Daily Digest: missing records, flipflopping GOP chair?, contrarian republican

by Katherine Lymn

A box of Fairview patient records that included names, birthdays and diagnoses, went missing amidst an office move in February, the Strib reported today. Insurance claim reports for 1,200 patients admitted to the Edina Southdale Fairview between April 2010 and February 2011 vanished from the Financial Securing Center as the center was moved to a new building a few miles away. Fairview conducted a “comprehensive search” at shipping and receiving areas and interviewed employees and vendors to no avail. Federal laws require hospitals to notify patients within 60 days of a security breach involving medical records, and the letters notifying the Edina patients went out Tuesday. The hospital is offering to pay for a year’s subscription of identity protection service for all affected patients, though it assured no Social Security or credit card information was lost.  

State GOP chair Tony Sutton is denying allegations that he offered to switch sides of the racinos debate in exchange for a job. Aligned with his party’s views, Sutton has for years been against gambling expansion in the state. But the Strib reports a South St. Paul businessman is claiming Sutton’s wife, Bridget, approached him for help to find out whether a group on the other side of the debate, that’s trying to get slot machines in horse racing tracks, would hire her hubby to promote the effort at the Capitol. The gaming businessman Bill Lethert alleged that Bridget Sutton essentially told him “If you hire Tony, the odds are a lot higher to get racino than if you don’t hire Tony.” Sutton said the claims are “false, false, false,” he said and even offered to take a polygraph. Sutton is up for reelection Saturday.

The New York Times has a piece today on the U.S. House’s biggest contrarian. Justin Amash, R-Mich., has voted against his party 25 percent of the time, the most of any House Republican. And that 25 percent doesn’t make up the least important quarter of votes, either — Amash voted against stripping Planned Parenthood funding and plans to vote today against his party’s plan with Dems to keep the government open the rest of the year. He’s 30 years old, a freshman lawmaker and, the Times reports, “if baffled colleagues seek an explanation, they can find it on his Facebook page, where he assiduously explains every vote.” “I follow a set of principles, I follow the constitution,” he said. If Amash wants to advance, he’ll have to “find a way to mimic the style of lawmakers who run contrariwise to their leaders but maintain their respect,” or, as the Times says, not be like Minnesota’s own Michele Bachmann in being very visible but not “especially influential.”

It’s been just over a month since the Japan earthquake and tsunami. Check out the Big Picture. The crisis alert level has been raised to the highest level — that of the Chernobyl disaster 25 years ago.