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Common Cause wants criminal charges against state GOP and Sutton

Pawlenty defends Romney on tax returns; Dayton discusses Vikes’ off-field troubles; Nation weighs in on Voter ID; our own “moll”; and more.

Someone wants to play hardball. Tom Scheck at MPR reports: “The group Common Cause Minnesota is pushing for criminal charges to be filed against the Minnesota Republican Party and former party chair Tony Sutton.  Common Cause Executive Director Mike Dean is taking the action after a ruling by the Minnesota Campaign Finance board last week that the state found the Republican Party, Sutton and several others improperly created a for-profit corporation to hide contributions that would pay the party’s bills for the 2010 gubernatorial recount. Dean says that’s illegal. ‘It wasn’t just a mistake, because they were instructed on how to do this. It was a serious violation where they really, I would argue, conspired to do this. If you really read the depositions, you see that Tony Sutton admitting that they were doing this to avoid that disclosure.’ ” … The party may have a hard time arguing that they have a long history of advocating for disclosure.                                            

Whether he’s the veep choice or not, T-Paw is defending his guy, Mitt, on that pesky tax issue. The AP says: “Pawlenty is defending Mitt Romney’s refusal to release more of his income tax returns, arguing ‘there is no claim or no credible indication’ he’s done anything wrong. Pawlenty, whose name has figured prominently in speculation about who will be the Republican vice presidential candidate, tells ‘CBS This Morning’ he thinks the news media have been obsessed by questions about Romney’s taxes. And he accuses President Barack Obama of ‘hanging shiny objects before the public and the press, and the press is taking the bait.’ The former governor called releasing two years’ of returns ‘the standard for Republican nominees.’ ” And if it wasn’t, it should be now, by god.

Oh, and in case anyone else gave it a second’s thought, John McCain defended … Hillary Clinton … against Our favorite Congresswoman’s latest out-of-deep-leftfield attack. The AP’s Donna Cassata writes: “ … McCain on Wednesday strongly defended a longtime aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton against unsubstantiated allegations that her family has ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, repudiating charges leveled by another Republican, Rep. Michele Bachmann. In a speech on the Senate floor, McCain praised the work and patriotism of Huma Abedin, a State Department employee who has been a constant presence at Clinton’s side. Without mentioning Bachmann by name, McCain assailed the attacks on Abedin, a Muslim, as an example of ignorance and fear that defames the spirit of the nation.” Well maybe, but dang it, John, it sure is what the base wants to hear.

Or “The Devil’s Workshop, Governor.” Brian Murphy at the PiPress notes Gov. Dayton’s thoughts — from Kerri Miller’s MPR show — on the unusually high number of Minnesota Viking miscreants: “In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio on Tuesday, July 17, Dayton said some players are ‘falling considerably short’ of being role models when host Kerri Miller asked the governor about the Pioneer Press’ Sunday report chronicling the team’s legal troubles. The Vikings’ 10 arrests since 2011 are almost twice as many as any other NFL team, and their 39 arrests since 2000 also lead the league. Dayton championed legislation that authorized the state to finance $348 million toward a new Vikings stadium to replace the Metrodome. ‘Idle time is the devil’s play,’ said Dayton, describing the NFL’s six-month offseason. ‘It means that young males who are heavily armored and heavily psyched as necessary to carry out their job are probably more susceptible to being in bars at 2 o’clock (in the morning) and having problems. It doesn’t excuse it. It just says this probably comes with it.’ ” I’m not sure how that explains the “twice as many” thing.

The GleanMinnesota and the GOP’s Voter ID amendment get some attention in The Nation: “Minnesota remains one of only seven states that does not use a provisional ballot system. This measure would institute provisional voting, but lawyers argue that the measure is misleading because it makes no mention of the significant change to the way votes are counted when using provisional ballots. The measure, which will be decided by voters in November if the state’s high court allows it, also requires ‘the state to provide free identification to eligible voters.’ Yet those IDs wouldn’t exactly be free — at minimum, taxpayers would foot the bill, as would voters who would first need to obtain a $26 birth certificate and travel up to 100 miles to a Department of Vehicle Services office to apply for their ID. The voter ID measure is supported by Minnesota Majority, which has been accused of using a racist ad to call attention to the imaginary problem of voter fraud. The ad in question features a black man in a prison uniform, and a Mariachi musician waiting in line to vote.”

We have a bona fide “moll” among us. Laurel Sweet of the Boston Herald writes: “A compact of ‘Salsa Sun’ bronzer will set her back three bucks at the canteen, but former FBI Most Wanted moll Catherine Greig should otherwise be sitting pretty in the low-security prison camp for lady cons the Bureau of Prisons has assigned her to in Minnesota. After a temporary stretch at a holdover facility in Oklahoma, Greig, 61, yesterday turned up at the 1,072-inmate Federal Correctional Institution in Waseca in the land of caribou and particularly brutal winters. Convicted of helping 82-year-old mobster beau James ‘Whitey’ Bulger evade capture for 16 years while on the lam together, the former Quincy dental hygienist has a projected release date of June 10, 2018.” … “Caribou”?

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Cirrus, the Duluth airplane manufacturer. At the Strib, Abby Simons says: “The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that a Duluth-based airplane manufacturer had no legal duty to provide training for a pilot who died along with a passenger in a 2003 crash. The 4-2 decision upholds last year’s Appeals Court ruling that reversed a $16 million award that Cirrus Design Corp. and the University of North Dakota Aerospace Foundation were ordered to pay to the families of pilot Gary Prokop and passenger James Kosak. Jurors in Itasca County found that Cirrus and the UND foundation, which provided pilot training, were negligent. They awarded Kosak’s family $7.4 million and Prokop’s family $12 million, an award that was reduced to $9 million because Prokop was found to be 25 percent liable. The Appeals Court reversed the award, reasoning that Cirrus owed no such duty. The Supreme Court agreed.”

With news that Bob Dylan will play a date at Xcel Energy Center in November, with Mark Knopfler, there is this from Jon Freedman of The Wall Street Journal on Bob’s next album, due out Sept. 11: “Two people I’ve talked with have described the 10-song album as ‘something you’ve never heard before from Bob.’ … Dylan recorded the album in Los Angeles during the first three months of this year. He is supported by members of his touring band as well as Los Lobos’s David Hidalgo. According to someone who knows Dylan well, he felt no urgency to put out a new album at this time. He had the inspiration to write and record a batch of new songs and went for it. The final song on the album ‘Roll on John’ is a tribute of sorts to Beatle John Lennon. … There is also a long song about the Titanic on the album. (Like many Dylan numbers, it’s open to various interpretations).” … And that would be an early “Understatement of the Year” nominee.

The Boy Scouts of America will not be dictating policy to Minnesota’s scouts. Kelly Smith of the Strib says: “Minnesota’s biggest Boy Scout group said Tuesday that gays and lesbians remain welcome in its troops, despite a national announcement that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will continue to bar leaders, employees and members who are ‘open or avowed homosexuals.’ ‘We’re a reflection of the community,’ said Kent York, spokesman for the Northern Star Council, which has 75,000 Scouts in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. ‘Our commitment has been to reach out to all young people and have a positive influence.’ York said that the Twin Cities-based Scout council, one of the nation’s largest, will continue to follow a 12-year-old ‘inclusive leadership selection’ practice.” Perhaps the GOP can deal with this in a special special session.