The partisanship in the Minnesota Senate is about to get a uglier today. That's because the Republican majority appear to be preparing to remove one of Gov. Dayton's appointments on a party line vote. Deputy Majority Leader Julianne Ortman said the Senate will likely reject PUC Chair Ellen Anderson appointment today. Ortman and Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem declined to discuss specifics except to say that they believe Anderson's record is "controversial."
Gov. Dayton said Anderson has voted just six times in the minority since she's been on the PUC. He also said more than 200 votes were unanimous. He called the vote "petty revenge."
The vote also comes three days after a partisan fight over cuts to Senate staff has escalated.
Gov. Dayton holds a news conference on health care this morning. He's also scheduled to have breakfast with GOP leadership.
The Star Tribune says the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter is in turmoil because six psychiatrists have left.
The Pi Press say Republicans in the Legislature have left the planning for the state's health insurance exchange to Gov. Dayton.
It looks like the highly touted Sunset Commission will protect most of the boards, commissions and governmental units that it reviewed.
MPR says the state has added wind farms but has slipped in the national ranking.
A Star Tribune editorial criticizes the Legislature for holding a retreat at the U of M but locking the public out of the discussions.
MinnPost reports that DFL Rep. Mindy Greiling cites Gov. Dayton's refusal to give her caucus a seat at the table as one of the reasons she's retiring.
Amendment to ban same-sex marriage
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann spoke at an event that was hosted by supporters of the amendment.
A group fighting the marriage amendment raised $1.2 million in 2011.
The Vikings are considering a fourth stadium site in Minneapolis.
President Obama will host a Google "hang out" today.
The Star Tribune says no one beats the beet lobby in Congress.
The members of Minnesota's congressional delegation are watching the transportation bill closely.
Bemidji will continue to get air service.
The Star Tribune also says bankuptcy trustees from the Tom Petters case are directing their focus towards politicians and political parties who received contributions from Petters.
Public Policy Polling says Gov. Dayton is getting high marks. State lawmakers don't fare so well.
Grover Norquist, the leader of Americans for Tax Reform, will speak at the White Bear Lake Chamber of Commerce in February.
Race for President
Rick Santorum will campaign in Luverne, MN today.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Mitt Romney well ahead of his rivals in Florida.
AP says Romney would rank among the richest presidents ever.
Newt Gingrich says he's staying in the race until the convention.
Herman Cain backed Gingrich.
The Washington Post says Ron Paul signed off on some of the racist newsletters that were issued in the 1990s.
Robert Gibbs is back on the Obama payroll.(1 Comments)
WASHINGTON - Super PACs, the lightly regulated political action committees that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, have landed in Minnesota and first-term Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack is the target.
A liberal group called CREDO Mobile says it's launching a "multi-million dollar" organizing campaign in Minnesota to unseat Cravaack, along with five other House Republicans in other states. The group is affiliated with Working Assets, a for-profit company that offers phone service and credit cards that promises the profits from those businesses are invested in liberal causes.
In a press release, the group called Cravaack one of "the worst members of Congress" and cited Cravaack's family's move to New Hampshire last year as evidence that he is not committed to Minnesota. Other targets of the group include Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffey and Iowa Rep. Steve King.
The group raised more than $567,000 in 2011, according to Federal Election Commission data and spent $331,000.
MPR News has contacted Cravaack's reelection campaign for a comment.
"It's no surprise that Nancy Pelosi and San Francisco progressives are attacking Chip for standing up for the interests of Minnesota middle-class families," said Cravaack political adviser Ben Golnik in an email. "Chip has stayed above the fray and remains focused on creating more jobs for the 8th District. He will continue to work with his colleagues on bipartisan, common-sense solutions to the problems facing our country."
Cravaack unseated long-time DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar in 2010 in a surprise upset. Democrats see him as one of the most vulnerable House Republicans in next November's election, and his district was also singled out recently by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as part of its "Red to Blue" campaign to win more Democratic House seats.
Outside groups began launching ads for and against Cravaack in the 8th District not long after he took office last January.
DFLers Jeff Anderson, Tarryl Clark and Rick Nolan are vying for the DFL nomination to challenge Cravaack.(3 Comments)
Posted at 1:11 PM on January 30, 2012
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: MN Legislature
Rep. Mark Murdock, R-Perham, announced today that he will not seek re-election this fall.
Murdock is serving his second term. He is currently vice chair of the House Transportation Policy and Finance Committee. In a news release, Murdock said he wants to spend more time with his family, including his wife Pat.
"After some long discussions with Pat, other family members and close friends over the holidays, we decided four years at the Capitol is enough," Murdock said. "I never went to St. Paul with the intention of being a career politician. This is a citizen Legislature and it is someone else's turn to have the honor of representing the people of District 10B."
Former Minnesota Senate Communications Director Michael Brodkorb has hired the legal firm of Villaume & Schiek. Even though he has yet to file a lawsuit, the firm says it will serve as co-counsel with attorney Greg Walsh.
Philip Villaume, who is an expert in employment law, told MPR News today that Brodkorb is reviewing his legal options regarding his dismissal.
Brodkorb was fired a few hours after it was revealed that former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch had an "inappropriate relationship" with a male staffer. Koch resigned her position as majority leader one day before the allegations surfaced. The identity of the staffer has not been disclosed. Walsh said "no comment" when asked if Brodkorb was the staffer in question.
Villaume said Brodkorb will not be filing a lawsuit against Koch but may sue the Minnesota Senate and the State of Minnesota.
"We're in the process of looking at the option of litigation but we'd like to mediate the matter before we litigate it," Villaume said. He also said Dayle Nolan with the law firm of Larkin Hoffman is representing the Minnesota Senate as outside counsel in the matter.
Cal Ludeman, who serves as the Secretary of the Minnesota Senate,was unavailable to comment on the hiring of outside counsel and how much it's costing the state. Senate Republican Caucus spokesman Steve Sviggum said he didn't know about the hiring of the firm but would look into it.
Cal Ludeman, who serves as Secretary of the Minnesota Senate, confirmed to MPR News that he hired Nolan to represent the Senate. He said he has the authority to hire outside counsel in his role as Secretary of the Senate. Citing attorney/client privilege, Ludeman said he didn't have to provide a copy of the contract. But he said he would have to detail any public money that is spent on the attorney.
"We're not to the point of receiving any invoice or any billing about that," Ludeman said. "When we do we'll be telling the leadership of the State Senate and the rest of the world what those costs are."
Ludeman also responded no when asked whether they would pursue mediation regarding Brodkorb's dismissal. He said they're still trying to figure out what, if any, legal action Brodkorb will take.
"We don't even know what this is about," Ludeman said.
Ludeman told MPR News last month (and again today) that the Senate dismissed Brodkorb because he was an "at-will" employee who worked for Sen. Koch. He said the will was no longer there to keep Brodkorb on staff when Koch stepped down. "At-will" means employees can be fired at any time, without warning for nearly any reason.
Here's the release from Villaume's firm:
(Bloomington, MN) - Today, the law firm of Villaume & Schiek, P.A. announced they have been retained by Mr. Michael B. Brodkorb to serve as co-counsel in representing Mr. Brodkorb in potential legal action related to his employment at the Minnesota Senate. Attorneys with Villaume & Schiek, P.A. will work with Gregory Walsh with the law firm of Walsh & Gaertner, P.A., as was previously announced.
"As stated by Mr. Walsh, we've been ascertaining details surrounding events leading up to and immediately following Mr. Brodkorb's departure from the Minnesota Senate and our client has been reviewing his legal options," said Mr. Villaume.
"If the decision were made to purse legal action against the Minnesota Senate, former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch would not be the defendant of any litigation. Our firms look forward to working with counsel recently retained by the Minnesota Senate to resolve any legal issues related to Mr. Brodkorb's employment with minimal disruption to the current legislative session," concluded Mr. Villaume.
Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has scheduled a campaign stop in Minnesota on Wednesday. Romney, a former governor from Massachusetts, will hold a campaign event in Eagan on Wednesday afternoon. He's making the appearance with former Gov. Tim Pawlenty at the FreightMasters building in Eagan.
Romney's visit comes two days after Rick Santorum touched down in Minnesota. Santorum made a campaign stop tonight in Luverne, MN. It will also be the day after Florida's primary.
The GOP presidential hopefuls are making Minnesota a priority as the state's precinct caucuses approach. The Republican Party of Minnesota will hold a nonbinding straw poll at the Feb. 7 precinct caucuses. The event will be important for candidates looking to showcase their viability but will mean little in the all-important delegate count. That's because the straw poll will not bind the delegates at the national convention.
You can find more info on Romney's event here.