Will McMorris-Rodgers Ethics Inquiry Lead to Kline Staffers ?

Yes, we know that it seems that the DoNothing House has done little since the GOP shutdown … okay, so John Kline had his staff mail out certificates” for the Class of 2014

Dear ___,
Congratulations on your high school graduation! This achievement marks a significant milestone towards a promising future, and you should be proud of your accomplishments.
I am please to present to you the enclosed certificate to commemorate your achievement.
Please accept my sincere congratulations and best wishes as you enter a new and exciting phase of life.
As your member of Congress and Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, I remained dedicated to ensuring our nation’s schools help shape our next generation of leaders. Whether you pursue higher education or a career in the workplace, your graduation sets you on a solid path to achiever your goals.
If I can be of assistance to you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Sincerely,
John Kline

And we know that those mailings were paid from taxpayer funds … but surely that letter was “legitimate” communications with constituents … and not “campaign” or “election-related” communications.

Yet, the word of an investigation into activities by Cathy McMorris Rodgers does make one wonder.

For those that do not remember, Cathy McMorris Rodgers gave the “official” Republican response to the State of the Union (see the MN Roundtable home page for a link to the video) and is the highest ranking woman in the House serving as the Chair of the Republican Conference.
But the story that is just getting a little media coverage is that Todd Winer said he was interviewed by the House Ethics Committee this month and that the Office of Congressional Ethics determined that there was “substantial merit” to claims Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers used her office staff to conduct re-election business as well as comingled campaign and official funds.

Winer, a former spokesman for Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers, claimed there was a “smoking gun yet to come” concerning whether McMorris Rodgers’ office staff filled out required paperwork in order to switch to campaign work.

OK … so let’s not bother debating whether John Kline’s mailings were “legitimate” communications with constituents versus “election-related” communications (heck, just look at his Congressional Spending report and spending indicates that it must be legitimate since it was paid by the taxpayers).

Instead, let us look at the Congressional Staff spending report in comparison to the Disbursements reported by the Kline For Congress committee.

The Kline For Congress committee reports :
$1000 to Charles Johnson of Farmington for Administrative Services
$4338 to Troy Young of Farmington for Administrative Salary
$1380 to Brooke Dorobiala of Burnsville for Administrative Salary

These three names also appear on the Congressional payroll … and the pay does not seem to be any reduction from prior periods … leading to the question whether people were just working two jobs … a question that has been raised before. It also has been noted before that John Kline’s Chief of Staff, Jean Hinz, is paid through his Congressional Staff as well as through the House Education and the Workforce Committee (albeit the amount appears to be an allocation between the two tasks but it does allow him to spend more money on his Congressional Staff budget).

Should there be a split between the “campaign” and the “staff” duties ? ? ?

Think about it … someone calls and poses a question … does Troy Young speak for Chairman Kline or Candidate Kline ?

Take for example, the response to the word that in a nationwide contest, Bill Maher’s Flip A District, voters had picked John Kline as the Representative that they would most like replaced.

Kline’s spokesman, Troy Young, dismissed Maher’s contest. He also criticized Obermueller for embracing it.
“Minnesotans are tired of sleazy and slimy politics, but DFL candidate Mike Obermueller certainly isn’t. Maher once saluted 9/11 terrorists and called our troops ‘cowardly,’ he repeatedly has degraded Christians and calls them ‘schizophrenic,’ and he repugnantly compared special-needs children to ‘dogs,’ yet Mike Obermueller promotes this behavior essentially naming Maher as his campaign manager.”

Who paid for Mr. Young’s press statement is a valid question yet let’s praise Mr. Young’s work … it’s a paid spokesman’s gem … it ignores the reason’s why John Kline won … to attack the person announcing that John Kline won. Yes, it’s classic “attack the messenger” response in hopes that voters do not consider the message.

The message was clear (you can ignore the jokes … but not the message) :
As the powerful chairman of the Education Committee, Kline has done more to keep twentysomethings in their parents’ basements than anyone else alive,” informing the audience that Chairman Kline is “The living embodiment of legislation for hire,” questioning how campaign contributions from the University of Phoenix Online may influence his decisions over student loan policy making. Maher argued that 88 percent of students at the University of Phoenix, Kline’s biggest supporter, do not graduate.
More than anyone else we could find”, the Washington DC audience heard that Chairman Kline embodies the “sellouts who keep this town running.” Maher added that besides voting against the Affordable Care Act — 54 times — as well as stem-cell research, marriage equality, raising the minimum wage and even studying climate change, Kline also supported last year’s federal government shutdown.

Those observations were not addressed in Mr. Young’s response … nor was the mention of the closing comment made by Bill Maher predicting that Kline campaign would dismiss his remarks since he’s part of the “Hollywood elite,” but that voters should realize the issue is not about Maher.

It’s about how Americans have had crummy, corrupt representation for so long they’ve just accepted these people hanging around,” Maher argued. “Except they don’t have to. They’re your representatives, not your relatives.”

Point one to Bill Maher … Troy Young followed the “playbook” … but the taxpayers would like to see the “paybook” because we are tired of paying for all of Kline’s mailings and messaging … let the Sperling family pay for the congratulatory letters to high school graduates after all, they are the ones that want them to study at the For-profit schools.

Oh … and by the way … the response from Mike Obermueller to John Kline “recognition” was about John Kline and his over a decade of legislative obstruction :

“This news confirms what we’ve been hearing more and more of each day: folks in the second district are tired of John Kline, and they’re ready to kick him out office. People are fired up and are organizing across the district to remove him from a seat he’s become too comfortable in.
From willingly shutting down the government as a political stunt, to holding up Equal Pay for Equal Work legislation, to trying to raise interest rates on student loans, Kline has proved again and again that he does not truly represent our neighbors in this district.
Our momentum is building every day. And even with this attention, our efforts won’t change. We’re continuing to build our campaign on the strength of the grassroots organizing we know it will take to win this race.”

Yep, this contest is between the Kline Agenda and Mike Obermueller … Bill Maher is just pointing a spotlight on Chairman Kline.

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