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MNGOP senators get terrific rate on printing

by Eric Ferguson on February 16, 2012 · 2 comments

State Senate GOP caucus spokesman Steve Sviggum apologized for printing partisan materials at public expense. He was referring to materials distributed at GOP precinct caucuses, thanking attendees for attending GOP caucuses. “In my mind that was a constituent piece and they are constituents,” said majority leader David Senjem, R-Rochester. Well, I don’t want to be ungracious (until a later paragraph). Apologizing is better than not apologizing. Apologizing after giving such a phony excuse is better than not apologizing after giving such a phony excuse. Apologizing after claiming it was cleared by the Senate counsel is better than not apologizing after claiming it was cleared by the Senate counsel.

One thing apparently not worthy of an apology however was telling us the printing was only $50: “In all, 4,725 flyers were printed at a cost of less than $50 to taxpayers,” as reported by MPR. Let’s pull out our calculators and just have a look (OK, now is when I get ungracious). $50 divided by 4725 is $.0106, rounded off. A bit over a penny apiece. Wow. Can I use that print shop? I can’t get basic black and white photocopies for less than maybe 10ยข. Sweet deal the Senate GOP got! Well, it would have been sweet if they were paying for it.

Wait though. Be fair. Maybe they just got lousy copies at a dinky size. Index card size maybe? Postage stamp size? With extra lines and smeared ink? Alternatively, MPR did say, “…less than $50 to taxpayers” so maybe we didn’t pay the whole cost — we just chipped in! Is that it? The GOP ran $50 short and we lent it to them! Borrowing without asking isn’t nice, but better than the last alternative, — and I feel terrible for suspecting this — but, maybe claiming the printing cost only $50 is not entirely true? Partly true certainly, since I assume the real figure likewise includes a dollar sign. Beyond that though…

One more thing. About the Senate counsel that supposedly approved printing at public expense:
Doesn’t the fact you need to consult a lawyer before a routine print job suggest maybe you’re doing something you shouldn’t? And how could the counsel sign-off on claiming as non-partisan material something that says something like “Thanks for attending the GOP caucus!”. Maybe it toed the legal line by saying something like, “This is a non-partisan thank you from your Republican senator for attending these non-partisan GOP caucuses where we hope you will work to non-partisanly elect Republicans who will be as completely non-partisan as this non-partisan Republican lit piece and no, we haven’t sent these to other parties’ caucuses because they’re a bunch of partisan doody-heads, which we mean in the most non-partisan way. Of course.”

That’s assuming the “thanks for being a Republican” bits were indeed on what was shown to the Senate counsel. Hard to think anyone in that position would get fooled into approving something like what actually got printed. Or maybe the counsel himself is a wee bit partisan? Or paid to be? Maybe it’s an application of the old saying, “It’s hard to make a man understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it.”

OK. So I guess saying “sorry” and giving $50 to the public print shop makes this go away. Anyway, at least majority leader Senjem himself had the sense to stay out of this and not make it look like he’s clueless about how … oops:


Al DeKruif, Madison Lake
Michelle Fischbach, Paynesville
Chris Gerlach, Apple Valley
Joe Gimse, Willmar
Gretchen Hoffman, Vergas
Ben Kruse, Brooklyn Park
Ted Lillie, Lake Elmo
Doug Magnus, Slayton
Geoff Michel, Edina
Carla Nelson, Rochester
John Pederson, St. Cloud
Claire Robling, Jordan
Dave Senjem, Rochester[bolding mine]
Ray Vandeveer, Forest Lake
Pam Wolf, Spring Lake Park
Source: Senate Republican Caucus

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