Petty is all in the eyes of the beholder
From: John Brunette
GOP Communication Committee chair, Carver County
I’d like to respond to Jennifer Wilson’s letter to the editor, entitled “Leidiger’s speeding ticket isn’t petty.”
My name is John Brunette, and yes, I am the communication committee chair for the Carver County GOP Basic Political Operating Unit. Jennifer took me to task over comments I made on Sean’s Olson’s blog site, regarding Leidiger’s speeding ticket.
I would first like to say, that this was not ever represented as official commentary regarding the ticket. The board doesn’t have any official comment on this matter to date. It’s not my job to perform public relations work for Rep. Leidiger, except perhaps during the period between his endorsement, and his re-election, where I may provide information regarding events to support him should he win endorsement.
As a friend to both Ernie Leidiger, and Steve Nielsen, his campaign treasurer, I made comments about the situation as a private citizen. I was defending my friends on an issue that I personally feel bears little or no merit. Indeed, my personal position is that this is a lot of petty nonsense. And as Jennifer mentions, this matter is being addressed by the OAH, and it is my personal estimation that this will never amount to much, having reviewed previous judgments by this board.
Jennifer also stated, “I don’t think breaking laws is petty nonsense, and I don’t think this should be shrugged off as a ‘petty nuisance.’” It’s ironic to me that, after all, a speeding ticket is actually classified as a petty misdemeanor. So it would seem to me that her assessment of breaking laws actually depends upon the law that is broken.
It has always been my personal position, knowing both of the individuals involved in this case, that none of this was ever intended to be in violation of any campaign finance law. I take Rep. Leidiger at his word, that he believes an expense obtained while getting to and from his job are legitimate campaign expenditures. And that speeding is often a passive crime, because yes, it is possible to speed without doing so on purpose (as anyone driving south through St. Boni can attest, coming down that steep hill). The same has occurred here, with a campaign finance report.
These friends who are working to serve their region are not criminals. They had no intention of breaking any laws, or campaign finance rules. And yet, when this matter arose, despite my assurances that these gentlemen were going to resolve the situation, others on the blog site decided that there must be criminal proceedings to take place. While these two were making this right, just in case there was a conflict, the DFL chose to quickly submit a complaint. And to me, that is petty.