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Idaho’s Larry Craig sued over MSP men’s room sting

North Dakota’s property tax vote;  possibly a part-time Chamber Orchestra; Senate GOP leaflets still at issue; ex-Vking Matt Birk to lead pro-Voter ID event; and more.

Return of the wide stance. The AP reports the FEC is suing former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig for misusing campaign funds to defend himself against his infamous MSP airport men’s room sex sting: “Craig of Idaho was sued Monday by federal election regulators who contend he misused some $217,000 in campaign funds for his legal defense after his arrest in a 2007 airport bathroom sex sting. Federal Election Commission officials said in their complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., that Craig should repay the money and pay a fine. The FEC contends the three-term U.S. senator’s campaign account, Craig for U.S. Senate, paid at least $139,952 to the law firm Sutherland, Asbill and Brennan in Washington, D.C., and $77,032 to Kelly & Jacobson in Minnesota for legal services related to his guilty plea.” Craig is still a contender for the Best Freudian Moment in Politics. Convening a post-sting press conference in downtown Boise, he stepped to the mic and said, “Thank you all for coming out.”

Do you ever bet against a vote to eliminate a tax? Paul Levy of the Strib checks out North Dakota’s referendum on property taxes: “It’s the most important citizen-driven measure on Tuesday’s primary ballot in North Dakota, the state’s tax commissioner says, even bigger than the debate over the University of North Dakota’s ‘Fighting Sioux’ nickname. North Dakotans will be asked whether the state should abolish property taxes. And the winner could be Minnesota. Banning property taxes would cost North Dakota $812 million in annual revenue — money used to fund schools and local government, said Cory Fong, North Dakota’s tax commissioner. Should voters abolish property taxes, that revenue would likely be replaced by raising North Dakota’s sales taxes, Fong said Monday. … ‘People of leadership positions are overwhelmingly against abolishing property taxes,’ [businessman Brad] Schlossman said. ‘But the concern is that somebody at the ballot box will say, “Oh, I can click on this and my property taxes will go away.” ‘ “

A part-time Chamber Orchestra? Graydon Royce in the Strib reports: “[I]n tough labor talks that seek $1.5 million in annual savings, the SPCO is reconsidering whether it can keep its musicians at full-time. Details of the negotiations, which began in April, have dribbled out and reveal far-reaching proposals to trim the SPCO’s annual expenses, which totaled $10.9 million last year. The board’s initial proposal called for reducing guaranteed workweeks for most musicians to 20 weeks per year, and in some cases to 15 weeks per year. Facing declining revenue and flat attendance, the Minnesota Orchestra is going through similar negotiations with its musicians this summer. That organization reported a $2.9 million deficit last fiscal year and is embarking on a $50 million building project.” Have they tried programming “The Music of ‘Glee’ ”?

I’m sure you’ve been following this one. Tom Scheck of MPR says: “The Office of Administrative hearings ruled today that a case accusing Republicans in the Minnesota Senate of using taxpayer money for campaign literature may go forward. An administrative law panel ruled that all but one of the complaints against the Senate Republican Caucus, 15 Senate Republicans and the spokesman for the Senate GOP may continue. The DFL Party filed the complaint in February after several senators handed out pamphlets at precinct caucuses. Those leaflets outlined the legislative successes of the first year in power for Senate Republicans but also linked to websites that solicited political contributions. Democrats argued the pamphlets violated state law that prohibits using taxpayer money to campaign for office.” Lord, I hope this isn’t distracting anyone from the Brodkorb case.

Former Viking and Harvard grad Matt Birk will be back in town … to campaign for Voter ID. Catharine Richert’s MPR story says: “Birk will headline a fundraiser June 28 at The Nook in St. Paul for Voter ID for MN, an organization that backs a constitutional amendment that would require voters to show identification at the polls. The event is hosted by prominent Republican donors David and Sandy Frauenshuh, and Doug Seaton.”

Is this guy good to vote? Mara Gottfried of the PiPress writes: “Prosecutors charged a man with making terroristic threats after he sent emails to the Pioneer Press, threatening to take hostages at the Minnesota Department of Human Services and kill people, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday. … The document filed in Ramsey County District Court gives this information: St. Paul police took a complaint at the Pioneer Press on Friday morning after a reporter received several emails from a man identified as Robert Allen Shedd, 61, of St. Paul. One email, dated Thursday night, said: ‘You need to have a person at DHS tomorrow afternoon. I am going to go down there and take hostages and make the cops kill me. This outrage will not go unredressed.’ Another email sent Thursday night threatened to ‘kill anyone involved with the DHS’ and said of being killed by police or having to spend his life in jail: ‘Small price to pay for justice!’ the complaint said.” Probably not a fan of Big Gummint, I’m guessing.

If you’re actually asking me, I’d say, “Not in a million years.” Scott Bauer of the AP wonders aloud if Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s “Brat Summit” — off limits to the press — can heal Cheeseheadistan’s many conflicts: “Exactly one week after the Republican fought off a Democratic-led attempt to recall him from office, Walker tried to mend some fences by inviting state lawmakers from both parties over Tuesday for a cookout featuring brats, a local sausage whose name is pronounced ‘brahts.’ … Some of the bitterness is still lingering. Two lawmakers, Republican Rep. Steve Nass and Democratic state Rep. Mark Pocan, said they won’t attend Tuesday’s picnic. Nass cited comments critical of Walker made over the weekend by the chairman of the state Democratic Party and a Democratic state senator. Pocan, who is running for Congress in a heavily Democratic district that includes Madison, said he welcomed the spirit of bipartisanship but he owed constituents who worked on the recall to get more results than just sharing beers and brats with Republicans.”

The “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy is still piled 15 copies deep at Costco. “Chick porn” is the rage — the great-looking billionaire dominating our once virginal heroine is so … so … attentive … and the Strib collects a couple editorials registering notice of such trash at our public libraries. From Duluth: “In Wisconsin, Georgia, Florida and elsewhere, libraries are ripping the ‘Fifty Shades’ trilogy of books from shelves or aren’t ordering them at all. Too steamy. Semipornographic. Too poorly written. In Duluth, by contrast, ‘there has not been any talk of pulling it,’ Public Library Manager Carla Powers told the News Tribune opinion page. Give the Duluth library credit. It embraced the importance of reading and literacy in the face of controversy. And it helped preserve a basic human right — that to the freedoms of opinion and expression. … That isn’t saying the ‘Fifty Shades’ books are necessarily on the same literary level as the works of Angelou and Twain, but the principle remains. And it’s a principle an enlightened Duluth, and Duluth Public Library, long has embraced, to the benefit of the community.”

Rich Lowry of The National Review says money had nothing to do with Scott Walker winning his recall: “In reality, Citizens United had nothing to do with the outcome in Wisconsin. Yes, Walker outspent his opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, by a margin of roughly 8-1. This wasn’t the handiwork of the highest court in the land. A provision in Wisconsin law going back to 1987 gives the target of a recall a window to raise unlimited funds. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, it arose when Democratic state senators fighting recalls needed to raise more money for legal expenses, and it passed with bipartisan support. If the organizers of the recall had done more thinking and less shouting into bullhorns, they might have realized that Walker got a period of free and easy fundraising not available to his eventual Democratic opponent; that he could marshal his resources while Democrats might have to fight it out in a primary until a month before the recall vote; that their assault on Walker had elevated his national profile such that he could raise money from all around the country. … In the end, all the money in Texas couldn’t have saved Walker if his reforms hadn’t been favored by the Wisconsin public. The exit polls say 52 percent of Wisconsinites approved of Walker’s measures. Rather than grapple with this highly inconvenient fact, the left rages against a Supreme Court decision.” So you see, money was not a factor. Not even in selling the idea that the recall was “inappropriate.”