Today in St. Paul, Tom Emmer announced the withdrawal of some frivolous ballot challenges--while stressing the arguments that open the possibility for a court case over "reconciliation."
This charade of statesmanship is severely tested by an investigative news report coming out of a Southern Minnesota CBS/FOX affiliate. KEYC-TV has found that the Republican Party of Minnesota has consumed hours of public employees' time, while not paying the cash-strapped counties for the costs of its data requests related to the election.
Although it hasn't been able to pay the counties what it owes--or pick up the materials requested--the Republican Party of Minnesota did find it in its heart to threaten to take the counties to court if they didn't comply with the data requests fast enough, the investigation revealed.
As the report noted, the threat came during a time when the counties also needed to work on the legally mandated recount.
Hot Dish: von Sternberg decodes Emmer's dogwhistle
In a post on the Strib's Hot Dish Politics blog, the Star Tribune's Bob von Sternberg writes:
Rep. Tom Emmer broke his long post-election silence Friday morning, saying during a news conference that he's directing his attorneys to withdraw some of the thousands of ballots his supporters have challenged during the recount of the governor's race.He also said he is "not currently planning an election contest" -- legal jargon for a court battle that could keep the governor's office in limbo for weeks or for months.But in saying so, he also laid heavy stress on one of the arguments that would likely be used in a court challenge if DFLer Mark Dayton is declared the winner after the recount, a standard known as "reconciliation."
Read the entire piece at the Strib. It's interesting that the TV news report below notes that the GOP has yet to pick up the documentation it has requested, yet intimates that it will contest the election on that yet-unseen data.
Moreover, the withdrawal of frivolous ballot challenges suggests that the MNGOP is succumbing to the pressure of transparency. After looking online at frivolous challenges, the public elected to believe its lying eyes, rather than Emmer's crack recount team. (Some examples here).
County Auditors have been busy this week recounting election night ballots...but they've also been working hard to finish an even tougher task.Both political parties involved in the recount are asking counties for copies of data practices and election documents. . . .
Bridgette Kennedy, Nicollet County Auditor say, "Staff has been stretched really thin and I don't say that only for Nicollet County but I know that's across the state, everybody's in the same boat.
That's because every county in the state was contacted by the Republican Party the day after the election and asked to produce a long list of election documents...Documents that were also requested by DFLers a week later.
In all ...the Republican list included more than a dozen items.... ranging from copies of all voter registration applications, to rosters, and information about absentee ballots.
In Nicollet County alone, election officials say over 100 hours have been dedicated to this request... hours and paper that could ultimately cost each party around three thousand dollars.
Two weeks ago the County sent letters to both parties requiring a 1,000 dollar down payment.They say the DFL Party has paid...but the Republican Party has not...
Kennedy says, "To date we haven't received anything yet."
And other counties say they're facing the same problem...Brown County has requested a paycheck from the state GOP twice with no luck...the bill there is 846 dollars.Waseca County hasn't sent a bill yet but it could total at least 5000 dollars per party....
On top of the documents request...Both Nicollet County and Waseca County were threatened with litigation by the Republican Party if documents were not completed in a timely manner
Kennedy says, "Then we were notified that with threatened litigation that if we didn't have that available that they would pursue another means of obtaining that information and or suing the city basically."
And now much of the work ready, neither party has arranged to pick up the completed documents in Nicollet County
Kennedy says, "Not that I relish the thought of completing the task and getting all the copies made, but I would feel horrible if the taxpayer dollars have been used fruitlessly with having 10,000 copies sitting here."
In contacting the Republican Party this afternoon the response was "we'll look into it," but nothing was mentioned as to when counties could expect to be paid.
Meanwhile, the Dayton campaign has put its effort into tracking data from the hand recount, and working on the transition to power. The contrast with the Phantom Menace's actions--threats and laughably frivolous challenges--speaks for itself.