Posted at 6:27 AM on July 31, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Daily Digest
Welcome to the Daily Digest, where the state has settled with Accretive, state party finance reports are starting to trickle in, and the state Supreme Court hears arguments about ballot question titles.
Accretive has agreed to a $2.5M fine, and the company will withdraw from Minnesota.
Yesterday was the deadline for the first state party finance reports of the year. So far, the House DFL caucus has raised $2 million this election cycle and has $1.2 million in the bank.
Expect more finance reports to be posted today on the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board website.
The Minnesota Supreme Court will hear arguments today in separate lawsuits over the ballot titles of the proposed constitutional amendments.
A state task force is recommending Minnesota scrap its current bullying law and replace it with a stronger anti-bullying statute.
The Hmong American Partnership opposes the marriage amendment, but the community is divided.
MPR profiles Sen. Julianne Ortman's primary challenge.
A Democratic report blasting for-profit colleges includes three Minnesota institutions.
Some Federal Reserve officials are encouraging pre-emptive stimulus, the New York Times reports.
All this debate over the "fiscal cliff" could lead to pre-Election Day layoffs.
The Race for Congress
Gov. Mark Dayton has endorsed Rick Nolan to challenge Rep. Chip Cravaack.
A new Kurt Bills ad echos a Paul Wellstone ad from 1990.
Paul Wellstone's son called the Bills ad "disrespectful."
The Presidential Race
The AP reports that The Democratic Party is moving to include support for same-sex marriage in the official party platform for the first time.
Rep. Michele Bachmann is being sued by a former aide from her Iowa campaign.
AP has a primer on where Mitt Romney and Barack Obama stand on the major issues.
Romney's comments on Palestinians drew criticism, the New York Times reports.
Romney continues his trip around Europe. Today, he will be in Poland.
Gov. Mark Dayton has endorsed Rick Nolan, a former DFL congressman who wants to challenge 8th Congressional District Rep. Chip Cravaack this fall.
Nolan, who has won the DFL Party endorsement, still faces a primary challenge from Tarryl Clark and Jeff Anderson.
"We need more than a "good vote" in a Congress. We need a proven leader who can get past the partisan gridlock and get things done," Dayton said in a press release. "We need someone that will fight to rebuild the middle class, protect Medicare and Social Security and invest in America's infrastructure. Rick Nolan is clearly the person we need representing us in Washington."
Though Nolan has the endorsement, he is so far trailing Clark in fundraising, who has raised more than $232,128. Nolan has raised $127,721.
Here's the rest of the press release:
"I am proud to endorse and I enthusiastically support Rick Nolan for Congress," said Governor Dayton. "Rick is a true common sense champion for the middle class. As a former business owner, Rick has proven he knows how to create jobs and will always fight for working families.
"We need more than a "good vote" in a Congress. We need a proven leader who can get past the partisan gridlock and get things done. We need someone that will fight to rebuild the middle class, protect Medicare and Social Security and invest in America's infrastructure. Rick Nolan is clearly the person we need representing us in Washington."
Governor Dayton's endorsement of Nolan - joining Duluth-native Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon - is significant as they carried the 8th District by wide margins in the 2010 Primary and General election victories. Governor Dayton continues to have very high approval ratings in the 8th Congressional District.
"I am extremely honored and humbled to receive the endorsement of Governor Dayton," said Nolan. "Mark Dayton has courageously stood up for working families in this state and saved us from the full on assault being waged against women, labor, and the middle class in states across the country. Governor Dayton is a true champion for middle class families, seniors and children and I am honored to have his support."
Rick Nolan is the DFL-endorsed candidate for Congress in the 8th Congressional District campaign against Chip Cravaack.
In endorsing Nolan, Governor Dayton joins the entire Senator Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken along with the rest of the Minnesota DFL Congressional delegation, numerous state legislators and local elected officials, labor leaders, and unions from the 8th District who clearly see Rick Nolan as the best candidate to beat Chip Cravaack.
WASHINGTON - Even as Republican leaders were criticizing Michele Bachmann's recent statements about alleged Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. government earlier this month, the 6th District Congresswoman's campaign kept pulling in dollars. Bachmann's campaign announced Tuesday that it raised more than $1 million between July 1 and July 25.
Candidates for Congress in Minnesota are required to release their fundraising for that period by Thursday ahead of a Federal Election Commission deadline tied to the state's Aug. 14 primary.
Bachmann has been one of the strongest fundraisers in the U.S. House, bringing in $1.9 million in the three months ending June 30, mostly from a nationwide base of small donors who respond to frequent email and direct mail pitches for cash.
In a statement, Bachmann campaign manager Chase Kroll mentioned Bachmann's DFL opponent, hotel owner Jim Graves, calling Graves a, "radical, liberal, self-funding opponent who has demonstrated his willingness to pour huge sums into this race." But so far, Bachmann's fundraising has far outstripped Graves'. As of June 30, Graves had raised about $500,000, which includes $250,000 he has lent his campaign.
In an email, Kroll said Bachmann's campaign received 22,174 contributions that averaged $48.48 apiece. That implies Bachmann raised $1,074,995.52 over the 25 day period, or about $43,000 a day.
The Minnesota DFL Party has a big lead in this year's fundraising race, which could be crucial in deciding which party ends up controlling the state Legislature.
The numbers are stark: since the start of the year, the DFL Party has raised $2.2 million from individuals and groups, while the Republican Party has raised only $99,240 during the same period from individuals and groups.
At this time in 2010, the last election year, the Minnesota GOP had raised nearly $600,000 from individual contributors.
All told, the DFL's fundraising totaled nearly $2.3 million, which includes miscellaneous income, while the Minnesota GOP brought in nearly $400,000, with some of that cash coming from party convention registration fees and some coming in the form of in-kind contributions and unitemized income.
Minnesota DFL Party Chair Ken Martin says the numbers show his side is in a good position going into what's expected to be a tough fight for control of the Legislature.
"We're in a better position than we've been in a long time here at the DFL, and it's definitely a sign of things to come," Martin said.
GOP Party Chairman Pat Shortridge said the party is still rebuilding its coffers after learning it was deeply in debt last year. He said he's happy with how his party is doing on small dollar donations. The opposition, he said, is making its money from wealthy Minnesotans and unions.
"We're digging out of a hole and we're making progress," said Shortridge. "We always want it to go faster. We don't have Gov. Dayton's ex-wife, Alida Messinger, writing us $300,000 checks. Basically she's giving him a blank check to get a blank check Legislature that's going to give Gov. Dayton what he wants. They have more of the super wealthy donors writing great big checks to them."
Both parties are burning through cash quickly. Though the DFL has raised more than $2.2 million this year, it has spent almost all of it, leaving the party with only about $46,000 in the bank. Republicans did the same, and now have about $24,400 in the bank. The GOP also has a loan of $30,000.
Though the DFL has already spent a lot of the money it raised through its state fund, Martin points out that his party had more than $437,487 cash-on-hand in its federal fundraising account as of June, which can be transferred to the state account. For its part, the Minnesota GOP had about $40,600 cash-on-hand in its federal account at the end of June.
Martin added that the money spent is another sign his party is doing well.
"If you really dig deep into these reports I think the thing you'll see is just how robust our activity is compared to the Republicans," Martin said. "We have lots of activity going on out there, and Republicans are just paralyzed right now."
Most of the DFL's donations came from big names in the world of Minnesota Democratic politics and loyal contributors who have supported the party for years. Education Minnesota, the state's teachers' union gave nearly $230,000 in cash and in-kind contributions. Other unions, including the Laborers District Council of Minnesota and North Dakota gave generously as well.
The single largest individual donor to the DFL Party is Alida Messinger, Gov. Mark Dayton's former wife and the daughter of John D. Rockefeller III. She gave the party $302,500. She's a primary contributor to other fundraising campaigns set up to help Democrats take control of the state Legislature as well.
Other major DFL contributors include both the House and Senate DFL caucuses.
Meanwhile, some of the Republican Party of Minnesota's most generous donors do not appear on the party's roster, including Primera Technology owner Robert Cummins.
Cummins is one of the wealthiest and most influential GOP donors, who has largely funded his own outside spending group, the Freedom Club, and has been a reliable contributor to Republican campaigns and the parties for many years. Between 2010 and 2011, Cummins gave the Republican Party more than $700,000. And Cummins gave $30,000 to a special fund set up by the party to pay for Tom Emmer's legal fees during the 2010 gubernatorial recount. He was the only donor.
This year, Cummins has given nothing to the party's state account and only $10,000 to the party's federal account.
Other reliable Republican donors seem to have slowed their giving. For instance, Stanley Hubbard, Chairman of Hubbard Broadcasting, and his wife have so far given the party about $25,500. At this time in 2010, Hubbard had given the party $35,000.
The GOP's single largest individual donor this year is Robert Ulrich, the former CEO of Target, who gave $40,000.
Shortridge said the party still has some work to do with donors.
"Most of our donors have come back, and even some new ones," Shortridge said. "We're cognizant of the fact that we have more work to do. It's a daily process. You get up every day, you put one foot in front of the other and we're restoring confidence with our major donors. More importantly, we're explaining the plan that we have to get our work done as a party."
The state GOP is still dealing with the sudden resignation of the party's former chair Tony Sutton, the revelation that the party was $2 million in debt, and fallout from a scandal involving former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and her top aide Michael Brodkorb.
Most recently, the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board fined the party and the recount fund nearly $30,000.
That's only a fraction of the $848,708 the Minnesota GOP still owes vendors from prior work, including legal fees stemming from the recount, according to its state report.
The Minnesota DFL also has unpaid bills. According to the report, the party owes vendors $310,456, including $111,831 to law firm Fredrickson and Byron for their assistance during the redistricting process.
The two parties are on more equal footing when it comes to how much they have spent to assist individual candidates.
The Republicans have invested nearly $3,000 into individual races, including mailers in support of Cory Jensen, who is running for an open seat in Senate District 46, which encompasses Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park, Gregg Kulberg running in Senate District 20, which includes Chippewa and Lac Qui Parle counties, and Bruce Lundeen, who is running in Senate District 61, which includes parts of Minneapolis.
Meanwhile, the DFL party has spent roughly $3,800 on Sen. Kari Dziedizic's re-election campaign in Senate District 60, including parts of Minneapolis.
With the start of a tough election season nearing, the Senate DFL Caucus has more cash than Senate Republicans.
So far, the DFL has raised $1.36 million, largely coming from large dollar donations from individuals and groups. Among the party's largest individual donors is Alida Messinger, Gov. Mark Dayton's former wife and daughter of John D. Rockefeller III, who gave $50,000.
Other major donors include some of the state's Indian tribes, unions and political action committees.
The Senate DFL Caucus gave more than $215,000 of their cache to other parties, among other expenditures. That leaves the caucus with $1.25 million going into the election.
Meanwhile, the Senate Victory Fund, the pot of money used to raise and spend on behalf of Republican Senate candidates, has raised $410,332 so far this year. Nearly $20,000 came from Stanley Hubbard, chairman of Hubbard Broadcasting and reliable GOP donor.
Among other expenditures, the Senate Republicans spent a little over $18,000 on polling.
Still, the Senate GOP has about $860,400 in the bank, largely due to the nearly $700,000 it had saved up end of 2011.
The House DFL and House Republican caucuses are on more equal footing when it comes to cash in the bank.
House Republicans raised nearly $673,000 so far this year, and they have a little over $1 million saved up.
House DFLers have raised nearly $1.3 million this year, and have $1.2 million in the bank.
Neither House fundraising operation has so far spent money on mailers or other advertising for individual campaigns.
Tim Pawlenty's getting good press for his line that President Obama's policies are "all foam and no beer." Politico's Veep Sheet reports that Minnesota's former governor used the line on several occasions in the past couple of days.
"Imagining the unsatisfying scenario of being served a foamy pint of beer, Pawlenty delivered the punch line: 'Barack Obama is all foam and no beer. And you can't live on the foam. His speeches are his foam.'
Pawlenty, however, is not the first Minnesota politician to use the line.
Democrat Amy Klobuchar used the same attack six years ago against Republican Mark Kennedy during an MPR News debate at the State Fair.
"Your proposal, Congressman Kennedy -- it reminds me of when I was at the beer garden and I was hearing some kids talking, 'I got too much foam in my beer,' this college student said, 'Your proposal is all foam and no beer.'" Listen
Pawlenty is rumored to be on Mitt Romney's short-list for vice-presidential candidates. Ironically enough, Kennedy made his case on Monday as to why he thinks Pawlenty should be the pick.(1 Comments)