Sen. David Hann wants you to believe the DFL is riddled with corruption. Hann said, “Every week there is a new story showing DFL politicians’ self-interest triumphing over the concerns of the people they represent:”. What a scary colon to end that clause. Every week! Well, he must then have a whole slough of examples while digging back just a couple months. A few examples anyway. And Hann had to back over several years to find them. But those few are real doozies of corruption. Some are. Well, one. But David Hann says that amounts to a culture of corruption, and he’s such an honest fellow!
So what did Hann actually cite as an example of corruption? He gave the most column-inches to the size of the last budget. He thought it was too much. That’s his main example. I suppose if anyone is wondering why it has become so hard for the two parties to talk to each other, there’s a good place to start: the leader of the Republicans in the State Senate thinks disagreeing with Republicans, in and of itself, constitutes corruption. Well, David Hann says the DFL has a culture of corruption, so it must be so.
Hann reaches back to 2012 after saying there’s a new story every week, and brings up that the Senate DFL caucus was fines for coordinating with its candidates by taking their pictures for campaign literature. I admit I’m still lost as to how it’s illegal for candidates to coordinate with their own campaign arm, but they did it, and only DFLers get in trouble with the campaign finance board. Well, except for when the miscreants are Republicans. You might think that’s a big deal, creating a non-existent party entity to let the state Republican Party run up debts and then pretend they weren’t theirs, and try to pass off falsified treasurer reports as real, creating so much debt the Republicans are still being sued by creditors who didn’t get paid. That might seem like a big mess, but surely it’s nothing compared to taking some photographs for campaign lit! And oh yeah, Hann had his own campaign finance problem a little while back. But David Hann says the DFL is the corrupt party, so it surely must be so.
Hann next mentions the new Senate office building. Republicans got a lot of mileage out of the office building last election. There must have been kickbacks from contractors on the project. No? Well, there was some sweetheart land deal involved. What, that was state land? So the corruption part is — Republicans disagreed with it? Funny, I never heard Republicans explain where they would put the Senate. They knew the Senate was losing its office space in the capitol building. Perhaps Hann thinks the Senate should be moved to tents on the capitol mall? Let’s compromise: build a smaller building, just move the DFL senators’ offices in there, and put the Republican senators in the tents. Sure, it sounds like it’s just a matter of having enough space to accommodate the state government, but David Hann thinks it’s a culture of corruption, so must be so.
Hann said that DFL senators Jeff Hayden and Bobby Joe Champion were accused of bullying the Minneapolis school board into funding a program run by friends. Accused by whom? David Hann. His evidence? He repeated an anonymous rumor. His complaint was promptly dropped for utter lack of evidence. I guess that’s why when bringing it up again, he carefully said “accused”. Of course, if just being accused is evidence of corruption, then David Hann stole my wallet and keyed my car. Will no one investigate this corrupt individual?! Never mind, we don’t need the made up stuff. Not when there’s so much real stuff he’s gotten into.
Hann said Sen David Tomassoni attempted to take a job as a lobbyist for an organization Iron Range cities, while remaining a senator from the Iron Range. What a piker — “attempted”? Hann got himself licensed to sell health insurance, and called himself merely a consultant, while chairing the committee that oversees …. health insurance. He didn’t merely attempt, but he did it. He even got himself on the board of a health insurance selling organization that, as a Senate committee chair, he was charged with overseeing. Take that Tomassoni! Hann said in his commentary, “Increases in spending result in a corresponding decrease in oversight.” Perhaps by “increases in spending” he really meant “increases in his personal income”. I guess that’s why David Hann says the DFL is corrupt.
Not surprisingly, Hann brought up the pay increases for state commissioners. Quite a kerfluffle those raised. Oddly, no one has denied that state commissioners get paid less than commissioners doing the same job in other states, and even get paid less than some equivalent positions in local governments. Dayton is getting none of the money himself, though he knows people who are married to people who work as commissioners and will get a raise. This is corruption because … ? Well, because David Hann says it is, so good enough!
So what was the one example Hann raised that I suggested at the beginning was real? Community Action of Minneapolis is mess, and it’s the DFL’s mess, no question. The CEO was a DFL activist, some DFL elected officials were included on the board and they appointed substitutes instead of serving on the board themselves, and their substitutes appear to have worn blindfolds while reviewing the finances. Charges that leadership spent the money on themselves are still being investigated and might pan out. Hann is right that there has never been a group of leaders so messed up on the Republican side. Oh wait, there was the one time.
Surely Sen. Hann left this out by pure oversight, and it’s easy to see why he would forget. It was buried in the news, hidden on the front page. It involved the Senate, but he couldn’t be expected to remember such a small thing without being there at the time, which he was. But only the leadership knew what was going on, which included Hann. Yes, I’m referring to what Two-Putt Tommy so cleverly referred to as the “Pew-d-Etat”, when Republicans held the Senate; When the majority leader had an affair with a top staffer; and when other Republicans including Hann forced her out, agreed to keep it quiet and immediately went to the press; when they fired the staffer in question (I know we all know his name, but I’m uninterested in dragging him into this when he’s trying to get on with his life) engendering a hopeless lawsuit. The hopelessness was on the Senate side, but the MNGOP Senate leadership — including Hann — gamely pressed on spending however much public money necessary to do it. Really Sen. Hann, none of this is familiar? This was a big reason why you lost the next election after all.
I’m surprised Hann left out the House DFL. After all, they chose as their party leader and the current speaker Kurt Daudt, who took an unstable person with criminal tendencies and a loaded gun to go SUV shopping, and the seller’s family was nearly shot. Daudt never deigned to explain that and the DFL was OK with it. How, Sen. Hann, could you possibly leave out that one? Oh, right, Republicans did that one. Never mind. Just leave it at David Hann says the DFL is corrupt.
Let’s conclude with a silver lining. Making accusations of corruption, especially if you’re making really broad accusations against a large group of people, and the whole DFL would certainly be an example of a large group of people, you don’t want to look venal and hypocritical by having the accusations made by someone dirtier than anyone he’s accusing. You want the cleanest politician in your party standing in front. Lucky MNGOP, they were able to call on David Hann, apparently the cleanest the MNGOP has.