In Part 1, we looked at how FEC Tony's (pictured, right) MN GOP couldn't (wouldn't?) accurately report to the FEC how much they owed a vendor to ensure accurate FEC reports. In Part 2, we noted there are now 2 citizen watchdog groups looking into the MN GOP's Cooked Books -- Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington - which nailed 'em last time (the MN GOP got smacked with a near-record $170,000 fine), and Common Cause MN. In Part 3, we looked at how a payroll deductions "no, NO!" that got the MN GOP in trouble last time seems to be a pattern. No surprise there!
Today in Part 4 of the continuing Cooked Books Series we're going to take a look at
how a reasonable person has no reason to believe anything a Republican says a vendor and what appears to be a fake address. While perusing the December 20th, 2011 MN GOP Federal Elections Commission ("FEC") filing - covering the month of November 2011 - the following stuck out. Why? Because there simply isn't an address in Minneapolis that has a street number of "7705." Let's look!
OK, to recap so far: we know that you can't believe what Republicans say, ESPECIALLY in FEC reports - after all, on December 20th, 2011 the MN GOP reported they only owed $542,005 when the real number was double that -- and possibly closer to a cool $2 million. And, of course, there's that $170,000 fine theFEC smacked 'em with just a few months ago...
So when an address shows up with a street number that can't possibly be in the city they say, well - that bears some digging into. And a simple mapquest search shows that that address is NOT in Minneapolis!
We'll start with the company - "Fundraising Associates" - first. If you go to the Minnesota Secretary Of State's office, you'll find that "Fundraising Associates is in fact a bona fide company. Except, as noted in the preceeding link, it's NOT at "7705 Tanglewood Court" - it's registered at "4035 W 65th Street #427, Edina MN 55435." And it's registered to a "Zandra Wolcott."
What type of building is "4035 W 65th Street"? It's an apartment building. OK, no big deal there; a lot of people work out of their homes these days. But, what is "7705 Tanglewood Court"? It's a duplex, smack dab in the middle of a residential area in Edina.
So, why would the MN GOP have a "Payee address" for a company that's registered and apparently working out of an apartment listed to a duplex some other place? Hmmm....
... Better check the property tax records! Here's what they show:
Owner Name: Golden Valley Microwave FDS
Taxpayer Name & Address: Norman M Gabrick, 4910 Malibu Drive, Edina 55346
Homestead Status: Non-Homestead
Who is "Golden Valley Microwave FDS"? A quick googlesearch indicates that it's now a subsidiary of ConAgra Foods.
ConAgra Foods??!? Why is a vendor's check going to a duplex owned by ConAgra Foods??!?
It's not like "Fundraising Associates" hasn't been listed on FEC Reports before... let's look!
Yep - in 2010, in a "Minnesota-Bachmann Victory Committee" FEC Report, Zandra Wolcott was reported as receiving $25,000 -- at the address registered with the MN Secretary Of State.
But now, a year later and now a MN GOP vendor, her checks are being sent to a "non-homestead" (read="rental") duplex a couple of miles away from her apartment/registered business address?
Why? Is that duplex just a sham address? Or is the MN GOP claiming that the money went to Wolcott, but it was really sent to someone else?
Those questions (and more!) I didn't get to ask Zandra Wolcott. Here's the only question I got to ask:
"When you gave your bills to the MN GOP, did you use your business address or an address for a duplex a few miles away from your office?"
I got to ask it, but: no answer. In an exceedingly short phone conversation, Ms. Wolcott referred me to Pat Shortridge at the MN GOP --- and her attorney, Tony Trimble.
Yes, Tony "Recount" Trimble - the MN GOP lawyer, who's recount bills the MN GOP may try to weasel out of paying.
Say, there's a plan! Ask questions about a fishy FEC transaction to a former ENRON lobbyist - now running the MN GOP - and a lawyer that the MN GOP probably owes big bucks to! One can easily assume a response along the lines of "not intended to be a factual statement", or, perhaps, "I only lied because I had to"...
What we know, is there's (stuff) in the MN GOP's campaign finance reports that's simply not true.
What we don't know is who put down what appears to be a fake address on an FEC report - the vendor, or the MN GOP? And why?
And how many OTHER fake addresses has the MN GOP reported to the FEC?
In digging into this one, I've been hearing allegations of shell LLC's and other sham addresses, etc that the MN GOP has been reporting.
So stay tuned -- the best is yet to come!!!