This endorsement letter was sent to me from Tammy Lee, the I-P candidate in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District. It seems like Congressman Sabo is quietly endorsing Lee. Sabo’s spokeswoman says he has not endorsed Lee but his photo is on her website and now his district director is backing Lee. Does Keith Ellison, the DFL candidate, face a threat? I asked this before and will again — If Sabo couldn’t get his former chief of staff elected by openly endorsing and campaigning for him, how will a quiet endorsement help Lee? Anyway, here’s the letter:
Statement from Kathleen Anderson, District Director for Congressman Martin Sabo
October 18, 2006
For the past 28 years, Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District has been represented by Martin Sabo—a man whom all agree has demonstrated the highest ethical standards. In my years working for Martin, I never once had to wince or blush because of his personal or professional behavior. I think the people of this district deserve no less in their next representative.
Especially in light of the recent rash of misdeeds in Washington (this past year alone four Republican congressmen have been forced to relinquish their offices due to ethical transgressions), it is important to send someone to replace Martin who will continue to make us proud. Unfortunately, Keith Ellison, the DFL endorsed candidate, falls short in this regard.
The primary responsibility of any elected official is to make the laws. At the very least, our lawmakers should set a good example by obeying those laws. Is that asking too much? Apparently so, when it comes to Mr. Ellison. Time and again, he has demonstrated a scofflaw attitude.
What is a scofflaw? The dictionary says “a contemptuous law violator.” In fairness, contemptuous may be too strong a word to describe Mr. Ellison’s behavior. I can not know with certainty Ellison’s motivations. To be kind, perhaps he is simply disorganized when it comes to these matters. Nonetheless, he has repeatedly – and very recently – violated the laws the rest of us routinely obey.
For example, his numerous unpaid speeding and parking tickets have led to license suspensions in the past and yet another suspension just this summer. In addition, his failure to properly file and pay taxes on several occasions in the 1990s and early 2000s – actually resulting in a lien being placed on his property – is also serious cause for concern.
Naturally, none of us enjoys getting a traffic ticket. But if and when we do, we readily pay the fine.
Understandably, most of us dread April 15 when it is time to pay the taxes we owe, but we still settle up and write the check before the deadline, if additional taxes are due.
Most of us do not run for public office, but those who do must file campaign reports in a timely fashion. Here again, Mr. Ellison has displayed a disregard for the law. By filing late, or filing inaccurately, he has – as recently as this summer – been found in noncompliance of these laws and fined by the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board.
Again, I can not know what leads Mr. Ellison to be so casual or cavalier about these matters. By his actions, however, he seems to feel that he should only obey these laws at his convenience – when he gets around to it. When a lawmaker behaves in this fashion, what example does that set for the rest of us – or more importantly for our children?
It is often said that “past is prologue.” But, Mr. Ellison’s “scofflaw” attitude is not in the distant past – it is ongoing. Accordingly, we should be rightly concerned that these ethical mis-steps will continue into the future. Clearly, the best way to prevent unethical behavior by politicians once in office is to seek the truth about their character now—before the election. And it is on this ground—on his character—that I find Keith Ellison unfit to represent Minnesota’s Fifth District in congress.
With the choices that remain on the November 7th ballot, Independence Party candidate, Tammy Lee, is the only candidate that I feel can carry on Congressman Martin Sabo’s legacy. I’m voting for Tammy Lee.