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Posts Tagged ‘Tony Sutton’

How Much Will The MN GOP’s “Voter ID” Amendment Cost Minnesotans? Between $49 and $139 Million.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 5, 2012

In case, after witnessing the walking bounced checks that are Tony Sutton and the Republican Party of Minnesota, you needed any further proof that Republicans in general, and Minnesota Republicans in particular, should never be trusted with Other People’s Money — here you go:

Yesterday, Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota (CEIMN) and Hamline University professor David Schultz released Cost of Minnesota’s Election Amendment.


According to group’s press release, the amendment is going to be costly to state and local government:

The report estimates that if the amendment is adopted state and local governments will need to spend between $33 million and $67 million to comply with its likely requirements and that individuals who currently lack a government identification will need to spend between $16 million and $72 million to get the documents necessary for the free ID if they wish to vote.

The proposed amendment would mandate the showing of a government-issued ID when voting. According to Kathy Bonnifield, Executive Director of CEIMN, “The amendment could make significant changes to Minnesota’s elections, affecting mail-in voting,
absentee voting, and Election Day Registration, and introduce provisional balloting.” 

The estimated cost to local governments is between $23 million and $53 million. Counties with mail-in precincts will be impacted at a greater rate than counties that do not have mail-in precincts. For example, the estimated cost to Renville County, with 9,000 registered voters and no mail-in precincts, is between $46,000 and $150,000 while the cost estimate for Roseau
County, with 8,700 registered voters and eight mail-in precincts, is between $200,000 and $300,000.

So, state and local governments will have to spend between $33 million and $67 million, and individuals who don’t currently have what Mary Kiffmeyer would consider proper ID would have to shell out between $16 million and $72 million to get all the documents needed to successfully apply for the “free” ID.

All for something that doesn’t stop the sort of fraud Republicans claim it would stop, but will make it a lot harder for college kids, seniors, and veterans to vote.

You can read the full report here.

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“Fiscally Prudent” MN GOP Not Paying Rent On HQ, Served Eviction Notice

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 23, 2012

Time for a bake sale, perhaps?

The debt-plagued Republican Party of Minnesota is getting kicked out of its party headquarters near the state Capitol.

Massachusetts-based Hub Properties Trust filed paperwork in Ramsey County on Wednesday to evict the state GOP for failing to pay more than $96,000 in rent over the last year.

Funny how all the Republican patrons that are so eager to write big checks for Republican candidates haven’t been rushing to save the Republican Party of Minnesota from the effects of the actions of its former chair, the disgraced Tony Sutton.

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Churn, Baby, Churn: Minnesota’s Republicans in Meltdown Mode

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 15, 2012

Brodkorb the Ladykiller, by

You know that scene near the end of The Wrath of Khan where the dying Khan, in full Ahab mode, sets his commandeered ship to be a time bomb intended to take out the Good Ship Enterprise, whose warp engines he knows to be disabled? That’s what I’m thinking of when I hear the latest twist in the Michael Brodkorb portions of the saga called the Fall of the House of Sutton:

A former Minnesota Senate staffer who claims he was fired because of an affair with former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch is now saying he intends to expose female staffers who had affairs with legislators and were not fired as part of a potential lawsuit.

Michael Brodkorb’s lawyer, Phillip G. Villaume, filed a notice of claims seeking more than $500,000 in damages along with attorneys’ fees for illegal termination on the basis of gender discrimination. The notice
also “reserves the right” to include invasion of privacy claims against three members of the Senate GOP leadership and two Senate staffers.

“Mr. Brodkorb has evidence that similarly situated female legislative employees, from both political parties, were not terminated from their employment positions despite intimate relationships with male legislators,” wrote Villaume in a letter dated March 13. “It is clear that Mr. Brodkorb was terminated based on his gender. He intends to depose all of the female legislative staff employees who participated in intimate relationships, as well as the legislators who were party to those intimate relationships, in support of his claims of gender discrimination.”

Brodkorb’s lawyer tried to say that the depositions would never ever become public as he was “sure” a judge would order that such information be kept confidential. But if the identities of those who would be giving depositions never became publicly known, then Brodkorb’s suit wouldn’t frighten the Republicans the way it does. (Yes, yes, the suit references persons of “both parties”, but just two months ago the Senate Republicans, on the pretext of budget-tightening, dumped nearly half of the full-time DFL legislative staffers while not firing a single Republican staffer. There are far more Republicans than Democrats remaining that are likely to be affected.) Cal Ludeman, the Secretary of the Senate and the person who actually fired Brodkorb from Brodkorb’s Senate job — which by the way was Brodkorb’s last official toehold on power at the State Capitol, he having lost his Deputy RPM Chair job last October as his ally and RPM Chair Tony Sutton’s money scandals were catching up to both him and his buddies — responded to Brodkorb’s suit by calling it an attempt “to extort a payment” from the Minnesota Senate.

You see why this makes me think of The Wrath of Khan, right? Except in this iteration, there is no noble Commander Captain Spock* standing at the ready to save the Republican Party of Minnesota from Michael Brodkorb.

Longtime readers of my FDL and Mercury Rising posts may remember the name of Michael Brodkorb. He once was the second-most-powerful Republican in Minnesota, second only to his good friend Tony Sutton himself. He and Sutton literally ordered around the RPM congressional delegation – hence Brodkorb’s position as Koch’s nominal subordinate when in fact he was her Svengali (or Rasputin, as Nick Coleman calls him).

But both Brodkorb and Sutton made shitloads of enemies, running roughshod over the members of their own caucus, especially those from the rival Tom Emmer and Allen Quist TheoCon faction. When Sutton’s money scandals took him out of the picture barely a year after he and Brodkorb had led the RPM to take both houses of the legislature, and with Sutton apparently no longer in favor with his usual sugar daddy and protector Bill Cooper Sr. (of TCF Bank infamy, and also he who bankrolled Sutton’s failed Baja Sol turkey farm scheme for fellow Republicans and other political allies), there was nothing to shield Brodkorb when Cal Ludeman made his move. However, Ludeman is not as smart as he thinks he is, and he’s likely set himself up to lose his Secretary of the Senate position as a result.

(Crossposted to MyFDL.)

*Hat tip to Margaret for the correction.

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ALEC Cutting Back On 2012 Election-Year Spending? Yes, In Minnesota

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 23, 2012

Why it’s a good idea to check out Bluestem Prairie every so often — stories like this one:

The financial erosion of the Republican Party of Minnesota under the management of Tony Sutton (who brought Baja Sol to the brink with his lovely wife Bridget) appears to have altered the river of cash that waters the broader conservative valley in the North Star State, and this brings Bluestem to the second news item mentioned in the lede.

The conservative megablog True North reports that Two Major Minnesota Conservative Think Tanks Join Forces.

Upon reviewing the press release, our conclusion is that the wedding of the Center of the American Experiment and the Minnesota Free Market Institute isn’t a merger, but rather a consolidation at a moment of coming austerity and ambition on the part of those big donors who’ve been funding the Republican Party (MPR reports that the party received only $255 from small donors in 2010). ALEC’s think tank division, the State Policy Network, lists both organizations in its directory entry for Minnesota.

Go read the whole thing, and you’ll also see how Primera bigwig and hardcore Fundie Robert Cummins has bought himself several prize political plums in a cronyism orgy.

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Tony Sutton, Baja Sol’s Tax Scofflaw

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 9, 2012

I’m kicking myself for not seeing this earlier. Kudos to City Pages’ Gregory Pratt for birddogging it down:

Sutton “sold out” of Baja Sol, the Mexican restaurant chain he ran with his wife, Bridget Sutton, in February, and left the eateries thousands of dollars in debt to the Minnesota Department of Revenue. The state placed several liens against various Baja Sol companies last fall, including Sutton Enterprises, LLC, which owed $93,114 in unpaid taxes.

If you read the whole article, you’ll find that the total amount of unpaid taxes for various Baja Sol locations added up to over $250,000.

Amazing. And Republicans are supposed to be good with money?

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Know Your RPMs: A Field Guide To Minnesota Republican Factionalism

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 23, 2011

(This is the first edition of the Guide. The most recent edition is here.)

As the current Brodkorbian-Kochian phase of the Fall of the House of Sutton unfolds, I thought it might be useful to take a stab at detailing what most local Establishment media journalists, who are either ignorant as paint or fearful of losing their precious access to GOP powerbrokers, have neglected to explain: The existence of the factions that have for years been jockeying for control of the Republican Party of Minnesota and the politicians running under their banners.

This refusal to delineate the factions and agendas of the Minnesota GOP’s most prominent players and their conservative fellow travelers makes for incoherent (as well as flat-out wrong) reporting on the key issues that affect Minnesota. For example as Sally Jo Sorensen of Bluestem Prairie explains, when Tony Sutton claimed in his farewell letter as RPM Chair that shifting responsibility for the recount from the gubernatorial campaign to the party was what the RPM gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer had wanted and not Sutton, no local establishment journalist dared contradict him even though the evidence undermining Sutton’s claims was so obvious Stevie Wonder could have seen it. Ms. Sorensen isn’t afraid to mention who is allied to whom (and who hates whom) here. Understanding this helps to understand Minnesota Republican politics, where the bigwigs in the factions carry more weight than do their stooges in the legislature.

The two main factions in the Minnesota Republican Party are the Sutton/Brodkorb/Seifert faction, and the Emmer/Tea Party/TheoCon faction. There are other, smaller groups that make or break alliances as the need arises, but the Sutton and Emmer factions are the main two to be reckoned with. One of the smaller factions, the anti-gambling CAGE faction led by Annette and Jack Meeks, has been at times allied with, and fought against, both of the big factions; conversely, the pro-gambling faction also has ties to both sides. There are individuals, such as Michael Wigley, with a foot in both camps; he backed Emmer for governor in 2010, but he’s also been close enough to the Suttons and Coopers to be given a now-defunct Baja Sol franchise as part of the Sutton-Cooper efforts to turn Baja Sol into a moneymaker turkey farm capable of providing income to Republican operatives and fellow travelers. And of course there’s the powerful group of Twin-City-suburban and Rochester-area state Senators, the Gang of Four, but their agenda is usually more about preservation of the party and its legislative caucus than anything else.

The Sutton faction is the one that is representative of the party establishment and which is generally backed by the Mr. Burns of Minnesota Republican politics, the Cooper family whose billions come from the TCF financial empire; they also (at least until last week) generally have the backing of the top Republican Senators known to Republican detractors like Sue Jeffers as the “Gang of Four”: Dave Senjem, David Hann, Geoff Michel, and Chris Gerlach. The Emmer faction has among it such marginally-electable Bible-banger folks as Minnesota’s own answer to Rick Santorum, Allen Quist.

Follow me past the jump for a chart, by no means complete, of the players, their factions, their relationships, and their desires. Feel free to tell me about any I missed.
Read the rest of this entry »

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The Ineffable Sadness Of @mbrodkorb And His Twitter Account

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 18, 2011

Poor Michael Brodkorb. How the mighty have fallen.

He, who has spent the past year playing the role of Gríma Wormtongue to Amy Koch’s Théoden (or is it in her case Éowyn?), and who with Tony Sutton has commanded the Republican caucus at the Capitol like a two-bit Svengali dominating a cadre of exceptionally weak-minded Trilbys, who had been leading the charge for Mike Parry to keep TheoCon Allen Quist from being the one to go down in defeat against Tim Walz next year, is now so far off his game that instead of starting new smears or recycling old rejected ones (the latter task having apparently been farmed out to other local Republicans), he is reduced to making Tweets like this one:

So sad.

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The Fall Of The House Of Sutton: The Brodkorb-Koch Angle

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 17, 2011

Michael Brodkorb channels his inner Hugh Hefner

It’s been a busy few days in the North Star State, as a whole battalion of chickens have come home to roost at the Republican Party of Minnesota.

First, there was the mysterious stepping-down of Amy Koch on Thursday morning from her Majority Leader post in the State Senate; she gave no real reason why she was stepping down, and also said that while she wasn’t going to run for re-election, she would retain her state Senate seat until her term expired.

That apparently wasn’t good enough for the state party leadership, because on Friday morning, it was announced that she’d been forced out over an “inappropriate relationship” with a male Senate staffer whose name was not mentioned.

Then, well after the deadlines for the six o’clock and even the nine and ten o’clock evening newscasts, it was announced that Koch’s nominal underling, Michael Brodkorb — Tony Sutton’s right-hand man and a guy who until October of this year had been the Deputy Chair of the Minnesota Republican Party and its communications boss — had resigned his job at the state Senate. (See also Tild’s lovely graphic above, which may also be found here.)

My, my.

The jockeying to replace Brodkorb’s sock puppet as Majority Leader has begun, with inspid right-wing talk-show host and freshman Senate Republican Dave Thompson already expressing interest in the gig. (Be careful what you wish for, Dave: The RPM powerbrokers, especially the Sutton-Brodkorb crew, would love to see you nominally presiding over the state Senate GOP caucus when the Republicans lose control of it next year. They’ll blame the loss on you and use it to try and vault back into power, hoping that nobody notices that their fingerprints will be all over that loss.)

Pass. The. Popcorn.

UPDATE: And now we find out that Brodkorb has resigned from the campaign of Mike Parry, who is competing with Allen Quist for the right to get a butt-kicking from Tim Walz next November. Yeah, I think we can safely say that the circumstantial evidence is piling up here.

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Minnesota GOP Finally Dumps Walking Scandal Machine Tony Sutton

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 3, 2011

In what may be the ultimate Friday News Dump for the North Star State, it was announced late this afternoon that Tony Sutton is no longer the chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota:

Amid mounting evidence of party disarray and financial difficulties, Republican State Party Chairman Tony Sutton announced his resignation Friday.

“I have decided to resign as State Chair effective 5PM today. I have enjoyed being State Chair, but feel it is best for my family to move on,” he said on Twitter.

Well, well, well.

This is a guy who presided over the ALEC-fueled legislative takeover of 2010, ALEC’s juice nearly sufficing to overcome the major deficiencies of Tom Emmer and bringing him to within sight of the Governor’s Mansion — and yet he, barely a year after that historic coup, is no longer in place. (Neither, by the way, is his right-hand man, former Deputy Chair Michael Brodkorb, who left his post in October. Hmmmm.)

That may seem surprising, but a review of his history (a history that up to now has been largely soft-focused by the Republican-tilted local establishment media; only City Pages and the blogs have deigned to cover it in depth or in detail) will likely make the reader what took the local GOP so long to realize the guy was a 350-plus-pound radioactive boat anchor.

Follow me past the jump for a by-no-means-complete synopsis of Tony Sutton’s most memorable career and life experiences: Read the rest of this entry »

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Dayton Offers MN GOP Hobson’s Choice: Protect Rich Or Bust Unions

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 14, 2011

As you may have heard by now, the Minnesota state shutdown is likely to come to an end soon, as Governor Mark Dayton offered the state Republican leadership a Hobson’s Choice:

Dayton offered to accept their June 30 budget proposal, which delays school payments and doesn’t tax the rich, on these three conditions:

– They dump all the ALEC-inspired social/policy agenda bullshit (including their own version of Scott Walker’s union-busting bill), crap which they’d spent the entire session pushing and which they’d tacked onto the bill

– They drop their plan to cut state employee numbers by 15%

– They approve a $500 million bonding bill to put people back to work in Minnesota.

In other words, he challenged them to show, once and for all, their true priorities.

And guess what? They’ve tentatively agreed to it.

That’s right, folks: The Republican Party of Minnesota not only jettisoned their union-busting, their stem-cell research ban, their mandatory picture voter ID demand, as well as their anti-stimulus stance and their deficit hawkery, just to make sure Governor Dayton didn’t raise taxes on the richest .03% of the population.

That should tell you something. So does the fact that Michael Brodkorb and other Republican leaders, who would have been filling their Twitter feeds with boasts about making Dayton cave if they really liked this deal, have done no such thing today. They now have to sell this to their freshman Tea Party goons, and that’s going to be difficult.

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)

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