Daily Caller report linking Amy Klobuchar and Petters "is old rehashed stuff," Ken Avidor says
A Daily Caller report alleges Klobuchar was corrupted by her financial ties to Petters.
On Friday, The D.C.-based Daily Caller published a report alleging "that U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar helped keep a multibillion-dollar Ponzi schemer [i.e., Tom Petters] out of prison in the late 1990s when she was the County Attorney in Hennepin County, Minnesota."
"Klobuchar used the power of her office in 1999 to ensure Petters was not charged with financial crimes," the report says, noting that Petters later contributed more than $120,000 toward Klobuchar's Senate run. "And despite significant evidence against him, she cleared the way for Petters to build his multibillion-dollar illegal empire by prosecuting only his early co-conspirators."
It's a pretty explosive allegation, right? But what the report only mentions in passing, says local political blogger and longtime Petters watcher Ken Avidor, is that Klobuchar is far from the only Minnesota politician to be sullied by a connection with Petters -- the list also includes Michele Bachmann, Norm Coleman, and Tim Pawlenty.
Avidor, who covered the Petters trial for City Pages, said he doesn't take issue with the substance of the Caller's report, but characterized it as "old rehashed stuff" and an "October surprise hit piece" intended to benefit Klobuchar's doesn't-have-a-chance U.S. Senate opponent, Republican Kurt Bills.
The links between Klobuchar and Petters have been known for years, Avidor said, as is the role that the Hennepin County Attorney's Office played in helping Petters expunge his criminal record during the 1990s.
"It's so disappointing, because the larger story is the influence money has on the political and justice systems," Avidor said. "The larger issue really is that people can erase their records if they are wealthy and powerful enough, and it happens all the time."
"Is it just Amy Klobuchar? No. There's lots of other people involved, and it's a mess," Avidor continued. "I hope someday people realize that we gotta get the money out of politics. Guys [like Petters] are very popular with politicians because they are throwing money around like crazy. Of course, looking back, we have to laugh, because it wasn't their money."
The solution, Avidor said, is publicly financed elections.
Something like the Petters Ponzi scam "is going to happen again, and that's why we have the crappy politics that we have, but nobody is talking about this," he said.
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