Bachmann raises more than rest of delegation combined

One guess who leads the state’s politicians in fund-raising. Time’s up. Brett Neely of MPR writes: “Michelle Bachmann’s re-election campaign raised more than $4.5 million in the three months ending Sept. 30, more evidence that the three-term Republican Congresswoman remains among the most prolific fundraisers in Congress.  No other congressional candidate in Minnesota has raised a comparable sum. In fact, Bachmann’s fundraising haul likely exceeds the combined amount raised by all of the major party candidates in the other eight U.S. Senate and House races in the state. … While capable of raising enormous sums of money, Bachmann’s fundraising apparatus is expensive to maintain. As MPR News reported last month, Bachmann’s campaign has spent on average about 16 cents of every dollar raised on bringing in more cash.” You’d almost think fund-raising is why she’s in Congress.

Incumbent GOP Congressman John Kline has not been thought to be in any serious re-election trouble. But the editorial board of the ECM papers is not pleased with his work: “Mike Obermueller, an Eagan attorney who served one term in the Minnesota House of Representatives, is the fifth Democrat to try to unseat Kline, a Lakeville resident and retired Marine colonel. Obermueller deserves to be elected. He’s young, bright and determined to win the expanded center in the new 2nd. His views and political instincts are a rebuke of the obstructionism that has discredited the Republican House majority. … Kline is a favorite of the for-profit college industry, which showers him with campaign donations, but the industry has been called out in Congress for unsavory student-loan practices. Kline also has a growing reputation in his district for not making himself available during election season. His office rebuffed efforts by the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce to recruit him for a candidate forum with Obermueller. And this is the second straight election cycle in which Kline’s press office refused requests from Sun Thisweek Newspapers to make the candidate available for an hour-long endorsement interview.”

Joel Achenbach of The Washington Post finds plenty of persuadable voters in Wisconsin: “This is shaping up to be another close presidential election that will be decided in part by the mysterious calculations of swing voters in places such as Wisconsin. These voters are what strategists refer to as the “persuadables.” About 10 percent to 15 percent of Badger State voters have no strong allegiance to the major political parties and are truly up for grabs, said Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette University Law School Poll. The Wisconsin persuadables, on average, ‘are younger, less ideological, less partisan, pay less attention to politics,’ he said. Interviews in the state bear that out: It’s easy to find undecided voters who remain in play, are hard to peg as liberal or conservative, and seem to be ready to go on gut instinct if necessary when they mark their ballots.” Did you see the spot-on “Saturday Night Live” skit about “independent voters”?

The GleanSeimone Augustus of the Lynx is out there in Chris Kluwe territory. The USA Today story by Michael Katz says: “Minnesota Lynx star Seimone Augustus is a WNBA champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist and outspoken lesbian. She recently took a stand against a ballot measure in Minnesota that could ban same-sex marriage in the state constitution. ‘Everyone thinks that the WNBA is one big lesbo party anyway,’ she said in an interview with the Associated Press. ‘So I think the coming out process isn’t as tough for us because people already expect it.’ “

It only seems like there’s another case against an over-aggressive debt collector every week. MPR’s Bob Collins writes: “A Minnesota-based debt collection agency is at the heart of a lawsuit filed by an Arizona couple over a defaulted student loan. Michael Collier, a 100% disabled Army veteran, claims in the lawsuit that the company, Gurstel Chargo, garnished their savings to to cover his wife’s $6,000 student loan, even though the money came from Social Security disability payments, which are exempt from garnishment. … According to a lawsuit filed last week in Phoenix, a representative of the firm told the couple they’d have to sue.

He was also told during this conversation that he should just sign the funds over as it would make a good down payment on the judgment, but was emphatically told that he would not be getting the money back. During this conversation, after Michael told the legal assistant that the funds were exempt veteran disability payments, the assistant told Michael “F- – – you! Pay us your money! You can’t afford an attorney. You owe us. I hope your wife divorces you’re (sic) a- -. If you would have served our country better you would not be a disabled veteran living off social security while the rest of us honest Americans work our a- – off. Too bad; you should have died.”

… And thank you for your service.

And yet more coverage of The Last Place on Earth, the Duluth head shop with the through-the-roof synthetic marijuana sales. Dan Kraker of MPR reports: “Duluth police refer to their city as the epicenter of Minnesota’s fight against synthetic marijuana. That’s a view increasingly agreed with by some of the businesses that surround Jim Carlson’s downtown headshop, Last Place on Earth. Dean Baltes, president of ShelDon, a commercial printing company next door to Last Place on Earth, said Carlson’s patrons’ uncouth behavior in the neighborhood is driving customers away from his business. ‘We’ve had to call the police because we’ve had people having sexual intercourse across the street in the garden, in the middle of the day,’ Baltes said. ‘It’s an unbelievable situation to be put through.’ Baltes said he is losing around $2,000 a day because of the scruffy crowds of Last Place on Earth customers who clog the sidewalks outside his store.” January might cut down on the sex-across-the-street thing.

John Welbes of the PiPress covered the auction out at Tom Petters’ estate: “Tracy Luther is no stranger to the estates of fraudsters. On Monday, Oct. 15, he was preparing to auction off 86 items that formerly belonged to convicted Ponzi scheme operator Tom Petters, including a boxing glove signed by Sugar Ray Leonard, a Polaroid-brand digital camera and a composite-material dog completely covered in cash. ‘He liked pop art,’ Luther said as he walked among customers previewing the Petters items hours before Monday night’s auction in North St. Paul. ‘And a lot of things have his picture on them. That’s different than most.’ ” Narcissism. I‘d never have thought.

Apparently Ely is a bit more progressive than one businesswoman imagined. Curt Brown of the Strib writes: “The Ely Shopper has been around 80 years and, according to its website, it’s is the place to place an ad: “Whether you are a person selling your old boat and motor, a club announcing your next meeting or a downtown business announcing this week’s sale.” But when the owner of the Shopper, Delia Whitten, came out against gay marriage just weeks before Minnesota voters weigh in a proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as strictly a man-woman thing, a dustup was sure to follow. A new ‘Boycott the Ely Shopper’ Facebook page had registered 155 ‘likes’ by Monday evening, two days after being launched. Whitten did not answer calls to her home number and hasn’t returned messages yet to DatelineMN left with a co-worker who promised to text her our number.” The archbishop should give her a call. You know, to buck her up a bit.

Fox9’s Tom Lyden delivers again. In his interview with Michael Brodkorb, Brodkorb actually tears up. Says Lyden: “While Brodkorb may not wear a scarlet letter, he says he still experiences the effects now that he is known as the man whose affair brought down Koch — and the man who would spill the Senate’s secrets to prove gender discrimination in his termination. In his first interview with FOX 9 News, the old political operative described his firing and Koch’s resignation as a hostile takeover. Now, he says his pending federal lawsuit against the Senate would have been settled by now if it wasn’t for the upcoming election and the Senate lawyers. ‘To be blunt and honest, it raises questions about who’s really running the show, who’s really pulling the strings and making the decisions,’ he said. … At about 5 p.m. on Monday, the attorney for the Minnesota Senate [said], ‘The Senate and its staff have done nothing wrong regarding Mr. Brodkorb. The Senate will continue to defend its position with the lawsuit without reservation.’ The attorneys added that they intend to ask the judge to order Brodkorb to pay the Senate’s legal fees.” I always get this little pain right here when guys like Brodkorb say they’re about to be “blunt and honest.”

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/16/2012 - 07:39 am.

    Just remember…

    …when discussing campaign fundraising, that Mrs. Bachmann routinely tells audiences that she’s “…not a politician.”

  2. Submitted by Tim Walker on 10/16/2012 - 07:59 am.

    Which wage garnishment laws apply?

    I know that in Minnesota, creditors are prohibited from garnishing wages associated with social security benefits, retirement benefits, workers comp benefits, welfare payments, or income from unemployment or disability insurance. This is a list of restrictions that is more stringent than federal laws on the matter.

    The collection firm is in Minnesota, according to the MPR report, but the veteran and his wife appear to be residents of Arizona.

    Arizona, as far as I know, is not more restrictive than what federal law allows.

    So, which set of laws must the debt-collection company follow? I don’t know.

    But I DO know that the collection company employee was being a first-class a–.

  3. Submitted by Gerald Abrahamson on 10/16/2012 - 09:40 am.

    Federal law vs state law

    Under federal law, SSDI income can not be garnished or otherwise taken as long as the money is in a separate account and not mixed with income from other sources.

    However, AZ is a community property state. Which means the state considers everything the family owns belongs to both spouses and is to be divided equally. If the collection agency used a quick and secretive claim in court and denied the Colliers their day in court (which could easily happen), then the fact the money was from SSDI would be hidden from the judge by the agency so they could claim it was “just money that was being hidden so they could avoid paying their bills”. That is why it is important to tell the bank the money is SSDI funds and judgments can NOT be paid from that account.

    Another factor is it is a student loan (from the feds? Not stated–but assume it is). If SHE owes that money–and he does not, and the money is HIS (not hers) under AZ law–then it was a knowingly fraudulent taking. And the collection agency loses in court.

    Here is why the collection agency will lose in court. The feds have the authority to collect up to 15% of the monthly Social Security payment to apply to a debt owed to the US govt (back taxes, unpaid student loans, etc). So, if money was owed (by HER) and it could be legally collected from *his* SSDI payment–they would do it. No muss, no fuss, no middleman. They just reduce his monthly payment until the debt is paid off–no collection agency needed. The fact they did not do so indicates they could NOT take from his SSDI to pay her student loan. Thus, it would seem to be a losing claim by the collection agency and they knowingly illegally grabbed the money in order to get SOMETHING (anything)–because they had no *legal* way to collect anything.

  4. Submitted by Robert Langford on 10/16/2012 - 11:32 am.

    What a strange world

    This is a strange world. Bachmann raises obscene amounts of money by weird positions, outlandish attacks, and bizarre theory. One of our greates athletes is demeaned for her sexuality, and someone actually thinks Tom Petter is important enough to review his tastes in a public document. Have we gone mad?

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