Minnesota’s First Congressional District includes much of the southern part of the state. This is a very conservative area, and also a very white area. There are counties that have more combines than people of color. A lot more.
It happens to include Rochester, which is where the Mayo Clinic is located, which gives Liberals (or, at least, Centrists) a chance. This is why Tim Walz, a high school teacher and National Guard lifer was able to represent CD1 as an elected DFLer (DFL = Minnesota’s Democratic Party) for several terms. He had to walk that fine line. He is essentially a progressive, but won there anyway. For various reasons, however, he almost lost his most recent election, and was destine to finally get voted out by an increasingly Trumpian mass of corn farmer, despite having support in the medico-academic community around Mayo and the University in Rochester. He ran that cycle for Governor, and that is what he is now.
Two years ago, Dan Feehan, representing the DFL, and Jim Hagedorn, representing the Republicans, faced off. Dan was a great candidate and a great person, a Paul Wellstone inspired combat veteran. He served for a time as the acting Assistant Secretary of Defense, under Barack Obama. He has since worked with the Farmers Union in Minnesota, focusing on Healthcare.
Jim Hagedorn was the offspring of a former US Representative (Tom Hagedorn) and was half raised in McLean, Virginia and half Truman, Minnesota. For years he ran a blog called “Mr Conservative” that included a LOT of sexist, misogynistic, racist, islamophobic, and anti-Native American yammering. When people noticed and he got called out, he claimed he was only joking. The Washington Examiner declared him “the worst midterm candidate in America” last cycle.
When the corn farmers and medical professionals of the increasingly conservative 1st District were asked to chose between the two, 291,085 people voted, and by virtue of a mere 658 votes, Hagedorn had won the district.
Then he went to work being an asshole. I won’t go into all the details, but here is the latest in a DFL press release:
Hagedorn’s Report Confirms Corruption Within Congressional Office
Independent investigation needed to answer remaining questions
St. Paul, MN – On the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, Congressman Jim Hagedorn quietly released his internal review of the ongoing corruption scandal in his Congressional office. Despite Hagedorn hiring a lawyer for crooked politicians to get him off the hook, the basic facts of the report are damning:
- “Congressman Hagedorn fully agrees that he is ultimately responsible” for the potentially illegal mismanagement of over $450,000 in taxpayer dollars.
- Abernathy West is likely tied to Congressman Hagedorn’s top staffer who spent half a year breaking ethics rules and potentially directing our tax dollars into his pockets.
- Congressman Hagedorn allowed two businesses to rip off U.S. taxpayers by dramatically overcharging Hagedorn’s office for services for over half a year.
- Congressman Hagedorn is still employing John Sample, a staffer whose company received over $110,000 in taxpayer dollars from the Congressman’s office. As multiple ethics experts have said, Hagedorn’s decision to do business with his own staffer “violated House rules” and constitutes “a problem,” raising “neon signs flashing red signals all over the place.”
Hagedorn’s far-from-independent report fails to answer numerous, serious questions:
- Why did Congressman Hagedorn lie about completely delegating his mail program to his chief of staff when that was clearly not true?
- Why did it take reporting months after-the-fact for Hagedorn to become aware of the potentially illegal activity taking place within his own office?
- How was it that Congressman Hagedorn hired two different staffers who funnel our tax dollars into their pockets?
The report confirms that there still needs to be an independent investigation and Congressman Hagedorn owes it to the people of southern Minnesota to publicly release all relevant correspondence including text messages, emails, and letters prior to Election Day.
DFL Chairman Ken Martin released the following statement:
“It’s laughable that Jim Hagedorn would ask the public to trust him and his bought-and-paid-for report after Hagedorn spent months lying to Minnesotans and trying to cover up the corruption within his own office. Even a lawyer for crooked politicians couldn’t conceal the fact that there was massive wrongdoing in Hagedorn’s office and that an independent investigation is needed to get to the bottom of it.
“Congressman Hagedorn is responsible for using almost half a million of our tax dollars to line the pockets of his employees. This corruption within Hagedorn’s office went on unchecked for months until media reports exposed it to the public, at which point Hagedorn lied to the public and tried to deflect blame. The people of Minnesota deserve better than crooked politicians like Jim Hagedorn.”
Now would be a good time to give Dan Feehan some money, or help his campaign in some other way.