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Dayton's MNsure cover-up starts

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It's apparent that Gov. Dayton doesn't want Minnesota taxpayers to know the details about what led to MNsure's disastrous rollout. Gov. Dayton vowed not to cooperate with the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee:

Gov. Mark Dayton vowed Tuesday not to cooperate with a legislative panel that wants to question top officials in his administration about technical problems that marred the Oct. 1 launch of MNsure, the state’s health insurance exchange.

Gov. Dayton then said that Republicans were using the hearing to dredge up old news:

During a news conference Tuesday, Dayton said Republicans are “making a mockery of the word oversight” and engaging in a “propaganda campaign” aimed at destroying MNsure.

“It is really irresponsible,” Dayton said. “The fact that they can pretend this is part of the oversight process is just ludicrous. They want to trash MNsure. … They want MNsure to fail.”

The bad news for Gov. Dayton is that Sen. Tony Lourey, one of the DFL co-chairs of the committee, disagreed with Gov. Dayton:

State Sen. Tony Lourey, the DFL co-chair of the oversight panel, said Republicans have “legitimate questions” that deserve to be answered.

“We do need to answer for how the rollout occurred, and we certainly will,” Lourey said. “I am totally open to that.”

It's clear that Gov. Dayton is doing everything possible to stonewall this legitimate investigation. MNsure's rollout was a disaster. Gov. Dayton can't afford to have people take this investigation seriously because he's heading into his re-election campaign.

If Gov. Dayton persists in stonewalling this investigation, he'll be hurt politically. He'll be seen as having something to hide. It isn't a stretch to think that people will question Gov. Dayton's integrity. This won't help his integrity, either:

At Tuesday’s news conference, Dayton also addressed allegations that he misled people by saying he was unaware of MNsure’s technical problems until sometime in November.

“I misspoke,” Dayton said. “There was a meeting on Sept. 19 where I learned for the first time there were operational problems that called into question whether MNsure could start on Oct. 1.”

When a person knows that there's major problems, then tells reporters that everything's on schedule, that's a matter of Gov. Dayton telling a whopper.

At this point, Gov. Dayton is caught betwixt and between. In September, he told a major whopper when he said MNsure was on schedule when he knew it was headed for disaster. Yesterday, he told the legislature that he wouldn't cooperate with their investigation. Insisting that Republicans are on a witch hunt won't make this go away.

That isn't the worst news for Gov. Dayton. This might be the worst news:

Legislative Auditor James Nobles, who is conducting a review of MNsure, said Todd-Malmlov has so far declined to discuss her stewardship of the agency. Nobles said he will take the unusual step of issuing a subpoena and using the courts to compel her testimony if she does not come in voluntarily for an interview.

“We think there are a lot of questions that need to be answered in a thorough and objective way,” Nobles said. “We want to hear her perspective. … She was at center stage, so to speak, and knows more than probably anybody.”

Jim Nobles is a man of unquestioned integrity. He's expressed his disgust with MNsure's rollout:

Nobles also said he would look into the effects of the May contract amendments. “It’s certainly something that I will pursue very vigorously to find out what triggered that decision,” Nobles said when the amendment was brought to his attention. “What exactly did it mean? Who exactly was…doing the project management?”

Nobles has subpoena power. When he insists on interviewing someone, they'd better comply. Refusing to cooperate will only add to that person's legal difficulties.

Finally, Gov. Dayton's stonewalling is what people caught in a predicament do at the start of a cover-up. After that, things go downhill rather quickly.

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