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2013 Worst Political Persons in Minnesota

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 01/01/14 00:25

by Dave Mindeman

And now for the worst in Minnesota politics....

10. Minnesota's Medical Device Industry

Greed. That's all this really is. Minnesota's medical device industry has been highly successful and highly profitable. And they have benefited from the health care and insurance system that has been in an inflationary upward spiral for decades. To help the uninsured afford the insurance needed to pay for these expensive devices, the ACA put a user tax on these devices to pay for the new program. But the medical device manufacturers have fought it every step of the way... spending millions of dollars on lobbyists and working the Minnesota Congressional delegation to carry their water - led by 3rd District Congressman Erik Paulsen (bought and paid for). They want the new business coming from the ACA, but they do not want to pay for it. Greed.

9. Congressman Erik Paulsen

Paulsen correlates with the Medical Device industry because he does their bidding. He has been the top recipient of their political donations for several years and even used a repeal of the device tax as leverage in the budget shutdown fiasco. Paulsen panicked when the GOP popularity tanked during that shutdown - even trying to distance himself from the Tea Party obstinence. But representing a moderate district has not deterred Mr. Paulsen from voting in lock step with the hardliners. A DFL opponent needs to be supported here.

8. Michael Brodkorb

Brodkorb's troublemaking has been ever present in Minnesota political circles for decades. Not content to let an embarrassing scandal in the Minnesota Senate involving him and Majority Leader Amy Koch run its course, he has to sue the Senate for "wrongful" termination. It cost the taxpayers a hefty six figures overall in legal fees, although the final settlement number was a mere $30,000... leaving many to wonder why this was pursued in the first place. Of course, with Brodkorb it is never about logic - just publicity.

7. Sportswriters of Minnesota Media

This group isn't so much about politics as it is about fairness... gender fairness. While the writers wrote volumes about the failures of the Twins and Vikings and Timberwolves and Wild - (something we are unfortunately getting all too used to) - the media writers let the incredible stories of the two time league champion (in three years) Minnesota Lynx and the record breaking Women's Gopher Hockey team's 62 game winning streak get page three coverage. Lynx stars Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus should be just as prominent in the Minnesota sports lexicon as Joe Mauer and Kevin Love - but where are the stories? Just asking....

6. Majority Leader Senator Tom Bakk

Yeah, we get Democrats in here once in awhile. Although Bakk has been a tough Majority Leader in the Senate, his end of session chicanery has been political fodder for some time. The last minute killing of the minimum wage bill, the business to business taxes pushed into the tax bill, and the sneaky method of putting the Senate office building into play have given liberals and conservatives some head shaking moments. Bakk likes the old school political dealing, but it can hurt friend and foe alike. A lot of the Republican political talking points come straight from the results of actions taken by Bakk himself. The Senate is not up for election in 2014, but Bakk may have given the House as many headaches as the GOP minority.

5. Kurt Zellers

Zellers plays the usual political games and as a governor candidate, he plays them more than usual. But the cheap shot that Zellers played in regards to a sex offender release is below the belt. He even used Attorney General Swanson's investigation of the release as some kind of justification for his own criticisms. What is really galling about this is that Zellers has had opportunities when he was Speaker of the Minnesota House to address the sex offender problem, but simply punted. Sorry - you don't get to criticize others on an issue you failed to deal with.

4. Zygi Wilf

For a sports owner, Wilf makes this political list way too often. Now, after he gets his stadium financing, we find out that Wilf has legal complication back in New Jersey. He is about to get slapped with a huge multi million dollar penalty for a business deal gone bad. Wilf offers us little in explanation - even though he is required to post a $100 million bond in the matter. We can't look at his finances even though the State could be held responsible for his debts. Minnesota has a "bad" business partner. A New Jersey racketeer,no less. I feel like we should have a Jersey nickname for this guy - Zygi the Nose? Zygi the Lip? Zygi the Fraud?

3. April Todd-Malmlov/MNsure

I hesitate to single out the head of MNsure. After all this was a technology fiasco and she did not make the design flaws or implement the system herself. But, like Leslie Frasier of the Vikings, she has to take the fall for a total team failure. It is hard to imagine that the Curran software system could be put in place without testing or assurances of how it will work - but it happened. This is hurting Democrats at the moment and until this gets fixed and the law is implemented properly, Democrats will continue to be hurt. And when the details of her Costa Rica vacation surfaced, she bailed out rather than meet the challenge head on. Another failure in leadership. In her defense, there may be more of an explanation for all this than we are seeing at the moment. But until that comes forward, Todd-Malmlov is part of this list.

2. Minnesota Majority

This group has become the face of Minnesota voting obstruction. It is the old Republican ploy of making sure the "right" people vote. They pushed for voter ID and they railed against Ritchie's online registration. To Minnesota Majority, making voting easy and convenient is the wrong way to go. Make it difficult for students. Make it hard for the poor. Make it impossible for minorities. Minnesota Majority hides behind the absurd notion of voter fraud in this state. Every piece of evidence says just the opposite. Yet, they continue to try to make this state, with the highest voter partricipation in the nation, an object of baseless suspicion. It is the height of hypocrisy - and I think they know it.

1. 2nd District Representative John Kline

This may be a surprise to some, but not to us in the 2nd District. Congressman Kline is an obstructionist of the highest order. And what really makes it worse is that he has a position of authority that could do something about a variety of issues. He has waffled and weaseled when it comes to No Child Left Behind. He has the opportunity to rewrite the law, yet he does nothing and criticizes the administration who tries. He works against Labor rights. He has been no help on moving the Farm Bill. And, worst of all, he has been carrying the water of the For-Profit Colleges who are saddling the next generation with a Mt. Everest mountain of debt. Kline continues to take mountains of cash to continue that mountain of debt. He has been one of John Boehner's main loyalists - which has presented him with a problem in his own party as the Paulites have targeted him for an endorsement fight next year. He continues to try and straddle all the fences - hiding behind criticisms of Obamacare which can only go on so long. At some point, John Kline has to represent actual, real people. Not lobbyist groups - not For-Profit colleges - not big business - not Boehner's Congressional obstruction. John Kline needs to do his job - or we need to fire him. Until then, he is Minnesota's worst political person.
comments (3) permalink
01/03/14 09:31
One issue you missed about Rep Kline. Rep Kline is retired military and a veteran. You would never believe it by looking at his voting record on veteran issues. The pentagon is raising fees and co-pay on tricare(health program retired military) and cutting cola payment to retired military and Rep Kline, chair of the Armed Forces Committee, says nothing.
01/02/14 23:29
Why blame the Minnesota medical device industry without naming names.

Are you talking about Starkey Labs ?
2012 CONTRIBUTIONS: $217,801
Contributions to candidates: $66,201
Contributions to Leadership PACs: $10,000
Contributions to parties: $151,600

Top Recipients

Republican National Cmte $84,100
National Republican Congressional Cmte $30,000
Republican Party of Minnesota $27,500
Paulsen, Erik $13,500
Cravaack, Chip $10,000
Kline, John $10,000
Republican Central Cmte of Nevada $10,000
Pawlenty, Tim $5,000
Fields, Chris $3,500

But are those dollars related to repealing the MDET or just plain old ordinary "Luv Republicans" ? In this off-year election, Starkey has donated $148,700 in 2013 (with not all donations counted yet.)

Yes, Starkey just like all other companies would love to see a tax refund (after all many companies have passed the MDET on to the consumer) but I don't know if MDET wasn't an issue that they would not give the same monies. Same thing is true for Medtronic, St. Jude, etc.

IMO, the objection is more from Indiana companies ... like Zimmer and Cook ... than Minnesota.

That said, let us remember that while Paulsen is #1 on their recepients list, at number #3 is Mike McFadden while #4 is Al Franken ... clearly the industry does not care about party ... they will donate to anyone that supports their cause.
01/01/14 09:43
This correct on every single item. Sad as it is. And the second district needs to get rid of John Kline. I'm tired of being penalized by him. We get 35 cents for every Federal dollar and the rest of MN gets 77 cents. Roads are in terrible shape here as well as bridges. Thanks for nothing Kline.



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