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FEC Tony: Going Into Debt “Was Totally Worth It”

by TwoPuttTommy on October 28, 2011 · 0 comments

Last July  we looked at the continuing fiscal mismanagement of the MN GOP – “Today’s Examples Of Republicans Believe In Fiscal Accountability (Except When They Don’t)” – we looked at their seemingly  Enronesque accounting methods and the way the deadbeats were stiffing Counties over their recount debts for the 2010 Governor’s race (among other things).

For instance, Doug Groh, auditor/treasurer of Mower County, was told on three different occasions that – literally – “the check was in the mail.”

The check, of course, was not.

And we asked: “how does the GOP Faithful reward FEC Tony for his financial mismanagement – besides promoting him from the elected Treasurer to Chair?”

We answered: “By putting FEC Tony on the party payroll! $100,000 smackers worth!  Good thing – for FEC Tony – that Tom Emmer covered the deadbeat RPM’s recount bills to the counties!”

This was before the Federal Elections Commission smacked the MN GOP with one of their largest fines ever — $170,000.00 smackers, to be exact.  FEC Tony was MN GOP Treasurer when those shenanigans occurred.

So I wasn’t surprised to see this story, in today’s Strib:

State GOP faces $533,000 in debt
Article by: Baird Helgeson, Star Tribune
October 27, 2011
Sutton said he made a calculated gamble to spend heavily on the 2010 elections and that it paid off politically. Republicans won control of the Legislature for the first time in a generation and then were able to block DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposed income tax increases.

“It was totally worth it to not raise taxes,” Sutton said.(empasis added)

But it left the party deeply in debt. Sutton took the helm of the state GOP in 2009 with more than $1 million in the bank and by January of this year the party owed creditors $750,000.
(more, here)

So it’s “totally worth it” to go into debt to avoid raising taxes in FEC Tony’s world??!?

Remember that, the next tome some pompous jack@ss GOPer spews the “you can’t spend more than in the check book” tripe they always do.

Of course, they actually believe that — YOU can’t (but THEY can).

The simple fact is that GOPers believe in “fiscal accountability” — except when they don’t.  GOPers are always demanding “fiscal responsibility” – of OTHERS.

Reasonable people have no reason to reasonably believe anything GOPers say.



Immediately after last November’s election, the Republican Party of Minnesota (“RPM”) demanded – yes, “demanded” – Minnesota’s counties make thousands and thousands and thousands of copies for the upcoming recount of the governor’s race. And the RPM demanded – yes, “demanded” – that all that copying be done immediately.  Not surprisingly, payment by the RPM to MN Counties for services rendered has NOT been “immediate” nor “prompt” nor “timely.”  Far from it, as has been documented over and Over and OVER and OVER  –  and that’s just here on MPP.  As previously noted, SallyJo at Bluestem Prairie has been all over this one, too.

As have a lot of people.  Jeff Rosenberg at MnPublius , early in the month last March, (last March!!!) pointed out a quote by the Mower County Auditor/Treasurer:

“Since December, I’ve had repeated conversations about when we’ll get paid,” said Doug Groh, auditor/treasurer of Mower County. “I had no problem with the Democrats paying, but the Republicans are fudging, because they’re short of money – that’s what I was told in December.”

Since then, Groh said, he’s been told the invoice was lost; on three different occasions, he was told – literally – the check was in the mail.

So when you read the following quote – you might think it, too, has to do with Tony Sutton’s RPM stiffing Minnesota Counties on the rightfully owed Recount bills:

“Not paying vendors on a timely basis, berating them when they call for  payment, and then refusing to pay interest charges owed them for services rendered in good faith.”

Yep! Sounds EXACTLY like what FEC Tony’s RPM has been doin’ lately!!!  

Well, except for the interest charges; the Counties haven’t been charging interest.

But that quote’s actually from several years ago.

You see, the RPM is notorious for it’s internal financial mismanagement.  And I’m calling Minnesota’s GOP party “RPM” because that’s how they’re referred to by the Federal Elections Commission- a Federal Elections Commission that’s very familiar with the RPM (“Republican Party of Minnesota”) and Tony Sutton – reasons that cause me to refer to Tony Sutton, current chair of the RPM, as “FEC Tony.”

I’ll let Spot MNObserver, atThe Cucking Stool, do the intro:

Friday, July 31, 2009

Where have I heard that name before?

Something that’s been percolating around my brain for a while is a question about this Tony Sutton dude. No, not whether the Mexican restaurant chain is introducing a line of chimichangas named after prominent GOP gasbags, but his new gig as Chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota. As I read about his new job, I had this sneaking suspicion that his name was not entirely new to me, that there was something in the past that he’d done.

Then it came flooding back to me. This Sutton guy was, before ascending to the throne room at the RPM, the treasurer of the RPM. He’s the one whose name is most closely associated with the horrific accounting and auditing nightmare that is the treasury of the RPM. He’s been front and center in that complaint filed with the Federal Elections Commission and he’s the one who has had rather pointed questions directed at him by the FEC here, here, here, and here. He also had to send in those humiliating letters – over and over and over again – stating that “An amended report correcting this error will be filed when the committee’s internal audit has been completed.” In short, he was apparently the doofus in charge as this mess was allowed to fester and grow into what some think will eventually lead to the largest FEC fine in history for poor bookkeeping.

For most of us, being so intimately connected with this monumental mess would be such a professional embarrassment that we’d slink off to North Dakota or something. We’d at least have the good sense to drop out of politics.

But not Mr. Sutton.
(more, here)

Indeed – not Mr. Sutton, a/k/a “FEC Tony”.

Yes, this quote –  “Not paying vendors on a timely basis, berating them when they call for  payment, and then refusing to pay interest charges owed them for services rendered in god faith.” – is from a RPM Staffer, back in February 2007, back when FEC Tony was RPM Treasurer.

This quote – “Since December, I’ve had repeated conversations about when we’ll get paid,” said Doug Groh, auditor/treasurer of Mower County. “I had no problem with the Democrats paying, but the Republicans are fudging, because they’re short of money – that’s what I was told in December.” – is from a RPM Vendor, this year, with FEC Tony as the RPM Chair.

And how does the GOP Faithful reward FEC Tony for his financial mismanagement – besides promoting him from the elected Treasurer to Chair?

By putting FEC Tony on the party payroll! $100,000 smackers worth!  Good thing – for FEC Tony – that Tom Emmer covered the deadbeat RMP’s recount bills to the counties!

If there were any justice in this world, whey you googled “Peter Principle” a picture of FEC Tony would pop up – a picture from back during his tenure as RPM Treasurer, that is.  Because as those two quotes show, the more things change, the more the fiscal mismanagement at the RPM doesn’t.

Hey – at least FEC Tony is on the RPM Payroll; the RPM Deputy Chair – Michael Brodkorb – well, the RPM stuck him on the Taxpayer’s tab.

Reasonable people have no reason to reasonably believe anything the RPM says.  This whole sordid and scandalous RPM County Recount saga demonstrates once again that Republicans believe in fiscal accountability (except when they don’t) – and that  Republicans are always demanding “fiscal responsibility” – of OTHERS.

* * *
(image credit:  Tildology)



For months and Months and MONTHS here at MPP, we’ve covered the Deadbeat MnGOP’s refusal to pay their debts to Minnesota Counties for the services they demanded – DEMANDED – concerning the  November 2010 Election Recount.

And that’s just here, at MPP – – SallyJo at Bluestem Prairie has been all over this scandal, too.

And just this morning, I found two, and possibly three, Counties that STILL HAVEN’T BEEN PAID – Cass, Fillmore, and Grant.  There may be more; after two “No” and a “Don’t think so; will get back to you” why keep going?

The funny thing is, despite Tony Sutton claiming way back in March that the MnGOP would pay it’s bills, it took someone else to to it!

Yes, Beltrami, Chisago, and Clearwater counties told me earlier today that Tom Emmer stepped up and did what Tony Sutton’s MnGOP wouldn’t – pay some bills.

Does it really surprise anyone that a party that would stiff counties for months and Months and MONTHS would drive a state to shutdown?  Because that’s exactly what the MnGOP will do this Friday – shut this state down.

Oh – and can someone call Emmer, and tell him there’s still a few more counties out there, that Tony Sutton’s MnGOP has stiffed?

* * *
Previous MPP Posts:

“Deadbeat MnGOP Still Owes Omsted County” – 13 April 2011

“Deadbeat MnGOP Still Owes Martin, Nicollet, And Sibley Counties, or…” “…GOPers are always demanding “fiscal responsibility” – of OTHERS.” — 25 April 2011

“Today’s Example Of Why Reasonable People Cannot Reasonably Believe What GOPers Say: Recount” — 07 June 2011


GOPers are always demanding “fiscal responsibility” – of OTHERS.

Last November’s election result for Governor looked like it was headed towards recount.  The crack legal beagles on the GOPer side sprung into action, and demanded all 87 counties make copies of election related materials – and pronto.  The GOPer attorneys threatened legal action if these documents weren’t received fast enough; one such county so threatened was Nicollet County – the same county the GOP has since stiffed for payment.

On March 27th, Bluestem Prairie reported FEC Tony’s Republican Party of Minnesota still – STILL – owed Olmsted County money from bills they incurred from the pathetic Emmer Recount.

Here’s what FEC Tony Sutton said, towards the end of March:

“The checks … are going out before the end of next week,” Sutton said. “By the end of the month (March), they’ll have their payment.”

Following up on FEC Tony’s promise was worth a phone call, so on April 13th I made one, to Olmsted County.  No surprise by the response; read: “Deadbeat MNGOP Still Owes Olmsted County”.

Also no surprise was Sally Jo at Bluestem Prairie digging deeper, the very next day she wrote:  Failed burrito baron and party boss Tony Sutton stiffs counties, looks to MNGOP to stuff tortilla.

One might think all of this negative publicity might shame FEC Tony into paying the bills; alas – today’s GOPer has no shame.  Just last Friday, The Mankato Free Press reported:

April 22, 2011
Counties awaiting Republican payments
By Brian Ojanpa  The Free Press

Some area counties continue to wait for money owed them by the Republican Party of Minnesota for document-copying costs following November’s gubernatorial election.

Martin County is still owed $350, Nicollet County is owed $1,300 and Sibley County is waiting on $1,623.

Now, keep in mind since FEC Tony said that the GOP is broke and can’t pay their bills in a timely manner back in late March, the GOP had their State Central Committee Meeting at the Ramada by the Mall of America on April 16th, and today are doing a statewide flyaround.

Some people might nitpick, and say “yeah, but – that’s the legislative GOPers spending dough, NOT the party.”

Yeah, “right.”  Remember how the party stuck their party’s Deputy Chair – ol’ MudSlingerMike – onto the taxpayer’s back?

The State GOP – and FEC Tony in particular – have a long and sordid history of playing fast and loose with finances; for those not familiar with it, I’d highly recommend you link to read the Tostenson Memo, the Strib’s story on it by Dan Browning and Pat Doyle, and “A Key Element Of The Tostenson Memo” by yours truly.

Keep in mind, The Tostenson Memo was written by a party insider; here’s the lede from the Strib story:

At least two staff members have left the Minnesota Republican Party since February after they complained that the party misused employee retirement money, improperly reported its finances and ignored or retaliated against staff who reported the problems.

The departures included former finance director and GOP stalwart Dwight Tostenson. He wrote in a Feb. 15 confidential memo that state GOP chairman Ron Carey fired him after he repeatedly pressed the chairman to address what Tostenson regarded as serious financial problems in the state GOP office.

Keep in mind FEC Tony was Party Treasurer during that time.

So it’s understandable that the GOP can spend dough for the re-coronation of Sutton as Party Chair – and Brodkorb as Deputy Chair – and do a statewide flyaround (“The Cooked Books Tour”), all the while still owing money to counties for work requested by the Party many months ago – GOPers are always demanding “fiscal responsibility” – of OTHERS.

(Graphic, at the top, courtesy of


Deadbeat MNGOP Still Owes Olmsted County

by TwoPuttTommy on April 13, 2011 · 0 comments

On March 27th, Bluestem Prairie reported FEC Tony’s Republican Party of Minnesota still – STILL – owed Olmsted County money from bills they incurred from the pathetic Emmer Recount:

Mar 27, 2011

Recount: MNGOP promises to pay Olmsted County $3,050 and Mower County $2,424 soon

The Rochester Post Bulletin reports in Recount costs to be paid soon, Republicans say:

Unpaid bills owed to Olmsted and Mower counties from last year’s governor’s race recount are set to be paid soon, state Republican Party chairman Tony Sutton said.

“The checks … are going out before the end of next week,” Sutton said. “By the end of the month, they’ll have their payment.”

I just got off the phone with Pam Fuller of Olmsted County, and – no surprise here – they have NOT gotten a check for the money the GOPers owe (email to Mower County hasn’t been returned).

I guess it could be worse – they could have received a check written in the style of Bounced Checks Berg


Mark Dayton again wins against the odds, with a great winning frame of tax fairness. When Mark Dayton won as a US Senator, he did so as Democratic candidate winning against long odds. Message to the DFL party, this is how good framing and messaging is done!

I believe that Mark Dayton is the most progressive and most courageous candidate among our candidates for governor. Mark Dayton listens more than other candidates. Even a citizen journalist like myself was able to schedule time with him. Mark Dayton keeps his word and speaks courageously. At times where people where not asking the peace questions on our war decisions, Dayton asked. Dayton asked the hard questions when it was politically not popular to do so! Senator Dayton was an early and strong supporter of net neutrality. On progressive issues, now Governor-elect Dayton is the best!

The untold story of this campaign is that Mark Dayton seemed like he did not have the endurance. A grueling number of debates proved that Dayton had extraordinary endurance and discipline.

In private conversations, Mark Dayton is as gracious and wonderful as he is in public conversations. I think Mark Dayton will lead as a statesman. The real question is whether corporate media will fairly report for Mark Dayton or simply provide spin based on the mandates coming from corporate owners.

The rest of video interview that I did in April of last year is here!


Emmer will concede on Wednesday

by JeffStrate on December 8, 2010 · 2 comments

The lead story on tonight’s 10 p.m. Eyewitness News was delivered by reporter Tom Hauser:   Emmer will concede.  Here’s what 5’s website says:  

…  Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer will concede to DFL candidate Mark Dayton.  5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has learned Republican Tom Emmer will concede the governor’s race to Democrat Mark Dayton in a news conference tentatively scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in his hometown of Delano.

Three Republican party sources confirm that Emmer made the decision Tuesday afternoon.

His concession will come 36 days after election night when Emmer and Dayton went home separated by less than .5 percent.

Since then, a mandatory statewide recount didn’t come anywhere close to Emmer erasing Dayton’s nearly 9,000 vote lead.

Emmer told me in a one-on-one interview on Friday, he wouldn’t continue the fight if it looked like there would be no valid basis.

Sources say a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling today was the final straw for Emmer.  He plans to withdraw all of his remaining ballot challenges Wednesday morning and then concede the race to Dayton.

There’s a smile on my face and I’m gonna make a cup of hot chocolate and watch the story again when it is repeated on Channel 45.


Transparency Wipes Out Emmer Vote Claims

by Grace Kelly on December 5, 2010 · 1 comment

Having government be very open and transparent in processes really helps in building trust in government. The story that Emmer folks wanted to tell was that there were many votes not fairly counted. That story was totally derailed by strong media coverage and the fact that judges are evenly mixed from both parties.

I spent the week covering Ramsey county for the Uptake. At the end of day, the head election official, Joe Mansky, made the county copies of ballots available to media. Each full day of recount had about 50 challenges in Ramsey county. In this video, I go through the challenges of the day and show how I think there are only about 10 ballots that are uncertain on how they should be decided. Here is a summary:

1) Stray marks are not identifying marks.
2) Write-in names are not identifying marks.
3) Stray marks are not second votes.
4) Out-of-boundary oval fills or not completely filled-in ovals still clearly identify voter intent.
5) X’s combined with filled-in ovals are valid votes if done consistently.

In the video below, you can examine a days worth of challenges with me. Not only does Emmer not have the numbers, the precedents of the last recount are easily applied to the remaining challenges. The transparency of this election recount process leaves no substance for Emmer’s claims.

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Pink Slips on Emmer Volunteers are Symbolic

by Grace Kelly on December 1, 2010 · 0 comments

I have been livestreaming the recount for the Uptake. Today I am taking part of the day off. Only Hennepin County is having some controversy on the large numbers of challenges. And that is the Emmer campaign scrambling to find all challenges possible. The bottom line is that the numbers are not there.

At Ramsey county, the Emmer people are identified by pink slip name tags. I think it was supposed to be red, but the color is actually pink. I think this is symbolic because all over the reports are coming in like this comment on facebook:

I drove 350 miles for this?? “Then the piles were tallied and the numbers almost always matched the numbers from Election Day.

No discrepancies, no arguments between representatives of the two campaigns, no news. And that was great news for [Blue Earth County Elections Director Patty] O’Connor.

“Ours have been going very, very good,” she said at 4:30 p.m. Monday after counts had been completed in 22 of 53 precincts,

As I looked through the 67 challenges in Ramsey county, it was clear that only about 10 had a chance of changing the outcome. So if 10 changes were made every day of recounting in 87 counties, that number would still not be close to the 9000 needed to change the outcome of the election. You can check out a sampling of challenge pictures on my facebook album.


I was totally shocked to find this blog post in Care 2.  A site that puts out petitions for progressive causes.  Norm Coleman to Joe Miller: Give It Up.

Former Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota knows a lot about recounts, having engaged in an eight month long battle with Al Franken before Franken was finally declared the election winner.

So when he thinks your race is over, he probably knows what he is talking about.  And he thinks Joe Miller in Alaska is toast.

“I understand Joe’s frustration, I’m listening to what he’s saying, ‘You know, they didn’t use the same standards.  There were standards that were used to count ballots that were not counted on election night that are now being counted.’  I had some of those concerns in Minnesota on a much much much closer race, in which all ballots that were counted on election night, I won…I understand his concern, but, and I’ll just be very straight forward here, I think that race is over.  I think the counting’s been done. I’m not sure there’s anything that would change that.”

Now, if only Coleman would provide the same advice to Republican governor candidate Tom Emmer in Minnesota, who is currently down by over 8,000 votes pre-recount.

The Minnesota recount will begin on Monday.

How about it Norm?  Why should you suggest Joe Miller be asked to give up his fight for US Senator of Alaska which is a good piece of advice, but not Tom Emmer in Minnesota?  The recount process will still show that Emmer cannot win this election.  But Emmer and the Republican Party of Minnesota are determined to stretch this out so that Mark Dayton who was elected by the people of Minnesota cannot take his office in January.  As a result if Tim Pawlenty stays on board along with a Republican House and Senate thousands of Minnesotan’s will loose their Medicare and Medicad.  Who knows what other good social programs Minnesota will loose under Pawlenty.

Aside from that, Republicans campaign on saving tax payer dollars.  A recount, along with court challenges will cost Minnesota tax payers thousands, possibly millions of dollars.  Where is the tax payer savings in that?  

Oh that’s right! Norm Coleman can give that kind of advice to a Tea Party Republican for another Republican like Lisa Murkowski.  But, he cannot give that same advice to a Tea Party Republican Tom Emmer to give up the fight to a Democrat like Mark Dayton.  That just would not be loyal of Coleman to do that. Loyal to the Republican party at the expense of the tax payers of Minnesota.  How very interesting to say the very least.  

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