Peder D4

Discussion of politics and other odious things

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Keith Ellison and the art of being Obtuse

My district has been represented since the last Ice Age by Martin Sabo. He's retiring this year and leaving one of the safest Democratic seats in the nation open. The DFL has endorsed Keith Ellison for the spot. He has some issues. Amongst them a forgetful/procrastination streak that is truly amazing to behold. From the STrib:
Ellison this week came under fire for late payment of about 40 parking tickets, which resulted in suspension of his driver's license.
That seems like a lot to me. And even if his parking style is, um, unconventional, failing to pay them until his license is suspended is not so good. But not really that big a deal. But there's also the matter of a missed filing deadline:

Illustrative of the pattern is what transpired over a missed January 31, 2000, deadline for a report on the previous year.

The board sent a notice on Feb. 29, 2000, by certified mail to the Ellisons reminding them of the obligation to file the report. They failed to claim the certified mail, and the board then sent it by regular mail.

The board sent a second notice by certified mail on March 14, and, when it wasn't claimed, followed up with another notice by regular mail. A month later, a third round of reminders by certified and regular mail were sent.

In January and February of 2001, a full year later, the board notified the Ellisons by mail and by person of a summons to appear in Ramsey County District Court over a $100 late filing fee for missing the deadline. The Ellisons didn't respond, and the court in June 2001 issued a default judgment against them for $134, including costs.

A week later, the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board sent a letter to the Ellisons saying it would turn the bill over to a collection agency for the Department of Revenue "unless you remit payment of $134 now." The board told them that the state could garnish wages, seize property, deduct from tax refunds and take other actions to collect the debt.

Seriously, that's quite a record. Granted it's not a large sum of money or a grevious sin, but I'd have to agree with Republican Mark Drake, "For Ellison, there's a clear repetitive pattern of not taking responsibility and blowing off basic rules governing conduct, with both the parking tickets and the campaign reports". I don't know if it's a deliberate thumbing of his nose or just incredibly poor management. Poor management would be the more confusing of the two. Presumably he has some kind of staff around to handle some of this stuff.
The really fun part of this has been the reaction on the STrib's letters page. My favorite one is here:
We just learned that Keith Ellison, DFL-endorsed candidate for the Fifth District U.S. House seat, has had parking tickets. Now we discover he has paid fines for filing his campaign-finance forms late. What's next? A secret addiction to Krispy Kreme doughnuts? It's difficult to attack Ellison's accomplishments: loving husband and father, well-regarded attorney, active state representative and refreshingly honest candidate.

That seems to meet the issue head on doesn't it? Forty unpaid parking tickets? Ignoring certified letters and meetings in person until they threaten to garnish wages? Why that's as bad as eating fatty doughnuts!
There are more serious reasons to look around for a better candidate than this but the attempts to rebut are incredibly weak.


Post a Comment

<< Home