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Sex abuse lawsuits against Minnesota dioceses begin to fly

Local Catholic dioceses might need some of the money they spent fighting gay marriage. Chao Xiong of the Strib reports: “A 51-year-old Twin Cities man sued Wednesday alleging sexual abuse by a Catholic priest in the 1970s, the first such lawsuit since the Child Victims Act was signed into law last week by Gov. Mark Dayton. The act strips away the statute of limitations that previously gave child sex-abuse victims until the age of 24 to sue. Exactly what impact it will have is unclear, but St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson, who is representing the man, said more litigation is inevitable. … Anderson’s client, Doe 1, is suing former priest Thomas Adamson, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona in Ramsey County District Court. Anderson is also asking the archdiocese and diocese to publicly release the names of 46 priests who have ‘credible allegations of sexual abuse.’ ”

Cops are looking at the same guy for a second body found in the trunk of a car. Dave Chanen and Paul Walsh of the Strib report: “Police say they believe the same man killed two women whose bodies were found in cars at Twin Cities impound lots. Alberto P. Palmer, charged in the February killing of 18-year-old Brittany Clardy of St. Paul, is suspected in the death of Klaressa Cook, authorities said. Cook, 24, who recently moved to the Twin Cities from Georgia, was identified Wednesday as the person whose body was discovered in the trunk of a car last week in Minneapolis. Brooklyn Park Police Inspector Todd Milburn said authorities took the unusual step of releasing Palmer’s name before charges were filed to reassure the public that they don’t feel there is a risk to broader safety.”

A few more items on the departure of you know who. At Slate, John Dickerson writes: “Shot in front of a bookshelf to the faint strains of elevator music, [Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's video] runs 8 minutes but lacks discernible nourishment. In her emails, Bachmann's purpose is clear. Whether it's the perils of Obamacare or the Democratic machine's decision to target her, the message is unmistakable. Watching Wednesday’s video roll on, it's hard to know what you're watching. It feels at once like a eulogy, a campaign video for a future run for office, and an in-flight video. (I thought any minute she'd say, ‘Please be sure to comply with all lighted signs and placards.’) The video is for those same people she’s been bombing with regular, urgent fundraising appeals, but she never really explains her head-snapping decision to step down. She starts with a confusing numerology about her length of service in various political offices. Bachmann says she figured eight years was enough time in office. Strange, because just Friday she sent out an email asking for money for her re-election.”

Also at Slate, Matt Yglesias writes: “Initial news coverage seems to be linking this to an Ethics Committee investigation into the possible misuse of PAC funds to support her nominal 2012 presidential bid. But I think the relevant precedent here is South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint resigning in order to run the Heritage Foundation. Or perhaps former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee taking a pass at a 2012 presidential bid in favor of working as a Fox News host. Which is to say that for many prominent conservative elected officials, getting out of politics and into the conservative edutainment industry seems like a more appealing and interesting option than continuing to work in politics. … The conservative movement has become strong enough as a social force that you can get rich by being a conservative media star, which would not work for liberals.”

For Roll Call, Kyle Trygstad and Abby Livingston say: “The conservative firebrand’s decision not to run for re-election takes a lucrative fundraising tool off the table for Democrats. ‘After Joe Walsh and Allen West were defeated, she was by far the most lucrative voice for Democrats in the GOP caucus,’ said one top Democratic operative who has worked at a committee. ‘Direct mail writers are going to have to cultivate new villains.’ The Minnesota Republican’s controversial statements and her mantle as one of the tea party’s loudest advocates on Capitol Hill made her the perfect foil in fundraising solicitations from Democratic campaign committees and candidates. She was among a select crew of rank-and-file GOP House members with national profiles and names capable of prompting Democratic donors to give. … Still, some Democratic operatives reached Wednesday morning were clearly happy to hear the news. They named Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Steve King of Iowa as potential fill-ins for Bachmann in fundraising emails and mail.” Oh, there’s a deep bench over there.

The GleanMeanwhile, in Iowa … Jeff Eckhoff of the Des Moines Register says: “A trial date has been set in an Iowa lawsuit alleging that Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., stole and misused an e-mail distribution list maintained by an Iowa home school group during her failed 2012 presidential campaign. [Wednesday] morning, the seven-day trial in Heki v. Bachmann was scheduled for May 14, 2014 … Documents show campaign lawyers have spent much of the past few months pushing for medical information about the emotional distress [Barbara] Heki has suffered and calling for the plaintiffs to provide more details about the alleged role played by other campaign staffers.”

Jeremy Peters of The New York Times reports: “Top Democrats said they took her decision not as a sign that the Tea Party movement’s influence was on the decline in Congress — where a recent spate of controversies involving the Obama administration has emboldened Republicans — but as a reason to believe that the political right is only just getting revved up. ‘Bachmann is not retiring because she thinks her Tea Party views are out of touch; she’s retiring because she’s under investigation,’ said Representative Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. ‘What really concerns me now is the competition that will emerge in the House G.O.P. to fill her shoes. That competition is going to pull House Republicans even further to the right of where they are now.’ ”

For MPR, Bob Collins asks a question on a lot of people’s minds: “What happens to the Bachmann war chest? … As of March, her 2014 re-election campaign had $36,759 of cash on hand. Her 2012 campaign committee claimed $2,070,568 of cash on hand at the end of last year. There was a time when politicians were free to keep the cash but that changed with passage of an ethics law in 1989. According to OpenSecrets.org, which last visited the issue in a wave of retirements in 2008:

The law stipulates that leftover campaign funds should be returned to donors, transferred to a political party or candidate, or donated to charity. Because of the logistics of returning partially spent donations of different sizes to an array of contributors, that option is not widely exercised. So far the retiring lawmakers have given away $200,000 to charities, churches, little league teams, alma maters and other nonprofits of their choosing. Besides being generous with their donors' money, some of the departing representatives appear to be going out in style, with spending on "events" and "meetings" — code for meals at high-end restaurants and lavish fundraisers — totaling $1.2 million last year.”

I hope someone in Sioux Falls serves a good dim sum. Mark Steil of MPR writes: “The sale of one of the nation's largest meatpackers to a Chinese company is being watched closely in a southwest Minnesota community. Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. has agreed to buy Smithfield Foods Inc. for approximately $4.72 billion, the largest acquisition of a U.S. company by a Chinese company. … Smithfield Foods owns one facility in Minnesota, a meat processing plant in St. James that makes sliced luncheon meats. The plant employs over 400 people in the town of about 4,700 and produces products for Smithfield's Armour and Eckrich brands. … Smithfield also operates a major meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., less than 20 miles from Minnesota. The plant employs more than 3,400 workers and serves as a major marketing hub for hogs raised on Minnesota livestock farms.”

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Comments (2)

Melamine alert

I hope the federal inspectors are cranking up their melamine analysis equipment as adding melamine (and other potentially toxic substances meant to artificially boost the apparent protein levels in foodstuffs) has been a fairly regular practice in China, with incidents continuing to hit the news as new transgressions are discovered.

The Chinese don't exactly have a stellar record where food safety is concerned. Can't say I'm particularly thrilled to hear about this acquisition.

Too bad Michelle doesn't have the Vin Weber option

Her "retired" just in time to convert his campaign funds into personal use. Jan 1, 1993 was the cutoff; he declined to run in 1992. Of course, she still has similar and lucrative consulting and lobbying options open to her, should Faux News decide its too soon to replace Sarah, and the conservative "Think" tanks decide that some semblance of "thinking" is a good quality in a CEO