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

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lobbyists do not belong at the head of the table

ST. PAUL The head of a committee table in the Minnesota Legislature is no place for a registered lobbyist, according to State Representative Mark Buesgens, R-Jordan. Buesgens, who formerly chaired the House Education Policy and Reform Committee, criticized Democrat legislators for allowing Education Minnesota President and registered lobbyist Tom Dooher to sit at the table with legislators during Tuesdays hearing on Minnesotas Race to the Top application.

Special interests have absolutely no place at the committee table, no matter who they represent, Buesgens said. This one in particular has consistently stood in the way of education reform and spent millions upon millions of dollars over the years to elect reform-averse legislators. Putting him at the head of the table for all to see sent a clear message, like having Vito Corleone watching over his foot soldiers.

According to Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board records, Dooher is registered lobbyist number 2005, having first registered on June 18, 2007. Board documents also show that the EdMinn PAC gave $155,700 to the Minnesota DFL House Caucus in 2008, the most recent election year.

Special interests do not run the Legislature, or at least thats what we are told. But apparently if you are willing to fork over enough cash, Democrats can find room for you at the head of the table. Its a disgrace, Buesgens said.

EdMinn PAC and Education Minnesota are technically separate entities, but the PACs 2008 year-end report shows $691,320 in income from Education Minnesota coming in monthly installments of $57,610. The report also shows the union giving the PAC miscellaneous income totaling $93,946 that was used to record staff time.

They are one and the same in every way that matters, and today they got to lord over the Legislature, Buesgens said.

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