I wish I could say I was surprised by David Fitzsimmons’ campaign finance reporting tactics. Unfortunately, I’m anything but surprised. While some might criticize John Kern’s LTE highlighting the Emmer campaign’s tactics, I won’t follow suit. This isn’t that dissimilar to how big corporations use a plethora of regulations against small business competitors to reduce competition as much as possible.
John Kern opened the LTE, writing “In July 2016, Congressman Tom Emmer’s chief of staff David Fitzsimmons and GOP delegate Matt Stevens filed multiple Federal Election Commission complaints against me, the AJ Kern for Congress campaign and a private citizen. These frivolous complaints accused me of filing quarterly reports late and apparently attempting to gain undue influence with my wife by exceeding personal campaign contribution limits from our shared assets. Eighteen months later, presidentially appointed FEC commissioners voted 5-0 to dismiss.”
That’s the predictable outcome of these FEC complaints. Rep. Emmer knew he was underperforming at the time. According to Minnesota’s Secretary of State’s website, Emmer, the incumbent, won the primary with a pathetic 68% of the vote. That’s pathetic considering the fact that Emmer “out-fundraised AJ Kern’s 2016 campaign” by a 61-1 margin.
Emmer won’t win by overwhelming margins because he’s ignored his constituents on key issues. Specifically, he’s agreed with the Obama administration lock, stock and barrel on the Refugee Resettlement Program. When questioned by constituents if he’d push for a moratorium of the program, Emmer replied “That isn’t happening.” (I know because I attended that townhall at the Ace Bar on July 1, 2015. That’s also the night Kate Steinle was murdered.) After that meeting, AJ Kern told attendees that she was thinking about challenging Emmer. Here’s the explanation for why Emmer didn’t support his constituents:
President Trump has frequently criticized “the Swamp.” Regulations implemented by the Swamp have a chilling effect on both speech and competition. The truth is that Emmer is part of DC’s Swamp. Bradley Smith, the former Commissioner of the FEC, is one of the fiercest champions of free speech. Here’s what he’s stated on the record:
Charges and litigation are used to harass opposing candidates and make political hay with the press… used most effectively by ‘incumbents’. Many, if not most, of these cases end up being dismissed, but not without distracting the campaigns and using up their resources. …The problem in campaign finance is that unethical politicians are threatening private actors, rather than that unethical special interests are threatening government.
When John McCain and Russ Feingold wrote the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, aka McCain-Feingold, grassroots activists criticized it by nicknaming it the ‘Incumbents’ Protection Act’. That’s exactly right. BCRA didn’t eliminate corruption. It codified corruption by burying challengers under mountains of paperwork. That’s what its intent was.
While career politicians might want to fight the hordes of uppity peasants insisting on being heard, those career politicians won’t silence the activists’ voices.
Emmer can take that to the bank.