Do we want an imprudent risk taker in Congress representing us? I do not.
And I think that a careful, prudent and conservative man, in Elwyn Tinklenberg's position back in 2003 and onward, would have been registered from the start as a lobbyist here, if for no reason but cya.
Here are the two relevant pages of meeting minutes, 28 Jan. 2003 (within a fiscal quarter of Tinklenberg Group's being incorporated by Elwyn Tinklenberg, Nov. 2002).
Here are the three relevant pages from the 249 page full agenda for the meeting.
Many questions are begged by the brevity of how things are stated, the vagueness of words, and how circumstances fit together.
What final picture would YOU paint?
I leave the reader to paint, I only note a few landscape highlights:
This involves the same James Norman who became a Tinklenberg Group associate after his precipitous job termination with Ramsey under rumored compromised circumstances. Apparently James Norman set up the consultancy arrangements between Tinklenberg and the city officials from the start, and papers show he was the City "Principal Contact" Elwyn Tinklenberg dealt with - closely - at relevant times. A citizen, Ed Hamilton, pointed out back then that Tinklenberg had left rattling skeletons at MnDOT on leaving and was under investigation, and questioned the wisdom of premature entry into a contract.
Federal "park and ride" grant dollars due Ramsey were being "frozen" by MnDOT, but with the consultancy set up officials then felt the impound would be released within a week, or at least MnDOT would be approached about it by the good mayor within a week. This was federal money previously under MnDOT jurisdiction, and the role of Tinklenberg in securing the money for Ramsey before leaving the agency, or in the interim, is unclear. The contract offer under Elwyn Tinklenberg's signature stated services rendered at $200/hr included, "Arrange a meeting with State transportation officials to clarify status of planning and schedule related to TH # 10," i.e., approaching the agency he had just left, where he was lead highwayman, and presumably arrangments so arranged by him at $200/hr might have involved park and ride fund unimpounding. I could not say, and I bet there's a scant paper trail if any.
Elwyn Tinklenberg could then have suggested that unimpounding step as proper, as Ramsey's spokesman and representative to the agency he had just headed.
Currently, he has just been lobbying for the Anoka County Regional Railroad Authority, until Dec. 2007, and in Jan. 2008 he signed up to represent Ramsey's chances for a rail stop where that very Railroad Authority had a voice in decision making. Isn't all that quite a liking for the revolving door, more than once, and each time, isn't that lobbying - first, in 2003, a state agency where he'd recently been lead dog? Don't you have to lawfully register to be doing that? Currently, lobbying to the folks the prior year he'd been lobbying for. That takes brass.
Now, with a total of over $840,000 having been disbursed from Ramsey to Tinklenberg Group from Jan 2003 onward, (some reimbursed to Ramsey from other public monies, but still it's public money from taxes being paid, since only the federal treasury prints money). And over $320,000 was cash squeezed from Ben Dover and others out here, unreimbursed from any other bigger tax cash pool.
Isn't the entire thing lobbying MnDOT at the start in 2003, and lobbying "local legislators" at present in 2008, and with the two pieces of bread of the sandwich being lobbying, what would YOU call the fillings?
Now, in fairness, some of the Ramsey or other taxed public money given Tinklenberg Group was reimbursement for prepaid expenses, as where the Highway 10 AUAR was involved. But the lion's share only went one place.
Met Council RALF funding was involved in some activity, and if playing a role in securing it was part of the services Ramsey was paying for, how could he do so without it being lobbying for Ramsey, to get money from Met Council, and for money to go to himself, indirectly, for "consulting services?"
Eight hundred forty grand is not chump change. Not even Randy Moss would call it pocket cash. Some kind of public justification for all this is overdue. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Some kind of showing is overdue that of all that $800,000 in flowing cash there was not cause to register federally and with the state board, as a Ramsey lobbyist.
Perhaps there is an explanation.
Wouldn't you expect to hear it from Elwyn Tinklenberg before he suggests he's fit for your vote for Congressman?
Absent that, we have an alternative - there are two candidates, each in his own turn: