Tinklenberg spokesman John Wodele got back to me Monday and said he considers the accusation to be not a legitimate news story, since he said the US Attorney's office has rejected the letter's request.
For the record, Wodele said, Tinklenberg is not registered as a lobbyist and does not need to be registered as a lobbyist, under the 1995 Federal Lobbying Disclosure Act.
Further, he said, if Tinklenberg had met the criteria to register as a lobbyist and had failed to do so, the only consequence would be that he would be required to register in order to get everything straight.
Wodele, in his best Obi Wan Kenobi impression, "These aren't the droids you're looking for..."
a. Either has no idea what he's talking about.
b. Flat out lied to Larry Schumacher.
We'll let you decide based on the evidence...
From Developers are Crabgrass:
To me this is about as good as it gets. In response to the letter sent U.S. Attroney Frank J. Magill, Jr., last week posted here, Jan. 29, 2008, Mr. Magill replied that the matter is not within his jurisdiction, but my letter has been duly forwarded - it was a joint letter sent Feb. 1, to Jerry Hiniker and to me.
It is fortunate that it takes the local U.S. Attorney's office out of something that otherwise might have been politicized to harm that office - or at least had that potential.
It appears the Secretary of the Senate and Clerk of the House have jurisdiction over matters concerning registration of lobbyists under the statute. That is something I was unaware of, in contacting the Justice Department. It is a statute I am unfamiliar with and I erred.
However the letter is being forwarded to the Department of Justice's Office of Legislative Affairs "to determine whether the matter should be forwarded to the Secretary or Clerk."
It's not over yet and this is still media worthy. The US Attorney forwarded the letter...they've not found Elwyn innocent or guilty.
Schumacher then posts:
That seems right, as I remember covering a similar episode during the 2005 state Senate special election in which then-lobbyist Tarryl Clark was tardy filing required state lobbying reports. She updated them and that was the end of the story.
In any event, Wodele said Tinklenberg does not meet the following criteria, from the act:
Who is a Lobbyist?
Any person who:
Receives compensation of $5,000 or more per six-month period, or makes expenditures of $20,000 or more per six-month period, for lobbying;
Makes more than one lobbying contact; and
Spends 20 percent or more of his or her time over a six-month period on lobbying activities for an organization or a particular client.
Unless each of these criteria is met, there is no registration requirement for that individual.
I've seen the numbers from Elk River, Albertville, East Bethel, and Ramsey. This is purely highway projects, not counting any of Tinklenberg's rail projects, which are often times more spendy.
The amounts of money paid by each of these cities fulfils the first criteria.
City Council minutes in both Albertville and Elk River indicate that he is making more than one lobbying contact in Washington DC. Two criteria met.
The last criteria is nearly impossible for an independent journalist to account for. I do find it tough for me to believe that Tinklenberg spent less than 10 hours a week lobbying on these projects. Perhaps a Freedom of Information Act request will be in order to get timecards and a proper accounting of the time spent on these projects.
The Clark situation is completely different. From what I recall, she simply filed an amendment.
Tinklenberg has never filed anything.
"Move along now, nothing to see here..."
While the Tinklenberg campaign continues to push that idea, we'll remain vigilant.