The article isn't online, but he talked to Hutchinson Leader staff reporter Jorge Sosa earlier in the week about his bill to restrict funding to non-profits, and his remarks are a model of scary discourse.
Only the enemy within these days isn't a list of unnamed names of individuals, but undisclosed non-profits from whom he suspects foul play. Newman told the Leader in "Nonprofits on the defensive":
Newman believes that among the state's nonprofit sector, there is a great deal of "duplication of services, or outright waste . . .I have some suspicions, but I really don't want to start naming names until we start the hearing process."
Not that any hearings are scheduled in committee yet:
The bill has been referred to the State Government Innovation and Veterans committee, but no hearing has been scheduled. With an ongoing debate about the state budget under, Newman said, "We have heard very little in the way of policy bills."
"This isn't something that's going to go forward very quickly," he added, "and it might not get a hearing this year."
So Newman won't name names or cite specific evidence of "waste" until his bill is heard, but the process is slow and the committee may not take it up this year.
And what's the purpose of his bill? To start a discussion (though Newman doesn't appear obligated to say anything):
With just 42 words, Sen Scott Newman of Hutchinson hopes to spark a vigorous debate over public funding of Minnesota's nonprofits...
Introducing the bill, Newman said, was his way of starting a public conversation about how many nonprofit organizations are receiving state money, how much money they're receiving and where the money is going.
Except of course, that he doesn't have to get specific in that discussion, just wave suspicions about unnamed nonprofits.
When and if the hearings come, they'll be public:
"I got everybody's attention by doing it this way ...and the second point is that the hearings are very, very public and I want people to know about these nonprofits and the sheer amount of money they receive.
Well, Scott, that certainly does sound scary: a sheer amount of money.
So is this bill intended to save money by only allowing money to go to government or the private, for-profit sectors? Newman can't say about that, either, because he hasn't asked those who might provide a specific answer:
Although one of the bill's aims is to save the state money, Newman said he hasn't sought a fiscal analysis on how much the state could save. That would be a necessary step before the bill leaves the committee.
Since the bill doesn't cap funds for state programs or those contracted to the private sector, on the surface, the measure would seem to simply cut one segment of the economy from receiving funding for programs, while not addressing funding levels themselves.
It's quite possible the same amount of money could be spent, but simply shuffled to a smaller set of vendors for the same services. Or, the number of private business receiving contracts might expand. . Word on the street is that thousands of small businesses open each year in Minnesota, and the duplication of services is breathtaking. Here in Hutchinson, on Highway 7 alone, I count four gas stations with minimarts, and I understand that a number are operating on Highway 15 and sidestreets as well. State owned vehicles might fill up at them. Newman should look into it.
Meanwhile, until those hearings start, Minnesotans should be vigilant.
Next time that sweet-faced Girl Scout stops by to sell you a few cookies, ask the kid what's in her backpack. If you find a poppet in it, call Child Protective Services and ask them to check for unusual marks. She's in league with a nonprofit, and though the very, very public hearings may have to wait until next year, Scott Newman has suspicions, and the witchhunt can't start soon enough.
Photo: Scott Newman, not naming names but kicking....somebody's butt.