Saint Paul (AP) — The far-reaching investigation into a Minnesota Legislature “bounty” scandal is reverberating across the nation and threatens to tarnish the loveable image of the Minnesota GOP Party.
As many as 27 Minnesota GOP legislators were reportedly paid an undisclosed amount of Super PAC donations for vicious hits intended to knock low-income Minnesotans out of the safety net.
According to undisclosed sources, GOP-friendly Super PACs paid into a “bounty” fund, and former GOP Chair Bobby Butterball would dole out the bounty payments based on how many low income people were knocked out of the social safety net.
Especially large bounties were reportedly paid by Super PACs for a number of recent bell-ringing hits against vulnerable Minnesotans:
• Making deep budget cuts impacting the most vulnerable Minnesotans, in order to protect the wealthy from paying their fair share in taxes;
• Attacking poverty stricken children as “animals” who shouldn’t be fed;
• Blocking implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which will reduce the uninsured rate by 32 million people; and
• Pushing a photo ID law that makes it more difficult for low income people to vote bounty recipients out of office.
Facing mounting evidence, Butterball now admits carrying out the cash-for-performance scheme.
“If children were somehow upset by being called “animals” who shouldn’t be fed, we sincerely regret that they are choosing to victimize us,” Butterball said in a written apology. “Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have done a better job covering it up. For that, I am deeply, deeply sorry.”
Despite the tearful Butterball apology, many Republican legislators maintain politics has always been a violent sport built around punishing your most vulnerable constituents. And they point out that Minnesota Republicans still have 17 percent of Minnesotans who approve of their job performance.
Robert Hitman, a former GOP spokesperson and writer of the blog democratsaregravysuckingpigswhoaregoingtofryforallofeternityinhell.com, said the best legislators in the history of politics have always brought a toughness to the game.
“They want an edge mentally,” explained Hitman. “They want to break their opponent’s will to vote, and the best way to break to do that is to strip away their ability to eat, work and get health care for their loved ones. The media needs to stop whining, because that’s just how the game is played.”
Still, many political observers say the bounty program went too far.
“We really have to figure out where to draw the line,” said University of Minnesota political science professor Clarence B. Milquetoast. “And now I’m obligated to say that both parties are equally guilty.”