Monday, January 28, 2008

Tinklenberg's lobbying: "We don't lobby at the federal level"

"We don't lobby at the Federal level"- Elwyn Tinklenberg, 2008 CD 6 DFL candidate. 12-13-07, Buffalo, MN.


City Administrator Kruse addressed the Council asking what their wishes were after they had a chance to hear what Mr. Tinklenberg had to share with them. Does the Council wish to go ahead with hiring Mr. Tinklenberg as a Lobbyist to represent Albertville?

Mayor Peterson feels Albertville needs to go ahead with hiring a lobbyist. Council member Fay was in favor of hiring a lobbyist but has hopes of getting some funds in return. Council member Berning was not much in favor of hiring a lobbyist at this point. Council member Vetsch was new and was hesitant on hiring a lobbyist. Council member Klecker agreed with Peterson and Fay to go ahead with hiring a lobbyist.

Council understood the need to action now because Congress is back in session if the City wants to get any financial assistance from the federal and state levels.

City Administrator Kruse wanted to clarify with City Attorney Couri how would the City draft the contract between the City of Albertville and Mr. Tinklenberg. Some discussion ensued about how to structure an agreement.

MOTION BY Mayor Peterson, seconded by Council member Fay to have staff work with Mr. Tinklenberg to outline a work plan and an agreement for Tinklenberg to Lobby for I-94 funding and report back to the January 18, 2005 Council meeting. Mayor Peterson, Council members Fay, Klecker, and Vetsch voted aye. Council member Berning voted nay. Motion carried. (emphasis added)

Why the discussion of "Congress" "financial assistance from the federal and state levels" and "I-94 funding" if someone does not lobby at "the federal level"?
Why would Elwyn deny lobbying at the federal level when it's pretty clear that he is? What is he hiding?
More to follow on Tinklenberg's lobbying ties...


eric zaetsch said...

By my reckoning, from online resources I trust - town minutes and such where drafts are approved by the various board members so that error in minutes is unlikely - Tinklenberg is [or recently was] lobbying for I-94 in, as the post says, Albertville and in the Hassan Township - Rogers - Dayton for an I-94 interchange to allow dense housing development; for US Highway 10 in Ramsey and Elk River; and for Highway 65 in East Bethel. And each would involve federal contact.

And, what if Tinklenberg is face-to-face with Oberstar, and Jim asks, "Of these projects, which is most deserving of scarce funds?"

He's taking cash from each, for advancing each. How would the wooden dummy [Pinocchio, not El] answer? Agreeing with friends?

Which has put the most into the Tinklenberg Group fisc? Would that be a factor in answering that hypothetical Jim Oberstar question?

Could it? That's the even more fundamental question. The appearance or the possibility of impropriety standard exists to judge actions by an administrative agency. Should it - a possibility of conflicting loyalties, be a measure to judge candidate Tinklenberg? And, in criticizing Tom Delay, is it the Dems saying, "Them = bad; our guy = okay?" Is that just? The two old sayings come to mind, putting one's own house in order; and not throwing stones if living in glass houses. The DFL should not glass house itself this election cycle in the Sixth District - my opinion, not Gospel, but I think it is a sound approach to unseating Michele Bachmann. Run the squeaky clean Bob Olson out of caucus. Don't mess around.

Blue man said...

Thanks Eric,

I agree on many of your points.

However this is not about Oberstar, Coleman, Klobuchar, or any other federal official.

None of them are responsible to verify Elwyn's status.

It's his responsibility to perform his work in accordance with local, state, and federal statutes.

IMHO, we need to keep this about Elwyn Tinklenberg 2008.

Miss Welby said...

hello Blue Man, apologies for the OT on local issues of Minnesota I don't know and cannot comment, but just to say that in Europe we follow with great attention what happens in the American blogosphere in this year of presidential election.

that's why I've given you a link in my blogroll among those I reckon are the 50 finest American bloggers - visit me and see if you want to reciprocate the link.

ciao and best wishes!

eric zaetsch said...

Blue Man - We are parallel in thinking but there is a divergence. You say the rules exist and should be followed. My view, the golden rule, the guys with the gold make the rules, and compromise always is part of any rule-making. Add to that the livelihood of packs of lawyers skilled at finding and expanding loopholes in the rules, and there is cause to focus on policy and ideals, over rules.

The sin I see as original sin in the machine is the revolving door.

With no rules against it, really, the revolving door exists and from my perspective is harmful to the general well-being of the public.

It is probably at its worse when a regulatory agency ages and has industry people coming in and going back out, where the regulatory purpose soon gets coopted to the "public good" being touted or without analysis being equated to the "industry good," and with no real voice in opposition.

How do you stop the revolving door?

Should you? How do you best counter the suggestion, those with experience are best suited to continue with their specialized skill set and background knowledge, and should not be artificially constrained where lesser skilled people then are needed to make the hard public and private efforts and decisions?

It's not simple once you get to the details. But Tinklenberg is a paradigm of the revolving door. And of the career politician. I don't like it. I don't think it is particularly good for the nation, or for locales.

It is as much a gut feeling as something provable one way or another. Would Wellstone, on leaving the Senate had he survived to that point, have gone "private" by going around with a Wellstone Group persona, advancing local improvement agendas for attaining public financing aid? I doubt that.

This what-would-Paul-do view is not a litmus test thing. It is a sense of how I would rather see things operate.

Tinklenberg clearly did register in Minnesota as a lobbyist and on Dec. 20, 2007 altered that registration. Whether and why he decided to take that pair of steps here but to not register nationally is probably a question of rules and loopholes to rules, rather than to true status of activities.

He did contract to assist promotion of efforts to gain public funding at Met. Council, state, and federal levels; with such funding being courted for local projects where we have no idea of his relative committment to one over the other as more deserving of implementation.

Several locales wanted their highway project to be blessed. He contracted with each, and each was in competition with the other for scarce funding. How you square that is for you to decide.

I prefer Olson. I don't know either Olson or Tinklenberg personally. I have spoken with neither. I don't know either set of campaign people. I am agnostic that way.

But with Olson, there will be no such revolving door, career politician, lobbyist "baggage" thing for the Bachmann people to carp over and exploit if Olson is the endorsed DFL candidate and if Tinklenberg either honors the endorsement process or ends up second in a primary challenge.

And I view removing Michele Bachmann from Congress as clearly in the public's best interest. That means the best chance of doing so should be followed.

The hard choice. Hating the revolving door and wanting it to see defeat; the lesser evil choice looms - Tinklenberg vs. Bachmann. How do you play that hand?

Ugh. Gag. Arrrr. %&$*&(!!!

I don't like that possibility of the two-party system in action. I greatly distrust a system that results or could result in giving an electroate that kind of Hobson's choice.