Sunday, Bluestem Prairie broke the story of the 2008 pardon extraordinary of Jeremy Giefer. Late Monday, the Star Tribune noticed:
The criminal charges filed against Giefer this month have drawn attention to the earlier pardon as Pawlenty weighs a possible run for president.
Since reporter Pat Doyle's passive construction doesn't reveal where that attention was drawn (and I know of no other blog or news source other than Bluestem to post on the pardon), the source of that attention will simply have to remain a mystery to Star Tribune readers.
Unless, of course, they noticed the linked headline on the paper's online Politics page "Blog Forum" beginning Sunday night, where the paper is kind enough to list Bluestem.
Doyle's article focuses mostly on the potential impact of the board pardon on the governor's presidential ambitions. The veteran reporter interviews political pundits from across the land for their opinion on how the news might impact Pawlenty's chances.
My favorite? The nicely understated wit of Larry Sabato:
Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia and a veteran presidential campaign observer, said the circumstances of Giefer's pardon differ sharply from commutations granted by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, another potential Republican candidate for president. Still, Sabato said Giefer's pardon could be used against Pawlenty if he becomes a serious candidate for president.
"Could it hurt him?" Sabato asked. "To some degree."
Since Pawlenty has yet to make an impression on the GOP base nationwide, that's one heckova an "if."
However, both Sabato and Doyle overlook another incident of a sex offender being released under Pawlenty's watch; a Bluestem reader's memory proved more reliable this afternoon. One can hardly fault Sabato for missing the story of Dru Sjodin.
Have sex offenders ever been a priority with Pawlenty?
Pawlenty initially let out both Dru Sjodin and the Groene's family killers.
She then cites sourced information from Pawlenty Unplugged (apparently via this 2008 post on Daily Kos--I've had to locate soures that document the information at the now-defunct PU site).
Here's the passage at DK:
STATEMENT: As a candidate for governor, Tim Pawlenty said that, "We won’t have a catch-and-release program for violent criminals...."1( Jack B. Coffman, "Lt. Gov. Joanne Benson Gets Boostin Republican Straw Poll; Party Activists Prefer Her Over Quist--For Now," St. Paul Pioneer Press, Sept. 21, 1997, Nexis All-News, accessed 11/30/2010).
And, as Majority Leader, Pawlenty criticized Governor Ventura for not spending money on criminal justice initiatives, saying, "If you have children being abducted and murdered because repeat offenders are falling through cracks in our criminal justice system, I’d say that’s a pretty good emergency. You ask regular people what bugs them most...and this is right up there."2 (James Walsh, "GOP crime plan tackles repeat offenses, information issues," Minneapolis Star Tribune, January 11, 2000, Nexis All-News, accessed 11/30/2010).
YO-YO: In January, 2003, Governor-elect Pawlenty said that with the state facing a budget deficit, the corrections budget would be on the table for cuts, like every other area. 3 (Ashley H. Grant, "Pawlenty names chief of staff, corrections commissioner, others," Associated Press, January 2, 2003, Nexis All-News, accessed 11/30/2010).
True to his word, in his 2004-05 biennial budget recommendation, the Governor proposed "significant budget reductions" in such core services as sex offender evaluation and sex offender notification.4
In May, 2003, Dr. Anita Schlank, head of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, resigned after being told that the program was growing at an "unsustainable rate" and being directed to draw up a list of 40 civilly committed sex offenders to place in community housing in order to save money.5 (Star Tribune)
Governor Pawlenty’s Human Services Commissioner initially called Schlank’s claim outrageous, but later recanted after another employee corroborated Schlank.6 (Star Tribune)
In December, 2003, the Pawlenty Administration was severely criticized for releasing Alfonso Rodriguez from prison, rather than referring him for civil commitment as a sexual psychopath, where he would have been confined in a secure mental hospital. Rodriguez, a convicted sex offender, allegedly kidnapped and murdered Dru Sjodin. It was recently noted that referrals to the sex offender program have surged since Dru Sjodin’s murder.7 (Star Tribune)
This is because the Pawlenty Administration had been allowing dangerous sex offenders like Rodriguez to leave prison without being properly referred for civil commitment prior to the Sjodin murder. . . .
Since the PU post was created, Rodriguez has been convicted of Sjodin's murder in North Dakota and sentenced to death.
Will the Republican base link the Giefer pardon and the Rodriguez murder--and find a disturbing pattern in Pawlenty's record with predators?