The strange cases of Minnesota progressives

Two examples of how leading Minnesota progressives have hit the local news here in the Twin Cities, but probably have not seen much national play. John Hinderaker of Power Line and True North have covered both extensively, and the two in combination shows a certain private-jet progressivism that one normally has to travel to Hollywood to see up close.

The first case involves Senator Mark Dayton, often referred to here as Brave Sir Mark for being the only member of Congress to flee the city after a security briefing in 2004. Yesterday, the Washington Times reported that Dayton had fired a staffer after finding out that he had a heart condition, and then tried to use the Speech and Debate clause of the Constitution to avoid being held liable for his, well, heartless employment decision. The court rejected the argument, but not before Barney Frank and Christopher Shays filed amicus briefs on behalf of the employee and against their former colleague.

Dayton, of course, no longer serves in the Senate. Al Franken would like to represent Minnesota on behalf of progressives, but he also has some strange ideas about worker rights and employer responsibilities. Franken failed to carry the required workers-compensation insurance for his employees for several years:

DFL Senate candidate Al Franken owes a $25,000 penalty to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board for failing to carry workers’ compensation insurance for employees of his namesake corporation from 2002 to 2005, state officials said.

New York officials have made numerous attempts to contact Franken about the matter since April 2005 but have gotten no reply.

Campaign spokesman Andy Barr said that neither Franken nor his wife, Franni, were aware of the matter before Tuesday. They have lived in Minneapolis for the past few years and did not know about the state’s attempts to reach them in New York City, he said.

Unfortunately, Scott Johnson at Power Line has some evidence that Franken lived in New York after the notices went out in April 2005. He attended a Franken event in June of that year and asked about Franken’s residence status, as speculation ran high that he would return to Minnesota for a run at Norm Coleman’s Senate seat. Johnson was told that the Frankens had not yet found a residence in the state and still lived in New York.

Both Democrats seem to have gotten caught at not following the dictates of the bureaucracies they impose on others. Franken’s case could have been simply bad bookkeeping, but ignoring it for three years suggests a certain arrogance. Dayton, on the other hand, looks both cruel and craven in his dealings with his former employee. What happened to the concern for the common man among Minnesota progressives?

UPDATE: I should have included this link to Minnesota Democrats Exposed, my NARN colleague Michael Brodkorb’s site.  He does yeoman work here in Minnesota and first reported on the story.  Be sure to check out the entire post.