MN01 Hagedorn : Incompetency or Embezzlement ?

Gotta bet that not many voters will bother to read the 233 page Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) report on findings and exhibits presented in their review of Minnesota’s First District Congressman Jim Hagedorn spending of taxpayer dollars and receiving campaign committee space at no (or below market) cost … and that is exactly what Elliot S. Berke (Hagedorn’s attorney) wants … ’cause Mr. Berke explains in his two page response : “We look forward to working with the next Congress on a rule change that can institute better fiscal discipline within the OCE.” Hmmm … next Congress ?

Yep … don’t blame Jimmy … blame the investigators for being fiscally irresponsible by responding to complaints over Mr. Hagedorn’s spending and shady deals.

First a little MN Political Roundtable history on a subject that was frequently featured … on January 27, 2020, the Congressman Hagedorn spending was questioned on : “in his first year in Congress, Congressman Hagedorn has found Franked Mail to be quite a benefit. Actually, just in the July 1 – September 30, 2019 reporting period, Congressman Hagedorn sent out 60,659 pieces of mass mailings at a taxpayer cost of $21,669.59. That’s just in one quarter !

On February 6, 2020, another spending item was questioned “On September 4, 2019 Congressman Hagedorn paid $41,088.00 to INVOCQ TECHNOLOGIES LLC for printing and reproductions, so you can only imagine how much the latest mailings will cost.”

On March 2, 2020, the question was asked : “What would you do with $210,668.38 ?” That was the amount Congressman Hagedorn spent on publications and reproductions in his first year in Congress … an amount that was almost double of what the other seven members of the Minnesota delegation spent … with six spending less than $7,000. In particular, it was noted that “Congressman Hagedorn spent $158,065.28 with Abernathy West LLC”

These are taxpayer dollars … something that Congressman Hagedorn professes to be concerned about. Yet it wasn’t until June 18, 2020 that “Congressman Hagedorn became concerned” … and that concern was because on June 8, 2020 LegiStorm ran a story that “Congressman Hagedorn had spent 40% of his 2020 budget in just 3 months.”

The 233 page report provides a lot of insight into how Jim Hagedorn operates and who Jim Hagedorn cares about.

The how is that there were no contracts and no formal bidding which should be red flags in any organization … instead it seems to be “old buddies” getting together as apparently Peter Su and Jim Hagedorn had worked together “twenty years ago” and became his Chief of Staff (Jan. 2019-June 2020). Mr. Su told candidate Hagedorn that he would probably not win but “hypothetically and wishful thinking, if he wins, …” Mr. Su stated that he met John Sample around 2010, while the two were employed together in Virginia state government … Mr. Su says that he told Mr. Sample he would introduce him to candidate Hagedorn if he won his seat, so that Mr. Sample could offer his services as a digital media consultant …. later Mr. Sample became a Digital Media employee on Congressman Hagedorn’s staff … and Mr. Sample is a an owner of Invocq. According to Mr. Su, Congressman Hagedorn was present for at least one of the conversations with Mr. Sample about those concerns related to Sample’s work for Invocq.

And the who is … well Congressman Hagedorn “wanted to highlight his work before the International Trade Commission for Cambria. Cambria’s owner is a friend of his, a donor.” Or another comment in Mr. Su’s transcript “Let’s say Hagedorn at the Federal Trade Commission or Hagedorn at a farm talking to a a friend of his who is a donor and he want to use that picture to feature his work on ag issues.” Notice the key words … friend and donor … that is who Congressman Hagedorn is working for. FYI From Cambria quartz countertops to Davis Family Dairies to Sun Country Airlines, the Davis Family Holdings operates many companies … and are regular donors to Jim Hagedorn and other Republican candidates … i.e. Davisco Foods International donated $527,300 to 2020 candidates … all Republicans.

Mr. Su commented that Congressman Hagedorn “marks” them up … so there is no question that Congressman Hagedorn knew what he wanted presented in his taxpayer-paid mailings … he just didn’t seem to be concerned about the cost.

And if Congressman Hagedorn truly cared about Minnesota small businesses … why did he stop using them after six months of his first term ? Blue Earth Graphics stated that service requests from Rep. Hagedorn’s office abruptly ended with no explanation. Further, Blue Earth Graphics explained that their printed mail offerings were fully customizable and that they had never received requests from Rep. Hagedorn that they were unable to fulfill.

After reading the OCE document, the argument that Congressman Hagedorn was “new” and may have been unfamiliar with the rules seems implausible (OCE firmly rejects that argument) … as does incompetent … leading to the question is this actually, embezzlement? After all the definition of embezzlement is “theft or misappropriation of funds placed in one’s trust or belonging to one’s employer.” The taxpayers are the employers and Jim Hagedorn cannot be trusted … especially when Congressman Hagedorn refused to cooperate with the OCE review.

Reference Findings

Click to access OCE%20Report%20and%20Findings%20Exhibits.pdf