Tim Pawlenty on Government Reform

Republican MN Governor


Registering to vote should be a voluntary, intentional act

Seventeen years after Oregon decided to become the first state to hold all elections with mail-in ballots, it took another pioneering step on Monday to broaden participation by automatically registering people to vote. Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, signed a bill that puts the burden of registration on the state instead of voters. Under the legislation, every adult citizen in Oregon who has had business with the Department of Motor Vehicles since 2013 but has not registered to vote will receive a ballot in the mail at least 20 days before the next statewide election. The measure is expected to add about 300,000 voters to the rolls. Some other states have considered such legislation, but none have gone as far as Oregon. Minnesota nearly instituted automatic voter registration in 2009 before it was vetoed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who said that "registering to vote should be a voluntary, intentional act." Similar concerns were raised by Oregon's minority Republicans.
Source: Associated Press in N.Y. Times, "Voter Reg made Automatic" , Mar 17, 2015

Eliminate the Post Office

Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty pledged to drastically reduce tax rates, eliminate the taxation of savings, and get the federal government out of postal delivery and other services, raising the ante on economic proposals in the campaign.

To help balance the budget, Pawlenty would cap federal spending at 18% of GDP. Since spending is projected to be about 24% of GDP this year, reaching Pawlenty's target would require about $1.1 trillion in annual spending cuts. He provided no clear roadmap of how to reach that level of spending cuts, but said he would apply a "Google Test": if a good or service can be found on the Internet, the government probably shouldn't be doing it. But Pawlenty's suggestion to eliminate federal ownership of the Postal Service , Amtrak, and the Government Printing Office would have limited effect on the deficit. The postal service is part of the federal government, but the Treasury doesn't fund it.

Source: Jonathan Weisman & Amy Merrick in Wall Street Journal, p. A4 , Jun 8, 2011

Government control of campaign finance is flawed

Pawlenty said in 2008 that "Watching campaign finance reform, having been involved in it somewhat at a state level, the premise that government can control this stuff, or should control this stuff, is flawed. No matter what they do to regulate it, it always seeps out somewhere else, so I think a better system would probably have to have full disclosure, real time, online, instant disclosure--but quit pretending, both as a constitutional principle, or as a matter of politics, that government can contain this."

He told RedState.com that "the McCain-Feingold legislation in my view is flawed and I don't agree with aspects of it and I think that [there] are potential serious constitutional issues relating to it."

In 2010, Pawlenty signed a bill passed by Minnesota's Legislature that brought the state's campaign finance laws in line with the pro-free speech case Citizens United v. FEC.

Source: Club for Growth 2012 Presidential White Paper #1: Gingrich , May 24, 2011

Set a record for vetoes in Minnesota's history

We can't spend more than we take in. You can't do it as an individual. You can't do it as a family. You can't do it as a business. And we can't let our government do it anymore.

The big spenders in Washington have us on a course of trillion dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see. It's not a matter of right versus left. It's a matter of 6th grade mathematics. It isn't going to work. It's irresponsible, it's unsustainable and it's reckless.

The naysayers say "we can't cut spending; we have to raise taxes." I drew a line in the sand and said, "Absolutely not. We're going to live within our means just like families, just like businesses, just like everybody else."

It wasn't easy. I set a record for vetoes in my State. Vetoed billions of dollars of tax and spending increases. Had the first government shutdown in Minnesota's history. And, in the last budget period, I cut spending in real terms for the first time in the history of my state. The federal government should do the same.

Source: Speech at 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 11, 2011

Politicians rewarded for saying Yes; have the guts to say No

For years, politicians in this country have only been rewarded for saying yes. Yes to more spending. Yes to big bailouts. Yes to finding new ways to bring the bacon back home, no matter what the cost to everyone else. And in the long run, these programs damage something much more important. They damage the American spirit. Whatever happened to the power of ENOUGH? The power and the guts to say, "No"? More than anything, right now, I believe it's time for America to square its shoulders and get about the business of fixing our problems ourselves. It's a difficult job. But it's an essential job. It must be done. And it's a job that will serve us well. The political reward system needs to change. We must become a country in which we respect leaders who are willing to stand up, draw a line in the sand, and say no to the never-ending demands for more spending while saying yes to a future that makes sense not only right now, but for the America our children and THEIR children will inherit.
Source: Courage to Stand, by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, p. x-xi , Jan 11, 2011

2002: fined $600,000 for campaign finance violation

We agreed to abide by a spending cap, to receive some gubernatorial campaign money. Other groups are allowed to make "independent" expenditures, but they essentially couldn't talk to my campaign. I hired a media consultant to help create some TV ads. We shot a whole bunch of footage. What happened next is where the problem arose. The media consultant sold some of that footage to the Republican Party, which began airing ads with that footage included. My media consultant thought there was nothing wrong, as long as the party leaders were the ones who decided when and how the party was going to buy ads. The Independence Party filed complaints with the Campaign Finance Board, which found that the campaign may have violated the rules. Nobody had intended to do anything wrong, much less illegal. We accepted the finding without further contesting that matter. My campaign negotiated to accept the party's spending as counting toward our cap and to pay $100,000 or so in fines. The total impact was about $600,000
Source: Courage to Stand, by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, p.121-123 , Jan 11, 2011

Proposed 2-term limit for governor & 12 years for Congress

Pawlenty made good on his promise to pursue term limits, though to no avail. His proposal would have imposed 10-year limits on the Legislature, 12-year limits on Congress, & a 2-term limit on governors. He argued that by imposing such limits, "there woul be less focus on re-election and more on policy." The bill went to a House subcommittee on election law, where it failed to pass with a 5-5 vote. Had it passed the Legislature, the proposal would have gone to popular vote in the 1996 general election.
Source: Sam`s Club Republican, p.15, Minnesota Voting Records HF2186 , May 10, 2010

Guarantee the right to concealed carry

Pawlenty consistently supported legislation in the Minnesota House guaranteeing the rights of Minnesotans to carry guns in the pockets or purses. He enjoys recreational hunting.
Source: Sam's Club Republican, by J.A. McClure, p. 65 , May 10, 2010

2002: Fined $100,000 for violating campaign finance laws

[Pawlenty's 2002 gubernatorial] campaign was dealt major bad press only a few weeks before voters went to the polls. Because Pawlenty accepted $400,000 in public funding, he was subject to numerous campaign finance laws. A state campaign finance board ruled the Minnesota Republican Party had illegally prepared and broadcast two television ads on Pawlenty's behalf. The Pawlenty campaign was fined $100,000 and required to count $500,000 of the cost of the ads against their $2.2 million campaign spending limit, significantly reducing the amount they could spend on advertising in the final days of the campaign.

Pawlenty accepted the fine as a "fair compromise." Public response, however, was mixed, as many saw the ruling as anything but fair. They were unfamiliar with the strange campaign finance laws, which appeared a rather brazen affront to the First Amendment.

Source: Sam's Club Republican, by J.A. McClure, p. 30-31 , May 10, 2010

Keep restrictions on liquor licenses near state facilities

Legislative Summary of SF2696:Clarifying the prohibition on the issuance of intoxicating liquor licenses in proximity to certain state institutions.

Summary by OnTheIssues: Allow liquor licenses near county jails, but disallow liquor licenses within 1,000 feet of a state hospital, training school, reformatory, prison, or other institution under the supervision or control of the commissioner of human services or the commissioner of corrections.

Governor's Veto Message: There are many other facilities beyond hospitals, training schools, reformatories and prisons that are under the supervision or control of the Commissioners of Human Services or Corrections. It would surprise me if the Legislature intended to allow liquor sales near all such facilities. Yet, the bill seems to do just that."

Legislative Outcome: Passed House 124-8-2 on May/13/04; Passed Senate 57-3-7 on May/14/04; Vetoed by Gov. Pawlenty on May/29/04.

Source: Minnesota legislative voting records: SF2696 , May 29, 2004

Keep approval of local rules with Governor, not Legislatur

Legislative Summary of House File 624: Local government impact notes provided for state agency rule proposals, and legislative approval required for specified rulemaking.

Governor's Veto Message: The bill essentially shifts authority for conducting rulemaking from the executive branch to the legislative branch. Under current law, the legislature has granted the Governor's office final approval authority on all rulemakings. This is sound policy as it provides accountability in a way that does not paralyze either branch of government. House File 624 would impose that responsibility on the already over-stressed legislative process.

Legislative Outcome: Passed House 124-8-2 on May/16/03; Passed Senate 60-0-7 on May/16/03; Vetoed by Gov. Pawlenty on May/27/03.

Source: Minnesota legislative voting records: HF624 , May 27, 2003

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