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DWI legislator on MN House public safety committee

by Dan Burns on December 22, 2014 · 0 comments

mncapitolAnyone who thinks that after the post-shutdown spanking they got in 2012, Minnesota Republican legislators are now ready to be part of legitimate governance, needs to think again. I strongly encourage you to click and read the whole thing.

In keeping with Speaker-elect Kurt Daudt’s idealistic policy on matching a legislator’s real-world experience with committee assignments, Representative Nick Zerwas (R-Elk River) has been appointed to serve on the Minnesota House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee.

The former Elk River City Council member and Elk River High School graduate, who is completing his first term in the Minnesota House of Representatives, was stopped for speeding Aug. 2 along Interstate 94 in Maple Grove.
A New Hope police officer stopped Zerwas during a Toward Zero Death traffic enforcement detail after seeing his car go by at a high rate of speed from the Boone Avenue ramp to Westbound 694, according to the officer’s incident complaint report…
Zerwas pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree DWI and was sentenced to 30 days in the Hennepin County workhouse. All but two days were stayed, and for those two days he performed community service.

(Bluestem Prairie)


By The Numbers: The MN GOP’s Cooked Books, Part 8

by TwoPuttTommy on January 26, 2012 · 4 comments

In Part 1, we looked at how FEC Tony Sutton’s (pictured, right)  MN GOP couldn’t (wouldn’t?) accurately report to the FEC how much they owed a vendor they hired 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.  In Part 3,  we looked at how a payroll deductions “no, NO!” that got the MN GOP in trouble last time seems to be a pattern.  In Part 4 we looked at the MN GOP using a strange address for one of it’s fundraisers.  

In Part 5 we looked at at the official FEC Complaint – filed 12 Jan 2012 – by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”).  In Part 6 we looked at the MN GOP misrepresenting their expenses.  In Part 7 we looked at how the MN GOP categorized pay for a guy that they very well may have been paying to run for state senate – Lakeville’s Dave Thompson in SD-36.

Today in Part 8 of the continuing Cooked Books Series we’re going to take a look at a MN GOP Campaign Finance Report line item that begs the question:  did the State GOP pay for a lawyer for a State Representative’s drunk driving case?

Here’s the background:  endorsed GOPer 2010 candidate for Governor Tom Emmer’s campaign was getting hammered over alcohol related incidents, including a certain paid campaign staffer that happened to be Emmer’s kid.  The campaign did NOT need any more alocohol-related incidents.  Apparently, campaign “consultant” Mark Buesgens, state rep from district 35-B, didn’t get the memo – he got caught driving drunk with an open bottle of vodka.

Team Emmer’s Drinking Team promptly dumped Buesgens.  Note the “note” at the bottom of the last entry:  “final payment.”

(link to image here)

Now, the “official story” put out by Team Emmer’s Drinking Team was: “Hey!  It’s just a coincidence, but:  just the day before Buesgens got caught driving drunk into the ditch, we ditched him and he went to work for the State GOP!!!”

Yeah, “right.”

Let’s take a look at the timeline, as reported on Buesgen’s court records:

(link to image here)

September 18th, 2010 – Busgens gets caught in a ditch with an open bottle of vodka; blows a .16 blood-alcohol content.

September 24th, 2010 – Buesgens cited in Wright County

November 5th, 2010 – Guilty plea entered, case all but settled (final disposition November 23rd, 2010.

Now, remember how in the scramble to distance themselves from the guy in the ditch (with an open bottle of vodka),  Team Emmer’s Drinking Team said “Hey! Buesgen’s isn’t OUR bad boy; he’s the GOP’s!!!”

Well, Buesgens does indeed show up on the State GOP’s state Campaign Finance Report for 2010:

Five days after blowing a .16, Buesgens has the good fortune of getting a check from the State GOP for $2,584.62.  

Five days before his drunk driving & open bottle case is all but over, Buesgens pulls another check from FEC Tony & Co for $8, 615.38 — for a grand total of eleven grand: $11,000.00.

Coincidences?  Or, do those checks look like “retainer & final payment” to defend a drunk driving & open bottle case?

At any rate, it sure looks like a sweet deal for Buesgens; he goes from about $7k a month with Emmer to $11k with the GOP!!!

I’d ask the State GOP for an explanation of why Buesgen’s $11k paydays – in about a month – was for actual work, and not just a pass-through to Buesgen’s lawyer, but:  it’s not like they really like to talk to the ol’ TwoPutter.  Not that I – or anyone else for that matter – would/should believe ’em; after all:  reasonable people no longer have any reason to believe anything a GOPer official – party nor elected – has to say.

The State GOP needs to prove that the $11k Buesgens got was for actual work – because it sure looks like it simply paid a defense attorney for the actual work of defending one of their own.

If I were a GOPer, I’d be mad as (heck) to think my political donations went to a defense attorney for a guy that drove drunk into the ditch with an open bottle of vodka.

As a progressive, I’m simply not surprised.  After all, today’s GOP is morally bankrupt, intellectually dishonest, and institutionally corrupt.

There’s a LOT more, in the GOP’s state and federal financial reports so:

Stay tuned!

And, let’s hope some prosecutor, somewhere, is thinking:  “Isn’t it about time to get a Grand Jury together, and do a little digging ourselves?”


Liquor Lobby Forms PAC; Emmer Endorsement To Follow?

by TwoPuttTommy on September 29, 2010 · 0 comments

As been reported over and Over and OVER, Republican Candidate for Governor Tom Emmer – and his team – has had legal problems related to alcohol.  Emmer himself has had 2 DWI arrests; former campaign manager David Fitzsimmons got a DWI while on Team Emmer as did his replacement, State Rep. Mark Buesgens (Buesgens got an Open Bottle to boot); campaign staffer, and son, Tripp Emmer has alcohol and other issues (his infamous Facebook picture and the Strip Club Incident).

Anybody else see a pattern, here?

So, when I read this…

ST. PAUL, MN — The Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association has created a new political organization, SMART PAC. The acronym stands for Supporting Minnesota’s Alcohol Retailing Tradition.

“We were going to call it 6 PAC; or 12 PAC,” says Frank Ball, the MLBA’s executive director. “But my board said stop being so cute.”  (Politics In Minnesota)

…I have to wonder:  how soon until SMART PAC endorses GOPer Tom Emmer?


Reading Buesgens’ Police Report

by TwoPuttTommy on September 22, 2010 · 6 comments

Knowing that there’s usually more to the story than what’s being reported, I hit the road yesterday for the Wright County Sheriff’s Office – pictured, to the right – for a copy of Mark Buesgen’s arrest report.  Later today, we’ll have the full report available here in .pdf format.  For now,  we’ll do excerpts pretty much do all the narrative.  

And the Wright County Sheriff’s Office isn’t the only place I visited yesterday; we’ll have more on Team Emmer’s Drinking Team later today.  

Here’s the Arresting Officer’s Synopsis:

On 09/18/10 while traveling S/B on CR 8 at CR 106, I observed MN (plate #, deleted) traveling N/B in the east ditch on CR8, The driver of the vehicle pulled onto the shoulder and I made contact with the driver.

The driver was identified as Buesgens who was alone in the vehicle.  I could detect the faint odor of alcohol emitting from his breath along with very slurred speach.  I administered Field Sobriety Testing and a Preliminary Breath Test sample with a result of .19.  An open bottle of Vodka was located inside of the vehicle.

Buesgens was transported to the Wright County Jail, read implied consent, and provided a breath sample with the result of .16

His vehicle remained parked out of the way of traffic.

Now, this story is important for several reasons; one of which being that reasonable people no longer have any reason to believe Republicans are telling the truth.  After this story broke, Minnesota Public Radio reported:

A spokesman for Emmer says Buesgens’ last day employed by the campaign was September 12, when moved over to the state party.

Anyone paying attention now knows that not to be true.  So what else was in the report?  Let’s look!


On September 18, 2010 at 2237 hours (that’s 10:37 pm, folks) I was traveling southbound on CR 8 at approximately a quarter mile from the intersection of CR 106.

At that location I observed Minnesota license plate (deleted) driving in the east side ditch traveing northbound on CR 8.

I then turned my squad car around and got behind it to see if the driver needed any assistance.

The vehicle was approximately 30 feet inside the ditch almost into the corn field.

It appeared the driver was rying to figure out a way to get out of the ditch.

When it did pull up onto a field approach I moved my squad behind it and initiated a raffic stop to see if the driver needed any assistace.

Initiated a traffic stop at that spot.

As I approached the vehicle I identified the driver as ark William Buesgens from Jordan, Minnesota.

I asked Buesgens if he was okay and he told me that he had fallen asleep after just leaving Waverly on his way home to Jordan.

While I was talking to Buesgens I could detect a faint smell of alcohol he made from his breath.

He aso had very slurred speech and bloodshot, watery eyes.  Buesgens stated he had a couple of beers while he was at a political fund raiser in Waverly.

I then asked him to step out of the vehicle and perform some tests to make sure he was okay to drive.

He agreed and he moved to the front of my squad car.
(Officer describes field sobriety tests)
He then quit the test early, saying he wasn’t able to complete it.

At that time Sgt. Deringer arrived on scene and I used his preliminary breath test.  Buesgen’s PBT results indicated a .19

Buesgens was told that he was under arrest and placed hand cuffs that were double-locked.

I placed him into my car.

Buesgens asked if I would be able to get his cell phone and keys out of the vehicle, which I told him I would be able to.

When I walked up to the vehicle on the river’s side, I opened the driver’s side door and there I found a three-quarters full bottle of vodka.  The vodka bottle was open with no top on it sitting on the floorboard of the driver’s seat.

I then took the bottle and placed it on the hood of y squad car and eventually poured it out on the shoulder of the road.

I then went to look for any other damage on Buesgen’s Vehicle.

It appeared that the passenger side all had fresh damage
going from the rear bumper all the way to the front bumper and actually ore off the mirror and the door handle fell off the vehicle.

It was determined that Buesgens left the roadway and went in th ditch approximately 200 years from CR 106.  Once in the ditch, his vehicle struck a ‘no passing sign’.

The vehicle was not towed to the road due to the vehicle being out of the way of traffic.

Buesgens told me that he was not aware that he hit anything, and that the damage to the vehicle was caused when his daughter backed out of the garage at home.

I then transported Buesgens to the Wright County Jail, and at 2232 (sic) hours Implied consent Advisory was read to him.

Buesgens stated that he understood everything I explained and he wished to consult with an attorney.

At that time I gave him phone books and the phone to contact an attorney.

I also let him use his cell phone because he told me he had some numbers on theere.

During the time I allowed him to contact an attorney, he contacted his brother and asked him to tell his wife what had happened.

I then again let Buesgens know that the phone and phone books were available for him to contact an attorney at 2340 hours and he did not contact an attorney at that time.

At 2245 (sic) hours he informed me that he wasn’t going to be able to get hold of an attorney and he would be willing to take a breath test.

At 0000 hours Buesgens submitted to an Intoxilyzer test with the result of .16 BAC

As the test concluded I went back into the interview room, and at 0001 hours Mirana warning was read to Buesgens and he understood what I explained to him.

He was willing to go through some interview questions with me at that time.

After I completed the interview I continued to process the paperwork; had him sign his Notice and Order of Revocation for his driver’s license and booked him for fourth degree DUI and open bottle.



This interview was recroded in Room J1231 of the Wright County Jail

Buesgens stated that he was driving from Waverly to Jordan.

He was approximately 1 mile west of the Waverly Liquor Store at a fundraiser.

Buesgens stated that he was going to Jordan to go home.

Buesgens stated the vehicle he was operating does not have any mechanical defects.

Buesgens stated he is also the owner of the vehicle.

Buesgens stated he was not taking any medication.

Buesgens stated he would not use marijuana or any other street drug.

Buesgens stated he is not diabetic or epileptic.

He stated he was not having speech difficulties

Buesgens stated he had been drinking, and that he was drinking vodka and beer; approximately three beers and a shot of vodka.

Buesgens stated the drinks were 12 ounce beers and a one ounce shot of vodka, and his first drink was at 1630 hours and his last drink was around 2000 hours.

Buesgens stated that he did not have anything to drink since he was driving.

Buesgens stated the last time he had eaten was the day before in the evening where he had had rice and beans with some beef.

Buesgens stated that he did feel the effects of the alcohol he had to drink.

Buesgens stated he did not feel what he drank affected his ability to drive.

Buesgens stated he does not have a prior DWI either.

Buesgens stated the bottle of vodka in the vehicle as his and he was unsure where the cap was.

Buesgens stated he was very sorry for everything he had done and he knew he had screwed up.


Cleared by arrest.


To County Attorney’s Office

(the Wright County Law Enforcement Center)

(the ditch Buesgens drove into; tire tracks visible)

(the “no passing” sign, showing new damage)

(tire tracks in the ditch)

(all photographs by TwoPuttTommy)


Buesgens jettisoned after DWI arrest

by The Big E on September 22, 2010 · 2 comments

If we are to believe Tom Emmer’s campaign, when Mark Buesgens was arrested for DWI Saturday night, he was no longer campaign chair.  According to the Minnesota Republican Governor candidate’s campaign,  Buesgens stepped down as Campaign Chair the previous weekend.

Why are they lying about this?  Why not just fire him when they found out?

Rep. Mark Buesgens, who was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, has worked for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, as past campaign manager and more recently as campaign chair. But while Emmer representatives told the Star Tribune Monday that Buesgens left the campaign on Sept. 12, the Minnesota Independent has learned that Buesgens spoke at a tea party event as a representative of the Emmer campaign the same day he was arrested. He then attended an event that evening sponsored by Emmer’s uncle, Drew Emmer.

Buesgens was scheduled to speak at the We the People rally hosted by the Forest Lake Tea Party on Saturday, representing the Emmer campaign. The invitation for the Sept. 18 event (PDF)  lists Buesgens as “Tom Emmer’s Campaign Chairman.” A representative of the Forest Lake Tea Party confirmed to the Minnesota Independent that Buesgens attended and spoke at the event, and that he did so representing the Emmer campaign as campaign chairman.
(Minnesota Independent)

As of Monday, two days after his arrest, Buesgens was still listed on Team Emmer’s filing as campaign chair.  Sometime late Monday afternoon, someone amended the filing and right wing bloggers and tweeters began claiming it was everthus.

Why are Republicans lying about this?