But violating the law and the truth hasn't bothered Republicans much this year. They were probably just in a hurry, right?
Among the pieces of mail Republicans have placed in my box this weekend is the newst big lie and distraction from real policy issues from the state GOP: the accusation that Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's $1300 expenditures of taxpayer dollars at "exclusive baby boutique" Baby Elements in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, represent some scandalous "silver spoon" "spending spree."
Hmmm... how does the GOP lie to us? Let me count the ways:
- "Exclusive": I'm reviewing the store's description and not seeing how they "exclude" anyone. The "exclusive" part of this store is that it features handmade pieces available exclusively in Sioux Falls.
- The GOP implies these were irresponsible expenditures. As Dr. Newquist points out, the expenditures were authorized, audited, and approved by a standard Congressional budget ovesight procedure... the kind of fiscal responsibility our South Dakota Republican crony capitalists don't follow as they issue no-bid contracts and bloat the state motor pool to benefit their wealthy friends.
- Dr. Newquist informs us that these expenses were far from outlandish expenditures; they are pretty much the cost of doing business as a Congressperson:
And what were the funds spent for? For the mounting and framing of historic documents, photographs, and cultural materials, such as star quilts, for the member offices to inform visitors of the traditions under which Congress operates and to promote the features of South Dakota. Anyone can view these items on display at the offices [David Newquist, "The Annals of Libel: A Campaign Strategy," Northern Valley Beacon, 2010.10.30].
- In spending taxpayer dollars for standard office decoration, the Congresswoman bought goods and services from a local South Dakota craftsperson.
- The Congresswoman did exactly what her Republican challenger Kristi Noem did on a much larger scale with the stimulus dollars: bringing federal dollars that would have been spent elsewhere here to South Dakota. $1300 in framing for the office is peanuts dust compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars Noem and Governor Mike Rounds have spent from the federal stimulus package to avoid making hard state budget choices.
- Remember, Herseth Sandlin has a tendency to put money back into the South Dakota economy, while Noem prefers to export our money to John Thune's adman in Texas.
- Republicans tell you Speaker Nancy Pelosi is evil... but they wouldn't even have the information they are twisting into lies if Pelosi had not ordered the online publication of the House Disbursements in 2009.
- Thanks to Speaker Pelosi's drive for transparency, we can also learn that Minnesota GOP Congresswoman and conservative firebrand Michele Bachmann spent almost $44K in taxpayer money on franked mail. Bachmann spent more than twice as much in total and per household on mass mailings to constituents than did Herseth Sandlin over the period reported.
Update 2010.11.02 10:05 CDT: Jeff Long, postal inspector and spokesman for the Postal Inspection Service out of Minneapolis, tells Austin Kaus at the Mitchell Daily Republic that the illegally placed campaign materials included literature for District 8 State Senator Russell Olson. Alas, says, Long, prosecution for this misdemeanor offense is unlikely. As usual, we aren't supposed to pay attention to Russell Olson's violations of the law.