Monday, May 9, 2011

Matt Dean calls Neil Gaiman a thief but turns a blind eye to his own dirty money

House Majority Leader's GOP Caucus has taken over $90,000 from fraudsters since 2002--and kept the money.

By Karl Bremer

Minnesota House Majority Leader Matt Dean (R-52B)made international headlines recently when he falsely accused award-winning author Neil Gaiman of stealing $45,000 from the State of Minnesota. But Dean’s own Republican caucus has had no trouble taking tens of thousands of dollars from known criminals even though the source of those funds is likely illegal.

Dean’s hyperventilated attack on Gaiman—which included his now-infamous description of him as a “pencil-necked little weasel” whom he “hates”—came during discussion of state Legacy Fund money for the arts. Gaiman was brought in by the Metropolitan Library Service Agency using funds provided through the state's Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund (Legacy Amendment) to speak to a crowd of about 500 in Stillwater. Gaiman netted $33,600, which he donated to charities; his fee was paid for out of Legacy funds earmarked for such events.

Dean used Gaiman as the whipping boy for his bullying disdain for any government spending on the arts—voter-approved or otherwise—but seriously underestimated Gaiman’s popularity, both in the book world and in social media. The uproar over the kerfuffle caused Gaiman’s fans to crash Dean’s website, and earned Dean a worldwide reputation as a, well, pencil-necked little weasel.

But back to Dean’s charge of Gaiman stealing from the State of Minnesota. Gaiman was simply accepting a speaking fee offered in a contract by a willing buyer, the State of Minnesota. Dean’s beef shouldn’t be with Gaiman, who was merely exercising his rights in the free market that Dean so loves.

Not so with over $92,000 in campaign contributions Dean’s House GOP Caucus has taken from known criminals.

Frank Vennes Jr. is a convicted money-launderer and cocaine-and-gun runner who was indicted again April 20 on money-laundering and fraud charges in connection with the $3.5-billion Tom Petters Ponzi scheme. Vennes donated $85,750 to the House Republican Campaign Committee from 2002-2006.

Vennes was part of the Tom Petters Ponzi empire, and nearly all his assets have been seized and sold to pay off victims of the Petters Ponzi. Yet the HRCC has kept Vennes’ generous campaign contributions, despite the likelihood they represent ill-gotten gains.

Then there’s the fraudster known as “Bobby Thompson,” who is wanted nationwide on charges of fraud and identity theft. “Thompson,” a name allegedly assumed from a stolen identity, is suspected of bilking unwitting donors to his fraudulent U.S. Navy Veterans Association of up to $100 million. He collected over $1.56 million in Minnesota alone.

Thompson donated generously to Republican candidates and causes, including $7,000 to Minnesota’s House Republican Campaign Committee from 2008-2009. Matt Dean became HRCC treasurer sometime in 2009 and served through 2010.

Former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, who initiated an investigation into the Navy veterans group in Ohio, said “There appears to be very little evidence that the organization spent money actually helping veterans or their families. Yet public records do show hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions to various candidates made by “Bobby Thompson” personally or through the political action committee he created and to which he was the sole contributor, NAVPAC.”

None of that seems to bother Dean or his caucus. At least not as much as Neil Gaiman seems to. But added together, Dean’s caucus has hauled in $92,750 in likely dirty money from fraudsters Frank Vennes Jr. and “Bobby Thompson”—well over double what Dean and his arts-hating colleagues claimed Gaiman pocketed, and nearly three times what Gaiman actually received before giving it away.

Maybe Matt Dean should spend a little less time making false accusations against an author he’s never met and pay a little more attention to the questionable sources of his own House Republican Caucus’ campaign contributions.

Just because your cash came from a money-launderer doesn’t mean it’s clean.

Photo: State Rep. Matt Dean (R-52B), courtesy of Minnesota House of Representatives

25 comments:

  1. Is there anything more fun than watching someone crash and burn over a poorly-thought-out comment about someone you like?

    Can you imagine how different a world it would be if we'd done the same to Frederick Wertham, the guy who all but destroyed the comics industry in America, or Tipper Gore, back when she wanted to censor rock albums?

    Heck, can you imagine how different a world it would be if we spent this much time and energy bringing down laws and lawmakers that hurt millions of people, as opposed to just the ones that insult our favorite celebrities?

    Yeah, you're right, that'd just be silly.

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    Replies
    1. Neil Gaiman is a self aggrandizing Scientologist, and Scientologists create an enormous amount of misery in the world, so it really isn't cute or funny that he took money for a dangerous cult which he just donated a half million dollars to.

      Scientologists are either in good standing or disconnected from their family members so Gaiman is clearly in good standing as is his Scientology partner Amanda Palmer. Why does Gaiman support this dangerous cult? I suspect in order to gain monetary and career benefit. Scientologists call outsiders WOGS and it is okay for them to lie to us, in this case about their status so they can continue to take our money and fund a dangerous cult that destroys lives. The money trail to Gaiman is a fact and Gaiman also sent his children to Scientology schools.

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  2. Wow Vinnie. That was powerful man. Awesome.

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  3. The USA has the best GOVERNMENT MONEY CAN BUY!

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  4. Ahahaha, this is priceless. I don't think that Matt Dean realized who was insulting when he said it. Or, if he did, he was simply acting out some sort of immature jock rage that a "nerd" is more famous and, quite frankly, more powerful than he is.

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  5. Re:VB How would you suggest we go about that?It isn't about defending a favorite celebrity.
    .Unless you're suggesting setting up watchdog organizations(a very slippery slope)there has to be some indication of wrongdoing to warrant investigation.By attacking Gaiman Dean drew attention to himself,exposed his character(or lack of it) and said things that led to questions regarding his true motives regarding the legacy fund.
    I'm not familiar with Wertham but I think you should google tipper gore/censorship hearings Dylan,Zappa,and Snider put a great deal of energy into that fight.

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  6. So it's too late to do anything about Tippers stickers and the comics bull, but perhaps it is time to actually start taking the Rep nutjobs seriously. They fight dirty and the Dems shrug it off. Their celebs do stunts like the stupid crosshair thing that Palin did and people get hurt, and it's shrugged off. No-one in the media really held Junior Bush accountable the first six years and very few people reacted.
    Perhaps it is time to actually confront these hypocrites and scumbags at last?
    I wonder how much of an impact 10 million Gaiman fans would have on the election if they really put their minds to it?

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  7. Ftr many people stood up to Wertham as well,some at the risk of their careers.As anon stated above tg was met with high profile opposition that took the matter all the way to congressional hearings.that opposition is in fact why Vinnie B.is aware of those situations.So Im not really sure what his point is.I had heard Neil Gaiman's name before repdean's attack but was unfamiliar with his work.I was actually under the mistaken impression that he was a film director.It was dean's childishness that caught my attention in this controversy not a sense of,at th.e time,non
    existent fandom.It was his unwarranted and hypocritical attack on NG that put him under scrutiny and revealed his lack of ethics and disdain for silly things like the truth.So lets call that a good thing.
    Mr. G if you're reading this,in the interest of good manners,you send a personal email to repdean thanking him for all the new readers he has brought you.I guess he has contributed to the cause of literacy after all.I have started American gods and on the strength of the first few chapters added two more of your books to my stack.

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  8. In the interest of correcting my own manners that should read:"you should send..."as in a friendly suggestion rather than "you send.."as in a rude order.apologies.
    Mr. Bremer, jsyk,anonymous is the only platform option provide that would allow me to post.

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  9. I stopped paying the fraud that is the US government years ago. Smartest thing I ever did. No money of mine to their Ponzi-scheme retirement programs or medical "insurance". No money for their welfare state, or warfare state. They don't represent me. I don't owe them.

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  10. And yet ANOTHER Two-Faced Lying sack of feces(plus narrow, beady-eyed to boot)from the Fascist GOP RepubliKKKan Ivory Towers! Not a ONE of these plebeian air-robbers has done the World any good since Lincoln's day! And we can't get rid of them. They scream and attack EVERY DECENT VIRTUE America has, all the while selling us out to their Corporate Masters and punishing "The People" for "Their" mistakes!

    Who's the Pencil-Necked Geek that ought to be wrung now?

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  11. My favorite part is where Matt Dean said, "Well I guess I've lost the Star Trek vote." How clueless can you be?

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  12. Just a note: the donation was $45,000, as Mr. Gaiman has acknowledged and self-amended. ( http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2011/05/weasel-necked-pencils-part-i-hope-last.html )

    Otherwise, thanks for the article. I was linked to it by Gaiman's facebook page... :P

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  13. I hate to be a voice of discord, but I'm high on a good book, and I can't keep my fingers still. Lincoln was a political piece of *(&*...he pulled ppl's strings, and was a great puppeteer of the mass of people we call America. A lot like the Presidents before and after him. I did a very thorough study of Civil War politics, and the blood on his hands was so thick as to be solid. Not saying he wasn't a great man, he was, just that there's a lot more to the story then what you're taught in grade school. There's also nothing fascist about any part of the American Government. Sorry, but it's true. Maybe this should be used as a reminder to people to do their own research instead of letting the media sell them the favorite. Remember, there's a voting booth, you cast yours. Make sure you know who you're voting for. In a way, your life is in this person's hands when they gain office. So is the life of your children, your parents, your grandparents, the kid you went to day care with, the old lady with all the frozen dinners in her cart, the impatient waitress at the greasy spoon that looks like a health violation but makes the best biscuits and gravy in town. I think I've made my point. Laws stick, what these people do in office echoes down for years. It will effect your children, your grandchildren, all the way down the line. Pollute the system, and you pollute the DNA of the American Dream. That all made sense in my head....i'm sure it's warbled and no one has bothered to read it, but I now feel better. Rant Complete

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  14. Yes, you are correct about the fee of $45,000, but Mr. Gaiman only took in $33,600 after fees were taken out by the company that manages his appearances.

    It is very interesting to see how this is playing out. I respect how Mr. Gaiman is approaching this one and I'm not particularly surprised that Mr. Dean is guilty of accepting dirty money. It's judgmental of me, but he's always seemed the sort to point accusations at others to distract from his own raiding of the cookie jar.

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  15. $45,000.00 fee
    <$11,400.00> Agent's take
    ------------
    $33,600.00 NG's net (donated to charity)

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  16. dunno if you've seen this just found it now haha

    http://www.evilreads.com/blog/2011/5/4/neil-gaiman-vs-the-bully-comic.html

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  17. "Well I guess I've lost the Star Trek vote."

    No, you have just lost the vote of people who can actually read.

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  18. I really think there is another underlying issue here. The economy is tanking and the first things to go are funding for the arts and research. It is a bit scary to see things falling apart as they are now. I feel at times that our government may face its own revolution. Political machine is busted and the mechanics are out to lunch.

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  19. Just playing devil's advocate here, but Matt Dean seems to have done nothing more ignoble than what Neil Gaiman did. Both took money that arguably could have been put to better use elsewhere (reabsorbed into the state budget's general fund in Gaiman's case, dispensed to bilked fraud victims in Dean's case). Both used the money to support causes they thought were worthy (Gaiman's charities, Dean's political party). Gaiman's argument that his $45,000 fee had to be spent by the state or it would be lost seems disingenuous; it's not as if the money would disappear into thin air. It's not hard to see why many taxpayers would be upset that Gaiman ended up being the person who got to decide where their money went; likewise, the fraud victims are justifiably upset that the fraudsters' donations were not used as restitution to them. I don't blame Gaiman for taking the money and giving it to causes he felt were deserving, as opposed to leaving it in the government's hands. (Who wouldn't love to be able to prioritize where tax money gets spent, instead of letting the politicians do it?) I just wish he would drop the pretense that if he hadn't taken the money, it would have vanished from the state treasury.

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  20. @ Anonymous 11:04 AM

    To play your devil's advocate: Gaiman is not acting like it would disappear from the Treasury. The money would have disappeared from the fund of the library for the next year--the money not spent by the library would not rollover for the next year. By taking the fee he allowed the library to spend money they had access to and to renew that access for the following year (except the GOP came down hard on the arts, giving rise to Dean's unwarranted statement about Gaiman being a thief).

    And Gaiman didn't take the money for any political reason, as you seem to weirdly imply by saying he was the "person who got to decide where [the taxpayer's] money went." He took what was offered to him, supported a local library, and then donated that money to charities. He had absolutely no political bent in his decision, and was very surprised to see how this has all blown up and made him (in his own words) a political football. I'm blown away as well that anyone would even think of blaming him when his actions have been nothing but generous. (not that you are, just stating this in general.)

    And on a different note, there's a huge difference in performing a service and accepting LEGAL money from a government fund specifically alloted for that purpose and giving it away to charity (as Gaiman did) and receiving money from criminal activities and using it for themselves (as the GOP and Dean have, according to this article).

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  21. $45,000.00 fee
    <$11,400.00> Agent's take
    ------------
    $33,600.00 NG's net (donated to charity)
    $11,400.00 Agent's net (donated to charity)
    ------------
    $45,000 to Charity

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  22. More math:
    Last choice of the people under an unfettered, legitimate presidential election was prior to January 20, 2001
    -Last of the poll taxes declared unconstitutional on 8 April 1966
    = Longest running period of actual Democracy in USA = 35 years

    Aside to Neil: Over 25%? Maybe you should have another agent.

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  23. No, Gaiman didn't take money from (refers above) a KNOWN GANGSTER for his re-election fund! The big difference is the notable lack of blood on the state tax fund money.

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  24. Gaiman fed the money to Scientology.

    Neil Gaiman is underwriting Scientology. The Scientologist’s list Neil Gaiman in the Cornerstone Newsletter along with Mary Gaiman, as contributing $35,000.00 in 2009. Being listed in the Cornerstone Newsletter means you are in good-standing with the cult.

    In 2010, Mary Gaiman was awarded the "Gold Humanitarian Award" for her contribution of $500,000.00 to Scientology. This is significant because Mary Gaiman continues to be Neil Gaiman’s business partner in The Blank Corporation, which is now Neil Gaiman's Scientology front and how he pays the cult.

    Gaiman is also the "Vitamin Heir" of Scientology. The Gaiman family owns G&G Vitamins which reaps 6 million a year from selling The Purification Rundown Vitamins.

    Gaiman's two sisters, Claire Edwards and Lizzie Calciole are not just high-ranking Scientologists, they are the head of RECRUITING and the head of Wealden House, the Scientology stronghold in East Grinstead. These two cannot associate with Neil unless he is in good standing.

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