Tuesday, the Star Tribune’s Kevin Diaz and the St. Cloud Times’ Mark Sommerhauser reported that several that outdoor journalists, including Ron Schara, say Sixth District Congresswoman Michele Bachmann supported a sales tax hike known as the Legacy Amendment. Bachmann’s “Jim the Election Guy” ads have bashed opponent Tarryl Clark for raising taxes on food and school supplies because Clark voted to put the habitat-and-culture tax on the ballot.
Though Bachmann has denied supporting the tax, Schara told me she not only supported it at the GameFair two years ago, she reiterated her support this year:
I interviewed Ms Bachmann (over the grounds microphone) and asked her about supporting the amendment. Her reply was she DID support the constitutional amendment and I remember she also wore a button that day that indicated support.
In fact, this year I interviewed her again at GameFair and she indicated her continuing support for the amendment. It was the Republican Party that opposed the amendment, which doesn’t necessarily mean that all Republicans opposed the amendment but, I’m told, a few insiders made the unfortunate decision.
The issue was first unearthed Monday by Karl Bremer on the “Dump Bachmann” blog.
While folks might write Bremer off as a Bachmann nemesis, it’s worth noting that Schara, a TV host and retired Star Tribune columnist, is no lefty. During the 2008 campaign, he publicly endorsed GOP presidential nominee John McCain and specifically praised McCain running mate Sarah Palin, who is now one of Bachmann’s biggest political allies.
While Sommerhauser notes there are no tapes of the 2008 event, Bremer found a contemporaneous account of her fandom: in an October 23 column, Star Tribune outdoors writer Dennis Anderson wrote:
[Norm] Coleman, Bachmann and [Al] Franken spoke in August at Game Fair in Anoka of their support of the Clean Water amendment. Coleman and Bachmann also displayed blaze orange “Sportsmen vote yes” placards in their Game Fair booths (Franken also might have, but I was unable to confirm it).
Bremer followed up by interviewing Anderson, who confirmed the account. Given the name of the blog where Bremer’s item appeared, I decided to talk to Anderson, too.
Until now, I have been only vaguely aware of any scrap about the taxes (in general) issue between Bachmann and her opponent. That race hasn’t been on my writing agenda, and isn’t now. To the degree, if any, I’ll write about politics, conservation and the November elections in coming weeks it will concern the governor’s race.
It is true, as I stated in my original 2008 column, that at Game Fair that year she told Ron Schara when asked that she supported the Legacy Amendment. It is also true that, as I reported, she had a sign in her booth at Game Fair that year supporting the amendment (whether she was aware of this or not, I don’t know). I understand from Schara that while at Game Fair this year she again expressed support for the amendment (I wasn’t present at the time, and don’t know this last personally.)
In any event, after writing what I did in 2008, no one from her office/campaign called to complain or correct.
I have no dog in this fight, personally or professionally.