Posted at 6:09 AM on July 19, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Daily Digest
Welcome to the Daily Digest, where we've learned more about election-year fundraising, McCain rebukes Bachmann's Muslim Brotherhood comments, and Romney continues to feel pressure to release his tax returns.
Health care spending has slowed in Minnesota.
Common Cause Minnesota is seeking criminal charges against the Republican Party of Minnesota and its former chair, Tony Sutton.
Outside spending groups and ballot question funds had to file finance updates on Tuesday.
The marriage amendment foes have racked up $750,000 since June.
Business-backed political funds saw a recent uptick in their fundraising.
Voter ID opponents out-raised amendment supporters in the last month.
Sen. John McCain condemned Rep. Michele Bachmann's comments that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the Obama administration. He took to the Senate floor to defend Huma Abedin, a deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who Bachmann named specifically in her call for an investigation.
Bachmann's former presidential campaign manager Ed Rollins penned an opinion piece about her comments, saying that having worked for Bachmann he is "fully aware that she sometimes has difficulty with her facts, but this is downright vicious and reaches the late Senator Joe McCarthy level."
The PoliGraph says that Sen. Al Franken's claims about campaign spending are accurate.
The public's opinion of the Supreme Court declined after its health care law decision, the New York Times reports.
Health care reform opponents are pushing for new court challenge.
The Race for Congress
Bachmann's DFL opponent Jim Graves is fundraising off her Muslim Brotherhood comments.
Eighth District DFLers are signalling support for mining.
Ron and Rand Paul are holding a fundraiser for Kurt Bills in Virginia.
The Presidential Race
While President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats continue to pressure Mitt Romney to release his tax returns, Romney continues to refuse.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty defended Romney's refusal to release more of his income tax returns.
Congressional Democrats plan to propose a bill that would require presidential candidates to make their tax returns public.
Romney has also declined to reveal his bundlers, key fundraisers who bring in lots of cash from smaller donors for the candidates. But USA Today has done some sleuthing and come up with this list.
The Minnesotan's mentioned include Dirk Bak, Craig Bentdahl, Bill Guidera, Steve Knuth, Paul Maynard, and Robert J. Ulrich.
Pawlenty watch continues. He said on Fox News that Romney doesn't need a "flashy" running mate.
The New York Times reports a similar take: "Mr. Romney has been guided by a simple principle: do no harm to the ticket."
In a Fox News poll, voters pick Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for VP.
Economic fears are hurting the Obama campaign, a new poll shows.
The Republican National Committee confirmed that Ron Paul will be up for nomination at the party's national convention in Tampa.
A bomb attack in Syria killed several members of President Bashar al-Assad's inner circle, the New York Times reports.
WASHINGTON - An effort to end multi-million dollar sponsorships of sports teams by the U.S. military that was spearheaded by Democratic Congresswoman Betty McCollum failed narrowly in the U.S. House on Wednesday evening.
The measure put forward by McCollum and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), would have reduced the military budget by $72.3 million, the amount the armed services currently spend to sponsor NASCAR, pro bass fishing and Ultimate Fighting Championship teams and events. The military has long argued that such sponsorships aid with recruiting, although McCollum's office says the military's own recruiting data suggests there's little evidence to back up that point.
The final vote for McCollum's amendment was 202-216 along bipartisan lines with DFL Rep. Keith Ellison being the only other member of Minnesota's delegation to join McCollum in opposing continued military sponsorship of sporting events. Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann did not vote.
In a statement, McCollum called the vote an "important test" of whether Congress had the stomach to cut back military spending at a time of record deficits and major cuts to domestic programs.
"Unfortunately, a majority decided taxpayer-funded race cars and bass fishing were more important than deficit reduction," said McCollum. "The good news is a broad bipartisan group of 202 conservatives, moderates, and progressives came together for the good of our children's fiscal future."
Another McCollum amendment to the Pentagon spending bill would have cut the budget for military bands from $388 million annually to $200 million. That measure also failed 166-250 with the votes again falling along bipartisan lines.(1 Comments)
Posted at 10:13 AM on July 19, 2012
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: Mark Dayton
Gov. Mark Dayton issued a formal apology today for comments he made during an interview Tuesday on the MPR News program the Daily Circuit.
Dayton said he made a mistake by comparing the off-field difficulties of professional football players to the psychological adjustments of returning combat veterans. In a written statement, Dayton said the analogy was a mistake.
"Some of the psychological dynamics may be similar; however, I, in no way, meant to compare their challenges with the traumas and hardships experienced by the heroes who fought in places like Iraq and Afghanistan," Dayton wrote. "While I am a football fan, I reserve my highest respect and admiration for those courageous Americans in uniform, who risk their lives to keep us safe and to make the world more free. I regret my mistake, and I apologize for it."
During the Tuesday interview, Host Kerri Miller asked Dayton about the recent off the field problems of Minnesota Vikings players, including the Texas barroom arrest of Adrian Peterson. The governor offered his theory.
"Idle time is the devil's play. They play basically six months of the year, from the end of July to the end of December, if they don't make the playoffs. The end of January if they do. Then they have all this block of time, more than like any other professional athletes, when they really don't have anything to do. It means that young males who are heavily armored and heavily psyched as necessary to carry out their job are more probably more susceptible to be in bars at 2:00 in the morning and have problems or DUIs or other things. It doesn't excuse it. It just says it probably comes with it."
Dayton later made the comparison that he now regrets.
"They're heavily armored and heavily psyched to do what they have to do and go out there. It's basically slightly civilized war. Then they take that into society, much as soldiers come back and they've been in combat or at the edge of it and then suddenly that adjustment back to civilian life is a real challenge."
TCF Bank's employee political action fund has donated $25,000 to the conservative non-profit Americans for Prosperity.
The donation, which amounts to about a fourth of the $105,000 the fund has given away so far this election cycle, was made on May 31, 2012, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission.
Many companies have political action committees. Employees give money to these special funds, and the money is typically given to individual candidates or parties. Many employee funds spread their money equally between Republicans and Democrats.
That's what makes TFC Bank PAC's donation so unusual, says Viveca Novak, a spokeswoman for OpenSecrets.org, a non-profit that tracks political spending and that initially identified the contribution.
Americans for Prosperity is technically a non-profit that can engage in some political activity, but doesn't have to disclose its donors.
"Normal, regular company PACs can be used to give money to candidates. There aren't a whole lot of other ways that you can give money to candidates unless you give as an individual," Novak siad. "There are a lot of other ways to give money to a [non-profit]. You can give some money out of the corporate treasury, which is not something you can do to a candidate."
"It's unclear whether employees who give to the company PAC might be unhappy with the PAC giving such a large percentage of the money that's been donated by employees to a partisan group," Novak said.
It appears the TCF Bank PAC hasn't given to other such non-profits, OpenSecrets.org reports.
Americans for Prosperity is a conservative organization that promotes small government and lower taxes, among other things. It was founded by David Koch, a major Republican donor who, with his brother Charles, owns Koch Industries, a conglomerate that operates oil refineries and owns several household goods brands.
TCF's donation was to the national arm of Americans for Prosperity, but the group has a local branch in Minnesota that's been weighing in this election cycle on the Vikings stadium and the health care law.
TCF Bank PAC has also given thousands to other candidates all over the country who represent both parties. Republican Reps. Chip Cravaack, Michele Bachmann and John Kline are among the recipients.
Read more from OpenSecrets.org.
Posted at 3:30 PM on July 19, 2012
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: Voter ID Amendment
Supporters of the voter ID constitutional amendment are asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to keep the original ballot title wording intact.
They filed a petition today that alleges DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie unlawfully changed the title to confuse voters. Ritchie, an outspoken critic of the GOP-backed amendment, announced last week that he was changing the title of the ballot question from "Photo Identification Required for Voting" to "Changes to In-person and Absentee Voting and Voter Registration, Provisional Ballots."
Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, an amendment chief author and one of the lawsuit petitioners, said in a news release that he thinks Ritchie overstepped his authority.
"The Minnesota Constitution provides the Legislature the exclusive authority to propose constitutional amendments to the people," Newman wrote. The secretary of state's duty is purely ministerial. His obligation is simply to print the ballots as directed by the Legislature. His refusal to do so is a breach of the public trust, so we've asked the Supreme Court to correct his error."
The pro-amendment group Minnesota Majority and other state legislators are also part of the lawsuit.
Posted at 10:52 PM on July 19, 2012
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Campaign 2012, Campaign 2012: U.S. House, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD5, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD6, Michele Bachmann, U.S. House
With MPR's Jon Collins...
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann intensified her claims on assertions that federal officials have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. On a talk show tonight, she zeroed in on DFL Rep. Keith Ellison, a fellow member of Congress who represents a district adjacent to hers.
Bachmann hasn't backed down from claims that a top administration aide has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, even after GOP House Speaker John Boehner and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle condemnedher for making the suggestion. Bachmann instead has turned her fire on Ellison.
Bachmann also told Beck that Ellison wanted to "shut down" her proposed investigation into the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood on the federal government.
Ellison said on Anderson Cooper 360 tonight that he had no ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
"I don't have any Muslim Brotherhood connections as she's talking about," Ellison said. He also said he's not trying to shut down any investigation but is working to raise concerns that Bachmann is making unfounded allegations against Muslims who work for the federal government.
Ellison is the first Muslim elected to Congress and has widely criticized Bachmann for making the allegations that a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. He has repeatedly criticized Bachmann for "fear mongering" by suggesting Muslims working in the federal government are linked to extremist groups. He said he hopes people stand up to Bachmann's claims.
He told MPR News recently that Bachmann's claims were "the very stuff of McCarthyism, charges of disloyalty or subversion based on thin or attenuated evidence or prejudice."
Bachmann has been the main source of criticism after she and four other lawmakers sent letters in mid-June to federal agencies asking that Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, be investigated for ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
In the past week, her statements about Abedin have been condemned by Boehner, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ). Ed Rollins, who ran Bachmann's campaign for president, also criticized Bachmann's actions as "extreme" and "dishonest." Bachmann's comments have also reportedly upset House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers (R-Mich.). She sits on the House Intelligence Committee.
Bachmann and Ellison were both elected to Congress in 2006. They are both running for reelection.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann isn't backing down from her controversial comments about federal officials being linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, she's now suggesting DFL Rep. Keith Ellison, a fellow member of Minnesota's Congressional delegation, is linked to the group. She made the comments on Glenn Beck's radio show. Listen to what she said about Ellison here: Listen
Ellison denied the charges to CNN's Anderson Cooper. He has said Bachmann has engaged in dishonesty and McCarthyism.
Bachmann made the comments even as a growing number of top officials from both parties criticized her for making the initial suggestion that an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. GOP House Speaker John Boehner added himself to the list of critics.
Politico says Republicans are lining up to take a shot at Bachmann.
Bachmann will be in Rochester tonight to raise money for Allen Quist, a Republican running for Congress in Minnesota's 1st District.
Under the Dome
Court records show that a Dakota County Prosecutor knew about the problems at the St. Paul crime lab for four months.
A senior commander has been tapped to put the St. Paul crime lab in order.
The state's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.6%.
A committee in the Minnesota Senate will hold a hearing today on the wording of the proposed constitutional amendments.
Voter ID backers filed a lawsuit calling for a change to how Secretary of State Mark Ritchie titled the amendment.
Governor Dayton will travel to northeastern Minnesota today to get a status update on the flood damage there. A state-federal flood recovery office opened in Duluth
MnDOT also received funds to repair northeastern MN roads.
Dayton says he used a poor analogy for comparing wounded war vetarans to NFL football players. He apologized for the statement.
Health officials say whooping cough cases have doubled.
CNN reports that Congressional Insider Trading ban, which was authored by DFL Rep. Tim Walz, may not apply to families.
Members are pushing House leaders for a vote on the Farm Bill.
The House is working to complete the defense spending bill.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered the Pentagon to monitor media for information leaks.
DFL Rep. Betty McCollum's amendment forbidding the U.S. military from sponsoring NASCAR teams crashed on the final lap.
GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen wrote an op-ed saying he doesn't want the tax rates to go up on January 1. Paulsen says the House will vote on a bill to extend the Bush-era tax cuts and create a "pathway toward comprehensive tax reform." He has declined to specify that that pathway would look like.
Senate Republicans killed a bill that would "curb outsourcing."
Several lawmakers want to protect privacy from drones at home.
Amendment that would ban Same-Sex Marriage
AP has a profile over the California based political strategist that is working to amend the state's constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
Race for Congress
TPT's Almanac will feature the DFL candidates running in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District on tonight's show.
GOP Sen. Mike Parry is declining a Debate Minnesota invitation to debate Republican Allen Quist.
TCF Bank's PAC gave money to Americans for Prosperity.
Race for President
President Obama visits Florida to campaign before older voters.
The two are sparring over Romney's claim that Obama said "You didn't build that" to small business owners.
Obama is focusing on Romney's "secrecy."
A poll says most Americans believe Romney should release additional tax returns.
Politico says rich candidates play hide and seek with their taxes.
Ron Paul says he's not sure he'll vote for Romney.
Pawlenty for VP Watch
Tim Pawlenty is scheduled to appear at a New Hampshire Young Republicans event on August 11.
NPR takes a look at Pawlenty's VP prospects.
CBS News asks whether Pawlenty is "defender in chief" of the Romney family.(2 Comments)