By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
Michele Bachmann, evidently in ignorance, invoked one of the biggest military blunders in history while whipping teabaggers into a froth last week in Washington, D.C.
"It's the charge of the light brigade!" she shouted, as her followers roared in approval.
"The Charge of the Light Brigade" was a poem written by Lord Tennyson to commemorate a moment in the 1854 Crimean War, when British officers misdirected more than 600 troops into an area known as the Valley of Death to face 25,000 Russians. There were hundreds of casualties, the British officers were disgraced, and the Russians won the day.
MinnPost's Washington correspondent caught up with Bachmann later to ask her why she chose her words at the rally. "Oh, what did I say this time?" she replied. "I hope that your historical analysis is not true and reflective of today's events."
Then came reports that a well-known Republican fundraising group had decided to no longer work with Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Reports that the Gula Graham Group ended its dealings with the District Six congresswoman first surfaced in Congressional Quarterly. She is no longer listed on the group's website as a client.
A month ago, Michele Marston, one of Bachmann's key aides, quit her post the day before Bachmann's big anti-health care reform Capitol rally—er, press conference.
"When your captain's crazy, it's time to find a new ship," an unnamed GOP House member said after the Marston departure.
Which brings us to Bachmann being named "Crazy's rising star" by Salon.
Bachmann came in behind Glenn Beck and the head of the "Birther" movement.
Wrote Salon: "Bachmann isn't just crazy, she's crazy's frothy-mouthed cheerleader."
We note with bemusement that Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been regaling New Hampshire Republicans with a great line about how the Democrats in Washington are running a giant "Ponzi scheme on the Potomac" with the federal deficit.
He made the crack first on a New Hampshire radio talk show. Later he used it in a GOP fundraising speech.
Maybe his beef with Ponzi schemers is linked to the fact that one was once one of his campaign donors. In 2008, Pawlenty, former Sen. Norm Coleman, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Rep. Jim Oberstar offloaded thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Tom Petters when they learned he was facing federal charges related to a massive—and real—Ponzi scheme. Petters was recently convicted on 20 counts of fraud and money laundering.
Among those swept up in the Petters investigation: Frank Vennes, a millionaire philanthropist who once served time in federal prison on money-laundering, drug, and firearm convictions. The feds went through his Shorewood home and office on September 24.
As blogger Karl Bremer and others have written, one charity reaping the benefits is the Minnesota Teen Challenge Academy, a faith-based drug rehab program, where he served on the board. As a tax statement shows, Mary Pawlenty, Tim Pawlenty's wife, also served on the academy's board. And Pawlenty recently donated $85,892 to the academy when he cleaned out his campaign coffers.
Stop the Petters Scam Foundation, a group that maintains a website and runs an ad campaign seeking to draw attention to the financial misdeeds of convicted Ponzi schemer Tom Petters, has filed a lawsuit against the Star Tribune, accusing the paper of breach of contract and censorship after it yanked the group's ads midway through their scheduled run.
The Strib said in a news story in December that it was pulling the ads, which "accuse prominent Twin Cities professionals of mismanaging Petters's assets since he was arrested last year."
The lawsuit says the Star Tribune was pressured by unidentified people to curtail the publication of the series of 15 ads, and that by doing so it committed a breach of contract.
"Ultimately, this lawsuit is about the value of free speech in America," said Garrett Vail, president of the foundation, in a statement. "The Star Tribune concedes that they received pressure to halt our ad series. The public has a right to learn what's been going on in the handling of the Petters assets. Somebody doesn't want us to continue asking questions and raising embarrassing facts. We intend to identify who pressured the newspaper, and hold them and the Star Tribune accountable."