Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Posts Tagged ‘Frank Vennes’

Avidor Beat MJ’s Mariah Blake’s Bachmann “Scoop” By Four Months

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 28, 2013

Today, Mother Jones readers were breathlessly told by Mariah Blake about a Hot! New! Development! in the twisted saga of Michele Bachmann:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has quietly returned campaign contributions from an ex-con who lured investors for one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in US history—and on whose behalf the tea party lawmaker sought a presidential pardon. According to campaign finance reports, last quarter Bachmann’s campaign committee paid $14,000 to a bankruptcy trustee for Frank Vennes, a former North Dakota pawnshop owner who was recently sentenced to 15 years in prison for aiding and abetting fraud.

What she doesn’t mention is that Ken Avidor published this news back on June 16, a good four months before she did.

What she also doesn’t mention is that Avidor and the late great Karl Bremer are the persons who have done the most work on this story, a story she presents as if she had legworked it all herself. She doesn’t even mention their names.

UPDATE: Avidor reminds us that Our Miss Blake has done this sort of thing before, and even more blatantly:

You’d think jet-setting, East Coast reporters would have learned a lesson about plundering homegrown media in flyover country for content after Matt Taibbi got caught ripping off G.R. Anderson’s City Pages profiles of Michele Bachmann.

Now, The New Republic’s Mariah Blake thinks she can Google-up a whole bunch of articles by local reporters and cobble together a flawed, confusing, unfocused article.

[…]

The TNR cover claims the article tells the “untold story” of the Tom Petters Ponzi scheme – what horse crap!. That story was told by every major news outlet in the state, the news wires and national business news outlets. I covered the trial of Tom Petters for the City Pages and kept a blog titled Petters Info. I even won an SPJ award for my nightly video reports of the trial (sadly, swept away by Bradlee Dean’s You Tube take-down with only one remaining). Beth Hawkins wrote a long article for Minnesota Monthly in 2009 titled “Trust Me” and covered the trial for Bloomberg. There were many articles about Petters in the Strib, PiPress and on radio and TV. The trial and conviction of Tom Petters was one of the top Minnesota news stories of 2009 and the last decade. Untold? Really?

[…]

POSTSCRIPT: TNR left their fingerprints at the scene of the crime… They stole a photo without credit that appears on Karl Bremer’s Ripple in Stillwater blog and nowhere else. I was at the courthouse when Karl took that photo. It captures Vennes in full flight from reporters with Karl in pursuit. Karl ran after Vennes for several blocks snapping pictures of the fleeing felon. That’s the sort of effort real reporters put into getting a story.

Karl sued and settled with the New Republic for an undisclosed sum.

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“My Number One Goal Is To Not Go To Jail”

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 17, 2011

From the November 13, 2006 StarTribune:

New members did their work behind closed doors, learning how to get their offices up and running, prepare their budgets, use franking privileges and how to keep abreast of complicated ethics rules.

“My No. 1 goal is to not go to jail,” [Michele] Bachmann said, chuckling.

Ironic, that she’d say that. Especially with the trial of Frank Vennes scheduled for February of next year.

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Petters, 2008: Bachmann Pal Vennes Says He’ll Get Pardoned ‘Next Year’

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 3, 2011

Once again, Ken Avidor comes through with the goods.

In this case, the goods involve a trial audio recording and transcript. The recording and transcript (from which the above YouTube is excerpted) document Ponzi schemer Tom Petters, in a September 8, 2008 conversation with Deanna Coleman (who he didn’t know was recording the conversation as the government had already nabbed her), saying that Frank Vennes, longtime Petters associate and friendly with Michele Bachmann, Norm Coleman and Tim Pawlenty, had told him in August 2008 that he, Tom Petters, was going down but that Vennes was “going to get a pardon next year”:

Now, why would Vetters think that? Probably because Michele Bachmann had already written to then-President Bush asking him to pardon Vetters:

KARL BREMER: Frank Vennes, Jr., was one of her largest contributors in 2006. He’s a convicted money launderer. He did time in federal prison in Sandstone Prison in northern Minnesota. And upon his release, he became involved in Tom Petters. And if you are familiar with the Petters Ponzi scheme, about a $3.5 billion Ponzi scheme that operated in Minnesota, Frank Vennes steered primarily evangelical Christian groups to invest with Tom Petters. And he became implicated in the Petters scandal in 2008. But that was after Michele Bachmann had written a recommendation for pardon for Frank Vennes. Vennes and his family and his personal lawyer have given Bachmann tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. Vennes also contributed heavily to another Minnesota presidential candidate, Tim Pawlenty, and the state Republican Party. And Vennes got letters of recommendation from Tim Pawlenty, or recommendations for a pardon from Pawlenty, from Norm Coleman, former U.S. senator from Minnesota, and from Bachmann.

When Vennes was implicated in the Petters scandal in 2008, Bachmann withdrew her letter of support for a pardon, and she gave back a portion of the money that Vennes had donated to her campaign. Just in April of this year, Vennes was actually indicted in the Petters scandal, and he’s scheduled to go to trial later this year, which could make for an uncomfortable time for Michele Bachmann, because in her letter of support for a pardon, she indicated she had a very close personal relationship with Frank Vennes and was quite familiar with his personal finances. She has, of course, never returned my calls regarding Frank Vennes, and she’s really never explained fully her relationship with this convicted money launderer.

Vennes’ trial is set to start roundabout the time the GOP primary season begins in earnest. (By the way: Republicans are trying to deflect this scandal by pointing out that Vetters gave money to Amy Klobuchar as well as to Norm, Timmy and Michele. What they don’t point out is that, unlike Norm, Timmy and especially Michele, Amy Klobuchar didn’t work to get Vetters pardoned.)

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