Monday, August 10, 2009

Silence of the lambs attack dogs

Although the unofficial mouthpiece of the Republican Party of Minnesota has been all over the story about the Minnesota DFL's possible money woes, the silence from the RPM's offices has been deafening. They just elected two of the fiercest slime merchants in the state to the top two slots, for crying out loud. One would figure that Chair Tony Sutton or Vice Chair Michael Brodkorb would be screaming like crazy about misconduct on the part of the DFL, kind of like how Brodkorb reminds us about how cowardly Dems who hold town hall meetings on the Kline/Bachmann/Paulson schedule are.

But comment about the DFL bookkeeping is apparently not to be. We only have this eerie silence coming from 525 Park Street. Sutton twitters about which kids made it to FarmFest this year, Brodkorb tells us about the cool new facebook group he's joined, but nothing about the allegations against the DFL.

Let's take a look at why this might be. One would think that Mr. Sutton, who we last talked about here, would be outraged at sloppy bookkeeping, especially when it happens at the Minnesota DFL. He just wants honor, transparency and accountability to be the norm for political parties across our great state, by golly.

Actually, Mr. Sutton's silence is interesting. I suspect this all might have something to do with Sutton being the former treasurer of the Republican Party of Minnesota. He’s had plenty of experience wallowing in the mess of sloppy bookkeeping and developing close personal relationships with the auditors at the Federal Elections Commission.

Let’s just look at one of the many letters that the Federal Elections Commission’s auditors have sent to Mr. Sutton. The letter can be viewed in its entirety here and it covers the period of April 2007. Among the problems the FEC auditor has with Mr. Sutton’s bookkeeping? Let’s look at the problems identified. There’s a failure to account for aggregated receipts that may have to be reported (#1), over $24,000 of unitemized transactions (#2), disbursements for which no purpose is given (#3), a failure to account for payments to those who may be engaged in “federal election activity” (#4, 5), a failure to properly account for federal versus non-federal expenses (#6, 7), the misidentification of GOTV efforts (#8), failure to properly document reimbursements to individuals (#9), improper accounting of federal versus non-federal funds (#10), and the misuse of non-federal monies for federal activities (#11).

And that’s just one month’s auditing questions from the FEC auditor to Mr. Sutton. There are many months' worth of such questions directed to former Treasurer Sutton.

Let’s just put it this way. If the DFL deposited a check into the wrong account, it demonstrates that they have in place fiscal controls that allow them to know that the error took place. Contrast this with the RPM, where things are such a jumbled mess that it’s taken years to figure out where donor money came from, where it went, what it was used for, whether it was properly accounted for, if it was ever stolen, whether it was used for improper purposes or what the hell happened to it.

Now some might say that the RPM is being silent because it's living in a very fragile glass house, but here at the Cucking Stool we are eternal optimists and like to think that Mr. Sutton's empathy just kicked in.

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