After our story “Capitol party crasher” was published online late yesterday afternoon, Sen. John Howe contacted us to say we had misinterpreted a comment of his that appeared at the end of the piece. As published, the remark was framed to suggest that the state GOP had played a leading role in setting the initial Republican budget target of $34.2 billion. That is “factually inaccurate,” Howe said: In referring to the “party,” he meant legislative caucus leadership, not the Republican Party of Minnesota.
In an email to Capitol Report, Howe wrote, “The reporter in this case was talking about the GOP state party and I was talking about the GOP Senate caucus (I use the words ‘party’ and ‘caucus’ interchangeably)…. I attended the caucus meeting where we decided what numbers to use for the budget. It was a lengthy discussion; I thought starting at $34.2 billion was too high. But to suggest or even imply that Tony Sutton, Michael Brodkorb, or the State Republican Party had any input into the budget numbers is factually inaccurate. It just did not happen.”
PIM/Capitol Report regrets the error.
Mr. Sutton has no influence over the budget numbers? Really? Didn’t he send a letter to Republican legislators basically instructing all elected officials to not advocate for any type of new revenue? Didn’t he write a letter to the media, basically defending the GOP’s position of not compromising on the overall budget number? I don’t think you need to imply he’s had influence, I think the facts show he has a great deal of influence. The GOP elected officials have not done anything to deviate from Sutton’s positions, it seems to me he’s calling all the shots, and the GOP’s stubbornness on refusing to negotiate on the overall budget number or on whether there should be new revenue is the entire reason why we’re on the verge of a shutdown.