Erik Paulsen need not listen to his constituents. He was bought by someone else.

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"I saw him inadvertently step into his office lobby and, upon seeing 30 constituents waiting in the hall, quickly disappear."

Reader John Albers responds to Erik Paulsen plans to teach his constituents civility. While hiding from them:

Thanks again to the City Pages for calling out Eric Paulsen for who he really is. My reading of the article was momentarily interrupted when the milk I was drinking came out my nose upon seeing Paulsen had joined the Congressional Civility and Respect Caucus.

Seriously? That’s just more frosting on the bullshit.

I saw Erik Paulsen at WCCO bolt past waiting constituents to a car with the motor running. I saw him inadvertently step into his office lobby and, upon seeing 30 constituents waiting in the hall, quickly disappear.

I have repeatedly seen Alex Stanford engage constituents with derision and disrespect. I have read Paulsen’s fundraising material that referred to his constituents as trolls. I heard Paulsen refer to voters that have tried to meet with him as the “same 50 protestors.” I have listened to Paulsen and his staff repeatedly state that he has “held hundreds of town halls” (he has held one as you rightly noted). And I could go on.

The reason Paulsen doesn’t meet with his constituents in a free and open forum is because he doesn’t have to. The reason he doesn’t represent the wishes of the Third District is because he doesn’t have to. There is no upside for him to do either.

He can hide from, and his staff can be disrespectful to, constituents and he can still win elections. He can vote for legislation that moderates of his own party reject and still win elections. Paulsen is still in office only because he is funded by moneyed special interests that buy him a fake image to deceive voters and fund negative ad campaigns on any opposition.

Friends of Erik Paulsen, the congressman’s fund raising organization, reported to the FEC that during the 2015-2016 campaign cycle it received almost $5 million in donations in amounts over $200. Twenty five percent of this money came from only 1,577 individuals living in his district. The remaining 75 percent came from 1,346 out-of-state PACs and 1,244 out-of-district individuals.

These numbers pale in comparison to the amount of super PAC money that flows into the district each election to keep him in office. (A special tip of the cap to Norm Colman and the Koch brothers for all they do in this regard.)

Paulson is kept in office because he is on retainer to special interests that demand preservation of a status quo that benefits a few to the detriment of the whole.

Until campaign finance reform is demanded by voters and special interests can no longer own our representatives, I will continue to watch City Pages for notice of Erik Paulsen’s caucus du jour, sans the milk.

As a friendly suggestion to the congressman, may I suggest the following name for his next caucus to add to his resume: Congressional Keep the Money Flowing or I’ll Become a Lobbyist Caucus. One could only wish. 

 


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