consultants are sandburs

Thursday, June 04, 2015

An entire Strib editorial, about the importance of the Constitutional office of State Auditor, without a single mention of the word "Bakk?"

Jan. 2, the Strib editorial board did exactly that, obliquely critiquing those having sharp knives out for Becky Otto because of the sensible approach she has advocated regarding sulfide mining on the Range; the op-ed item noting:

The privatization provision is also troubling because it reaches into what may be unconstitutional territory. The Minnesota Constitution established the auditor’s office. Although the Legislature can modify the auditor’s functions, it’s doubtful that it is constitutionally permitted to gut the office — as the provision in question nearly does.

Minnesota has experience eliminating a state constitutional office the right way. In 1998, the state’s voters approved a constitutional amendment scrapping the position of state treasurer. If the Legislature thinks the state auditor should be put out of business, it can take that case to the voters in a general election without seeking the governor’s approval. By enacting a statute instead to cripple the office, the Legislature seems to be inviting a summons to make its case in court.

My best guess is that reprehensible conduct toward Otto from within her own party will end up yielding us a benefit, in the form of new Minnesota Senate leadership next session. That the bulk of the Senate DFL caucus will have had enough of last minute unexpected leadership shenanigans.

Getting sandbagged likely was no fun. But that is only a guess from outside the DFL tent, not any insider view, because I am not a DFL insider.

Beyond all else, 2016 being an election year, the more contemplative minds in the DFL Senate caucus should not want to carry someone else's ill-intentioned baggage into November, 2016. Image matters. Substance too. A substantial change would be like a breath of fresh air (or like a continued drink of fresh water).

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