According to [Kline volunteer Diana] Bratlie, Bailey was initially rebuffed when he showed up at Kline's district office in Burnsville asking to make a cash contribution. Bailey was reportedly directed to Kline's campaign office in the same building, where he met with Bratlie.I note this story because, at first blush, it seems to be straight from a (probably) unwritten DFL playbook; use DFL operatives to send ethically-squishy-looking contributions that can then be publicized as GOP ethical violations.
In her letter, Bratlie said Bailey "was clearly trying to hide his identity" and then "began to withdraw cash to make a campaign donation."
Bratlie says she told Bailey that Kline's campaign does not accept cash donations, and he left.
In October 2002, as I noted in a five part series I wrote about Mike Hatch and the American Bankers and Insurance scandal, this would appear to be nothing new for the DFL; have a "neutral" party send a fishy donation to the GOP.
Here's how it went down in 2002, according to an interview I conducted with then-MNGOP chair Ron Eibensteiner:
In August of 2002, says Eibensteiner, someone began calling the state GOP office, wanting to make a donation to the Pawlenty campaign "This guy calls, and says he wants to give $15,000 to Pawlenty. He says "I want to make a corporate contribution "We said "No, you can't do that!" says Eibensteiner. "My staff tells me this guy keeps insisting; We gave him the address for the RNSEC. But when the check came, it was addressed to the Minnesota Republican Party." After that, Eibensteiner says, staffers sent the $10,000 check to the RNSEC office in Washington. And that's it!", Eibensteiner concluded.Ron Jerich, of course, is an uber-lobbyist who's worked for candidates of all stripes - but in 2002, he was most noted for working with DFLers.
The "guy," according to Eibensteiner, was Ron Jerich.
And how did it go down? According to Mike Hatch's testimony recorded a Legislative Auditor's report
That morning, I went over the Ron Jerich's home. He was acting as a host for a number of people who were door knocking for ... Senator [Jim] Metzen, and Representative Pugh. And when you do these door knocks, you show up and they hand you a map and a bunch of literature, and you drive out and knock on doors...And usually beforehand, the host...or hostess will have coffee and orange juice and some donuts. And which Val Jerich [Ron Jerich's wife] did have, what I recall was quite a spread.The thank-you letter - which the Legislative Auditor determined was an automated letter sent from the MNGOP office - just happened to wind up on Ron Jerich's table; Mike Hatch just happened to pick it up, and just happened to use it three months later to strongarm Pawlenty's Commerce Commissioner into coughing up political swag for Hatch's cronies, and to stir up a tempest-in-a-teapot "scandal" that ended up backfiring on Hatch (albeit not in the media, which dropped the story the moment the focus turned to Hatch).
In other words, a fairly typical campaign-season literature drop...And I was drinking coffee, talking to Ron Jerich, and noticed...We were in his office talking. And there was a bust of Ronald Regan (sic) on his desk. And I said, gee, that's an interesting bust. Why have you got Ronald Regan (sic)? And he said he just got it from the Republican Party for a ten thousand dollar contribution. I asked him why were you making a ten thousand dollar contribution, and he said that he had been retained by American Bankers Insurance Company...I said, well, what do you mean, the company? I mean, was it an officer of the company? Was it you? How did you...? And he said no, the company made the contributions. I said, well, how did they do that? And he said...and I said, more out of curiosity, how did you make a corporate contribution?
So let's go over the story: