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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Taxpayers League Targets Tinglelstad, Abler

Here's their alert. Tinglestad was not endorsed at the district convention. Instead they tabled the endorsement. She had a summary of the legislative auditor's report on transportation at her table. Some activists are trying to recruit challengers to her.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: The Taxpayers League of Minnesota
Date: Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 12:43 PM Subject: Taxpayers League Legislative ALERT!

Legislative ALERT! Legislative ALERT! Legislative ALERT!

We're right back in the same place we were nine months ago. Except this time the tax increases are larger, the growth of government is more expansive and our roads and bridges are short-changed even further.

The Transportation bill that was passed yesterday is not only a $6.6 billion travesty of backroom deals and desperate legislators, it's also the largest tax increase in the 150 year history of our state. And a whopping 50% larger than last year's bill.

And just like last year, two key Republican legislators have decided to side with the tax-and-spenders instead of their Governor, their leadership, the majority of their caucus and most of the citizens of Minnesota who oppose this legislation. DFL leadership will likely attempt an override of Governor Pawlenty's veto as early as Monday, Tingelstad NOW! Urge them to sustain Governor Pawlenty's veto just like they did last May.

Contact Rep. Jim Abeler and Rep. Kathy Tingelstad NOW!

Here is their contact information from their House of Representatives websites:

Rep. Jim Abeler:
Office: (651) 296-1729, Home: (612) 245-3764

Rep. Kathy Tingelstad:
Office: (651) 296-5369, Home: (763) 421-2000

In addition to $6.6 billion in tax increases, this bill contains:

  • No referendum on a Metro area sales tax increase

  • A sales tax increase in every county that borders the Metro area

  • An 8 ½ cent gas tax increase

  • Giant increases in car registration taxes

  • New layers of government waste and more bureaucrats

  • This bill is $2.4 billion larger than last year's bill

Contact Jim Abeler and Kathy Tingelstad and ask them to sustain the Governor's veto of the Transportation bill. Tell them you're taxed enough and tell them to stick with the Governor and the rest of their House Republicans.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Jason Lewis Calling Out the Pitchforks

Jason Lewis was calling on his listeners to go to district conventions
of those who voted for the transportation bill. There is now a call
among some Republican Activists to table endorsing in district conventions
until after the legislative session (to have some leverage over candidates).

Kathy Tinglelstad seems to be the source for most of the anger. Her district convention is tomorrow. On the GOP website it says.

WHEN: Feb 23 12:00 AM
WHERE: Oak View Middle School
15400 Hansen Blvd NW

I think there must be some sort of error there.

Often conventions start at 9 AM. Does anyone know the details on this convention? I'm kind of interested in checking it out.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

McCain Trolls for "UnManly" Campaign Theme Songs

Red State:

From the "you gotta be freakin' kidding me" files:

[McCain], who had already been banned by John Mellencamp, the American rocker, from using his hits 'Our Country' and 'Pink Houses', found out that he has few fans in Scandinavia when he tried to adopt Abba's "Take a chance on me" as his campaign song. After running into difficulties with the Swedish supergroup, McCain lamented to reporters on board his plane that it wasn't as easy to play the song as he thought.

WTH? Who in the heck is advising McCain? Is there anything less manly than this?:

As Robin Marti noted, at least it wasn't the Dancing Queen.

If they really want a Manly Man song, why not this?

Or this?


From the comments on the Drama Queen's blog:

# Mark Peterson Says:
February 21st, 2008 at 9:11 pm

MB, you’re a patsy. Keep marching in lockstep. Saruman had his Wormtongue, the GOP has MB.


Taxes Redux

A commenter notes:

i think i have a better solution than exempting municipalities from the st sales tax to end lga. why not mandate the state to compensate to compensate all local govts for the property taxes lost to properties exempted by state statute-charities, hospitals, schools/colleges, cemeteries, govt properties, etc. i agree lga is totally unreliable & political-it has not worked. i personally oppose sales taxes. i think the st sales tax should be 5% statewide w/ no local add-ons.

This sounds like an idea worth looking into.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

McCain Campaign's Legalistic Response

McCain Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker released this statement to the press:

"It is a shame that the New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit and run smear campaign. John McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists, and he will not allow a smear campaign to distract from the issues at stake in this election.

"Americans are sick and tired of this kind of gutter politics, and there is nothing in this story to suggest that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career."

As Pam Spaulding notes, this is a "a stock response that denies any impropriety in regards to the 'lobbying,' but skirts the issue of infidelity."

In 2005, John McCain made a support of supporting the Arizona no-gay marriage amendment:

"I believe that the institution of marriage should be reserved for the union of one man and one woman, said Sen. McCain. The Protect Marriage Arizona Amendment would allow the people of Arizona to decide on the definition of marriage in our state. I wholeheartedly support the Protect Marriage Arizona Amendment and I hope that the voters in Arizona choose to support it as well."

-- John McCain in 2005, smiling with glee alongside then-chair of Protect Marriage Arizona, the late Lynn Stanley, holding some of the petitions that ensured the measure made it on the ballot.

WaPo's jumped in on this focuses on some of the lobbying connections to the telecomm industry.

In the years that McCain chaired the commerce committee, Iseman lobbied for Lowell W. "Bud" Paxson, the head of what used to be Paxson Communications, now Ion Media Networks, and was involved in a successful lobbying campaign to persuade McCain and other members of Congress to send letters to the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of Paxson.

In late 1999, McCain wrote two letters to the FCC urging a vote on the sale to Paxson of a Pittsburgh television station. The sale had been highly contentious in Pittsburgh and involved a multipronged lobbying effort among the parties to the deal.

At the time he sent the first letter, McCain had flown on Paxson's corporate jet four times to appear at campaign events and had received $20,000 in campaign donations from Paxson and its law firm. The second letter came on Dec. 10, a day after the company's jet ferried him to a Florida fundraiser that was held aboard a yacht in West Palm Beach.

McCain has argued that the letters merely urged a decision and did not call for action on Paxson's behalf. But when the letters became public, William E. Kennard, chairman of the FCC at the time, denounced them as "highly unusual" coming from McCain, whose committee chairmanship gave him oversight of the agency.

McCain's campaign denied that Iseman or anyone else from her firm or from Paxson "discussed with Senator McCain" the FCC's consideration of the station deal. "Neither Ms. Iseman, nor any representative of Paxson and Alcalde and Fay, personally asked Senator McCain to send a letter to the FCC regarding this proceeding," the campaign said.

Still Developing...

Jason Lewis on the Meeting Between Bud Heidegerken and Dean Urdahl

You can listen here.

Drew Emmer comments:

Whoever said a little pressure didn't help keep the team in line? The threat was real. Kathy Tinglestad, Ron Erhardt and Neil Peterson were solidly in favor of overiding a veto of the transportation* bill (*a misnomer, it's primarily a transit bill). Rod Hamilton, a usually solid conservative, was being tempted by dem promises on his Highway 60. Bud and Dean were in the dems crosshairs. In our tiny minority the threat of irrelevance began to chew on the minds of legislators longing for meaning in their public service. The overide is toast in the senate. The Governor's veto was clearly in danger.

Coverage of Speaker Kelliher's Monte Carlo dinner date with Bud Heidegerken and Dean Urdahl helped solidify the middling republicans commitment to uphold the Governor's veto of the transit bill. Either one of those defections would have left the Governor vulnerable to overide (assuming Margaret could unify all the democrats).

Will Minneapolis Get a Good Return on Investment with All The Gas Tax/Metro Tax Increases

I'm curious whether Minneapolis legislators work aggressively to make sure the metro area gets their fair share of the revenue coming from the gas tax. Currently, the metro area has 60% of the population, and gets 25% of the gas tax revenue.
This is nonsense.

Yes, I got this little factoid from Jason Lewis, but on this point, he sounds like he knows what he's talking about.

I also heard Jason talking today about why should Minneapolis get more money from the State when the City and County elected officials lobbied for the stadium boondoggle. Well it wasn't Minneapolis, and he should have pointed out Governor Pawlenty of Tax increases role in this in addition to Dem legislators such as Senator Linda Higgins.

I personally think the best way to deal with this is to introduce a bill to exempt municipalities from the state sales tax. It might be a better deal for Minneapolis than constantly have to lobby for LGA.

But then, lobbyists are good sources of funding for City Council and County Board campaigns - and the same lobbyists that contribute to the campaigns, also represent the various boards at the legislature. Brian Rice anyone?

Did McCain Have an "Inappropriate Relationship" With a Female Lobbyist?

A much anticipated story on this broke in the New York Times. The story has also hit Drudge. Dan Abrams on MSNBC and Anderson Cooper were both discussing this on the openings of their shows.

Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity.

That February, Mr. McCain and Ms. Iseman attended a small fund-raising dinner with several clients at the Miami-area home of a cruise-line executive and then flew back to Washington along with a campaign aide on the corporate jet of one of her clients, Paxson Communications. By then, according to two former McCain associates, some of the senator’s advisers had grown so concerned that the relationship had become romantic that they took steps to intervene.

A former campaign adviser described being instructed to keep Ms. Iseman away from the senator at public events, while a Senate aide recalled plans to limit Ms. Iseman’s access to his offices.

In interviews, the two former associates said they joined in a series of confrontations with Mr. McCain, warning him that he was risking his campaign and career. Both said Mr. McCain acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance from Ms. Iseman. The two associates, who said they had become disillusioned with the senator, spoke independently of each other and provided details that were corroborated by others.

Separately, a top McCain aide met with Ms. Iseman at Union Station in Washington to ask her to stay away from the senator. John Weaver, a former top strategist and now an informal campaign adviser, said in an e-mail message that he arranged the meeting after “a discussion among the campaign leadership” about her.

Drudge also has this flashback:

Thu Dec 20 2007 10:49:27 ET

Just weeks away from a possible surprise victory in the primaries, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz has been waging a ferocious behind the scenes battle with the NEW YORK TIMES, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned, and has hired DC power lawyer Bob Bennett to mount a bold defense against charges of giving special treatment to a lobbyist!

McCain has personally pleaded with NY TIMES editor Bill Keller not to publish the high-impact report involving key telecom legislation before the Senate Commerce Committee, newsroom insiders tell the DRUDGE REPORT.

The paper's Jim Rutenberg has been leading the investigation and is described as beyond frustrated with McCain's aggressive and angry efforts to stop any and all publication.

The drama involves a woman lobbyist who may have helped to write key telecom legislation. The woman in question has retained counsel and strongly denies receiving any special treatment from McCain.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Andy Applikowski: PI

Andy Applikowski - a Senate Republican Chair decided to spy on speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and two Republicans having dinner at the Monte Carlo.

I followed at tip this evening down to Monte Carlo in downtown Minneapolis. I was told that Republican Reps. Bud Heidgerken (R) 13A & Dean Urdahl (R) 18B had dinner date with Democrat Speaker of the House Margaret Kelliher. I had earlier hinted at some detective work for the evening over at True North and low and behold, my source was correct. There was a 3rd man who was there who I think I recognized as a possible legislator, but I am not sure, it could have been an aid, although he arrived between Urdahl & Heidgerken and when Kelliher got there.

Dinner at 7:30PM ….. well truth be told, Kelliher was a little behind time and arrived at 7:44, the boys were early.

MN Publius comments:

So basically, he sat and watched them eat? This is more than a little creepy.

I've always thought Applikowski would make an excellent character in a novel. Not only did he watch them eat dinner, he blew $100.00 on dinner for himself and his girlfriend:

Monte Carlo is a rather fancy establishment and the meeting was in one of the private rooms in the rear of the restaurant out of sight. My girlfriend came along on the outing. We had a meal and desert. Our tab with tip was just over $100 with 2 drinks per. No doubt the combined per diems for Bud, Dean, and Maggie were more than enough to cover their cost.

Did he tip the wait staff? What about Kelliher?

Norm Coleman DU Thread

Pretty funny.

I thought prostitution was illegal in Minnesota, but I guess not if it comes in the form of a political solicitation from Norm Coleman. In this fund-raising letter sent out last year, Norm whores himself out for $10,000 PAC contributions or $4,200 per individual contribution, offering trips to the Napa Valley, the Twin Cities (and a tour of Xcel Energy!) or Brainerd (Brainerd?) to the fattest of his fat-cat contributors:

Actually, the letter doesn't even say that Norm will be present for these events. But it also guarantees the donor's attendance at five D.C. events "honoring Senator Coleman" and one private event with up to five guests.

The letter was faxed to Washington lobbyists, PACs and trade associations.

Nice to know you can still buy access to your U.S. Senator--and he'll put it in writing. Maybe Norm should have his Hollywood wife do the soliciting

Monday, February 18, 2008

Look True North Blogger, Andy Aplikowski Goes After Moderate Republican Legislators for Daring to Think for Themselves

Andy Applikowski posted another of his rants.

Look True North:

If we truly do have the transportation crisis the DFL is claiming, they shouldn't play politics with solving it. We shouldn't be forced to pay for their years of mistakes and neglect of our highway system. Please call and email all of these Republicans and tell them to vote to sustain the veto and not to give into the liberal tax and spend Democrats.

I have more info that I will hopefully be able to post tomorrow. I have some detective work to do, but if it pans out, there will be heck to pay for some wayward Republicans. Given that BPOU endorsement conventions start this weekend I believe the conservative base of the Republican Party needs to know just who Republican Legislators are siding with at the Capital.

I'd strongly urge all Delegates and Alternates to have their Legislative candidates and officials sign the Veto Protection Pledge from the Taxpayer's League before they face endorsement!

Please stay tuned to True North, but get on the horn in the mean time.

I was most disappointed to hear that Ray Cox had promised to sustain any of Governor Pawlenty's vetoes when he ran for the Senate. I thought this was irresponsible. Candidates for office should think for themselves.

From an email to Andy:

I believe each refuses to sign the veto pledge.
- Neil Peterson
- Pat Garafalo
- Larry Howes
- Mike Beard
- Dennis Ozment C

Kudos to these Republicans for refusing to be intimidated.