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Today’s GOP: Taking Care Of #1

by TwoPuttTommy on August 14, 2012 · 0 comments

Today is Primary Day in Minnesota, and the most interesting races are those where right wing conservatives are getting primaried by the even farther right wingers (GOPers Julianne Ortmann and Connie Doepke being primaried examples).  So I checked in on Twitter this morning, and noticed a tweet by the guy to the far right (pun intended), State Senator Roger Chamberlain.  Look real closely at his twitter picture, and especially his bio:  Senior tax accountant at Ameriprise.

Let’s look at a couple of his tweets, from this morning:
Seems right winger Chamberlain has a problem with the contract state employees just agreed to. Of course, to be fair, Chamberlain isn’t the only GOPer taking shots at state workers; Pat Garofalo takes the 1% side too. Anyway, here’s what Chamberlain says in the first tweet:  Private sect unemployed,underemployed, pay freezes & cut

Well, that depends on which “private sector” one is referring to!  For instance, how has the 1% done lately?  Let’s look!

Minnesota’s top CEOs saw their pay rise 26% in 2011
Article by: JOHN J. OSLUND and PATRICK KENNEDY , Star Tribune Updated: July 30, 2012

After falling for two consecutive years and holding flat in 2010, median total pay for Minnesota’s 100 highest-paid CEOs jumped by 26 percent in 2011 to $1.19 million, hitting seven digits for the first time since 2007.

Stock options and restricted stock tend to drive the headline-grabbing paydays of chief executives. But the Star Tribune’s 2012 Executive Compensation Report also shows that CEOs had reasons to smile about their cash compensation — salaries and bonuses. Seventy-one of the top 100 CEOs got a salary bump in 2011. The median raise: 4.6 percent.

Overall cash compensation — salary plus bonus — rose for the second consecutive year. Median cash compensation for the 100 highest-paid CEOs was up 8.5 percent to $768,749 — the highest level since 2007.
Payday highlights
Largest bonus: Ameriprise Financial CEO James Cracchiolo, $11 million. He’s had the biggest bonus in our annual survey for the past three years.
(more, here)

What was that last line, again?

Largest bonus: Ameriprise Financial CEO James Cracchiolo, $11 million. He’s had the biggest bonus in our annual survey for the past three years.

Yep – the CEO where Senator Chamberlain works.

Taking shots at state workers, while the head honcho where he works has “had the biggest bonus in our annual survey for the past three years” – that’s GOPer State Senator Roger Chamberlain.

And it’s today’s example of why GOP now stands for Greed Over Principles.

Let me be very clear:  Today’s GOP is all about taking care of #1 — and if you work for a living, #1 ain’t you; it’s the 1%.  Period.  End of story.

Never forget:  You Couldn’t Trust The GOP Then, You Still Can’t Now, And Tomorrow Won’t Be Any Different.


By The Numbers: The MN GOP’s Cooked Books, Part 3

by TwoPuttTommy on January 8, 2012 · 0 comments

In Part 1, we looked at how FEC Tony’s (pictured, right) MN GOP couldn’t (wouldn’t?) accurately report to the FEC how much they owed a vendor to ensure accurate FEC reports.  In Part 2, we noted there are now 2 citizen watchdog groups looking into the MN GOP’s Cooked Books — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – which nailed ’em last time (the MN GOP got smacked with a near-record $170,000 fine), and Common Cause MN.

Today in Part 3 of the continuing Cooked Books Series, we’re going to take a quick look at one thing that got the MN GOP into trouble last time, and how it sure looks like it’ll keep them in trouble this time.  As CREW’s Melanie Sloan noted on Minnesota Public Radio just the other day:

“We seem to be seeing a repeat of the same kind of problems with the Republican Party’s finances,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington D.C.  (More, at

Back in February 2007, long time MN GOP employee Dwight Tostenson sent a memo to the GOP’s Executive Committee outling what he thought were – to paraphrase – real bad accounting.  REAL bad.  One thing Tostenson noted was the Party was taking employee payroll deductions for retirement accounts — but NOT  depositing the deductions into the employee’s retirement accounts!  That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is a HUGE “no no”!  At that time, MN GOP employee retirement accounts were being administered by American Express Financial.  American Express Financial was later spun off to become “Ameriprise Financial”.

On the December (covering the preceeding month,November)  RPM (“Republican Party of Minnesota”) FEC Filing, Schedule D lists a debt owed to Ameriprise Financial Services in the amount of $7,636.64.  “Nature of Debt” was listed as “Administrative/Salary/Overhead FEA Empl” —  here it is:

(link to above)

This interested me, because in The Tostenson Memo, prepared by former MN GOP Staffer Dwight Tostenson, one of his allegations was that the MN GOP was taking payroll deductions for employee retirement purposes, and not depositing said withholdings into the employee’s retirement accounts – administered by Ameriprise American Express.

So I looked in the MN GOP FEC Schedule B Filings – Disbursements –  for the month, and found no disbursements to Ameriprise.

Nor was there a disbursement in the preceeding months of October (Filing #753549), September #750371, August #745520, July #742600, June #737692, May #731962, nor April #729605.

But I noticed a funny thing, as I worked back to April – until April’s FEC Filing, the debt to Ameriprise never changed – always $7,636.64 on Schedule D (Debts and Obligations)

In April, the MN GOP’s Schedule D reported Ameriprise twice – the first time, $3133.85 – same “Nature of Debt” as above.

The second listing for Ameriprise, in the amount of $1,000.62, has “Standard Transfer: FEA Employees IRA Con” as the “Nature of Debt.”

Now, I’m not saying that the debt to Ameriprise Financial reported all those months in 2011 ($7,636.64) is in fact payroll deductions for deposits into employee retirement accounts – I’m not saying that at all.

But I will repeat what Mealanie Sloan of CREW said, above:

“We seem to be seeing a repeat of the same kind of problems with the Republican Party’s finances,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington D.C.  (More, at

Yep!  Sure seems to be a repeat!  

And a willful one at that.

I’m going to continue to dig into the financial disaster brought about by the alleged “Party of Fiscal Responsibility” – that’s becoming known as the MN GOP’s Cooked Books Scandal.

Hopefully, some one in the law enforcement persuasion will, too.

Because really:  Does anyone expect the newly elected MN GOP Chair “ENRON Pat” Shortridge to?

Stay tuned!


Nearly three-hundred Minnesotans carrying giant red foam fingers like those waved by fans at football games marched through Minneapolis’s financial district over lunch on Tuesday pointing the finger at the source of the country’s economic crisis: big banks, corporations and financial institutions who have sent the U.S. economy into a near death spiral.  Their message?  It’s time to make those that tanked our economy pay what they owe.

The march was organized by TakeAction Minnesota and began with a rally at Government Plaza, home to the Occupy Minnesota forces who have been gathered there since Friday.  Over two-hundred and fifty people marched four square blocks from the Hennepin County Government Center, past the branches of some of the country’s biggest financial institutions including U.S. Bank, Ameriprise and Wells Fargo.  Along the route, marchers repeatedly pointed their red foam fingers and chanted “Cut Banks, Not People!”  

Marchers also took over the Wells Fargo lobby at 6th and Marquette for about ten minutes, demanding that the CEO come down and address the crowd.  

In reference to Occupy Minnesota and Occupy Wall Street, TakeAction Minnesota’s Executive Director, Dan McGrath, said

“the wheels of democracy are turning in city after city.  As a result of the immense concentration of wealth in the hands of the richest minority, people around the country are taking to the streets to send a message to Washington:  end the corporate stranglehold over our government that has sent the majority of Americans into economic free fall.”  

McGrath said he believes

“people have been given a false choice by political leaders who claim we have a spending crisis and need to cut programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicare to lower the deficit.  The truth is, we have a revenue crisis.  We have a jobs crisis.  We have a mortgage crisis.  And we have a health care crisis.  And these have all been caused by our government’s failure to make big corporations pay what they owe in taxes and revenue.”

Along the march route, members of TakeAction Minnesota handed out flyers demanding that the Congressional “Super Congress” charged with reducing the federal budget deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next ten years reduce the deficit by raising revenue via taxes on corporations and banks rather than cutting programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  McGrath said such programs

“have no business having a target on their backs while the corporations who caused our economic crisis avoid paying billions in federal taxes and their CEOs collect fat and untaxed bonus checks.”

TakeAction’s flyer outlined a “People’s Budget” which would reduce the federal deficit by $541 billion were financial transactions to be taxed and by $795 million if bank bonuses were taxed.  In stark contrast, the flyer also described a “Big Banks Budget” which depends on a continuation of tax loopholes, bailouts and bonuses.

At a stop outside Wells Fargo Bank, marcher Delores Voorhees of Cedar Lake, Minnesota told the crowd that millions around the country have stories just like hers — people young and old alike who have had a much better life as a result of Medicaid.  She warned about falling prey to those who say more cuts are needed.

“We cannot let corporations run our government anymore.  We need a people’s budget — one that makes corporations pay what they owe while protecting our country’s vital health care programs.”

Tuesday’s march is part of a week of action organized by TakeAction Minnesota in conjunction with Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, which is shining a light on the role the banking industry and big corporations have played in devastating the U.S. economy.  On Friday, Minnesotans for a Fair Economy will hold a “March and Rally to Save the American Dream” at Peavey Plaza on Nicollet Mall, beginning at 3pm.