"He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left."
Matthew 25:33

Friday, March 13, 2009

Joe Atkins Unethical Abuse of Campaign Funds

Representative Atkins has a big reputation in Minnesota's House District 39B. It is as if he invincible, as if nothing can stop him. Well it seems to me that Joe has shot himself in the foot.

Joe has been the mayor of Inver Grove Heights at the young age of twenty and then moved on to the state legislature where he is currently serving his fourth term as a state representative. With his fast move up the ladder it is reasonable to assume his head may have swollen some. But when it gets too big it needs to be poked with a needle and the time has come for Joe.

I think of the quote by Lord Acton, "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Joe has his share of power and now with the democrats holding the majority in the House and the Senate Joe Atkins must be feeling absolutely powerful. I have recently taken a look at his campaign finance report that can be viewed at the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board website.

The magnitude of excess committed by Representative Atkins is distasteful to say the least. It may be legal, but it is definitely unethical. I would like to know what the people who donated to his campaign have to say about where their money was spent.

I came across a document that is a quick tally of some of the non-campaign expenditures in Atkins campaign finance report.

  • He raised over $125,000. Had over 140 individual expenditures for restaurants, bars, and fundraiser food events for over $11,500.
  • A couple to key in on are one for $187.81 at ARAMARK in Minneapolis Dec 4th. An expenditure which he claims was for food for volunteers while campaigning - one month after elections.
  • This one brings back memories. I recall at the candidate forum at Town Square Television Joe was pretty cocky and invited us to Old World Pizza afterward. His campaign report shows a total of $1154.89 spent there during six visits last year. Now I realize that Joe was going to pay for it with campaign funds and not out of his own pocket. So Joe was not being very generous after all.
  • Or the expenditures from the Green Mill paying for food for volunteers while campaigning, in Blaine (Green Mill in Blaine)
  • Also look at the $2,000 for the car plus takes mileage and car expenses of $3247.02.
  • Several trips paid for plane tickets with Northwest Airlines for $825.00.
  • Two Hyatt Hotel stays in DC, once on 3/2/08 and on 12/15/08 for a total of $953.55 and a room at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island in Florida, for $194.15.
  • Enterprise Rent A Car in Jacksonville Florida, $184.84 on 12/9/08. More than a month after the election. Claimed as conference rental, expense of serving in office
  • He also prepaid his mailings/newsletters for 2009 and gave the House DFL caucus $20,000.
  • $2239.34 to Verizon for his cell phone claimed as the expense of serving in public office. What a scam. Joe is claiming $77.00 daily for per diem and pocketing the money and paying his personal expenses with funds from his campaign account.

Here are just a few of his claimed campaign expenditures,
  • Bought a camera at Best Buy for $234.81.
  • Why would he need two printers? One from Office Max for $283.60 and another from Cathy McClain for $292.86
  • $151.00 for dues in the River Heights Business Association. Shouldn't that be paid for out of his pocket rather than his campaign account? If it is for his law office, shouldn't that come from their account?
Here are a few more non-campaign expenditures gleaned from his report,

  • Sixteen visits to Applebees in Inver Grove Heights costing $758.08
  • Fourteen visits to Josephs Resteraunt in Saint Paul costing $705.00
  • Mama's on Rice Street for $173.71

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