Welcome to the Daily Digest, where the state Senate rejected Dayton's PUC pick, the death of a wind energy tax credit could be bad for the state's industry, and a liberal super PAC is targeting Cravaack.
The Senate rejected Ellen Anderson as chief of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.
Gov. Mark Dayton is not pleased.
Former Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb has hired another lawyer. The Senate has hired counsel as well.
The Star Tribune has a story on Brodkorb, too.
MPR looks at education issues likely to come up this legislative session.
DFL Rep. Joe Atkins will introduce a bill to establish a health care insurance exchange.
Dayton and the Legislature are headed for conflict on the exchanges.
Minnesota Majority says the state must do a better jobs of telling felons they can't vote while on parole or probation, MPR reports.
Rep. Mark Murdock won't seek a third term.
A pro-St. Croix bridge group says a survey of area residents support a new structure.
Ex-offenders will be at the Capitol to push for job application changes.
Today at 2:30: Mayor Chris Coleman and Council President Lantry will meet with Dayton to outline concerns with stadium plans.
Around the Nation
Newly elected Republican governors are moderating their tone, the New York Times reports. Gov. Scott Walker is mentioned.
In Colorado, a lawsuit is challenging voter control of the state's budgeting process, the New York Times reports.
Income grew .5 percent in less than a year.
If Congress declines to renew the production tax credit for wind energy, the industry will suffer in 2013.
Republican lawmakers want to eliminate the state income tax.
Rep. Michele Bachmann hasn't decided if she'll endorse a candidate.
Rep. Betty McCollum supports Xcel Energy in its bid to change EPA rules for coal-fired power plants, the Pioneer Press reports.
Money and Politics
A liberal super PAC is targeting Rep. Chip Cravaack.
Rep. Erik Paulsen has $1 million, Politics in Minnesota reports.
On the Campaign Trail
Today is the Florida primary.
Polls show Romney leading there.
Romney and Newt Gingrich are keeping up the heated attacks.
Gingrich outlined his agenda for his first day in the White House.
Rick Santorum was in Minnesota Monday night.
Romney will be here Wednesday.
Santorum's youngest child, Bella, who is ill, has become a focal point in her father's campaign.(5 Comments)
The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board has dismissed a complaint against state Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville. The DFL Party filed the complaint after MPR News reported that Thompson received $78,000 in consulting fees since 2009 from the Republican Party of Minnesota. Democrats said Thompson should have disclosed the income to the finance board.
But the board said it won't investigate the complaint. In a letter, Gary Goldsmith, executive director of the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board, wrote that Thompson didn't have to disclose the funds because he wasn't "an employee" of the party.
"The Board has recognized that self-employed individuals operating as sole proprietors do not typically have one of the statutorily required relationships with their clients. In view of that recognition, the Statement of Economic Interest form provided by the Board indicates that disclosure of independent contractor income is not required."
Thompson issued a statement praising the decision.
"I complied with all disclosure requirements. Therefore, I am not surprised by the Board's decision. Still, it is gratifying to see a clear statement from Mr. Goldsmith concluding that the Complaint does not even provide a basis for an investigation."
DFL Party Chair Ken Martin issued a statement saying Thompson used a "legal loophole" to avoid disclosure.
"Today's ruling by the Campaign Finance Board draws attention to a legal loophole that has allowed elected leaders like Senator Thompson to sidestep disclosure requirements that are there to make campaigns and government more transparent. This loophole needs to be closed immediately."
Martin said he wanted to see the Legislature change the law to require lawmakers to disclose all income. Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, said today that he would push for such a measure.
Here's the letter from the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board:2 Comments)
The Republican Party of Minnesota announced today that Florida Congressman Allen West will headline the party's annual Lincoln Reagan dinner in March.
Republican Party Chair Pat Shortridge praised West as a "great American" who works to control government spending.
"His commitment to our conservative principles and dedication to getting to work in Washington, not to mention his distinguished military service, have earned him the admiration and respect of Republicans throughout our country. We are pleased to announce that Congressman West will join us in March to speak at our annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner, and we are anxious to hear from him,"
West has been a controversial figure who is beloved by Tea Party members but is criticized by Democrats. He said last year that Rep. Keith Ellison, DFL-MN, represents the "antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established." He also called Islam a "totalitarian political ideology." Ellison, who is a Muslim, issued a statement after the criticism calling for a more "respectful and productive dialogue."
The annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner is a key fundraising event for the Republican Party. It typically features high profile Republicans.
Lawmakers returned to St. Paul last Tuesday for the start of the 2012 legislative session, and they're already preparing to take some time off to attend precinct caucuses.
Those caucuses are next Tuesday, Feb. 7. But the Minnesota House will begin its break at the end of the day tomorrow. The Senate begins its break after meetings are completed on Thursday. Lawmakers from both chambers return next Wednesday, Feb. 8.
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton took note of the early break Monday during his news conference to react to the Senate's rejection of Ellen Anderson as Public Utilities Commission chair.
"They've only been in session for less than a week, and now they're going to take a week off to go to precinct caucuses," Dayton said. "All you need to do is get in your car and drive to precinct caucuses. So, I don't understand why they need a week."
During a news conference on a separate topic today, a reporter asked House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, about the early break.
"Would it have been our choice to take that extended length of vacation?," Thissen responded. "I don't know, but it is what it is."
House Majority Leader Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, said the Legislature has traditionally taken time off for precinct caucuses. Dean didn't seem to think this year's break, or its length, was anything unusual.
"I think it's probably pretty historical," Dean said. "If you look back with other caucuses, I don't know."
The House Rules Committee, which Dean chairs, approved a resolution today to halt per diem payments during the break, as well as during an extended Easter break scheduled for early April. Dean said the action was purely budgetary.
Posted at 1:40 PM on January 31, 2012
by Mark Zdechlik
Filed under: Michele Bachmann
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign committees ended the year owing a total of about $447,000, according to Federal Election Commission reports.
Bachmann dropped out of the Republican presidential nomination battle in early January after finishing near the bottom of the pack in the Iowa caucuses.
Her campaign raised about $1.7 million in the final three months of last year.
Bachmann's campaign said the average amount contributed to the campaign was less than $50 dollars.
Bachmann said last week she would seek re-election to Congress. Her remaining presidential campaign debt could be a problem for her congressional re-election effort. But Carleton College political science professor Steven Schier noted Bachmann's record of strong fundraising. In the 2010 mid-term election cycle Bachmann took in more than $13.5 million. Schier said Bachmann left the presidential race with an even larger base of potential donors.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the GOP presidential race last August. Pawlenty's presidential campaign ended the year with debt of about $50,000, according to FEC reports.
WASHINGTON - Incumbents and challengers for federal offices are filing their required quarterly fundraising reports.
Here's a quick summary of what's in the filings. One caveat: these numbers don't include contributions to leadership political action committees and joint fundraising committees. Those are separate legal entities that many of the Minnesota delegation members have but those figures are reported separately.
As reported by MPR News, the biggest news out from the reports is that GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign ended 2011 deep in the red. Just a few days into 2012, she dropped out and will now have to dig out out of at least $447,000 in debt as she runs for re-election in the 6th District.
Minnesota's other Republican House members remain strong fundraisers. Rep. Erik Paulsen pulled in more than $316,000 in the last quarter of the year, raising almost $1.4 million for the year. His campaign war chest now holds $1 million.
Paulsen's DFL challengers, Brian Barnes and Sharon Sund, have not yet filed reports with the Federal Election Commission.
Republican Rep. John Kline raised $260,000 in the last quarter and topped the $1 million mark for the year. He's sitting on $860,000 and currently has no declared DFL opponents.
First-term Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack grossed $206,000 from October to December and over $750,000 for the year. He has $515,000 cash on hand.
Only one of Cravaack's three declared DFL challengers has filed a report with the FEC. Duluth City Council member Jeff Anderson raised $22,000 and has $13,000 in the bank. UPDATE: Former state Sen. Tarryl Clark reported raising $161,000 in the fourth quarter ($530,000 for the year). Clark's campaign did not report how much cash it had in hand and its report was not immediately availave from the FEC. Clark's campaign said she has $273,000 on hand. Rick Nolan reported $60,013 in the 4th Quarter. He has $35,867 in the bank. On the DFL side, Sen. Amy Klobuchar's campaign for re-election this November has not yet released her quarterly report but had $4 million in the bank as of Sept. 30. UPDATE: Klobuchar's campaign reported raising a million dollars* in the last quarter and just under $6 million across her election cycle. She has $4.6 million in the bank.
Dan Severson, one of her three declared GOP rivals, raised $45,000 in the fourth quarter and has $34,000 in cash.
Minneapolis DFL Rep. Keith Ellison pulled in $243,000 in the last three months of the year and has $142,000 in his campaign war chest. Ellison raised about $820,000 for the whole year.
First District Rep. Tim Walz raised $210,000, making 2011 a million dollar fundraising year for the former teacher. His campaign has $617,000 in the bank. Two of Walz's three Republican challenger Allen Quist raised $6,200 for the entire year.
A third opponent, Mike Parry, has not yet released his fundraising totals. Republican Mike Parry's FEC report says he raised $32,585 in the 4th Quarter and has $29k in the bank.
DFL Rep. Betty McCollum's haul for the fourth quarter was $128,000. For the year, McCollum pulled in more than $430,000 and has $175,000 on hand. Her only declared Republican challenger, Daniel Flood, raised less than $4,000 for the year and has $29,182 in the bank.
Longtime DFL Rep. Collin Peterson
has not yet filed his reports with the FEC but raised $114,000 and sits on $450,000 in cash. Republican challenger Lee Byberg raised $54,000 ($155,000 for the entire year) and has $128,000 on hand but also reports $76,000 in debts.
*NOTE An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated Klobuchar's fundraising. The correct number is just over a million dollars, not $919,000 as first stated.(1 Comments)