T-Paw’s values T-Paw topped Minnesota’s weekend news, appearing at the (Christian) Values Voter Summit. (The exclusion of Jews and Muslims from the “Values” coalition was underlined by scheduling, with the conference held on the final weekend of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days.) The Minnesota Independent has the full text of Pawlenty’s speech to the summit, where he either tied for second or placed third in the presidential straw poll.
Pawlenty’s values do not include transparency about his political actions. According to the Star Tribune, he refuses to disclose his poitical schedule, instead referring reporters to “something called Google now, or Bing–you can Bing,” and also refuses to disclose meetings with lobbyists:
He declined a Star Tribune request for a more detailed daily appointments calendar that would list all meetings and trips, arguing that he is not legally required to make it public.
So while his public schedule showed him attending the Minnesota Pork Producers’ “Capitol Pork Cookout” on July 1 at the State Capitol, Common Cause Minnesota said the governor’s office never responded to its June request that he disclose his meetings with lobbyists regarding state budget cuts.
Pawlenty’s official public schedule was blank for 28 weekdays from June through August, though he made numerous trips and national talk show appearances during that time.
If you don’t have time to Google and Bing Pawlenty’s schedule, check out MPR’s new map tracking T-Paw’s Travels.
Michele Bachmann was there, too. The Values Voters listed her as one of “four GOP incumbents they think it should “save” from the Left,” according to Minnesota Independent.
Bachmann’s values, according to Aaron Landry in the MNPublius blog, include using her Congressional franking privilege to send “taxpayer-funded literature with “Bachmann Solutions” to out-of-district addresses, a violation of the rules governing free mailing for congress members. Landry and two others have already filed another ethics complaintagainst Bachmann, because of “an e-mail sent by Representative Bachmann’s office on May 26, 2009, [which] advocates for the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), a political organization.”
General Vang Pao charges dropped The U.S. Attorney in California dropped charges against Vang Pao, a Hmong leader of troops supporting the U.S. in the war in Vietnam, and still a revered leader among many Hmong refugees now living in the United States. Vang Pao, now 79 years old, was indicted in 2007, along with 10 others, for allegedly plotting the violent overthrow of the communist regime in Laos. At the time, Hmong Today reported
In a shocking news conference, it was revealed by federal authorities that during a six-month undercover sting operation dubbed, “Operation Tarnished Eagle”, an agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) posed as an arms dealer who was prepared to deliver $9.8 million worth of weapons including hundreds of automatic rifles, antitank missiles, rockets, mines, C-4 explosive and smoke grenades.
Authorities say the alleged conspirators, named in the criminal complaint as “Neo Hom”, the organization headed by General Vang Pao, were planning to ship the arms by way of safe houses and drop zones in Thailand and Laos.
The indictments against 11 other Hmong men and former Army Lt. Col. Harrison Jack, 62, still stand, but the evidence did not support charges against Vang Pao. The Pioneer Press reports that U.S. Attorney Lawrence Brown of Sacramento said charges against Vang Pao were dropped “after investigators completed the time-consuming process of translating more than 30,000 pages of documents.”
Court employees suspended in investigation Ten Hennepin County court employees have been “placed on administrative leave” pending the outcome of an investigation into unspecified wrongdoing, according to the Star Tribune.
Courts Administrator Mark Thompson said that the 10 employees were placed on paid administrative leave Thursday and that the investigation will be completed by late Monday.
“At that time, we’ll take action if needed,” he said. Asked if that might include criminal charges, he said, “Anything is possible.”
Thompson declined to say who was conducting the inquiry, but that it had been going on for “several weeks.”
In unrelated cases, another Hennepin County Courts employee was fired in July, for falsely claiming 500 hours she did not work on her timesheets and a county jail nurse was fired last November, after admitting that she stole drugs prescribed for inmates. Her husband, a Hennepin County deputy sheriff, also “lost his job” as a result of the case, according to the Star Tribune report.
Woman loses job, unemployment insurance over Medica call When Medica didn’t pay Hennepin Faculty Associates what it owed, Jolene O’Donnell called the Minnesota Commerce Department to complain. Twice. The first time, two years ago, her supervisor praised her and Medica paid up. This year, Hennepin Faculty Associates fired her, citing the need to make nice with big insurance companies that pay the bills.(“It’s important to maintain a very effective, good working relationship with Medica …”)
Adding injury to injury, HFA said her termination was for cause, and a judge upheld the company, so she is out of a job and can’t even get unemployment compensation benefits. According to the Star Tribune:
O’Donnell appealed [the unemployment compensation decision], invoking the Whistleblower law, which says employees can’t be fired for reporting a suspected violation “in good faith” to a government agency.
To the dismay of some veteran lawyers, the state’s chief unemployment law judge refused to reconsider, ruling that O’Donnell had to be specific about what law she suspected was being violated to qualify for whistleblower protection.