Posted at 1:21 PM on October 31, 2006
by Tom Scheck
A group known as "A Strong America-Minnesota" started running this ad last night. The group is based in Alexandria, VA. The group's latest Campaign Finance report shows that Stanley Hubbard, the owner of KSTP-TV and Hubbard Broadcasting, Target Corporation Chairman and CEO Robert Ulrich and the
Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association Committee of Automobile Retailers (not MADA) gave to the PAC so far.
Hubbard and Ulrich have given to Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty's campaign. This is the first outside interest group to run ads that benefit Pawlenty and hammer Hatch. The Alliance for a Better Minnesota and Minnesotans for Change were created to bash Pawlenty and help Hatch. The latest campaign finance report showed that Minnesotans for Change turned over $800,000 to the DFL Party.
Update: The Alliance for a Better Minnesota has a new ad (if it's not new, it's the first time I've seen it). You can watch it here.
The other big donor to "A Stronger America- Minnesota" is not MADA, but CAR, Committee of Automotive Retailers.
"A Stronger America-Minnesota" came into being just this last month on 10/2/2006. It is funded primarily by Ulrich ($10k on 10/20), Hubbard ($10k on 9/22) and CAR ($20k on 10/20). In turn, CAR's biggest donors by a long shot are Paul Walser ($15k on 10/9), Denny Hecker ($25k on 9/7), and David Luther ($15k on 10/9). Now remember that during an election year, people are limited to $2,000 donations on behalf of a candidate for Governor.
"A Stronger America - Minnesota" has no expenditures on the report it just filed with the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, most likely because it exists only to do a last-minute anti-Hatch advertising blitz as an independent expenditure. Has lots of cash, just hadn't spent it as of 10/23, the date of the cutoff. Query whether they had actually *reserved* the air time and accrued any unpaid bills as of 10/23, because if that's the case, the report they just filed on 10/27 was false, because funds are required to report "unpaid bills" on column 2 on their report of disbursements.
And what more do we know about "A Stronger America - Minnesota"??? Well, its office address of 107 South West Street in Alexandria Virginia 22314 turns out to be the local UPS store, basically a mail drop:
Transparency in politics is fun.
And an ugly little out-of-state organization has weighed into the 6th CD race with an ugly little anti-gay (read anti-Wetterling) mailing. It will be interesting to follow the money that funds this kind of crap. Are any reporters up to it?:
Perhaps a geologic epoch may come to pass before America adopts verifiable and open source voting machinery, a ranking system such as the Range Vote to mitigate winner-take-all, elimination of the Electoral College, and a unicameral & strictly population proportional legislative body (np mathematical justification exists for the skewed senate), etc.
But sometime before then could we please sneak one piece of election and campaign reform into place: PAC's shouldn't be able to accept money from outside the geographic scope of the office they wish to promote (or attack).
I think Hatch made a good point today, and it should apply equally to all parties. Voting, ostensibly, is an exercise in self-determination. Only residents of X can vote for candidate running for office of X. Same should apply to campaign finance. Why do we let distant interests interfere, bias, skew or otherwise meddle in local races? There's an extraordinary loss of self-determination there, whatever one's party affiliation may be. It's rather creepy when you think about it. Who's in charge?