Posted at 6:22 AM on March 22, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Daily Digest
Welcome to the Daily Digest, where voter ID is headed to the Senate floor, Brodkorb files a gender discrimination claim with the EEOC, and Romney secures a big endorsement.
The proposed constitutional amendment that would require people to present photo identification when they vote will be debated on the Senate floorFriday.
Rep. Keith Ellison's claim about voter ID highlights uncertainty about the proposed constitutional amendment.
A Senate tax bill reduces business property taxes. The bill would require Gov. Mark Dayton to decide on spending cuts to make up for lost revenue.
The Minnesota House passed a tax bill that would cut the statewide business property tax.
The Mall of America wants their tax break extended.
The Senate State Government Committee will hold a hearing on a bill that pulls immunity for legislators.
Michael Brodkorb filed a gender discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an entity that will determine if Brodkorb can pursue a lawsuit in federal court.
The New York Times profiled Minnesota's right-to-work debate.
A House panel approved the House Republican budget plan.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison rolled out an alternative to Paul Ryan's budget.
The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with the Mayo Clinic on a case involving patents on medical tests.
Rep. Michele Bachmann used the two-year anniversary of the new health care law, which she opposes, to raise cash.
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius will be in Minnesota Friday to promote the health care law.
The House Republicans' campaign committee is criticizing Rep. Chip Cravaack's DFL challengers for their support of the health care law.
Sen. Al Franken is among Democrats pushing for a new Super PAC law.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar wants clamp down on oil speculators.
A Gallup poll shows that Congressional job approval is flat at 12 percent.
President Barack Obama is touring the nation to promote his "all of the above" energy agenda. Republicans have been hammering Obama on high gas prices.
He said the southern portion of the Keystone pipeline should be expedited.
The Associated Press find that there's no statistical correlation between gas prices and domestic drilling.
On the Campaign Trail
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed Mitt Romney a day after Romney won the Illinois primary. Donors are drifting to the Romney camp as well.
Meanwhile, FreedomWorks, a tea-party supporting group, no longer opposes Romney's campaign for GOP presidential nominee, the Washington Post reports.
Romney aides say to expect more high-profile endorsements soon, according to the New York Times.
After losing the Illinois primary, Rick Santorum is cultivating Pennsylvania, his home state, in hopes of winning its primary.
Santorum spent $100,000 on his sweater vests at Bemidji Woolen Mills.
Never have I heard the phrase "Etch a Sketch" uttered so many times in the same day.
Democratic small businessman Brian McGoldrick is entering the race for Congress in Minnesota's 6th District against Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
McGoldrick will announce his candidacy at a State Capitol news conference Thursday morning. He owns a restaurant called Admiral D's in White Bear Lake.
McGoldrick joins Anne Nolan in the race to challenge Bachmann. Both say they will honor the DFL endorsement and drop out if party insiders choose to back someone else.
The newly configured 6th Congressional District is believed to be even more conservative than it was prior to the latest round of reapportionment which will make a campaign against a Republican there even more difficult for whoever runs as a Democrat.
UPDATE: Anne Nolan says she will only agree to abide by the endorsement if it takes place as scheduled on April 14, 2012.
The McGoldrick campaign sent this response to Nolan's endorsement clarification, criticizing her for hedging her decision to abide by the endorsement.
"This is a sliver of the waffling leadership that the people of 6th are all too used to after three terms of Michele Bachmann in Congress," said McGoldrick. "Frankly, the people of Minnesota's 6th deserve much better. It's my hope that Anne Nolan will reconsider her position and agree to the endorsement process regardless when the 6th District convention takes place."
Nolan said she is handling the endorsement the way she is because in a 2006 campaign for the Minnesota House of Representatives she was stung when a convention postponed an endorsement when she was the only candidate. The convention later reconvened and endorsed a newly announced candidate. Nolan says postponing endorsement questions is unfair not only to candidates, but also to delegates.
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton sent two of his commissioners to a Minnesota Senate hearing today to highlight his concerns with a Republican-backed tax bill.
The Senate GOP measure is aimed at boosting the economy and encouraging job growth through package of tax breaks for businesses, including a phase-out of the state business property tax. But to cover the costs, Republicans would either dip into the state budget reserves or require the administration to cut spending by about $100 million. Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter said the bill would send state finances in the wrong direction.
"We have gotten through a a significant recession," Schowalter said. "We have drawn down our reserves. We have had shifts. We have weakened the financial situation of this state markedly in recent year. The last two forecasts have been positive, and they've helped us restore some of our reserves, and this bill takes us going in the other way."
Schowalter also warned that additional spending reductions would be hard to find. But Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, the committee chair, told Schowalter to try harder.
"I encourage you to go back to the table, roll up your sleeves, get out your pencils, you and the other commissioners and the other managers, there are many of them, and find some savings," Ortman said. "Because I think it's there. I think every Minnesotan knows it's there, and that we can do more to reduce the size of government to encourage the prosperity of individuals and businesses in the state of Minnesota."
Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans told lawmakers that the governor is also concerned that the proposed tax relief won't actually create any jobs.
Representatives of several business groups testified in support of the bill.
A new report by Washington D.C.-based government watchdog details how much money Minnesota's congressional delegation has paid family members for campaign work.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson paid his son, Elliott Peterson, roughly $105,000 during the 2008 and 2010 election cycles in salary and reimbursements.
Peterson said that, though his son has a masters in music, he's one-quarter away from having an accounting degree, too.
"He files all the reports, keeps track of all the money, pays all the bills," Peterson said. "And I trust him."
During the 2008 and 2010 election cycles, Peterson also used about $30,000 from his campaign fund and his leadership political action committee to pay for travel reimbursement, including Peterson's personal airplane mileage. Peterson is a pilot, and uses his personal plane to traverse the 7th Congressional District.
"I don't drive any place. I fly," he said. "If I didn't fly, I wouldn't get anything done."
Peterson said that he still covers about 15 percent of the flying cost out of pocket.
Other Minnesota lawmakers were included in the report:
- 3rd District Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen paid his wife, Kelly, more than $10,000 in salary and travel expenses during the 2008 election cycle. In 2009, a spokesman said that she served as office manager and helped wind down campaign operations after the election. Paulsen also reimbursed himself roughly $29,000 for office supplies, travel, and meals during the 2008 and 2010 elections, according to the report.
- 1st District DFL Rep. Tim Walz used his campaign fund and his leadership committee for nearly $30,000 in reimbursements for food, travel and babysitting costs. According to OpenSecrets.org, a database of campaign spending, at least some of those babysitting costs are associated with campaign events.
- 5th District DFL Rep. Keith Ellison paid his son, Isaiah, roughly $7,000 in salary during the 2010 election cycle.
Lawmakers typically use campaign funds to cover travel associated with campaigning.
CREW also notes in its report that these payments to family are legal, so long as the the family members was providing a bona fide service at fair market value.
But CREW also wrote that it was "unable to discover the qualifications of those family members, whether the payments were for bona fide campaign services or whether the payments were fair market value."
We're still waiting to hear back from some of those cited in the report and will update when we do.(1 Comments)
Hotel developer Jim Graves is considering running for Congress as a Democrat in Minnesota's 6th District.
A Graves spokesman said Graves will make an announcement about a possible campaign after the Easter holiday. He said if Graves runs, he will emphasize his track record of job creation.
If Graves chooses to run he will join Brian McGoldrick and Anne Nolan in seeking the DFL endorsement to take on Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Graves does not live in the 6th District, but he grew up there.
Bachmann no longer lives in the district either. Reapportionment sliced off the southeast section of the 6th where Bachmann's home is and put it in the 4th District.
UPDATE: Here's a press release from Graves:
Local businessman, Jim Graves, filed an exploratory campaign committee with the FEC earlier today as he considers running against Michele Bachmann in Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District as a DFL candidate. Graves, born and raised in St. Cloud, attended St. Paul's Elementary School, graduated from Cathedral High School and received a B.S. degree at St. Cloud State University. He started his career as a sixth grade teacher at Holy Spirit Elementary (1974-1976).(1 Comments)
Graves and wife Julie went on to start a business and raise three sons in St. Cloud. Currently Graves serves as a Trustee at St. Benedict's College in St. Joseph, Minnesota.
"When I was a kid, growing up on the north side of St. Cloud, attending St. Paul's Elementary and paying my own tuition at St. Cloud Cathedral High School, I never dreamt that I would live the life I have been so fortunate to live. Now it is my turn to give back. I have created hundreds of jobs, beginning in a make-shift office in my home on the south side of St. Cloud back in 1979," Graves said.
"The people in the sixth district can count on me to serve as a full-time congressman focusing on creating jobs and rebuilding a sustainable middle class. Rather than seeking constant national limelight, I will focus my energy on issues that affect people's lives."
Graves added, "I will be spending the next several days with my family as we will make this important decision together. Everyone can expect an announcement of my decision shortly after Easter."
Posted at 4:54 PM on March 22, 2012
by Tim Nelson
Filed under: Vikings stadium
Minneapolis officials are trying to put together a show of support for the Vikings stadium plan put together by the Rybak and Dayton administrations and the team.
City council members and planners were huddling Thursday evening, trying to get seven signatures on a letter to the state, giving lawmakers some assurance that the council will ratify a stadium bill if it passes in the Legislature.
Asked this afternoon if he was ready to declared victory, Mayor R.T. Rybak said "not yet."
Gov. Mark Dayton's spokeswoman, Katharine Tinucci said "nothing's signed, nothing is done."
But city council member Meg Tuthill said she thinks things could get clearer but didn't know how the count stands.
Here's one version of the letter:
Minneapolis city council member Sandy Colvin Roy was huddled in the City Council chambers until just before 7 p.m. tonight, talking Vikings stadium.
She walked out with council president Barbara Johnson, one of the plan's biggest backers. But Colvin Roy said she hasn't signed onto the memorandum that Johnson and Mayor R.T. Rybak want to present to lawmakers, to show the city is ready to ratify a stadium deal.
"I had a knee-jerk reaction to subsidies for sports stadiums," Colvin Roy said, as she was leaving the building. "But I have been listening to the financial projections, I have been listening to the city attorney, I have been listening to my constituents. Nothing got signed today."
That's a crucial point. Colvin Roy is possibly THE pivotal vote on the council, which would have to approve a key detail of the city's Vikings stadium plan, diverting state-authorized sales taxes to a new NFL venue, after they pay off the city's Convention Center.
Stadium supporters sent in the plan's chief financial consultant and development director Chuck Lutz to meet with Colvin Roy. She said it wasn't a brow-beating.
"They didn't try to give me any pressure. Mark Kaplan and Chuck Lutz gave me the financial runs," Colvin Roy said. "Most of the pressure is coming from me internally, frankly. Because this is a very important decision for the city of Minneapolis for a very long time."
But with only weeks, or even days left in the 2012 Legislative session, and lawmakers insisting on a straight answer from the Minneapolis City Council, it isn't clear yet when that might happen.
As for Colvin Roy, she was finished talking for the day.
"I'm going to go home and get a good night's sleep."(6 Comments)