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Pawlenty says there's 'credible' evidence of fraud in Franken-Coleman election

Gov. Tim Pawlenty is quoted today saying there appears to be "credible" evidence of fraud in Minnesota's 2008 U.S. Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken. 

At the end of an appearance on Fox News, Pawlenty was asked about reports of felons voting in the 2008 election.

“There’s a group out here in Minnesota that’s investigated that,” Pawlenty said. “They seem to have found credible evidence that many felons who are not supposed to be voting actually voted in the Franken-Coleman election.”

He said he suspects that any illegally voting felons might have favored Franken, but hastened to add: "I don't know that."

But if true, he said, "it may have flipped the election."

The lengthy recount ended with Franken declared the winner by 312 votes.

In a blog published today on The Hill website, the head of Franken's recount legal team, Marc Elias, told Micheal O'Brien that both sides brought forth all the evidence during the lengthy recount litigation:

“Sen. Coleman was represented by some of the best lawyers there are in the country,” Elias said Wednesday. “At the end of that process, the lead lawyer for Sen. Coleman told the state Supreme Court that there was no evidence of persistent fraud in the election.”

“It’s a process that I think both Sen. Coleman and the Franken side thought worked well,” Elias added.

O'Brien also offered thoughts on Pawlenty's possible motives for the remarks:

The aspersions toward Franken’s victory could be politically motivated for Pawlenty, a possible Republican candidate for president who will need to appeal to conservatives actively participating in the GOP’s primaries. Franken is a figure who’s generally reviled by many of those primary voters.

The Minnesota governor, however, did sign Franken’s election certificate after the state’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Coleman, who dropped all appeals after that defeat.

Pawlenty's televised comments came at the end of a segment on the federal defict — he considers that a huge crisis and has an op-ed in Politico about it today.

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Comments (10)

"He said he suspects that any illegally voting felons might have favored Franken, but hastened to add: "I don't know that."

Of course he doesn't "know that" and since the only evidence we have so far of felons voting comes from a Coleman voter during the recount, we can only assume that the governor is merely pandering to Fox News and their right wing echo chamber to curry favor in his quest for higher office.

"They seem to have found credible evidence that many felons who are not supposed to be voting actually voted", suggests our Governor.

Even though the State Supreme Court heard a Republican election challenge where such accusations were actually made, but rejected those accusations, noting that there was no evidence of fraud presented by Republicans.

In his effort to pander to right-wing interests, our Governor insults the reputations of the members of our highest state court, many of whom come from his own political party. He also insults the Secretary of State's office, and the thousands of volunteer citizens who worked hard to ensure the integrity of our election process. And he insults his own integrity as Governor, because the fraud he alleges happened on his watch - he too is responsible for preventing it. He apparently wants to be president a little too much. Facts no longer inform his comments.

Mr. Pawlenty should be ashamed.

I don't know either, but somehow I feel the illegally voting felons backed Coleman. And they'll no doubt back Pawlenty in his glorious campaign for the presidency. Just a hunch.
I don't have any more evidence than Pawlenty did, but if I were a felon I'd probably vote for guys like Coleman and Pawlenty. That's my gut feeling.

There was no evidence until now, because Marki Ritchie, the man who is responsible for maintaining the integrity of our elections, declined to fulfill his duty.

Thankfully, someone else stepped up to do the necessary investigations, and as a result, we now have enough evidence to convict.

"Phil Carruthers of the Ramsey County attorney's office said Ramsey County is still investigating all the names and has asked that more investigators be hired to complete the process."

"So far we have charged 28 people with felonies, have 17 more under review and have 182 cases still open," he said. "And there is a good chance we may match or even exceed their numbers."

That is 28 felony charges; 17 under review and 182 open cases. Again, 28 felony charges; 17 under review and 182 open cases.

That is what we call conclusive evidence of fraud.

I don't care who they voted for, they shouldn't have voted. People that are willing to trade our most cherished democratic rights to cover for a feckless office holder should be ashamed of themselves.

At his point in his campaign, Governor Pawlenty apparently believes that all air time is good air time.

As an attorney, he knows better than to assume that all of the illegal votes went to Franken. As a politician, he knows better than to care.

As for Mr. Swift's continual harangues against Mark Ritchie: The 341 votes identified as _potentially_ fraudulent constituted approximately .009% (less than one-thousandth of 1%) of the vote. Short of maintaining a current list of all Minnesotans currently prohibited from voting at each polling place in the state, there is no way to prevent criminals from committing this particular crime. Ritchie may or may not have done a good job with this election, but laying this at his doorstep is just plain silly.

A charge is not a conviction -- it is not conclusive evidence of anything.
Wait until you see if anyone is ever convicted (that would be a legal judgment about evidence).

And I suggest that you stop slandering Mark Richie until YOU have any evidence of illegality on his part.

I think we now have credible evidence that Tim Palwenty will say absolutely anything to further his political aspirations.

He said he suspects that any illegally voting felons might have favored Franken, but hastened to add: "I don't know that."

Really, Timmy? Let's review a little history here.

Tim Pawlenty has taken thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from convicted felon Frank Vennes Jr. and his family. Vennes did hard time in Sandstone federal prison for money laundering, cocaine running and gun running. He later became embroiled in the Tom Petters Ponzi and has had his assets seized and liquidated, although he's never been charged in that caper.

In 2002, Republicans Pawlenty, Norm Coleman and State GOP Chair Ron Ebensteiner requested a presidential pardon for convicted felon Vennes. Republican Michele Bachmann requested a presidential pardon for convicted felon Vennes in 2006, also after receiving thousands of dollars from him and his family in campaign contributions.

So let's stop the Republican BS about how felons are prone to vote for Democrats, ok Governor? And maybe you should start answering some questions about why you and the rest of your Republican cronies are so cozy with a con man and convicted felon like Frank Vennes Jr. Maybe this will refresh your memory:

One last question, Governor. If you and your Republican pals had been successful at getting Vennes' multiple felonies wiped from his record with a presidential pardon, would he have then been able to vote for you and Norm and Michele?

I just realized that I've been insulted by my governor. I voted for Franken; Pawlenty says all felons vote for Franken; therefore, I must be a felon.

I know my logic is flawed, but then so is Pawlenty's. The difference is, I have no power nor want any. Pawlenty wants the power to send people to their death.

Imagine a person who thinks like this having the power to send your child to his death.

Mark Ritchie "declined to fulfill his duty" said Tom, disingenuously.

Really, Tom?

Was this what the Minnesota Supreme Court said? Or is this just your opinion?

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.

We all remember a certain election in Florida. What finally happened on that one? Maybe there is a time when one should shut up and move on?

Feel free to pursue your crusade to make sure that felons can't vote in the future, but please stop slandering Mark Ritchie. Even if we had a Republican SOS, this would have happened!