Monday, March 15, 2010

David v. Goliath

One of the most interesting things of the SD 26 special election in January was seeing the process from the inside, from the delegates to the candidates to the endorsement, the debates and finally the actual election.  One of the most disappointing things was the level of vitriol expended by the other side, from a smear campaign by local bloggers to an attack mailer that arrived the day before the election.  While I couldn't do much about the smear attempt, I decided that I couldn't let a clear violation of the law about false campaign materiel go without a response.

Next month, the Office of Administrative Hearings will hear the case of David Thul vs the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Laborer Party.  After reviewing my complaint, the OAH 'determined that it set forth a prima facie violation of Minn Stat 211B.06".  I had to grab a dictionary to make sure I understood the Latin correctly.  The 5 page explanation of the decision of the law judge on my complaint set my head spinning, and the number of words and phrases I had to look up on was very intimidating.  I have to assume that the DFL will send a lawyer or two, so it will be interesting to see if a non-lawyer can compete.

You may remember the mailer, which I posted on previously.  Then candidate Mike Parry called for an across the board cut to the state budget of 15%.  It sounds like an ambitious cut until you realize that the general fund increased by 14.1% in 2000-01, 10.2% in 2002-03, and 11.9% in 2006-07.  But the DFL responded by claiming that a 15% cut to the Minnesota budget would mean a 15% cut to state funding for Medicare.  Since the cost of Medicare is split by the state and federal government, the DFL alleged that a state cut would automatically mean a matching federal cut, which would result in a 30% cut to Medicare.  To underscore their point, they used pictures of two elderly people looking as vulnerable as possible-

Unfortunately for the DFL, they cite a report from the state as evidence of their claim but ignored the fact that the very report they cite lists two recent occasions where funding for Medicare was cut at the state level with no corresponding federal reduction.

The maximum penalty that can be imposed if the DFL is found to be at fault is $5,000, and while that is a lot of money to an individual, I would have to guess that it is petty cash to an organization the size of the Minnesota DFL.  In fact, a lot of people told me not to bother with the whole thing.  But the principle is what is important, and if you let someone get away with breaking the law, than you will be getting what you deserve when they break the law in the future.


Sue Jeffers said...

I can't offer any lawyer advice but I can make a road trip to support your battle. Post the date, time and place!

Anonymous said...
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Dave Thul said...

there is a preliminary hearing next week. If that goes well, I'll post the time and date of the court hearing.

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