Keith Ellison

Senators Franken and Klobuchar Still Co-Sponsoring PIPA, but Interested in “Compromise”

According to the City Pages, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Al Franken aren’t quite giving up on the Protect IP Act in the wake of Wednesday’s internet-wide protest. Instead, they say they are interested in a “compromise” that will preserve the bill.

Aaron Rupar from the City Pages calls bullshit, and so do I. Even Michele Bachmann is on the right side of this issue, while Klobuchar and Franken remain anti-internet. Then again, this isn’t Klobuchar’s first piece of anti-internet legislation.

(Representative Keith Ellison, on the other hand, actually joined in the blackout.)

Bailout package: How the Minnesota delegation voted

This may be the first time in history that I agree with Michele Bachmann over Keith Ellison. Bailout package: How the Minnesota delegation voted | City Pages Blotter

Keith Ellison co-sponsors the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008

Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison co-sponsors the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008, which, contrary to other high-sounding legislative initiatives, actually does what it says. It would prevent ISPs from discriminating against certain internet traffic based on its content, source, etc. (via freepress)

Update: Minnesota Senator Linda Berglin on the Financial Crimes Task Force

When I write about an issue I tag “consumer activism,” I usually try to start the activism myself. So when I reported that Minnesota’s Financial Crimes Task Force is shutting down its mortgage fraud investigations, I went and fired off an e-mail to my state and federal representatives.

Usually when I do this, the response is something like this: “Thank you for contacting me. I am honored to hear from me. I am very busy, and you will be lucky to get a real response.”

This time, however, Minnesota Senator Linda Berglin sent a personal response. It was a bit of a thrill, actually.

But her response was ultimately unsatisfying. Essentially, she said that there is little to no hope of increasing funding while Governor Pawlenty is in charge. And in the past two days, Pawlenty has proved she is right. The best we can do, she said, is refer mortgage fraud to the Department of Commerce, which has the power to revoke licenses, and that is about it.

What I did not get was an impression that this issue is even on Senator Berglin’s radar. But it should be. Mortgage fraudsters are often leveraged to the hilt so that their victims have little hope of recovering their money through the civil justice system. And without criminal penalties, there is no deterrent to those who would practice mortgage fraud. The public ultimate pays the price in the form of lower property values, blight, economic recession, and more.

This needs to be something the Minnesota legislature and governor (and the U.S. legislature and President Bush) are working to address. If the funding is not there, the funding must be found.

Keep reading for the e-mails.

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