kihne is now on record for not - let me repeat that, "not" - supporting repeal of the marriage law.  In short, Kihne is so upset about that vote - "the straw that broke the camel's back" - she's running for election but, if elected, she won't do a thing about it: "Kihne says she won't push to repeal the same-sex marriage law if elected"  Kihne is running away from the reason she's running - marriage restrictions.  

But Kihne was more than happy to take the money from those that, one could easily assume, want to do exactly that.  

If that isn't opportunism, what is?

After you peel back Sheila Kihne's facade of fiscal conservative views, she's got one issue - making her yet again a "single issue candidate."  Michael Brodkorb summed up what Kihne's challenge, Kihne's "issue," is really all about:  "It’s all about Sheila".  From it:

"Loon is just the unfortunate person standing in the way of Kihne’s insatiable ego. The only mistake Loon made was living in the same district as Kihne. The analysis of this race isn’t complicated; this is about Kihne wanting to have a larger platform to promote her views, push her agenda and have the world function the way Kihne believes it should."
.

It's all about Sheila selling Sheila, and then Sheila running from what she ran for. That's her track record. Case in point - Sheila's now running from what she's written, calling what she's written, like the post where she trashed military veterans, "facetious." Sheila will tell you that keeping your word is important.  Apparently, not so much with hers.  Around the district I hear:  "Is there anyone Sheila hasn't turned on?"

Next Tuesday's House District 48B Primary is a case in point for Republican Steve Tourette's op/ed, "The Grifting Wing vs. The Governing Wing".

Discuss

Sheila Kihne, Republican Candidate for State Representative (HD48B), had a blog.  Two of them, actually.  One is still up, it's called "The Activist Next Door".  The other, picking up where the first left off, is not.  Which makes sense; Sheila is mounting a primary challenge on August 12th on the basis of her incumbent's "record" - and it's always convenient for a challenger when the incumbent has a record but the challenger does not.  A record, like, say, that cute little picture, to the right that adorned Sheila's blog - "No Liberals Allowed" - which pretty much sums up Sheila.

Except, Sheila DOES have a record - it's her record of her thoughts that she put into words on her blogs.  And through the wonderful technology of The WayBack Machine, all those posts never really went away.

Some of Kihne's writings are simply bizarre; such as the one where she seems to advocate a voting Poll Tax on poor people, or her "welfare to work" treatise, "My Redistribution Plan".  My personal favorite, from Sheila's "plan"? Number 5:

5. you will not own any of the following items (if you do, you'll immediately sell them) an iPod, a flat screen television, video games, a computer or any designer clothing
After all, everyone knows it's super easy to prepare resumes and find a new and/or better job without a computer, yes?

As bizarre as those ones are, this blogpost jumped out:

Continue Reading

When we last left off in this continuing Cooked Books series, The Party Of Fiscal Irresponsibility had just turned down an offer to pay for a forensic audit of their books.

Seriously.

The "Offer" and "Offer Withdrawn" of an audit that wouldn't cost the Book Cookers a penny came after - AFTER - Minnesota Campaign Finance Board's blistering "Findings and Order in the Matter of the Complaint of Common Cause Minnesota regarding the Republican Party of Minnesota and others", dated 13 July 2012.

From those findings:

To summarize, in 2010 the RPM had a finance director, who was recently promoted from telemarketing and who testified that he knew next to nothing about Campaign Finance Board reports and professed that it was not his job to review the reports in preparation for the treasurer's signing them. The RPM had a chair who was busy with fundraising and his own business and believed that the finance director and the party unit's compliance company were responsible for preparation of the reports. The RPM had a compliance company that disavows any responsibility for campaign finance reports other than to put data into a system and print out the reports. And finally, the RPM had a treasurer who placed all of his reliance on these three individuals. Given that situation, it is no surprise that the RPM reports were inaccurate.
Yep!  No surprise!!!

So it was a surprise when yours truly, the ol' TwoPutter, took a quick look at the 2012 Year End FEC Report. First stop? "Schedule C - Loan Information" (which is to your right; larger image here).

Three loans, all from Alliance Bank in St. Paul.  Let's look at the bottom, and oldest, loan first:

Date incurred = 07/01/2010
Date due = 20110701
Original Amount of Loan = 20000.00
Amount Paid To Date = 0.00
Loan Balance = 20000.00

OK, what we have here is a one year loan of $20,000, due and payable July 1st, 2011, that they haven't paid a penny on.

Next loan:

Date incurred = 08/13/2010
Date due = 20110813
Original Amount of Loan = 208043.66
Amount Paid To Date = 96796.73
Loan Balance = 111246.93

OK, what we have here is a one year loan of a little more than $200k, due 2 & 1/2 years a year & a half ago and the MnGOP has paid less than half the loan back.

Now let's look at The Book Cookers' newest loan!

Date incurred = 12/18/2012
Date due = 19000101
Original Amount of Loan = 25000.00
Amount Paid To Date = 0.00
Loan Balance = 25000.00

Too funny!!!

Two loans outstanding - one REALLY "outstanding" with no payments made in 2 & 1/2 years - and Alliance Bank gives 'em another??!?  And gives it to 'em after the Book Cookers have been in the news for bein' deadbeats for, like, well, for a long time??!?

At least this time, Alliance Bank is realistic with when it expects the money back:  "19000101"

But hey!  At least that $20k put the MnGOP in the black, at the end of the year!

I wonder what the application for the latest loan looks like?

Because, and seriously, what self-respecting Banker would give the MnGOP a loan - especially ANOTHER loan?

Discuss

(photo courtesy of Jack Tomczak, via Twitter)  Last Friday night (08 Feb 2013), yours truly, the ol' TwoPutter, was invited by Jack Tomczak & Ben Kruse to be on Late Debate to discuss guns with Andrew Rothman, who is with Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance.  So I tossed on a shirt that's guaranteed to raise the hackles and feed the paranoia of RightWingNutJobs everywhere (about that Tee Shirt, here), and headed to the studio!

I'd like to start this out by saying Jack & Ben are gracious hosts; they'll ask the lefty that goes on the show some tough questions, but they're always fair (well, to me and those lefty's that I've heard 'em interview).  So I'll give 'em a shout-out; they're doing everyone a service by putting opposing views on air, on their show.  Plus, Jack and Ben can be really funny! If you have to listen to RightWingRadio, theirs is a show to listen to.

And I'd also like to say that as a person, I like Andrew Rothman - he's a very articulate person that believes passionately in what he does.  Some of which I happen to agree with; some of what I vehemently disagree with. But hey - this is America; disagreement is our tradition going way back to the days of The Founding Fathers.  The point here is Andrew is someone reasonable people can (and should) like even while disagreeing with his positions.

Prior to that night's radio gig, I'd never met Andrew.  But, I'd heard him!  On January 19th, GunNuts "rallied" at the Capitol in St. Paul; pictures and my comments in a Facebook Album titled "Guns Across America, St. Paul's Circus Act".  Here's what I said, back then, in a tweet:  "Opening speaker at #GunNuts Rally: "No new #Gun Laws in #MN; gun laws don't work"  Yep - "right" out of the gate, and then repeated by speaker after speaker (including Tony Cornish, R=NRA) were "no new laws - PERIOD."

So that's the backdrop; yours truly, the ol' TwoPutter, was headed to the studio.

You can link to the podcast here and listen along; the following transcript has to deal with finding common ground - that the idea anyone can go to a gun store, or under a tent at a gun show, and buy a machine gun is a really, Really, REALLY bad idea.  Or, so I thought; starting at 7:05 into the show:

TPT: "We should actually start off, you know, and see if we can find any common ground.  Now, you know, back in the 1930's we had Al Capne and the bootleggers, yada yada yada.  And in their infinite wisdom, (cross talk) let me finish, don't start talking over me already; I know your style!  We outlawed Tommy Guns.  My question is:  are you ok with that? Should sub-machine guns be illegal?

Rothman:  No.

TPT: Alright, now we have it, folks!  Now we're getting ready to go!

Rothman:  Let's go back a little further.  First we had Prohibition and it turns out that if we just prohibit something there won't be any of it.  We know this about the war on alcohol; we know this about the war on drugs.  But we ended up with this huge bureaucracy of the, the uh, the Revenuers.  And these folks did their very very best to win the war on alcohol.  Failed miserably and creaed a huge market for crime in the process.  When Prohibition was repealed, there was this whole federal bureaucracy with nothing to do.  1934 - the Gun Control Act (sic).  So they had to do something about all those machine guns and all that crime which was caused by:  Prohibition.

TPT:  I just want to make sure all the listeners are very clear that Andrew, you just said that there should not be a prohibition on fully automatic AK-47's, M-16's, Thompson sub-machine guns, Uzi's, yada yada yada.  Is that really your position?

Andrew: That's my position.

Ladies and Gents, you simply cannot make that up.

While reasonable people are trying to find reasonable solutions to curb gun violence, including banning Loop-Hole Legal Machine Guns, a leader of those opposing any - ANY - new gun law is very clear:  fully automatic weapons should be readily available.

Listen to the podcast here; not only is it great radio, but you'll gain insight into the thoughts of those that oppose any and all regulations on The 2nd Amendment,  which reads:

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
* * *
I did the transcription, as best I could.  Any error is inadvertent and will be corrected upon review; please suggest any such correction in the comments, below
* * *
Discuss

Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 07:42 AM PST

"semi-automatic"? Yeah, "right."

by TwoPuttTommy

Look closely, to the picture to the right: "legal to own and use."

What that stock does, is change a semi-automatic weapon into what I refer to as a "loop-hole legal machine gun."

Now, I'm not going to get into a circular argument about definitions; about what a "machine gun" & "sub-machine gun" & "automatic weapon" are and are not and other  odd, assorted semantics ("it's not called teh clip; it iz teh magazine!!").

What I am going to point out is that sometimes, as most rational people know, technology DOES change - and technology has changed what an assault rifle is and what it now is legally capable of.

Watch the following three YouTubes - yes, it's going to take more than just a few minutes - and then, in the comments, tell me what you think of what you just saw.

I've thought about this for quite a while, and here's what I believe:  any semi-automatic weapon that can be legally modified with a slide-style stock needs to be banned.

Excuse me:  EVERY semi-automatic weapon that can be legally modified with a slide-style stock needs to be banned.

I know the Thompson submachine gun was banned decades ago; I believe it's time to ban these loop-hole legal machine guns too.

This YouTube shows how to "bump fire" an AR15 without a slide stock:

This YouTube shows bump firing at the next level, with a slide stock:

This YouTube shows how easy it is, to put together the loop-hole legal machine gun:

Semantics?  Could care less about 'em.  These are loop-hole legal machine guns.

Your thoughts?

Discuss

The picture to the right is Rep Tony Cornish, R=NRA, taken by Jim Ragsdale, a Capitol Reporter for the StarTribune.  Yes, Cornish in addition to his usual lapel cuffs, Cornish now has a sporting new NRA tie and new bling, too: an assault weapon a loop-hole legal machine gun.  That picture was taken at a Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee hearing yesterday, where the topic was (gasp!) legislation to improve public safety.

The pictures that follow are screenshots from yesterday on twitter.  The first, by State Senator Roger Chamberlain, R=NRA, gives a "hint" of what this "debate" is really all about:

And if it's not about "hunting" what could it possibly be?

The Gasbag Of The Midway, Mitch Berg, responds to my tweet, and makes it VERY clear what it's all about:

Yep - Mitch says loudly and clearly that he and his ilk need their highpowered and loop-hole legal machine guns to shoot soldiers and cops they consider "tyrranical."

Never one to fail to fall in line with current Right Wing Nut Job non-sense, Dave Thul jumps in:

Say, Dave?  I wasn't the one that said you need your loop-hole legal machine guns to shoot soldiers and cops your ilk tells you (remember, Dave always falls in line); YOU said that - in your own words.

Yes, Dear Gentle Readers, far too many of today's "No New Gun Laws - PERIOD" deep thinkers (like Berg and Thul, et al; presumably, Cornish and Chamberlain, et al) are "Water The Tree Of Liberty" types, that think they need these loop-hole legal machine guns for the upcoming fight against "tyranny."

As Thul and Berg clearly demonstrate, what they are saying is that when the day comes, they are willing and want to be ready and able to open fire with assault weapons  loop-hole legal machine guns.

Think about it, for a minute - just who do these deep thinkers think will be their "tyrranical enemy" that they're going to shoot - village dog catchers?  City trash collectors?  No, Gentle Readers - in their own words, they are willing and want to be able to open fire on soldiers and cops.

And if that doesn't scare you enough....

... these "water the tree" types of GunNuts will tell you that there's no reason - none, whatsoever - to ban the "semi-automatic" AR15 (and it's variations).

Judge for yourself if the AR15 (and it's variations) is really "semi-automatic"...

It's scary enough that the crazies that shot up Columbine, Tucson, Oak Creek, Newtown, etc etc etc are out there and are getting acdess to guns.

Now we have to be worried about "water the tree" types, too.  Armed, they insist, with loop-hole legal machine guns.

Not to mention, of course, meth-heads & meth dealers & meth cooks, etc etc etc figuring out that loop-hole, too.

The Thompson machine gun was banned decades ago.  It's time to ban these loop-hole legal machine guns too.

Discuss

Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 07:11 AM PST

A Few Thoughts On "Bear Arms"

by TwoPuttTommy

I carry a card in my wallet; it's a little larger than a business card.  The front shows some Founding Father types gathered, discussing trophies mounted on the wall - "bear arms."  Not a trophy buck; not some exotic trophy brought back from an African safari, not... well, not "whatever."  They're "bear arms."  And I whip it out whenever some gun nut (often, with a tin-foil lined cammo hunting/military cap) starts to go ballistic about liberals/leftists/socialists/french fry eating/UN loving/tree huggers wanting to limit their 2nd Amendment right to own guns.

Here's what the back of said card looks like.  It starts out with the 2nd Amendment, verbatim:

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Following that:

"Of course it's clear! Every American has the right to hang a pair of bear arms on their wall.  How could that possibly be misconstrued?"

Indeed.

Here's the point:

People will argue about the semantics of the 2nd Amendment, but what people cannot argue is virtually everyone - even those wearing tin-foil lined cammo hunting/military hats - thatwe ALREADY regulate "arms."

No one has a right to own a bazooka nor a flame thrower nor a mortar/grenade launcher; not even a machine gun (think Thompson, Uzi, AK47, fully automatic M-16, etc.)

Well "almost everyone."

But even the extremist Nation Rifle Association isn't advocating anyone's right to own a fully automatic machine gun or a couple of live grenades.

And even the 5-4 "District of Columbia v. Heller" decision (2008), via obiter dictum, affirmed the right of the government to ban ban a class of weapons - specifically, machine guns.

So we ALREADY agree (even Supreme Court Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Kennedy & Roberts) that the Feds can impose "regulations" on the lawful ownership of weapons by The People.

What the argument today is, is where that line of regulation is drawn.

I'm saying the banning of assault weapons - including magazines ("clips" if you will) is on the regulatory side of the line government can ban.

Today's assault weapons, with the capacity for carnage similar to the Thompsons of the 1930's, can and should be banned.

Now.

Well, more accurately:  AGAIN.  

Because even though that card I carry in my wallet is a joke, the carnage assault weapons continue to cause is not.

Discuss

The image to the right is from Republican David Hann's campaign website (link here for full view).  It seems in May 2010, Hann held a Press Conference announcing the beginnings of an ethics complaint about a DFLer who had ethics problems -- and is now out of office. This image of Hann's website shows links to a press conference Hann, along with Republican Senator Geoff "I only lied because I had to" Michel, held -- and it's worth remembering what Hann had to say at that time.  Let's look!

(direct link to YouTube)

Here's the transcript:

"I think all of us in public office, we need to exercise the best judgement that we can to make sure that what we're doing, uh, doesn't send the appearance to the public that we're, uh, seeking any kind of special treament or doing things that are of benefit to us personally." --  Republican Senator David Hann, 20 May 2010
OK, why bring that up, now?  Well, because of what Hann said about HIS behavior, just the other day:

From Minnesota Public Radio:

"What I did was perfectly legal and legitimate," Hann said. "I did not have a license at the time I did that, was not contemplating having a license at the time I did that. After the fact, I got a license, [which] would no different than anybody in the state of Minnesota who decided to get a license after the law was passed." --  Republican Senator David Hann
OK, working hand in hand with an owner of an insurance company - John Tyler - while working in the legislature as Chair of the committee that affects said insurance company owner, and then going to work for said insurance company owner after getting legislation passed affecting said insurance company owner may be "perfectly legal and legitimate" - but it sure gives the impression of, as Hann stated in May of 2010: "...doing things that are of benefit to us personally."

Because, Hann's behavior reeks of "...doing things that are of benefit to us personally."

Since December of 2011, Hann has been involved in three things that really reek:  the sacking of then-Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch; the infamous Lunch Hour Lit Drop; and now getting licensed to sell health insurance, taking a job with an insurance company who he worked with for God only knows how long on health insurance issues, and taking a board position with a health insurance trade association.

When the Legislature convenes in January, the Senate's Ethics Committee needs to take a long hard look at David Hann and the timeline of what he's done.

Assuming, of course, he doesn't resign first...

After all, if Hann wants to walk through the ol' Legislator-to-lobbyist revolving door so common today (except in Hann's case, it'd be "Legislator to now-employee-of-business-owner-he-helped), he shouldn't let the door smack him on his way out.

I'm thinking if he doesn't, Hann will get smacked by an Ethics Committee investigation.

The House should take a long hard look at Gottwalt, too.

* * *

Previous coverage of Hann's latest scandal:

MPR joins Fox9 and Minnpost and investigates David Hann, adds Steve Gottwalt -- Monday, December 10th, 2012

GOP legislators who pushed MinnCare cuts under scrutiny for ties to insurers  -- Monday, December 10th, 2012

State Senate Republicans Double Down On David Hann's Lack Of Disclosure --  Saturday, November 10th, 2012

"Republicans pick the most corrupt Senator to lead them, David Hann" --  Friday, November 9th, 2012

"More Questions For The List Of Questions David Hann Hasn't Answered"  --  Thursday, November 8th, 2012

MNGOP Sen. David Hann chairs Health Committee, didn't disclose health insurance job -- Friday, November 2nd, 2012

"GOP State Senator David Hann Endorsed For Re-Election - By His Boss"  --  Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

"BREAKING: David Hann On Board Of Directors For Trade Association He Oversees"  -- Monday, October 29th, 2012

"BREAKING: David Hann Scrubs His Website, or: "Let The WhiteWash Begin!" -- 9:35 pm, Friday, October 26th, 2012

"TV station sees conflict of interest for Sen. Hann, others"  -- 2:12pm, Friday, October 26th, 2012

"Fox9 News Scandal Coverage: "What does Sen. David Hann do for a living?"  -- 10:41am, Friday, October 26th, 2012

"What does Sen. David Hann do for a living?"  --  7:55pm, Thursday October 25th, 2012

"When is a Conflict of Interest, a Conflict of Interest? You Decide." --  Thursday, October 25th, 2012

"Conflict of Interest? David Hann, GOP Health Insurance Salesman" -- 5:00am, Thursday October 25th, 2012

** related, but not directly:

"Minnesota Senate Republicans Are Out Of Control"  --  Friday, November 2nd, 2012

"Brodkorb Fallout: Consider The Source"  --  Monday, October 15th, 2012

Discuss

Last week, we discussed Verified Twitter Accounts - specifically, that Minnesota Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson had one.  On Monday, we looked at Chief Justice Lorie Gildea's expenses on her Campaign Finance Reports ("CFB") for her campaign website - well, specifically, the lack thereof.  

Today, we're going to look at website expenses for the campaign of Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson - and several other prominent Republicans.  We'll start with one such prominent Republican, the soon-to-be former GOP Senate Caucus Leader Dave Senjem - a screenshot from Senjem's CFB report is above.  On Sen Senjem's CFB report, you'll note the expenses of $250 and $12 on 31 July and 17 September 2012 for website related fees to "Election Energy" to a street address in Apple Valley.  That street address matches the address listed which was found during a Domain Search for www.ElectionEnergy.com; link to screenshot here.

Justice G. Barry Anderson also used Election Energy as a vendor; on his latest CFB report it's his largest vendor - accounting for almost 30% of his campaign's expenditures (almost $19k).  Except, on Anderson's CFB report, there's a different address for Election Energy; it's listed as a P. O. Box.

Hmmm.... Time to check property tax records for the address reported by Senjem's campaign!  And what do we find?  It seems the address used by Senjem, and NOT used by Anderson, is owned by: "Grant B. and Louise H. Anderson".

Sources have confirmed the address used by Senjem, but NOT by Anderson, is indeed Justice G. Barry Anderson's home.

Of course, it's possible that "Election Energy" - using a business address of State Supreme Court Justice Grant B. Anderson, who goes by "G. Barry Anderson" - isn't owned by Justice Anderson; it's possible it's owned by his son, Grant Anderson, who is acting as Justice Anderson's digital director.

Better check with the Secretary of State's Office, and find out who is the registered owner(s) of "Election Energy"!  

Hmmmm.....  An on-line search, via the Secretary of State's office reveals: "No results match the criteria entered.".  Hmmm, maybe I'm doing something wrong?  No, said the nice person at the Secretary of State's Business Services Section - they couldn't find any record of registration either.

Does a website company that's physically located in Minnesota, has customers in Minnesota, and is soliciting for more business need to be registered?  Well, according to the nice person at the Secretary of State's office, who did NOT know the nature of the people involved - a sitting State Supreme Court justice, for one - said while not an attorney, it appears that under statutes 303 and 331 - the short answer is yes.

To recap: what we appear to have is an unlicensed business being run out of the home of a Supreme Court Justice that has said Justice as a customer.  Additional customers include current GOP Senator Senjem, former GOP State Rep Keith Downey, soon-to-be GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, and fellow Supreme Court Justice David Stras, whose campaign sent $5,000 to Election Energy's P.O. Box.

Here's what I wrote in the post about Gildea:

If there is anyone who's campaign finance reports should be squeaky clean and transparent, it's a judge running for re-election - especially the judge running to retain the seat for Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court.
Consider that said about Justice G. Barry too.  There's some 'splainin' to do....
Discuss

Last week, we discussed Verified Twitter Accounts - specifically, that Minnesota Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson had one, and we were looking at his re-election Campaign Finance Reports.  And we are; stay tuned for what's turned up!  While doing so, we also took a look at two of the other candidates for re-election to the Supreme Court - Justice David Stras, who also had a Twitter Verified Account, and Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, who didn't.  Something stuck out while going through Chief Justice Gildea's reports - by omission.  

Everybody these days has a campaign web site; candidates for State Supreme Court being no different. And as anybody that's ever set one up knows, they cost dough.  Pick a domain name, register it, build the website, host it... Well, picking the name is free.  Registration and building a website and hosting it?  Not so much.  The image, above, is from 2007, back when Pawlenty Appointee Justice Gildea first ran for re-election; the domain for the website is www.JusticeLorieGildea.com.    

A review of Justice Gildea's Campaign Finance Reports for 2007 does not show an expenditure nor an in-kind donation for any of that. Nor does her 2008 Report. Clearly it's there; registered 09 Feb 07.

Fast forward to February 2012, and the image to the right.  It's the "Who Is" Domain Registration (www.ChiefJusticeLorieGildea.com) information for the Pawlenty appointed Gildea, who is now running for re-election for Chief State Supreme Court Justice.  

On Chief Justice's campaign website, the disclaimer on the bottom reads "Prepared and paid for by Minnesotans for Chief Justice Gildea, P.O. Box..."

Yet again, a review of Chief Justice Gildea's Campaign Finance Reports for 2012 does not show an expenditure nor an in-kind donation for the new campaign website domain.  Nor for building a new website, nor for hosting a website.

If there is anyone who's campaign finance reports should be squeaky clean and transparent, it's a judge running for re-election - especially the judge running to retain the seat for Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court.

An email and phone call for an explanation to the Campaign Treasurer for both campaigns have not been returned.

Discuss

Regular Readers will probably remember yours truly, the ol' TwoPutter, had media credentials for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.  And we had a LOT of fun covering Charlotte 2012, beginning with finding fake lemons in the tree outside of failed Veep Candidate Paul Ryan's WI Office.  While in the media area of Charlotte 2012, I happened across the Twitter Office of, well, Twitter - picture to the right.

So I stopped to talk to the nice people at Twitter, and asked 'em how yours truly, the ol' TwoPutter, could get one o' those elusive, but coveted, blue checkmarks for my Twitter account - signifying a Twitter "Verified Account".  There's a screenshot, below, on what these check marks look like.  

Here's what Twitter says about 'em:

What kinds of accounts get verified?

Twitter proactively verifies accounts on an ongoing basis to make it easier for users to find who they’re looking for. We concentrate on highly sought users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, advertising, business, and other key interest areas. We verify business partners from time to time and individuals at high risk of impersonation.

We do not accept requests for verification from the general public. If you fall under one of the above categories and your Twitter account meets our qualifications for verification, we may reach out to you in the future.(emphasis added)

I figured it'd be a slam dunker; there I was with the media credentials, and I already had worked with Twitter to get a few nasty fake twitter accounts (stuff)-canned that had been causing problems for yours truly, the ol' TwoPutter.

So when I asked the nice person at Twitter, in the media area, at Charlotte 2012 about it, the nice person handed me off to another nice person working for Twitter - in sales.

Yes, "sales."  And here's what I was told:

For most folks, it takes dough to get one of those elusive, but coveted, blue check marks that indicate a "verified account;" a blue check mark like you see to the right on a screen shot of Minnesota Supreme Court G. Barry Anderson's Twitter account.

How much dough, I asked.  $15,000.00 was the answer; but not necessarily all at once - it could be spread out over a couple of months. I explained I had read the Twitter "Verified Account" policy; it seemed I qualified for a freebee for two reasons (as outlined above).  Reply? Nope.  Cash.  Well, it was also explained that if someone who was already spending dough on Twitter ads and promoted tweets, etc already had one, Twitter often gave one o' those elusive but coveted check marks to a friend/associate/whatever of one of said spenders as a comp.

I checked around with a few media types in the media areas while in Charlotte, and heard in essence: yep, that's how the "Verified Account" game was played.  Did a little digging on google too.  No biggie; if that's the way the game was played and since I didn't have - let alone plan on spending - $15 biggies, no blue check mark for yours truly, the ol' TwoPutter.

Fast forward to October 8th, 2012, and a story by Strib Reporter Rachel Stassen-Berger: "Promoted Justice On Twitter".  Rachel writes about the blue "verified account" check mark that's shown on the screen shot you see just a little bit above on the Twitter Account of G. Barry Anderson, running for re-election for his seat on the bench on Minnesota's Supreme Court.

Here's Rachel's lede:

Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson may be making history, 140-characters at a time.

The justice, first appointed to the high court by Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2004, is using promoted tweets to advance his campaign to stay on the court. He is among the first prominent Minnesota politicians to use promotion, Twitter's version of online advertising, in his campaign. (emphasis added)

Rachel also noted that Justice Anderson's Digital Director is the Justice's son, Grant Anderson.  Noted now is that Justice Anderson's campaign web page is credited, on the web page, to Election Energy.

Didn't think much of Rachel's story, at the time.  And pretty much forgot about it, until I saw and retweeted the tweet to the right.  OK, a lot has been said by a lot of people about Michael Brodkorb - including by me - for, ahem, "a variety of reasons."

One thing a lot of people that have said a lot about Michael Brodkorb also say is that when it comes down to political skills and instincts, it pays to pay attention to Michael Brodkorb.  So if Michael thought "the campaign spending & contribution report" of Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson was "interesting" - well, yours truly, the ol' TwoPutter, pays attention.

And said report is indeed interesting - and we'll get to what yours truly, the ol' TwoPutter has found.

So - stay tuned!!!  

Discuss

The scandal plagued Republican State Senator from Eden Prairie, David Hann, was elected by his fellow Senate Republicans to lead their Caucus as Minority Leader.  No surprise there!  Beginning in January 2011, when the Senate Republicans took over, it has been scandal after scandal after scandal by these Republican scoundrels.

The latest scandal coming from these State Senate Republicans has to do with their newly elected leader, David Hann, and it has to do with a conflict of interest and his perceived cover up of it.  Boiled down, it is in essence: who does Hann work for, what does Hann do, and when did Hann start doing it?

And Hann ducked the only major news outlet in the Metro - Tom Lyden of Fox9 News - that picked up on this scandal. To be fair, MinnPost picked up on Fox9 picking the story up.  Everybody else?  Cue the crickets!  

Now, when Hann's fellow campers in the scandal plagued Republican Senate Caucus elected him, they also sent out a Press Release describing Hann as follows:

"Senator Hann was elected to his fourth term in the Senate earlier this week. He was first elected in 2002. Prior to his service in the Senate, Hann was elected three times to the Eden Prairie School board where he served as clerk and treasurer. He was also employed at E. A. Sween Co. (Deli Express) for 22 years, where he served in several capacities including Director of Forecasting and Logistics."
What we've found since the Hann Scandal first broke is that Hann is now a licensed insurance agent, works for an insurance company (Boys And Tyler), and serves on the Board of Directors of an insurance industry trade group (Minnesota Association of Health Underwriters).

To no surprise, no mention of what has come to light about Hann (not the industry, nor the company, nor his job, nor his trade association position), in the Senate Republican Caucus' press release, announcing and describing their newly elected fearless leader's new job - Minority Leader.

During his recent campaign, David Hann clearly demonstrated he did not believe the public deserved to know his source of employment. Based on the press release by the Republican Senate Caucus he now leads, they don't think so either.

*
Photo Credit to Minnesota Public Radio for the image above - which pictures the so-called Gang Of Four at the infamous December 2011 Press Conference.

Previous coverage of Hann's ongoing scandal below the fold.

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