Monday, December 24, 2007

Eric Z on Tinklenberg's lobbying ways

Eric Z has a strongly worded post on Elwyn Tinklenberg's lobbying ways, from Albertville City Council minutes.

One thing stood out to me, on the heels of Elwyn Tinklenberg saying he does not lobby on a Federal Level at the December SD 19 meeting.
City Administrator Kruse presented opening comments stating that the purpose of the workshop was: to seek Council direction for an I-94 layout, which staff will take to the I-94 Implementation Task Force; to ask the Council to endorse this layout; and to seek Federal Funding. The Tinklenberg Group will update the Council on their efforts obtaining Federal Funding, and discuss their strategy for the 2007 funding cycle. SEH will review several layouts and seek concurrence on a preferred layout. SEH will discuss associated cost to complete a preliminary design or staff approved layout. (Emphasis added)

It's interesting to note that Tinklenberg is working in conjunction with SEH Engineering. Recall who SEH is, they got some non-competitive bid contracts during Elwyn's tenure as MnDOT commissioner.
One example involves Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH) of St. Paul. In 1998, the department signed a three-year, $750,000 contract with SEH for road-design services. Two years into the contract, it tagged on an amendment for $750,000, citing the heavy workload. It was among eight SEH contracts with supplements exceeding 60 percent of their original value.

Taken together, the original contracts were worth $3.6 million, and the supplements added $3.3 million. Two years ago, a MnDOT project manager broke the law by telling Short Elliott Hendrickson to start design work on the project even though the $60,000 contract wasn't signed. The firm finished the job, but the city pulled out of the arrangement.

And also recall that SEH executives contributed over $3000 to Elwyn's campaign in 06. I sure can't wait until Tinklenberg's first 08 FEC report comes out!

The minutes from the Albertville City Council meeting are interesting.
The Tinklenberg Group will proceed to seek Federal Funding for the I-94 Project at an estimated cost of $3,000 per month.

S.E.H. and the Tinklenberg Group will collaborate and put together a Public Involvement Plan whereby a newsletter or brochure will be sent to Albertville residents and specific business owners that would be assessed and affected by the proposed I-94 Project.

Do you have to register as a lobbyist if you can just walk in the front door of your Congressional buddies? Just curious. I think this answers the question that Elwyn lied to the SD 19 folks about.

I agree with Eric's sentiment on why this is important to get out in the open now.
Can you imagine the NRCC hate mailings about the man's baggage, and how Brodkorb will be blogging? It will be a slaughter - and perhaps one of the nastiest elections in State history. Do you suppose there's any truth to the stories that he is Jim Oberstar's protege? With influence that way, on the House Transportation Committee? Again, what is the man selling, to get all those consulting contracts? Do you think the GOP will not be asking such questions on the ramp-up to November 2008?

With all of this out there on Tinklenberg, if he were to win the endorsement or simply not abide by it (my guess is 75-25 Tinklenberg is set for a primary), he's Mark Kennedy irrelevant by mid August.

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