12/24/2004 08:38:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|
Minnesota Democrats Exposed will be updated with new posts on December 26.
Since it is December 24, I thought I would post "Twas the Night Before Christman" by Clement Clarke Moore.
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the housenot a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
And Mama in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap.
When out on the roof there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutter, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snowgave the lustre of midday to objects below,
when, what to my wondering eyes should appear,but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles, his courses they came, and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
"Now Dasher! Now Dancer!Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid!
On, Donner and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,when they meet with an obstacle,
mount to the skyso up to the house-top the courses they flew,with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head and was turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes--how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly, that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his headsoon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!" |W|P|110390713438271783|W|P|MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM MINNESOTA DEMOCRATS EXPOSED|W|Pemail@example.com/26/2004 08:16:00 PM|W|P|Sipidation|W|P|I'm a day late but I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.12/27/2004 08:49:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|Sorry I am two days late, but Merry Christmas!12/23/2004 09:15:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|
This is an enlarged picture comparison of Frank Simon's signature and the handwriting on the Edwards ballot.
1. Notice the tip curve on the "n" in Simon and compare it with the "w" in Edwards.
2. Compare the "n" in Frank with the "n" in John.
3. The slant in the "F" is similar with the "E" in Edwards.
Since last Monday, I have tried to provided the best information available for people to determine which DFL elector voted for John Edwards, denying John Kerry one of Minnesota's 10 electoral votes.
There are strong similarities between Frank Simon's signature and the handwriting on the Edwards ballot. I encourage Frank Simon to email me and respond to the picture I have posted.
UPDATE: I have yet to recieve an email from Frank Simon, but I have recieved numerous emails from people who are convinced Frank is the author of the Edwards ballot. |W|P|110368435017306139|W|P|MDE EXCLUSIVE: DID FRANK SIMON CAST THE MYSTERY BALLOT FOR JOHN EDWARDS?|W|Pfirstname.lastname@example.org/22/2004 09:24:00 AM|W|P|12/23/2004 08:56:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|
Once again, when a Democrat is the subject of a negative Star Tribune editorial, you know he or she is in hot water.
Editorial: Rules for 527s/Make them disclose gifts, givers
Whether or not Minnesota House DFL leader Matt Entenza and his wife broke campaign laws this fall when they gave $300,000 to the group 21st Century Democrats is a matter for investigators to examine. To date, Republican claims that the law was violated have rested far more on allegations and surmises than on evidence.
However, the court of public opinion can already come to one conclusion about the matter: Entenza's giving to influence the outcome of the election should have been a matter of public record before Nov. 2.
That it was not reflects less on Entenza than it does on 21st Century Democrats and all the other new kids on the nation's political block, the so-called 527s (after the provision in the tax code that governs them.) These upstart groups, formed in response to new restrictions on donations to political parties, include America Coming Together and the notorious Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Unimpeded by donation limits and facing fewer disclosure requirements than those pertaining to candidate committees and political parties, the 527s raised an eye-popping $434 million this year.
Limits on donations to 527s may not be constitutionally achievable or even desirable, the best efforts of Sen. John McCain and other leading campaign reformers notwithstanding. As the latest campaign cycle amply demonstrated, when the flow of political money is dammed up in one place, it simply shifts to a new channel, with unpredictable and often undesirable results.
But Congress should be able to force the 527s into the sunshine, by requiring thorough and timely public disclosure of their gifts and givers. That change in campaign law should be made before the nation votes again in 2006.
The activities of 21st Century Democrats in Minnesota might have been more visible had the group registered properly with the state. It must rue its failure to do so, after the huge $317,950 fine assessed against its national and state arms this week by the state Campaign Finance Board.
The whopping size of that fine, the largest in the campaign board's history, results from strict application of a formula rather than a judgment about the gravity of the group's misdeed. By all accounts, the group, headed by former St. Paul Mayor Jim Scheibel, is eager to set itself right under Minnesota law.
But it would be a mistake to characterize the campaign board's decision as a ruling on a mere technicality. With so little other opportunity allowed by the courts to stop the purchasing of undue influence on government, the prompt disclosure of who is giving how much for what political purpose is vital to the exercise of the one sure remaining restraint -- the ballot. Americans aren't getting the disclosure they deserve from 527s. They should insist on it, before 2006. Source: Star Tribune, December 23, 2004
|W|P|110382111273325991|W|P|STAR TRIBUNE EDITORIAL: "ENTENZA'S GIVING TO INFLUENCE THE OUTCOME OF THE ELECTION SHOULD HAVE BEEN A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD BEFORE NOV. 2"|W|Pemail@example.com/23/2004 08:52:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|House DFL Caucus says its error led to donation complaint
The Minnesota House DFL Caucus has taken responsibility for what it said was an accounting error that resulted in a Federal Election Commission finding concerning one of the party's largest donors, Minneapolis businessman Vance Opperman.
The caucus is already under fire for having illegally transferred money from a state account to a federal account in the 2002 election.
In August, the commission issued a finding that it had "reason to believe" that Opperman had violated federal election campaign law by contributing more than the allowable limit in a federal election. He had given $5,000 to the House DFL Caucus and another $5,000 to the state DFL Party.
The commission found that the two entities were affiliated, and so individual donations to both could not exceed $5,000 total. On Aug. 16, the commission wrote to Opperman that it had decided to take no further action and had closed his file but noted that "you should take steps to ensure that this activity does not occur in the future."
Ted Grindal, an attorney for Opperman, said Opperman never received that letter because it went to the wrong address. When he learned of the commission's finding in mid-December in a Star Tribune story, Grindal said, Opperman challenged it, saying both checks were intended not for federal races, but for state races, for which there is no limit on contributions.
The caucus sent a letter to the commission in early December confirming Opperman's version of events, noting that the $5,000 contribution had been returned to him. Alan Weinblatt, attorney for the caucus, said in the letter that "it was solely the caucus' error in depositing the contribution into the wrong account that resulted in the violation."
Grindal said the caucus had inadvertently deposited Opperman's check into its federal account and misreported it to the commission as a federal contribution.
Bob Biersack, acting press officer for the commission, said that because it decided against conducting a formal investigation into the matter, it would not make a final determination of whether a violation had occurred.
In a Dec. 16 letter to Opperman's attorneys, Mark D. Shonkwiler, an assistant general counsel with the commission, said the "reason to believe" finding "does not reflect a substantive determination by the commission that a violation has occurred." But, he added, "because there appeared to be sufficient evidence at the time to investigate, recision of the reason-to-believe finding would not be appropriate."
Grindal said the commission's position raises "serious questions" about due process in such matters and the rights of contributors.
"Enforcement authorities can make decisions in a vacuum," Grindal said, "and this is an example of that. The reality is, they didn't make a substantive determination that a violation happened, but that's the impression that's left."
Opperman said Wednesday that he was disturbed that he had received no notice from the commission or the caucus and was not initially called for comment by the Star Tribune. Source: Star Tribune, December 23, 2004
|W|P|110382090420870179|W|P|MORE TROUBLE FOR THE DFL HOUSE CAUCUS|W|Pfirstname.lastname@example.org/21/2004 01:49:00 PM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|
State campaign finance board fines liberal group
Twenty-first Century Democrats, a national political action committee that was active in Minnesota this year, has been fined more than $300,000 for failing to report properly the donors who gave it money.
Two fines, totaling $317,950, were announced this afternoon by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
Together, the fines are the largest ever imposed by the board, according to its chairman, Wil Fluegel.
Fluegel said the fines were consistent with the formula used to determine fines for similar violations by similar groups: one dollar of fine for each dollar of contributions that were improperly made.
"The donations here were just so large that it becomes cumulatively the largest fine," Fluegel said.
Twenty-first Century Democrats is the PAC that drew strong criticism from Republicans when it was revealed in early November that Minnesota House Minority Leader Matt Entenza, DFL-St. Paul, contributed $300,000 to the committee this summer and fall.
But Entenza's donations play no part in the infractions cited by the campaign finance board.
Former St. Paul Mayor Jim Scheibel is chairman of the 21st Century Democrats' board of directors.
In rulings issued in a closed-door session on Dec. 17 and not made public until Tuesday, the campaign finance board concluded that 21st Century Democrats "inadvertently violated" state law on a number of occasions from 2001 through October of this year.
Ruling on a technical point, the board said a state campaign committee operated by 21st Century Democrats improperly accepted contributions from the national PAC when that national group had not registered in Minnesota. If the national group had registered, it would have been required to provide lists of its donors.
Brian Svoboda, a 21st Century Democrats lawyer, told the campaign finance board that the group improperly listed a number of donors from across the country as contributing to the group's Minnesota campaign committee. In fact, Svoboda said, the donors contributed to the national group and then their names were attached to various fund transfers the national group made to its Minnesota account.
Svoboda said the rule violations in Minnesota resulted from "accounting and administrative lapses" that were "wholly the product of inadvertent error." Source: Pioneer Press, December 21, 2004
|W|P|I salute the owner of this blog! Frank Simon needs to come forward and speak to the evidence.|W|P|110366612695179447|W|P|CAMPAIGN FINANCE BOARD ISSUES THE LARGEST FINE IN STATE HISTORY TO THE 21st CENTURY DEMOCRATS|W|Pemail@example.com/21/2004 11:53:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|
The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board fined seven Democrat political committees a total of $318,750 for numerous campaign finance violations.
Click here for a list of the committees fined and to view the Board's findings.
|W|P|110365926768243000|W|P|BREAKING NEWS: CAMPAIGN FINANCE BOARD FINES SEVEN DEMOCRAT COMMITTEES $318,750|W|Pfirstname.lastname@example.org/21/2004 11:16:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|
The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board fined the 21st Century Democrats Minnesota Committee $292,950 and the 21st Century Democrats National Committee $25,000 for campaign disclosure violations.
The Board may increase the penalty based on campaign finance reports yet to be filed.
Please stop back for updates.
|W|P|110365866748872100|W|P|BREAKING NEWS: 21st CENTURY DEMOCRATS FINED $317,950 BY CAMPAIGN FINANCE BOARD|W|Pemail@example.com/21/2004 07:25:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|I have been experiencing technical difficulties and hopefully today I will post an enlarged picture with a detailed comparison of Frank Simon's signature and the handwriting on the Edwards ballot.
I also thought this quote from Frank Simon was interesting:
"If it was meant to be a protest-type vote I would be upfront and say 'This is how I voted,' said elector Frank Simon of Chaska. 'It doesn't seem like anyone is coming forth to say that.'" Source: Associated Press, December 13, 2004.
One way to read this statement is as a passive admission by Frank that he mistakenly cast his ballot for Edwards.
|W|P|110358399230085069|W|P|THE CASE OF THE MYSTERY BALLOT #3|W|Pfirstname.lastname@example.org/21/2004 06:30:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|The group which House Minority Leader Matt Entenza contributed $300,000 will be penalized later today by the Campaign Finance Board for numerous reporting violations. The Republican Party of Minnesota filed numerous complaints yesterday afternoon against Entenza, the 21st Democrats, the DFL House Caucus and the DFL Party.
Please stop back after 1:00 p.m. for a copy of the Board's findings.
GOP wants Entenza donations to national group investigated
The Minnesota Republican Party filed state and federal complaints Monday that question the legality of $300,000 in campaign contributions made by Rep. Matt Entenza to a national political committee.
The complaints, which offer no proof that either Entenza or the Washington-based political action committee did anything wrong, ask the Federal Election Commission and the state Campaign Finance Board to launch investigations and determine if any laws were violated.
"Obviously I don't have the tools to subpoena Mr. Entenza," said Matthew Haapoja, a lawyer for the Republicans. "That's the job of the investigators."
Entenza called the two Republican complaints "mere partisanship" and said he welcomed investigations of his donations.
"That's a totally appropriate thing, and I am very proud that I did it," the St. Paul lawmaker said of his $300,000 in donations to the 21st Century Democrats, a national campaign committee active in Minnesota this year. Former St. Paul Mayor Jim Scheibel is chairman of the committee's board.
"They filed a complaint," Entenza said of the Republicans. "We'll file the information showing why it's all fine."
Scheibel said he could not comment on specifics of the Republican complaints, but he said 21st Century Democrats complied with both state and federal campaign-finance laws.
"Have we in the past made some errors in the reporting?" Scheibel asked rhetorically. "Yes. But we've corrected those."
The filing of the long-threatened complaints by the Republican Party coincides with a related decision by the state Campaign Finance Board decision — to be announced today — to penalize 21st Century Democrats for violating campaign-reporting requirements.
For weeks, the Campaign Finance Board has been conducting a confidential review of reports of contributions and spending that 21st Century Democrats filed concerning its heavy involvement in Minnesota campaigns this year and its much smaller role in previous state campaigns.
In mid-November, 21st Century Democrats filed revised reports of its spending in Minnesota for 2001 through 2004. Copies of the revised reports were mistakenly made public by a board employee Monday.
The Campaign Finance Board chairman and one of its top administrators, Jeff Sigurdson, said state law barred them from commenting on the board's review of 21st Century Democrats until findings are announced at 1 p.m. today on the board's Web site: www.cfboard.state.mn.us.
Original contribution-and-spending reports filed by 21st Century Democrats in 2001 through 2004 listed a number of specific contributors, including labor unions and several big donors from Pennsylvania and California. Entenza's contributions to the group were not listed in this year's report.
This year's report also included several smaller contributions from the Iowa and Georgia Democratic parties, but did not include required paperwork listing the original donors to those parties.
The revised reports filed by 21st Century Democrats attributes money spent in Minnesota to bookkeeping accounts within the national group, rather than to individual donors.
While the Campaign Finance Board examined some of the same issues that the Republican Party raised in its complaints Monday, the Republicans had no part in the board's review.
Twenty-first Century Democrats played two roles in Minnesota elections this year: It trained and paid scores of mostly part-time workers to register young voters across the state, and it paid the salaries of about 20 full-time field workers who helped Democratic-Farmer-Labor House candidates with their campaigns.
Entenza, the leader of the DFL minority in the House, has said repeatedly that his $300,000 went to help pay for the young voter registration, not the campaign workers.
The Republican complaints allege that, if the money went into a federal political action committee that 21st Century Democrats used to pay for the voter registration effort, then Entenza's contributions might violate a $5,000 limit on donations to such accounts.
In the alternative, they argue that if any of Entenza's $300,000 flowed back to Minnesota to pay the salaries of the House campaign workers, Entenza and 21st Century Democrats could have violated state laws. Those laws limit contributions to individual candidates and bar donors from channeling contributions through political parties to specific candidates. Haapoja several times acknowledged to reporters Monday that he could not prove either Entenza or 21st Century Democrats violated the law.
"That's why we're asking these agencies to investigate," he said. Source: Pioneer Press, December 21, 2004
|W|P|110363943721506292|W|P|21st CENTURY DEMOCRATS ADMITS REPORTING VIOLATIONS; CAMPAIGN BOARD TO ANNOUNCE PENALTIES LATER TODAY|W|Pemail@example.com/20/2004 09:30:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|
Please compare the ten signatures with the handwriting on the top Edwards ballot.
UPDATE: I have been flooded with comments from people who think the signature of Frank R. Simon and the handwriting on the Edwards ballot have similarities.
1. Notice the tip curve on the "n" in Simon and compare it to the "w" in Edwards.
2. Compare the "n" in Frank with the "n" in John.
3. The slant in the "F" is similar with the "E" in Edwards.
I will publish an enlarged comparison picture of the handwriting tonight and I have been in contact wth a handwriting expert who will offer their opinion.|W|P|110351250908654488|W|P|UPDATE: THE CASE OF THE MYSTERY BALLOT #2|W|Pfirstname.lastname@example.org/19/2004 11:06:00 PM|W|P|jhouts|W|P|Comparing a person's signature (esp. script) to any other writing sample is a useless exercise. That said, 4 people on the list sign with a printed (as opposed to script) signature. Stevens, on whom you appear to want to pin this, is one who prints his sig, and there are too many differences for it to be him. His "A" isn't as rounded, his "E" isn't written the same way (the Ewards voter writes an "L" then fills in the other horizontal lines, Stevens writes a squarish "C" then adds the middle horizontal line... definitely *not* Stevens.12/19/2004 11:15:00 PM|W|P|jhouts|W|P|Ah, now I see that these samples are from where it would have made mrore sense for the electors to have *printed* their names. It would have helped in this exercise if more of the electors had printed their names. I think Stevens gets a lot of votes because his printed name, like John "Ewards," was done in large and small caps, rather than upper and lower case letters. Who knows who, of the six who didn't print their names, would have also used large and small caps?12/20/2004 06:27:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|Please note the "n" in Frank Simon and in John Ewards.12/25/2004 10:21:00 PM|W|P|jhouts|W|P|The "R" in "Frank R Simon" doesn't look much like the "R" in "Ewards." It would really help to have printing samples from the other electors. Dumpster diving, anyone? But, yes, I had noticed that Frank's "N" was a dead ringer for the "N" in "John Ewards."12/20/2004 07:36:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|Reports add up the bottom line on negative ads
Minnesota's DFL Party shelled out at least $800,000 in independent spending for November's state House elections, with almost half of it going toward negative ads and mailings against Republicans.
The election produced a loss of 13 seats for Republicans in the GOP-controlled House, and the conventional wisdom had it that a stalled legislative session earlier this year and the failure to finance key building programs for some districts soured voters on many House Republicans.
Fueling some of that discontent was the money spent by political parties and independent groups, as detailed in the latest reports to the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
The DFL's spending against Republican incumbents was particularly notable.
House Speaker Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, said the amount of negative advertising from independent groups, including political parties, was unprecedented, but the success of the attack ads suggests that it will be employed again.
"While the general person says they are fed up with negative ads, negative advertising works," Sviggum said. "It raises a question about a person's decision making. Are they really against apple pie and granny?"
In some races, such as that of defeated first-term Republican Lynne Osterman, of New Hope, the DFLers spent more on negative advertising against the incumbent ($29,000) than they did in support of her DFL opponent, former Education Minnesota union leader Sandra Peterson ($23,000). Sviggum said that defeated fifth-term Nicollet Republican Howard Swenson counted 19 attack mailings against him, with four high-cost, four-page glossy mailings in one day.
Expenditures from the Republican House Campaign Committee are likely to grow substantially when final reports are completed in January, but the latest reports show that the House Republican Campaign Committee, the main spending group for the GOP House races, spent a little more than $10,000 on negative ads against two DFL opponents.
Osterman, for one, said the whole experience has made her unlikely to ever seek elected office again. She said people in the suburban swing district saw the barrage of attack mailings (most without her opponent's name on them) and became angry merely because the unwelcome mailings carried Osterman's name.
"In my book, I consider negative campaigning cheating," Osterman said. "If you cannot stand up and tell me why you should have the job without mentioning why the other team shouldn't, why should I get your vote?" she said. "I will not ever run again."
After one mailing that accused Osterman of "following marching orders" of extremist "Republican bosses," her opponent, Peterson, issued a news release and wrote to top DFL officials demanding that they stop attacking Osterman in "a deceptive and misleading way." But the DFL refused, saying the mailings were truthful and accurate.
One step removed
Independent expenditures are made by political parties or political action committees (PACs) on behalf of candidates. But they are not approved by the candidates, and the independent organizations by law can have no contact with the candidates. Both political parties contribute to independent expenditures as do organizations such as the AFL-CIO, the state teachers' union and the state Chamber of Commerce.
Minnesota DFL Party Chair Mike Erlandson defended the ads, acknowledging that they were aggressive but accurate. "The pieces were done in a way that people were inspired to open it up to see what it said on the inside and on each one of them we had a fact-check where it directly referenced back to the piece of legislation that didn't pass, and if it did, went in the wrong direction," he said.
Erlandson said the party would support candidates with mailings only if the candidates were aggressive in going door-to-door to establish who they are. "The only reason that mail worked is because we had the ability to talk about issues like the bonding bill or like tax increases in property taxes and lack of school funding and on down the list that happened in Minnesota that affected people's lives," Erlandson said.
One DFL Party mailing against defeated Faribault Republican Lynda Boudreau and others featured a picture of a 20-something worker asleep in his office cubicle, leaning back with his mouth open as an angry boss looks over him. "You'd be FIRED if you didn't get the job done..." it says. "So why haven't we fired Lynda Boudreau?"
The mailing features a fuzzy picture of a smiling Boudreau imposed over another sleeping worker with a "Do Not Disturb" Post-it note on his forehead. It adds "Boudreau and her party bosses were so busy pursuing their extreme agenda -- they couldn't get a balanced budget passed into law."
The DFL spent at least $22,138 on negative ads to unseat Boudreau and $30,731 to support her opponent, Patti Fritz. The House Republican Campaign Committee, in contrast, spent $28,900 in support of Boudreau but nothing in negative advertising against Fritz, according to the most recent filings.
In one mailing against St. Louis Park Republican Jim Rhodes, widely considered one of the more moderate Republicans in the House, a weathered and dejected looking old woman sits slumped in a rocking chair in dark shadows. The ad asks: "Could You Turn Your Back on Her?" The other side proclaims: "Republican Jim Rhodes Turned his Back on Minnesota Seniors. Say NO to Republican Jim Rhodes and His Extreme Agenda!"
Rhodes, a six-term House member, faced newcomer Steve Simon, who eschewed state campaign spending limits and financed his own campaign. Rhodes attributed much of his loss to a sweep of John Kerry voters in his district, which includes St. Louis Park and Hopkins. But he acknowledges that the negative ads had an effect.
"I never went on the negative. That wasn't my thing," Rhodes said. "I have a great deal of respect for the institution. But the negative, evidently, worked."
As House speaker, Sviggum is the leader of his caucus and is responsible for coordinating campaign efforts for Republican candidates. Sviggum said he expected the attacks after DFL House leaders declined to agree to restrict negative advertising during a debate at this year's State Fair.
Attacks were not aimed only at Republican candidates. One mailing from the House Republican Campaign Committee accused a number of DFL candidates of being indebted to "powerful Indian casinos" and asked "Who will stand up for us?"
Another mailing suggested that southern Minnesota DFLer Ruth Johnson "votes like she represents downtown Minneapolis -- not us" and says that Johnson was "the only rural southern Minnesota legislator who voted to treat homosexual couples like married couples."
Expect more of same
One citizen group, Minnesotans for Responsible Gaming, crunched the numbers on independent expenditures and found them so telling about the future of campaigns that it put them in a database file on its Web site (www.mnrg.org). "It speaks very poorly to what campaigning was like and will be like in the future. It really scares me," Sviggum said. "How are we going to get good people to run for office knowing that they are going to be subject to misrepresentations of their voting record and attacked from every angle?"
But David Mark, editor-in-chief of Campaigns & Elections Magazine, who is writing a book on negative political advertising, said that there may be little long-term ill effect on an electorate subjected to negative advertising. Attack ads often are more accurate and play a more important role in the decision-making process at the polls, particularly when it comes to ousting incumbents, he said.
"Those warm and fuzzy ads, are, in many ways, more misleading than the attack ads," Mark said. "Nobody is going to point out their own deficiencies and weaknesses in their own record." Source: Star Tribune, December 20, 2004
|W|P|110355765983138327|W|P|DFL SPENDS ALMOST $400,000 IN NEGATIVE ADS AND MAILINGS AGAINST HOUSE GOP|W|Pemail@example.com/20/2004 08:01:00 PM|W|P|MN Politics Guru|W|P|If Republicans weren't willing to defend their voting record, perhaps they should have thought for themselves instead of following the marching orders of Sviggum and his gang of Merry Righties.12/18/2004 08:28:00 PM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|"Something's Fishy" is the name of the first chapter of American Assassination: The Strange Death of Senator Wellstone. I can only assume the chapter earned this title due to the smell generated by the poor writing, false assumptions, and baseless allegations.
The authors of this book, James Fetzer and Don "Four Arrows" Jacobs, begin by detailing four items in the immediate news coverage of the crash that seemed "fishy:"
1. "The mainstream news reports asserted early in that the crash was caused by bad weather."
2. "An FBI evidence recovery team was at the scene early, investigating the accident for eight hours before the NTSB team arrived."
3. "An FBI spokesman announced within hours that there was no evidence that the crash had been an act of terrorism."
4."There are multiple conflicting reports about the NTSB team itself, which was said to have either nine, twelve, thirteen or sixteen members."
I clearly remember October 25, 2002 as a cold, wet day. According to weather reports, the low temperature was near 37 degrees with light snow/rain falling across most of Minnesota.
The authors complain about the lack of evidence that weather was a contributing factor to the crash, yet they provide multiple examples of bad weather being reported on October 25.
"The National Weather Service had issued an advisory to pilots that morning that icing was possible." Source: Pg.3
"Ulman and other local pilots who flew into Eveleth's airport that day said icing was not at a dangerous level and characterized the weather as not dangerous." Source: Pg.7
One of the pilots killed in the crash was informed in a pre-flight weather report "he might encounter moderate icing." Source: Pg.9
This is the most perplexing sentence in the first chapter: "The problem with all this reporting about bad weather being the cause of the 'accident' is that reason and evidence indicate that weather was never a probable cause of the crash." Source: Pg.7
It defies logic that if bad weather was reported on October 25, 2002, as it was, that bad weather would not be discussed in the days after the accident as a reason for the crash.
The remaining pages of the first chapter are checkered with references to Kennedy's assassination, the downing of TWA Flight 800, and conspiracy theories about the political motivations of the people involved in the investigation of the crash.
The authors even attempt to speak for Senator Wellstone, claiming "Paul Wellstone himself would likely have raised the possibility that the crash was not an accident." Source: Pg.17
Please check back for my review of chaper two.
Disclaimer: Instead of buying this book, I certainly hope that the many Minnesotans who wish to carry on Senator Wellstone's legacy will do so by visiting Wellstone Action. Wellstone Action has established programs to honor the memory and public activism of Paul and Shelia Wellstone by continuing their fight for economic justice and progressive social change.
|W|P|110338525736592243|W|P|BOOK REVIEW OF AMERICAN ASSASSINATION: CHAPTER ONE|W|Pfirstname.lastname@example.org/17/2004 09:00:00 PM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|Since a faithless DFL elector voted for John Edwards on Monday, I have been trying to find out who cast the ballot. I posted the ballot, along with the Presidential Elector Oaths signed by each DFL elector to compare the handwriting.
From the beginning Chandler Stevens was a likley suspect, with 63% of the people voting his signature as the closest match to the Edwards ballot.
But over the last 24 hours, Chandler Stevens has contacted me more than once to communicate that he voted for John Kerry on Monday.
The plot surrounding the Edwards ballot has certainly thickened.
|W|P|110334843069155823|W|P|THE CASE OF THE MYSTERY BALLOT|W|Pemail@example.com/18/2004 09:20:00 AM|W|P|CHS|W|P|Is this fair? In writing this comment, the line above says that "This blog does not allow anonymous comments." If that is TRUE, why does the author of 99% of the comments here, our blog host, NOT identify himself?
Until that happens, I suggest that we all boycott this unfair blog.
Statements he has made about me he knows to be untrue.
Chandler Harrison Stevens12/16/2004 09:23:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|I recently bought a copy of the new book American Assassination: The Strange Death of Senator Paul Wellstone.
I will post a chapter by chapter analysis of this book as I read it over the next few weeks.
What I have read so far disgusts me.
Instead of buying this book, I certainly hope that the many Minnesotans who wish to carry on Senator Wellstone's legacy will do so by visiting Wellstone Action. Wellstone Action has established programs to honor the memory and public activism of Paul and Shelia Wellstone by continuing their fight for economic justice and progressive social change.
|W|P|110321782163058206|W|P|BOOK REVIEW OF AMERICAN ASSASSINATION|W|Pfirstname.lastname@example.org/16/2004 06:33:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|
1450 KNSI in St. Cloud is asking their listeners if local DFL activist Sonja Berg and elector cast the mystery ballot fot John Edwards. According to MDE's poll, Chandler "Harry" Stevens is still the prime suspect.
|W|P|110320763610973638|W|P|1450 KNSI: DID SONJA BERG VOTE FOR JOHN "EWARDS"? |W|Pemail@example.com/16/2004 04:05:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|
Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch
Hatch has used potential incidents of equity stripping as a way to get his name in the newspaper, so it is a delicious coincidence that a former Hatch employee is linked to a lawsuit over equity stripping.
I have a feeling this is not the last time we hear of this lawsuit. Please stop back for more updates on the activities of Mike Hatch.
Hatch fires worker linked to lawsuit
A woman who worked in Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch's office has been fired from her job in connection with a lawsuit Hatch's office filed against her ex-husband over a financial scheme that targeted vulnerable homeowners facing foreclosure on their homes.
Hatch said Clarice von Behren was terminated for violating office policies that required her to document any outside work. She is also a defendant in a suit filed by Hatch's office claiming that she held assets of her ex-husband, Thomas von Behren, under her name and conducted some financial transactions in her name that may have shielded him from judgments against him.
Hatch said on Wednesday that Clarice von Behren, who worked in the risk retention section of the office, is not the focus of the suit. But during the process of the investigation against Thomas von Behren, Hatch said it was learned that she signed a document that indicated she was a participant in a company that Thomas von Behren was involved in, violating an office policy about having outside employment without permission.
Hatch's office has filed suit against Thomas von Behren and several associates, alleging consumer fraud and real-estate fraud in connection with an alleged equity-skimming scheme through a company Thomas von Behren operated, Real Equity Investments.
"Equity skimming" or "equity stripping" is a tactic that often targets people who have substantial equity in homes that are in foreclosure. The equity stripper offers to buy the home, pay off the mortgage and let the occupants continue living there while making payments to the equity stripper, with an option to buy back the property.
The seller may be led to believe that the payments are going toward the repurchase when they're actually rent -- often in amounts the seller cannot sustain. To buy back the property, the seller must pay market value for the home, not the normally smaller amount remaining on the mortgage before the sale.
Hatch's office has been particularly aggressive in pursuing equity-skimming suits. But Hatch said Clarice von Behren worked in a separate division that dealt with claims such as injuries on state property, and there is no indication that any investigations were compromised. "We are not alleging that she participated in anything knowingly." Hatch said. "I feel sorry for her, frankly."
Reached at her home, Clarice von Behren said she has done nothing wrong and that alleged victims have said in depositions that they believed Thomas von Behren did nothing wrong. Hatch said his office has provided documentation to state and federal officials to support possible criminal investigation against Thomas von Behren in connection with fraudulently taking money from investors. Source: Star Tribune, December 16, 2004
|W|P|110319870378331958|W|P|EQUITY STRIPPING SCHEME LINKED TO FORMER HATCH EMPLOYEE|W|Pfirstname.lastname@example.org/15/2004 01:35:00 PM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|Back on November 11, I published a tip I received from an "unimpeachable source" that Chris Coleman had a dinner meeting the previous evening at Mancini's with former St. Paul Police Chief William Finney to discuss Coleman's mayoral bid against Randy Kelly.
My source again proved to be "unimpeachable" because Chris Coleman filed paperwork yesterday to run for mayor in 2005 against Randy Kelly. He also named Finney co-chair of his campaign.
I owe my source a well-deserved round of drinks at our next meeting.
|W|P|110314664347324617|W|P|FLASHBACK: CHRIS COLEMAN FOR MAYOR?|W|Pemail@example.com/15/2004 12:46:00 PM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|It has been almost eight hours since I last updated my blog, but Chandler "Harry" Stevens is still the prime suspect for the DFL elector who voted for John Edwards.
Check back for more poll updates.
|W|P|110314375813495896|W|P|POLL UPDATE: 70% STILL THINK CHANDLER "HARRY" STEVENS VOTED FOR EDWARDS|W|Pfirstname.lastname@example.org/15/2004 05:11:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|
Chandler "Harry" Stevens' Presidential Elector Oath
The mystery Edwards ballot cast by a faithless elector
In 1970, Chandler "Harry" Stevens ran against John Kerry in a preprimary caucus for a congressional seat in the Boston area. Stevens finish third and Kerry came in second. Many years later after serving in the Massachusetts Legislature, running a software company, and serving in the Peace Corps in Ukraine, Stevens moved to Austin. Source: Pioneer Press, December 13, 2004
Was this Stevens' chance to repay Kerry for defeating him in 1970?
|W|P|110311629181594154|W|P|POLL UPDATE: 70% THINK CHANDLER "HARRY" STEVENS VOTED FOR EDWARDS|W|Pemail@example.com/17/2004 06:32:00 PM|W|P|CHS|W|P|Who wrote "Was this Stevens' chance to repay Kerry for defeating him in 1970?" Your facts are wrong: 1) I voted for John F Kerry on Dec. 13th as an elector …. (I wrote 4 more corrections, but you limited me to 300 characters.) Please identify yourself, since I have right to know my accuser. CHS12/17/2004 11:52:00 PM|W|P|jhouts|W|P|I'm not voting because too many of the ballots don't have good samples to compare, as the electors *signed* where their names should be printed. Stevens' does give a good sample, and there are far too many differences: A, E, H, R and S are all clearly different. And, that J looks way too fem. I'd vote for one of the women.12/18/2004 08:59:00 AM|W|P|CHS|W|P|Thanks for not voting in this unfair poll. Nobody should. Our anonymous blog host has biased this poll by untrue statements he has made. While I wrote JOHN F KERRY on my ballot, the unfortunate person who wrote JOHN EWARDS made the same sort of unintended mistake that Walter Mondale had done orally when he misspoke in casting our delegation votes orally for Edwards and then correcting himself and saying Kerry. What we had written then was all that counted. I am proposing legislation to make sure this unintended mistake never happens again. Electors in the future should vote orally and then verify votes in writing. Verification of votes in November are also needed. Join Save Our Democracy to help achieve such reforms. Abolish the electoral college.12/14/2004 12:25:00 PM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|As of 2:15 p.m., 63% think Chandler "Harry" Stevens cast the ballot for John Edwards.
Please compare the pictures below with the actual ballot on the next post and then cast your vote (you can only vote once per day).
|W|P|110305643222023936|W|P|POLL UPDATE: WHICH DFL ELECTOR CAST THE EDWARDS BALLOT?|W|Pfirstname.lastname@example.org/14/2004 09:42:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|
Chandler "Harry" Stevens
The pictures above are the actual Presidential Elector Oaths that were signed by each DFL elector before they cast their official ballot.
Click on each picture for a larger view and match it up with the mystery ballot below.
|W|P|110304617529410896|W|P|MDE EXCLUSIVE: MATCH THE EDWARDS BALLOT WITH THE FAITHLESS ELECTOR (PICTURE OF BALLOT BELOW THIS POST FOR COMPARISON)|W|Pemail@example.com/14/2004 08:59:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|
This is the mystery ballot that was cast yesterday by a DFL elector.
The Pioneer Press contacted all of the electors and everyone claimed they voted for John Kerry.
Please note the spelling error on the ballot.|W|P|110304356674991709|W|P|MDE EXCLUSIVE: WHICH DFL ELECTOR CAST THIS BALLOT?|W|Pfirstname.lastname@example.org/14/2004 06:55:00 AM|W|P|Minnesota Democrats Exposed|W|P|Vote for Edwards instead of Kerry shocks Minnesota electors
Voting irregularities were few in Minnesota this year -- until it really counted.
Defeated Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry likely is going to get one less electoral vote nationally than he should have -- 251 instead of 252 -- because of an apparent mistake Monday by one of Minnesota's 10 DFL electors. One of the 10 handwritten ballots cast for president carried the name of vice presidential candidate John Edwards (actually spelled "Ewards" on the ballot) rather than Kerry.
"I was shocked ... this will go in the history books," said Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, who presided over a ceremony that normally is uneventful.
Kiffmeyer said she was unaware of any other such apparent mistake in Minnesota, although there have been cases in other states of "faithless electors" casting ballots for candidates other than those to which they were committed.
There was stunned silence after the announcement that Edwards had gotten a vote for president, but none of the 10 electors volunteered that they voted for Edwards as a protest, nor did anyone step forward to admit an error.
"It was perhaps a senior moment," said elector Michael Meuers, 60, a Bemidji marketing consultant for a health care firm, the second-youngest member of the Minnesota delegation to the Electoral College.
Meuers said he was certain that the Edwards ballot wasn't his, but he noted that "both the candidates were named John, and the ballots looked pretty much alike."
This year's DFL Party electors were typical -- senior party activists typically chosen for their long years of service. They ranged in age from 52 to 83.
"These are not paid political professionals," said Bill Amberg, the DFL Party's communications director. "It was clear that everybody thought they had voted for Kerry, and all 10 of these folks were for Kerry during the pre-nomination period. There is no sign of protest."
Kiffmeyer, a Republican and the state's chief election official, said that there apparently is nothing that can be done once the secret ballots are cast.
"It's not that important, since we're not at a 269-to-269 tie in the electoral vote," said DFL Party Chair Mike Erlandson. "This isn't the biggest story in America today. It's the recount in Ohio [the crucial battleground state that helped carry the nation for President Bush] and the questions that so many people have over voting machines."
Minnesota's electors typically cast their votes in the Governor's Reception Room at the State Capitol, and Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Kiffmeyer appeared with them in the morning to thank them for their services.
Several of them acknowledged that their duty was perhaps an archaic formality but that it was nevertheless a significant and solemn step in the process.
"It's the symbolism of it, the fact that I am now representing the entire 4th Congressional District and the will of its majority," said elector Matthew Little of Maplewood, an 83-year-old activist and a longtime Minnesota civil rights leader.
Little, born and reared in North Carolina, came to Minnesota in 1948, the year Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey, then running for the U.S. Senate, delivered a historic civil rights speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Little later became the top official of the Minnesota NAACP.
Although the electors expressed regret that Kerry did not win nationally, most of them also said they took pleasure in casting the votes that keep Minnesota in the Democratic column for the eighth straight presidential election, the longest Democratic streak of any state. Source: Star Tribune, December 14, 2004
|W|P|110303680662257851|W|P|UPDATE: MINNESOTA ELECTOR CASTS BALLOT FOR JOHN EDWARDS OVER JOHN KERRY|W|Pemail@example.com