There is nothing illegal about auctioning off access to John Kline? Really? Nothing?!?

Down here in Senate District 36, we were trying to come up with an idea to raise some funds to help our 2012 candidates.  When we contacted the Campaign Finance Board with a couple ideas, we were told we could not do any kind of a raffle.  We ended up doing a silent auction. We had golf balls, buttons, mugs, signed books, you know the typical stuff.  One thing we didn’t have was a legislator.  Raffles are a no no, but apparently it is legal and acceptable to auction off access to congressmen and state legislators.

City Pages recent story “Carver County Republican Party tries to auction off legislators, then denies it” reports:

“There’s nothing illegal about auctioning off access to U.S. Congressmen and high-ranking state lawmakers to the highest bidder.”

I had no idea.  I would have just assumed that to be illegal.  I know you can have $2,000 a plate dinners, and special meet and great events based on donation levels, but the actual physical auction of a politician just seems extra dirty.

Sally Jo Sorensen and her news site Bluestem Prairie has done a great job of making this public. 

Sorensen wrote:

“While all of those who passed this on to Bluestem are registered lobbyists, without additional investigation, we cannot assert here that only lobbyists received an offer to bid on Republican legislators. We might also assume, for instance, that corporate CEOs, bank fat cats, private sector ALEC members, and other folks who who might wish to bid on chance to golf-with-a-shotgun with lawmakers, also have been given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

And they don’t have to worry if they don’t have their own shotgun, shells or experience. The invitation continues:

If you are not able to attend this event, please do your contacts a favor and forward this email on to others that could benefit from this opportunity.”

Did you notice that last line?  I know the pronoun usage of “that” rather than “who” is grating, but not what I want you to concentrate on.  It says “forward this email on to others that could benefit from this opportunity.” This is definitely being promoted as an opportunity for somebody to have one-on-one access to somebody like John Kline, who might be willing to sell his vote, or introduce a law written by the lucky winner — an “opportunity” at least.

It is no wonder that the Carver County Republicans quickly removed this event when it became public.  This is obviously nothing more than a smarmy way to let the fat cats and insiders control Republican politics a little more, while the rest of us giving ten bucks to our favorite politicians get treated like little kids at one of those spinning twisting coin drop donation bins just hoping for a little personal gratification in the end.

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4 thoughts on “There is nothing illegal about auctioning off access to John Kline? Really? Nothing?!?”

  1. ThinkProgress.org has a copy of the “flyer” … complete with pictures of not only Mr. Kline but also Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03) and other Minnesota Republicans.

    The auction starts at $250 to be part of a five-person team with Representative Paulsen … the bid information states that “he is not asking for funds or donations. Contributions from corporations, labor unions and federal government contractors will not be accepted in response for this solicitation.”

    Considering that it is not unusual for politicians to participate in a variety of charity events … and fundraising on behalf of themselves … isn’t the more interesting aspect that they explicit deny certain groups from participating … labor unions … why would that be ?

    BTW, haven’t their been fundraisers held at the Hunt and Gun Club before ???

  2. In contrast to the Carver GOP event: DFLers to the north of Carver, in Wright county, are holding their 3rd annual Trap Shoot next month. Just as in the last two years, the public is invited, and there is no charge for spectators. Mark Dayton has attended both previous years (last year he competed) as well as many other DFL candidates, elected officials, and party leaders, including Paul Thissen and Tom Bakk. The event is not a fundraiser, just a fun event for those who believe in responsible gun ownership.

  3. Any idea whatever happened to the weapons that Kline, Paulsen, et al used in yesterday’s Carver County Republicans 1st Annual Shotgun Sporting Clays Challenge Fundraiser ?

    Would the Carver County GOP raffle off those weapons … you know, sorta like a “game used bat” or “game worn jersey” ?

    It could be a money maker … look at Pima County GOP which is holding a raffle for a Glock 23 .40 caliber handgun …. Complete with three 12-round magazines, adjustable grips and a case … retail value under $500. The raffle winner will be selected once they sell 125 tickets at $10.
    Oh, by the way, for those not familiar with Pima County, it is in the district currently represented by Gabriel Giffords ….

  4. Updating this story … the fundraiser has been moved to September 29th (which seems like an odd date since the fiscal year ends the next day and Congress will have to pass a Continueing Resolution to keep the government funded since Mr. Kline has failed to submit Appropriations for approval). Read the story for some of the other antics.

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