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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Representative Simon deserves better than a disinformation campaign

If this blog had a "Profiles in Courage" award, I would without hesitation bestow it upon Rep. Steve Simon, DFL- St. Louis Park.

Simon's name has unfairly been dragged through the mud as of late as a direct result of his having the temerity to break ranks with his party and be the lone DFLer on the Legislative Audit Committee to call for a probe into what is going on in the Attorney General's Office. (Click here for details about the fallout from a recent e-mail sent to a number of DFL lawmakers implying that Simon's real motivation for calling for the investigation was a departmental transfer he received while he worked at the AG's Office.)

As has been recorded here in a numerous posts, the AG's Office has been rocked by more than a year of virtually nonstop staffing turmoil, including unusually high turnover and the alleged use of anti-union tactics. Three staff members publicly stepped forward with some of their concerns in a letter earlier this year. One of them has since been indefinitely suspended after making statements on the radio and in the blogosphere calling into question how AG Lori Swanson is running the office. The allegations include assertions of ethical and legal violations. And yet we are supposed to believe that the one DFL lawmaker brave enough to step forward and ask for a probe to look into these matters could only be doing so because he has an ax to grind?

MinnPost's G.R. Anderson, who attended the legislative hearing at which Simon took his bold stand, reported that the DFL lawmaker then explained his decision to call for a probe as follows: "The attorney general is the people's lawyer. I don't care if you're a Republican or a Democrat. It ought not to matter." Wise words indeed. (And let's not forget that that the auditor's investigation may actually clear Swanson of any legal or ethical violations.)

If, as the e-mail purports, Mike Hatch is in fact the spinmeister impugning Representative Simon's integrity, history provides a simple, yet elegant response to Mr. Hatch's political chicanery: "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"


Anonymous said...

Bravo, Mr. Cohen. You have hit the mark. It all boils down to decency.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it a classic example of an ad hominem attack: avoid the substantive issue by trying to smear the person (in this case, people) raising it.

If it walks like a Hatch tactic, smells like a Hatch tactic, and quacks like a Hatch tactic, what is it?

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the demise of Dan Rather following the Texas Air National Guard story....

Mark Cohen, editor said...

The last commenter is missing the point. I am not saying Simon never had a negative run in with management during his entire tenure in the office. In fact, it seems to me likely he did at some point given the environment of the office. What bothers me is the assumption that Simon must be acting out of some sort of petty personal grudge when there are so many legitimate reasons for the auditor's inquiry. The whole thing reads like a political dirty trick. (Yes, the classic ad hominem attack.)

I do have to award points for creativity, though. So far, by my count, people with management complaints or calling for someone to look into matters have been written off as union plants, right-wing troublemakers, agents of Matt Entenza, employees with axes to grind and, in one post, communists. It's an enemies list that would make Nixon blush.