In Part 1, we looked at how FEC Tony Sutton’s (pictured, right) MN GOP couldn’t (wouldn’t?) accurately report to the FEC how much they owed a vendor they hired to ensure accurate FEC reports. In Part 2, we noted there are now 2 citizen watchdog groups looking into the MN GOP’s Cooked Books — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – which nailed ’em last time (the MN GOP got smacked with a near-record $170,000 fine), and Common Cause MN. In Part 3, we looked at how a payroll deductions “no, NO!” that got the MN GOP in trouble last time seems to be a pattern. In Part 4 we looked at the MN GOP using a strange address for one of it’s fundraisers.
In Part 5 we looked at at the official FEC Complaint – filed 12 Jan 2012 – by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”). In Part 6 we looked at the MN GOP misrepresenting their expenses. In Part 7 we looked at how the MN GOP categorized pay for a guy that they very well may have been paying to run for state senate – Lakeville’s Dave Thompson in SD-36.
Today in Part 8 of the continuing Cooked Books Series we’re going to take a look at a MN GOP Campaign Finance Report line item that begs the question: did the State GOP pay for a lawyer for a State Representative’s drunk driving case?
Here’s the background: endorsed GOPer 2010 candidate for Governor Tom Emmer’s campaign was getting hammered over alcohol related incidents, including a certain paid campaign staffer that happened to be Emmer’s kid. The campaign did NOT need any more alocohol-related incidents. Apparently, campaign “consultant” Mark Buesgens, state rep from district 35-B, didn’t get the memo – he got caught driving drunk with an open bottle of vodka.
Now, the “official story” put out by Team Emmer’s Drinking Team was: “Hey! It’s just a coincidence, but: just the day before Buesgens got caught driving drunk into the ditch, we ditched him and he went to work for the State GOP!!!”
Let’s take a look at the timeline, as reported on Buesgen’s court records:
(link to image here)
September 18th, 2010 – Busgens gets caught in a ditch with an open bottle of vodka; blows a .16 blood-alcohol content.
September 24th, 2010 – Buesgens cited in Wright County
November 5th, 2010 – Guilty plea entered, case all but settled (final disposition November 23rd, 2010.
Now, remember how in the scramble to distance themselves from the guy in the ditch (with an open bottle of vodka), Team Emmer’s Drinking Team said “Hey! Buesgen’s isn’t OUR bad boy; he’s the GOP’s!!!”
Well, Buesgens does indeed show up on the State GOP’s state Campaign Finance Report for 2010:
Five days after blowing a .16, Buesgens has the good fortune of getting a check from the State GOP for $2,584.62.
Five days before his drunk driving & open bottle case is all but over, Buesgens pulls another check from FEC Tony & Co for $8, 615.38 — for a grand total of eleven grand: $11,000.00.
Coincidences? Or, do those checks look like “retainer & final payment” to defend a drunk driving & open bottle case?
At any rate, it sure looks like a sweet deal for Buesgens; he goes from about $7k a month with Emmer to $11k with the GOP!!!
I’d ask the State GOP for an explanation of why Buesgen’s $11k paydays – in about a month – was for actual work, and not just a pass-through to Buesgen’s lawyer, but: it’s not like they really like to talk to the ol’ TwoPutter. Not that I – or anyone else for that matter – would/should believe ’em; after all: reasonable people no longer have any reason to believe anything a GOPer official – party nor elected – has to say.
The State GOP needs to prove that the $11k Buesgens got was for actual work – because it sure looks like it simply paid a defense attorney for the actual work of defending one of their own.
If I were a GOPer, I’d be mad as (heck) to think my political donations went to a defense attorney for a guy that drove drunk into the ditch with an open bottle of vodka.
As a progressive, I’m simply not surprised. After all, today’s GOP is morally bankrupt, intellectually dishonest, and institutionally corrupt.
There’s a LOT more, in the GOP’s state and federal financial reports so:
And, let’s hope some prosecutor, somewhere, is thinking: “Isn’t it about time to get a Grand Jury together, and do a little digging ourselves?”