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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Attack Blog Started About Peter Hutchinson

Polinaut reports the DFL is shopping the site around. The blog is called Hutchinson Unhinged. The blogger's name is "Dan". My guess is the blog is connected to Mike Hatch. Hatch would remember what Peter Hutchinson was like when he worked for Perpich.

Make the Mike Unhatched Site a Regular Read

Finally the Minnesota GOP is looking into Mike Hatch's Norm Coleman like history with the gay community.

August 8 Flip-Flop
Flip-Flop of the Week: Volume 1: Issue 37
Hatch Flip-Flops On Outreach To Gay Community

1994: Hatch Rejected Opportunity To Appear Before Minnesota Lesbian/Gay DFL Caucus. "Hatch's troubles began when he rejected the opportunity to appear at a Jan. 22 candidate forum sponsored by the Minnesota Lesbian/Gay DFL Caucus. Every declared DFL candidate for governor attended the candidate screening except Hatch. In declining the invitation, he criticized the group's newsletter for using the word 'queer' and for what he misperceived as the group's top priority - repeal of the sodomy laws." (Editorial, "Hatch's Zeal - Double-Edged Rhetoric On The Gay Issue," Star Tribune, March 14, 1994)

1994: Hatch Accused Minnesota Lesbian/Gay DFL Caucus Of "Pandering." "After the caucus endorsed John Marty, Hatch falsely accused the group of political 'pandering' by sending a letter opposing his candidacy to party activists. 'It's hard to keep focused with the increasing demands of pressure groups who hold candidates hostage to their particular interests,' Hatch said in a Feb. 2 letter to the gay caucus." (Editorial, "Hatch's Zeal - Double-Edged Rhetoric On The Gay Issue," Star Tribune, March 14, 1994)

1994: Star Tribune Editorial Criticized Hatch's "Double-Edged Rhetoric On The Gay Issue." "Gubernatorial candidate Mike Hatch can't have it both ways. On one hand Hatch is sending critical, even strident, messages to gays, lesbians and their supporters. On the other hand, Hatch says he wants to be their friend. he flip-flop might be understandable if Hatch's chief motivation for harsh criticism of a gay political group was to foster greater unity within the DFL Party. However, his verbal and written lashings seem to have no more noble purpose than inciting Minnesotans who dislike gays and lesbians to support his candidacy. In manipulating gay rights supporters, Hatch's zeal to capture the moderate-to-conservative political ground of the DFL Party reveals a weakness that may in the end cost him dearly." (Editorial, "Hatch's Zeal - Double-Edged Rhetoric On The Gay Issue," Star Tribune, March 14, 1994 )

Becky Lourey's campaign should be agressive in getting this information out.

So what does Mike Hatch think about the sodomy laws?

Lieberman Loss

I find it really weird that Connecticut allows a primary loser to run in the general election under a different party label. I doubt if Governor Pawlenty would like Sue Jeffers to have that option.

If Joe Lieberman was really about giving all Connecticut voters the option to vote on his candidacy, he'd have run as an independent. Instead he wants to have it both ways.

The Justice Department's Remarks on Zimmermann's Conviction

From the U.S. Department of Justice web site:

United States Attorney Rachel K. Paulose:

"Public corruption will not be tolerated in this state. Minnesotans have the right to expect that elected officials will work for the public good and not for what they might gain personally through back-room deals. The U.S. Attorney's Office will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute individuals who violate the public trust."

Michael Tabman, Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis office of the FBI:

"Public corruption is the FBI's top criminal investigative priority. FBI agents, working in concert with the United States Attorney's Office, methodically, cautiously, and quietly conduct these very sensitive investigations. Many of our investigations start with a tip from someone who encounters corruption. There is a growing intolerance by the American people of public corruption, an intolerance reflected in the willingness to come forward and report abuse of public office. We are always grateful for those who do."

Today's letters to the Strib express approval of the government crackdown on official corruption:

Ignorance no defense

According to columnist Doug Grow, former City Council Member Dean Zimmerman should have used a different defense ("Zimmermann nonchalant, even after conviction," Aug. 11).

"Your Honor, I'm just a good-hearted simpleton from North Dakota. I didn't know any better. Please let me go with my bribe money, I won't do it again. Thank you, now let me go tell my wife and friends not to worry."


Just say no

I can't honestly believe that Dean Zimmermann thought there was nothing crooked about taking $5,000 in cash from a developer. Maybe city politicians are accustomed to having their palms greased?

Here's a tip: Any time you receive $5,000 cash in crisp clean bills, you're probably being asked to do something unlawful.


Greens should be red

I am completely embarrassed for the Green Party and everything it stands for after the conviction of former Minneapolis Council Member Dean Zimmermann.

His supporters were equally embarrassing, blindly following their hearts rather than their heads.

The Greens in particular eschew corruption, and to have one of their own convicted of bribery is a stain on the party.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Jury Finds Zimmermann Guilty on First 3 Counts

Randy Furst filed this report minutes after the verdict.

Zimmermann, who represented the city's sixth ward from 2001 to 2005, was charged in a federal indictment with four counts, three involving allegations that he took $7,200 in cash bribes from a property developer, Gary A. Carlson. He was convicted on three of the charges.

The last count that was dismissed was about the retaining wall.

We'll have more of Liz McLemore's detailed notes from the trial and hopefully, some excepts from the FBI videos at Minneapolis Confidential.

While we wait for the release of those videos... a look back (and forward) by Loosetrife at Mpls Upside Down.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Monday, August 07, 2006

Zimmermann's Wife Speaks Out Against "Cabal"

Jenny Heiser's post on the Minneapolis Issues Forum:

While the Federal Prosecutor’s office has presented and rested its case, Zimmermann’s defense has barely begun. I hope that Ken Avidor, Liz McLemore, and others, will do as thorough a job reporting the defense’s side of this case as they have in reporting the prosecution’s side.

Where I come from folks usually wait until the “corpse” is in the ground before casting aspersions or passing judgment on a person. I would urge everyone to withhold their judgment until all the facts have been presented in this case; and that they would look to more neutral sources for those facts than a cabal of Zimmermann antagonists.

Liz McLemore responds:

First of all, it’s up to the judge and jury to pass judgment. However, history reminds us that judgments formed in the court of public opinion may have little to do with a jury's verdict.

I'm not a member of the jury. My account of the trial is simply one eyewitness’s account of the trial, and it's one that I'm attending because I wanted to see the proceedings (and the tapes) for myself. I’d urge anyone interested in the case to attend the proceedings and form their own opinions based on what they see.

Liz Mclemore sums the prosecution's case:

I can tell you what I consider the most damaging facts to emerge from this week’s trial:

a. Zimmermann took $5000 in cash from a developer. That cash was supposedly earmarked as a contribution to FREE in order to cover expenses incurred by the redistricting lawsuit. Although Zimmermann said he
intended to write a check for $5000 and send it to someone associated with FREE, he never quite got around to doing so. Instead, he admitted (on tape) that he spent the cash.

b. Zimmermann told a developer how to subvert campaign finance laws, suggesting the developer donate in the name of other relatives or friends. He also suggested that the developer give someone (such as an employee) a
check for $350, then have that person write a check to Zimmermann’s campaign for $300. (Presumably the employee would get $50 for himself out of this deal.)

c. Zimmermann admitted his campaign deliberately ran a “straw man” candidate, James Gorham, against Lilligren for the sole purpose of requiring a primary. (This may not be illegal, but I’d argue that it’s unethical and inconsistent with what I understood to be Green values. Italso suggests unnecessary taxpayer expense.)

d. On two other occasions, Zimmermann accepted cash donations of $1200 and $1000; in exchange, the developer believed that Zimmermann would assist him with his zoning applications. The $1200 was distributed in four campaign envelopes containing fake “Somali” names. The $1000
donation was also given in a campaign envelope, but the developer toldZimmermann to put someone’s name on it for him. Zimmermann did not spend any of this money (nor did he attempt to return it). The donations were
not recorded by Zimmermann’s campaign treasurer, nor were they reported to Hennepin County when the campaign finance reports were filed.

e. Zimmermann requested that PRG build a retaining wall for his former partner, Lynne Mayo; when PRG refused, he requested the materials so he could build the wall himself. Zimmermann’s initial request occurred in the
context of a PRG request that Zimmermann sign off on certificates of completion for a project. Although Zimmermann’s request for the retainingwall appeared a few lines below his agreement to sign the certificates, PRG’s director was sufficiently uncomfortable with Zimmermann’s request to
consult his lawyer.

I was also at the trial and that is an accurate description of the evidence in the case.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Loosetrife on the Zimmermann Trial

From the Minneapolis Upside Down Blog about Zimmermann's admission, on tape that he arranged for a "straw man" to force a primary in the 2005 6th Ward election:

This may be the most politically damaging revelation at the trial thus far. James Lee Gorham, Dean's "straw man," managed to get 104 votes (7.26 percent) with a totally invisible campaign. Zimmermann's shrewd manipulation of the electoral system, forcing an unnecessary primary election that cost the public money, bespeaks a certain cynicism antithetical to Dean's adopted Green Party values. Two variants of Zimmerdefense died: (1) that Dean is by definition an innocent, a well-intentioned oaf who is really not capable of bribery or fraud and (2) that Dean is ultimately clean, that his friendly folksy ways and his willingness to "help" are being erroneously read as being open to corruption.

Read more HERE.