Posted at 6:15 PM on June 25, 2012
by Brett Neely
Filed under: Campaign 2012, Campaign 2012: U.S. House, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD3, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD4, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD5, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD6, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD8
WASHINGTON - It's not just members of Congress who are required to file public disclosures of their personal finances. Those who want to replace them in Washington also have to file. MPR News took a visit to the basement of the Cannon House Office building where those forms are available to the public to get a peek.
Some candidates filed these forms last year while others filed them within the past weeks. The forms ask for candidates' year to date and last year's earnings. In this post, I have used full year figures unless otherwise noted, so as to give readers a better sense of a candidate's financial status. Candidates are required to list assets in broad categories, making a precise calculation of net worth difficult. They are not required to list the value of their personal residence but are required to disclose any debts, including mortgages, exceeding $10,000.
Here's the rundown of candidates who have filed forms by congressional district:
CD3 - Brian Barnes is the DFL candidate running against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen. Barnes works for Cummins in Minneapolis and reports making $111,000 in salary and bonuses. He lists assets worth as much as $145,000 invested in 401(k) and individual retirement accounts and has no reported debts.
CD4 - Republican Anthony Hernandez is challenging DFL incumbent Betty McCollum in the St. Paul-based 4th District. He lists his full year salary from MRL Company at $17,000, has no reported assets and lists debts in the range of $115,000 to $300,000 which include a mortgage and a student loans.
CD5 - Chris Fields is the Republican challenging DFL U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison. Fields and his spouse earned $171,000 from a law firm they run together. Their assets could be worth as much as $1 million or as little as $466,000. They also earn between $5,000 and $15,000 from a rental property.
CD6 - Hotel owner and 6th District DFL challenger Jim Graves is the wealthiest candidate or incumbent running for federal office in Minnesota this cycle and his wealth would likely be enough to put him among the top 10 wealthiest members of Congress were he to defeat Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.
His net worth is between $22 and $111 million and Graves's campaign says the actual number lies somewhere in the middle. Graves's assets include a number of partnerships and companies he owns, mostly concentrated in the hotel and real estate businesses. Graves reports debts worth as much as $36 million, all mortgages on properties related to his businesses.
Bachmann has attempted to use Graves's wealth as a political issue against him. In fundraising appeals to supporters, Bachmann has called Graves a "self-funding multi-millionaire." So far, Graves has lent his campaign $100,000 and says he expects donations to make up the bulk of the campaign's funds.
CD8 - The Democrats, Jeff Anderson, Tarryl Clark and Rick Nolan are competing in a primary to run against first-term Republican Chip Cravaack. Anderson, a former Duluth City Member and an ad salesman for REO River Broadcasting, reported assets between negative $46,000 and positive $45,000. In 2010 he earned $85,000 from his sales job and an additional $10,000 from the city of Duluth. His assets are invested in mutual funds, and he has a car loan that is between $15,000 and $50,000.
Clark, a former state senator, could have a net worth as low as negative $66,000 or as much as $265,000. Clark's assets are invested in a variety of mutual funds while her debts include credit cards and student loans belonging to herself and her children.
Rick Nolan served in the U.S. House between 1975 and 1981 before going on to a business career in Minnesota. He receives a $24,000 a year pension from the state of Minnesota and earned $27,000 in real estate commissions from Sotheby's brokerage. His assets, which include a stake in the firm Emily Forest Products and a condo in Florida, are worth between $717,000 and $1.5 million. Nolan reports no debts.(3 Comments)
Posted at 6:26 AM on June 25, 2012
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
The Affordable Care Act and the U.S. Supreme Court lead the Digest. The court is expected to rule this week (as early as today) on the constitutionality of the law. Several members of Minnesota's congressional delegation are preparing to react to the ruling. DFL Rep. Betty McCollum will tour a community health center in St. Paul to tout the impact of the law.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann went back to Washington D.C. to be in that city when the ruling comes down.
MPR takes a look at what many members of the delegation plan to do after the court rules.
Expect quick reaction from other members of the delegation when the court rules.
Under the Dome
The Vikings Stadium Authority named Ted Mondale its executive director. Mondale will receive an annual salary of $157k.
Public officials are assessing the flood damage in northeastern Minnesota.
FEMA officials will meet with state leaders to discuss the flooding today. They'll be in northeastern Minnesota tomorrow.
The deadline has been extended for DEED bonding grants.
The Washington Post reports that 34 members of Congress, including House Speaker John Boehner, moved their financial holdings after talking to key Federal Reserve officials during the financial crisis.
The full House will vote on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt.
The Republican leading the "Fast and Furious" legislation says there is no evidence that White House officials are involved in withholding information related to the congressional inquire.
Amendment to Ban Same-Sex Marriage
Thousands of people marched at the Pride Festival in Minneapolis.
The event serves as a kickoff for the politicking to support and defeat the amendment.
The Independence Party passed a resolution opposing the amendment (and the Voter ID amendment).
Race for President
Mitt Romney, his big donors and his key surrogates gathered in Park City, Utah for a retreat.
Both Romney and President Obama say immigration reform is needed to spur economic growth.
Latinos strongly back Obama in a new poll.
Politico says Romney is being vague on some of the critical issues facing the country.
Tim Pawlenty says he told the Romney campaign "to look elsewhere" for a VP candidate.
The state's two political parties are heading into the November election facing significant debt.
The latest campaign fundraising reports show that the Minnesota Republican Party had a debt of $964,367 as of May 31st. That debt does not include $700,000 in legal bills stemming from the 2010 gubernatorial recount. Party officials have said that they are heading in the right direction after reporting nearly $2 million in debt in December. The party says it has $37 thousand in the bank.
Meanwhile, the DFL Party reports a debt of $267,654 but says it has more than $400 thousand on hand. DFL Party Chair Ken Martin says he inherited a debt of more than $700 thousand dollars when he took over as party chair in 2011. He said his goal is to erase the party's debt by the end of the year.
"That debt is slowly being whittled down and at the same time we've talked to all of the people that we have obligations to and worked out payments plans," Martin said.
Martin also said his party is on pace to have one of the most successful fundraising years in the DFL Party's history.
Both parties are preparing for an active election season, given that the president and Senator Amy Klobuchar are up for re-election. The state's eight congressional seats and every seat in the state Legislature are also on the ballot.
The party's finances will come into clearer focus next month. That's when the state parties have to file both a monthly report on the federal level and the pre-primary report on the state level.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem and Deputy Senate Majority Leader Julianne Ortman met privately today at a St. Paul coffee shop with former Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb. MPR News learned of the meeting, which was later confirmed by Senjem. Brodkorb has said he plans to sue the Senate for wrongful dismissal after he was fired from his job last December.
Senjem would not say what was discussed at the meeting.
"We had a brief conversation," Senjem said. "I can't go any further than that because it's a private conversation."
Ortman didn't return calls. Brodkorb said in an e-mail that he no comment about the meeting.
Brodkorb's attorney, Phillip Villaume, was surprised to hear of the meeting.
"It's news to me," Villaume said. He said he had "no clue" when first asked about the focus of the meeting. Later Villaume said it was a 10 minute "by chance meeting." He said there was a discussion about Brodkorb's suit against the Senate. Another person with knowledge of the meeting said Brodkorb, Senjem and Ortman met for roughly 30 minutes.
Villaume said he didn't know what specifically was discussed at the meeting and said Brodkorb would not discuss the issue further. Villaume also stressed that the meeting was "not a lawyer authorized meeting." He said Brodkorb is still his client. Brodkorb's attorneys had been pushing for an outside mediator to settle the issue, but that idea was later rebuffed by Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman.
The meeting between Senjem, Ortman and Brodkorb comes less than a week after the Senate Rules Committee approved $85,000 in legal fees to an outside attorney who is preparing to defend the Senate in Brodkorb's pending lawsuit.
Brodkorb filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming he was dismissed because of gender discrimination. Villaume said he expects the EEOC to issue a what's known as a right-to-sue letter in two weeks. That letter could pave the way for Brodkorb to file a lawsuit in federal court.
Villaume says Brodkorb will seek at least $500,000 in damages. He claims that he was wrongfully dismissed for having an affair with Republican Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch. His attorneys say he dismissed even though female staffers remained in their jobs even though they had affairs with male lawmakers.
Koch stepped down from her leadership position in December after being confronted about the affair. She is not running for re-election.(4 Comments)