Posted at 5:37 AM on April 13, 2012
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
MPR News has learned that the state of Minnesota has rejected Michael Brokdorb's request for unemployment benefits. Brodkorb, a former spokesman for the Senate Republican Caucus, is appealing the decision. Brodkorb was fired one day after Amy Koch stepped down as Senate Majority Leader. Brodkorb is preparing to sue the Senate for gender discrimination. He claims he was fired because he had an affair with Koch and that other female staffers who had affairs with male lawmakers were not dismissed.
Under the Dome
GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers suggests the House will vote on a Vikings stadium bill this session.
The Pi Press outlines some of the other priorities Zellers has for the end of session.
Democrats say Republicans are waging a "Do nothing session."
Lawmakers and business groups are pushing to require all online outlets to pay Minnesota sales tax.
Gov. Dayton held a ceremonial signing of a bill that would allow prosecutors to carry guns.
The former head of the State Security Hospital is still getting paid.
WCCO takes a look at the per diem payments in the House and Senate.
Voter ID amendment
Foes of the Voter ID requirement kick off their campaign to defeat it.
The White House is condemning a North Korea rocket launch.
South Korea said the launch was a failure.
Several House committees are dusting off their plans to cut spending in the hopes of averting automatic spending cuts.
A $1 billion settlement with the federal government attempts a new direction with Native American tribes.
DFL Sen. Al Franken says the federal government can improve the approval process for medical devices without compromising safety.
Race for Congress
DFL Rep. Betty McCollum reported raising $123,000 in the 1st Quarter.
Race for President
MPR says Rick Santorum's fans are showing a tepid support for Mitt Romney.
President Obama and his campaign have distanced themselves from a Democratic operative who criticized Ann Romney for "never worked a day in her life." The operative later apologized.
Ann Romney chafed at the charge.
Mr. Obama said spouses should be left alone.
Mitt Romney is using the incident to help him close the gender gap.
The AFL-CIO has created a super PAC.
The chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee announced this morning that she's not running for re-election. Sen. Claire Robling, R-Jordan, says she made the decision after thinking about it for the past year.
"Sixteen years in this position is long enough," Robling said in a statement. "I find my enthusiasm for doing this job for another four years is waning. I think it's time to let someone else step into this spot."
Robling also said that she's becoming more concerned that the Legislature has become more partisan over the years.
"I fear that statesmen are vanishing as partisanship deepens," Robling said in a statement. "It is very difficult to pass common sense measures into law these days because special interest groups block or promote agendas that only benefit themselves."
Robling was first elected in 1996 and didn't face a serious challenge in the upcoming election. She has represented Scott County over the past ten years.
Robling is one of the most senior members in the Senate Republican Caucus. She's also the 14th member of the Senate to announce that they're not running in November (10 Republicans and four Democrats). A court panel released a new set of political boundaries in February.
Update: Here's an interview MPR's Tom Crann did with Robling:
Here's the list of retirements:
Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon
Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas (opted to run for Congress in the 7th District but lost the endorsement to Lee Byberg)
Sen. Doug Magnus, R-Slayton
Sen. Al DeKruif, R-Madison Lake (announced retirement after he was paired with GOP Sen. Julie Rosen)
Sen. Mike Parry, R-Waseca (running for Congress in the 1st District)
Sen. Amy Koch, R-Buffalo
Sen. Michael Jungbauer, R-East Bethel(lost endorsement battle with GOP Sen. Michelle Benson)
Sen. Gen Olson, R-Minnetrista
Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina
Sen. Clair Robling, R-Jordan
Sen. Chris Gerlach, R-Apple Valley
Sen. Linda Higgins, DFL-Minneapolis
Sen. Ken Kelash, DFL-Minneapolis (lost endorsement battle to Michelle Wikilund)
Sen. Mary Jo McGuire, DFL-Falcon Heights (lost endorsement battle to DFL Sen. John Marty)
WASHINGTON - After dropping out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination in early January with her campaign in deep in debt, 6th District Congresswoman Michele Bachmann raised more than $550,000 toward her re-election effort in the first quarter of the year, the campaign reported Friday.
After exiting the presidential race, Bachmann announced on Jan. 25th that she would run again for her 6th District seat.
The campaign also says the three-term legislator has almost $650,000 in the bank. A glance at Bachmann's campaign finance reports from the same period in 2010 shows that she raised nearly $820,000 and had more than $1.5 million in her war chest.
"This is highly encouraging - nearly 600 thousand raised in under sixty days," said campaign manager Chase Kroll in a statement. "That puts us on a very strong trajectory."
One of Bachmann's DFL rivals, hotel owner Jim Graves, reported lending his campaign $100,000 and receiving an additional $1,026 in contributions. Graves entered the race this week.
WASHINGTON - DFL U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar's war chest keeps expanding. Her re-election campaign announced Friday that the first-term Senator raised just over $1 million in the first quarter of 2012 and has just under $5.2 million cash on hand.
One of Klobuchar's potential GOP rivals, National Guard veteran Pete Hegseth reported this week that he raised $160,000 in his effort for the Republican endorsement.
More than 25 percent of Klobuchar's million dollar haul came from donors giving less than $200. About 50 percent came from donors giving more than $200 and political action committees contributed about 23 percent of her funds.
After news that he was denied unemployment benefits, Michael Brodkorb plans to expand his wrongful termination lawsuit.
Brodkorb's lawyer, Phil Villaume, says be believes someone in the Senate disclosed private information regarding Brodkorb's efforts to claim unemployment, and that the disclosure is illegal.
MPR News reported that Brodkorb's request for unemployment benefits was denied. Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman confirmed the information in the story.
"Due to the decision by the Minnesota Senate to release Mr. Brodkorb's private unemployment information, Mr. Brodkorb will be adding an additional claim of invasion of privacy against the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Senate and Mr. Ludeman to his planned lawsuit over his unlawful termination from the Minnesota Senate."
Under state and federal law, unemployment applications are private and so is the state's decision to reject a claim. However, an appeal of that decision is public.
Villaume would not confirm that Brodkorb's unemployment claim had been rejected, nor would he detail the arguments he plans to make during the appeal of the state's decision next Thursday.
"I can't acknowledge that because unemployment matters are private under the law," Villaume said. "Whoever has released this to the press has invaded Mr. Brodkorb's right to privacy and technically has violated the law."
Brodkorb has filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which will issue a so-called right-to-sue letter so Brodkorb can file a wrongful termination lawsuit in federal court.
Villaume expects to file the lawsuit in 30 to 60 days. He does not believe the EEOC is investigating Brodkorb's claim, and will simply issue the right-to-sue letter instead.
Here's the press release:
In a recent opinion piece, House Minority Leader Rep. Paul Thissen said Republicans favored businesses over individual Minnesotans in their latest tax bill.
To help make his point, he turned to a tax bill recently passed by the Minnesota House.
"99 percent of the Republicans' recent tax bill is directed at tax cuts for corporations, with next to nothing for Minnesota homeowners, Thissen wrote on April 12, 2012, in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Thissen's claim is nearly correct.
The tax bill in question combines an array of tax credits for individuals and businesses, expanding some and shrinking others.
Most of the bill is targeted at businesses, including an expansion to a credit that allows corporations to sell tax liabilities to other businesses, an expansion of the research and development credit, and the gradual elimination of a tax on commercial and industrial properties.
Combined, all those credits would mean nearly $500 million less in the state's coffers.
While the vast majority of these tax breaks are meant for businesses, there are roughly $20 million in tax breaks for individuals in the bill as well. For instance, individuals could benefit from an increase in the angel investment tax credit, and a one-time boost in a property tax relief program.
Thissen's claim is in the ballpark. He said 99 percent of the tax credits in the tax bill are for businesses, with very little for homeowners. In fact, 96 percent of the tax credits are targeted at businesses.
Thissen is off by 3 percentage points, but he's close enough to earn an accurate.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune, GOP's lips say 'yes' to jobs; actions say 'no', by Paul Thissen, April 12, 2012
Tax Provision in HF 2337, Third Engrossment, Based on the February 2012 Forecast, March 21, 2012
Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes, Small Business Investment Tax Credit, accessed April 13, 2012
E-mail exchange, Mike Howard, spokesman, Minnesota House DFL Caucus, April 12, 2012
Interview, Cynthia Templin, House Fiscal Staff, April 12, 2012
Interview, Katherine Schill, House Fiscal Staff, April 13, 2012(1 Comments)
WASHINGTON - First-term Republican Congressman Chip Cravaack raised $246,000 in the first three months of the year for his re-election campaign, according to spokesman Ben Golnik, and has raised a million dollars in total since the beginning of 2011.
Cravaack's campaign also had $629,000 cash on hand seven months out from what's expected to be the most highly-contested congressional race in Minnesota this year.
While this past quarter's fundraising represents Cravaack's largest haul to date, Tarryl Clark, one of three DFLers vying to take on Cravaack in the fall, announced earlier this week that her campaign had raised $320,000 in the past three months, suggesting that he will not have a major financial advantage against his opponents.
The other two DFLers in the race, former U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan and Jeff Anderson, have not yet filed fundraising papers with the Federal Election Commission.
Gov. Dayton released his fundraising reports for the first quarter of this year. He reports raising $82,591 over the first three months of the year. He spent $63,315 and has $65,781 in the bank.
Dayton raised the bulk of his money in the first quarter from lobbyists and Political Action Committees. His report says he raised $32,540 from PACs, $18,450 from lobbyists and $31,691 from individuals.
Dayton's report also says he spent $14,000 on polling in March, $15,979 on a staff person, nearly $6,000 on printing services and $1,600 on rent at the DFL headquarters.
State law doesn't require campaign finance reports to be released for several months but Dayton has voluntarily released for this quarter. He wants to change state law to require campaigns that raise more than $5,000 to file quarterly reports. He said the measure will create greater transparency at the Minnesota Legislature.
Here's the campaign finance report filed by Dayton's campaign: