While we have relatively clean government in Minnesota, sometimes the politics of elections here can get positively criminal — or at least ridiculously petty.  In this case, we can add “tremendously stupid”.  A campaign volunteer for DFL Congressional candidate Ashwin Madia stole lawn signs advertising the Republican candidate, Eric Paulsen, and got caught on camera doing it:

My NARN colleague Michael Brodkorb happened to be at the Perkins restaurant across the street and captured the incident on tape:

I always carry at least one video camera with me at all times, so I gave my video camera to my friend and he filmed the woman walking back into the Perkins’ parking lot with the Paulsen for Congress lawn signs. When confronted, the woman first claimed she was just “a private citizen…” But after I noticed the car she was driving had a Ashwin Madia for Congress bumper sticker, she admitted that she “also happened to be a Madia volunteer.”

According to multiple sources who have seen the video, the car driven by the Madia volunteer who took the Paulsen for Congress lawn signs has been identified as being owned by Madia’s communications director Dan Pollock. This is the same Dan Pollock who claimed this week that Madia is running a “very positive, issue-oriented campaign”:

“‘[Team Madia is ] running a very positive, issue-oriented campaign,’ Pollock said.” Source: Sun Newspapers, September 23, 2008

Having your communications director’s car used as a get-a-way vehicle doesn’t help build the case that you’re “…running a very positive, issue-oriented campaign.”

What’s dumber than stealing lawn signs?  Getting caught stealing lawn signs. What’s even dumber than that?  Using a campaign official’s car as your get-away vehicle.  Why didn’t they just hold a press conference and let the media watch the Madia Sign Theft Operation in action?

You have to love the rationalization of this young woman for her thievery.  The signs were on a public right-of-way?  Then call the police to deal with it, or the city offices.  Who gave her the authority to enforce public law?  Did she get an Ashwin Madia Junior City Inspector Badge with that free bumper sticker?

A few years ago, state Rep. Phyllis Kahn, another DFL politician, got convicted for stealing her opponent’s literature from the doorstep of constituents.  I guess this is just a continuing DFL strategy here in Minnesota.  It could be worse, though.  At least Madia isn’t threatening the broadcast licenses of stations that air criticism of him.