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Some Thoughts on Thune/Nelson/MetaBank

Some right-wing bloggers have started to weigh in on the Dan Nelson/John Thune story, and to be honest I have found some of their defense of Sen. Thune compelling, but I also think they miss the mark, or try to move the target on a few points.

First. Taking their cue from the Senator himself, all the Right-wing bloggers feel obliged to specifically mention that at the time of the loan Thune was a private citizen. Why does that matter? Only a Senator can find shady ways to help a friend out of a financial pickle? Or is it that it's only a news story if it's a Senator instead of a candidate for Senator? I've tried to figure out why this matters, and I can't come up with a reason.

Second. They try to make a big deal out of the fact that Nelson and MetaBank had a longstanding banking relationship prior to the loan in question. Again, I don't know why this matters. This loan was the only loan Nelson received while under investigation by Iowa AG and while Thune was on the board.

Which brings us to my third point. Everyone seems transfixed on this notion that somehow Thune forced through a loan to Nelson over the objections of all the other board members and bank employees tasked with approving loans. I think we can all agree that would be, at the least very difficult and probably closer to impossible. The real issue, the real question, is did Thune have knowledge of the Iowa AG's pending legal action ahead of the public announcement of that lawsuit and at the time Nelson was applying for the loan in question? If he did have advance knowledge of the lawsuit, then it seems to me (and I'm not a lawyer or a bank executive) that as a MetaBank board member he was duty bound to share that knowledge with those ultimately making the decision on the loan. If he had advance knowledge at the time of the loan application and kept quiet, that is as reprehensible as actively forcing through a loan.

Fourth. How do we know if Thune had knowledge of Nelson's legal and financial problems at the time the loan was applied for? Well, the short answer is we don't and we probably won't. Sen. Thune says he has spoken with Nelson only once in the last six months while former
Nelson employees say Thune and Nelson spoke on an almost daily basis. What else is Thune going to say? If he says he talks to Nelson all the time, nobody is going to believe that Nelson didn't confide in him. The former DNA employees are, after all, former employees. Todd Epp believes them to be credible, and I take his word for it, but it's not hard to imagine people who lost their job on Friday, lashing out at their former employer on Saturday.

As with most things, the truth is probably somewhere in between what we on the left have been pushing and what those on the right want to believe. Will we ever know if Thune sat on his hands while the bank that it was his job to protect approved a loan that he knew was destined to never be repaid? I don't know? I hope so, whatever the answer is, but I doubt we will. That doesn't mean it's not a legit news story. And nobody will ever make be believe that if the Sen. on that bank board was named Johnson or Daschle and the loan was made to one of their long time friends and political supporters that the Right-wing bloggers wouldn't be filling Randell Beck's email box on a daily basis demanding they write the story and we on the left would be finding ways to back up our man.

Welcome to the SD blogosphere.

As I've said before, if you judge a man by his friends, then you have to question John Thune judgment if not his character.


At 7/12/2005 11:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to the rantings regarding Dan Nelson being sued by the Iowa AG due to a "technicality" could I offer to provide a few more facts. In Iowa it is and is a well known fact that you must go to the county of the customer's residence for small claims judgements. Many of the 1100 or so small claims judgements alleged in the lawsuit were in violation of Iowa's law. What makes it even more offensive is the fact that many of these people no longer had their vehicles either because it was dead in the water or had been repossessed. The highly controlled system that DNA used was part and parcel about this kind of action. I don't know if anyone has talked about the fact that the number of complaints against DNA in South Dakota(23) dwarfs Iowa with 400 represented and documented, but 13,000 total have complained. Take a look at those figures and tell me if anyone knew about the law in Iowa? In Iowa an individual consumer cannot sue on the grounds of consumer fraud or violation of the consumer credit code. 400 formal complaints in Iowa and 23 in South Dakota. Was this planned? It's alot easier to do this type of business when you don't have to deal with those pesky consumers who want to sue you and take all of you revenue. Yes, I think it may have happened just that way.
It has come to my attention that there are many people who have lost their jobs at DNA. Not only that, but no paychecks for nearly 4 weeks, and the health care and dental premiums were taken out of the paychecks, allegedly but recently some former employees have been getting medical and dental bills since there hasn't been any coverage . How outrageous is this? 100 million dollars and no parting gifts for the dedicated employees who deserve much better than that. In that spirit, I have set up an e-mail address so that these former employees can get some help in terms of paychecks, etc since even the unemployment benefits won't kick in for a few weeks. If anyone would like to contact me please feel free to do so at the following: erin2535@mchsi.com or you can also the call the phone number set up to take calls as part of an effort to help these former employees and anyone else in this situation that needs some help, (515) 729-8098 You can be anonymous if you like. If I haven't already made you sick with the above facts, here's something that a former employee told me tonight, the motto at Dan Nelson
Auto Group was sometimes known like this: "we buy 'em cheap and fxxk 'em deep." Let us not forget how serious this situation is and the necessity of immediate action.

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Conservatives will try anything to divert our attention from Karl Rove, the Downing Street memos, the failing war in Iraq, and the fact that the rest of the world hates America more than ever.

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