Anti-Democratic Blog Messes Up

Luke Hellier of the blog Minnesota Democrats Exposed (MDE) has made an egregious, possibly dishonest “error” in a recent accusation regarding Congressional CandidateJim Meffert. In fact, Hellier has made two errors. Hellier is one of two main bloggers at MDE and formerly served in the Michele Bachmann campaign as Field Staff and Political Director. He is, obviously, a Republican partisan and this blog is…well, a bit of a rag, actually.

Hellier had previously accused the Meffert campaign of misconduct because a volunteer staffer with the campaign had modified Meffert’s Wikipedia entry. It is my understanding that people who have Wikipedia entries (and are alive and stuff) often correct errors or otherwise make appropriate modifications of the entries. Indeed, that is the how and why of Wikipedia itself. In this case, the staffer clearly updated the entry to be more detailed and more accurate. In “exposing” the staff member, Hellier also published private information about her on the MDE site, which is potentially problematic.

But the more interesting, if also much much dumber accusation Hellier made has to do with a Meffert ad using a clip of opponent Erik Paulsen babbling about something on the House floor. Hellier accuses Jim Meffert of violating House rules regarding the use of another member’s footage on the House floor in campaign ads. Such a rule does exist.

Luke Hellier is confused. Jim Meffert is not (yet) a member of Congress. He, like any other American citizen, is not bound by the House rules. The House rules are for sitting members of the House of Representatives (and the Senate has their rules, and so on).

I doubt very much that this is a case of incompetence or ignorance on the part of Hellier, though there is that possibility. I think, rather, that this is Hellier making stuff up in order to have something bad to say about Meffert, who, unfortunately (if you are a Republican) is not an easy person to make bad stuff up about.

But, I also hasten to add another suspicion I have: I think it is possible that Hellier did not think of this dirty trick all by himself. It has been tried before, in very similar circumstances, and as documented here. It would appear that Luke Hellier was following marching orders from HQ, or perhaps bumped into this particular dirty trick and decided to ape it.

Interestingly, what might (or might not) be an item from the Republican Playbook (accusing a Democratic candidate who is not in the House of violating a House rule) is in the Republican Playbook in a different form: Terry Lee, a Republican member from Nebraska apparently is in violation of said rule.

I should point something out regarding these House rules. If you read the relevant parts of the rulebook and not just the part quoted by Hellier, you can see why Meffert not only did not violate House rules (not being in the House and all) but that he also did not violate the spirit of the House rules. The point of the rules regarding a “General Prohibition Against Using Official Resources for Campaign or Political Purposes” is to avoid having members of the House use their official government budget to run for re-election. This stems form the old days when members of the House had, for instance, a “stationary budget” which allowed them to send “informational letters” out to their constituents, and used their travel budgets to stump on their campaigns, and so on and so forth. Not only is that misuse of government funds, but it also sets up a situation where powerful sitting members of the House or Senate can, essentially, manipulate campaign funds of other members. And so on.

But a person who does not hold elected office can grab a clip off C-Span (or whatever) and do pretty much anything with it. And they often do. And he did.

You would think Luke Hellier would know this. Well, he probably does. And now you do to, so he can’t fool you any more!

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2 Responses to “Anti-Democratic Blog Messes Up”

  1. June 25th, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Mike Haubrich says:

    One thing about MDE is that they are good at finding molehills from which to make mountains. They are well connected, and not an “independent” blog. Michael Brodkorb, who was once the anonymous blog owner and muckraker in his own mind, is now the associate chair of the Minn GOP.

    No, this wasn’t incompetence on Hellier’s part.

  2. June 25th, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    George Greene says:

    Interesting that it is actually Paulsen who seems to be violating at least the spirit if not the letter of the House rules by genrously using his franking privileges for what look for all the world like campaign pieces. He actually is in like the top three out of 435 members.

    This is an old trick of GOPers -accuse the other guy of what you are in fact doing and count on most folks to be too busy to check the facts.

    Why anyone pays attention to MDE is beyond me.

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