Thursday, August 24, 2006

Support the Gutknecht Campaign Reform Act of 2007 … or How a Fiscal Fraud Spends Your Tax Dollars

I have asked before “Tell me in the past six terms of Gil Gutknecht’s tenure, one piece of legislation that he was critical to its passage?” To date, no one has found one … sure he’s had initiatives, but not any that have been enacted.

Well, good news folks ! It’s time for the Minnesota Legislature to enact the Gutknecht Campaign Reform Act of 2007. I know that this still would not count as legislation that Gil personally authored, but he is the inspiration.

The impetus of the act is that we have learned how the Fiscal Fraud has legally ( per the Minnesota Supreme Court ) “used” the system to save himself a few dollars at the expense of government wages and resources.

It is my understanding that in order to protect the right of the “little guy” to participate as a candidate for elective office, a candidate may collect signatures from registered voters and petition to appear on the ballot … as opposed to the “professional politician” who customarily pays a $300 fee. Sounds fair … let’s make sure that the common man can have a role in government.

But Gutknecht wants to appear as the common man, so what he does is collect the signatures and file the petition. OK, that’s legal … but if Gutknecht is truly serious that he as a fiscal hawk that watches for waste and abuse of the government’s assets, why is he wasting the resources of the Secretary of State ? Doesn’t Mary Kiiffmeyer’s staff have to review these documents, cull voter’s records, etc. to ensure that it is valid ? The alternative is paying $300 and you’re on the ballot. Sounds like a waste of government resources … if you’ve got the monies.
The funny thing is that according to the Elections Division Director letter to Gutknecht of July 14 “this office has finished reviewing your petition in lieu of the filing fee in place of paying $300 filing fee …. The filing requirement with this office has now been satisfied. Please find enclosed a copy of your affidavit of candidacy and your original check for $300.”
So, he had the money ( in fact according to Federal Campaign Filings, his campaign war chest is $ 826,391 ) but still wanted to waste the Secretary of State’s resources. He did not even offer to pay for the Secretary of State’s time and efforts … but I’m not surprised since the cheap-o has voted to support Congressional pay raises.

So here is my proposed law. If you are a candidate who has received a minimum of 15 % of the vote in the previous election, you must pay the $300 fee.
Pretty simple … if you’re just an average Joe who wants to offer himself as a candidate, the petition process is an option; but if you’ve ran in the past and the voters thought enough of you to vote for you, you simply pay the filing fee. The logic in the petition process is that it gives the candidate a chance to talk with the voters and find out if there is support for the candidacy. But if you’ve already on the ballot once, enough people have already know your name, so that should not be necessary.

Now, my problem … who will champion my proposal in the state legislature … with Republicans Tony Cornish and Julie Rosen as my elected legislators, I have a hunch that for partisan reasons they won’t embrace it. Let me know if you can recommend any competent independent thinkers who truly believe that government waste must be addressed … and not being abused for the advantage of our elected officials.

Oh, and one last thought. Gil may not like the idea that the Act would be named for him as a lasting remembrance for all he did for Southern Minnesota. Generally after a Congressman’s term is over, a facility is named from him … normally a Post Office … but I have a hunch that Gil is holding out for a DM&E train stop.

Sources :
Court Filing
http://www.mncourts.gov/documents/0/Public/Court_Information_Office/Petitoners.pdf
Campaign Funds
http://www.opensecrets.org/races/summary.asp?ID=MN01&Cycle=2006

1 comment:

bookboy said...

great job keep up the heat.