Attorneys for the Minnesota Senate filed paperwork in U.S. District Court that says former staffer Michael Brodkorb's suit should be heard there because it involves federal law. Brodkorb's attorneys said they filed his wrongful termination and gender discrimination suit in Ramsey County District Court because the Senate is located in Ramsey County and the court has jurisdiction.
The latest filing is procedural but could play a big factor in whether the case goes forward, because federal judges are generally stricter about when they're willing to open the door to a lawsuit.
Brodkorb claims he was fired because he had an affair with former GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, even though female staffers who had affairs with male lawmakers kept their jobs. Senate Republican leaders say they followed the law when the fired Brodkorb.
For his part, Brodkorb wrote on Twitter that his case is strong no matter what court hears it.
Here's the motion by Senate attorneys: Senate Moves to Federal Court (1 Comments)
The removal of my suit to federal court is unremarkable & not unexpected. The strength of my claims remain strong in any court of justice.— Michael Brodkorb (@mbrodkorb) August 10, 2012
Ads are popping up daily in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District as voters gear up for next week's primary contest between Jeff Anderson, Tarryl Clark and Rick Nolan to unseat Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack.
In the meantime, the three DFLers are getting an assist from an outside spending group aimed at installing Democrats in Congress. Friends of Democracy PAC is spending $700,000 over the next couple of weeks on ads in multiple races throughout the country, including one aimed at Cravaack.
"Your Congressman Chip Cravaack took over $100,000 from financial institutions and voted against holding them accountable," the ad states.
Cravaack did take contributions from the financial industry and did vote with his party on financial regulation bills. But the ad leave out too much context to earn an accurate.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, which is where Friends of Democracy got its numbers, throughout his career Cravaack has raised roughly $95,000 from individuals working in the finance, insurance and real estate sectors and political action committees representing those industries. That's not quite the "over $100,000" the ad says, but it's in the ballpark.
Friends of Democracy also points to several votes Cravaack cast for bills that some said would undermine oversight of the financial industry.
For instance, Cravaack voted for a bill that the Obama administration said would weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cravaack voted against an amendment to the fiscal year 2011 appropriations bills that would have increased funding for the Securities and Exchange Commission that was cut in the legislation.
But other bills the group points to, including a legislation that would have cut pay to for some White House positions and a bill that would have changed how regulations are promulgated, aren't specific to the financial sector.
This claim deserves further context.
First, PoliGraph is always cautious with claims that imply donations lead to special favors. Just because a person who works in the financial industry gave money to Cravaack's campaign doesn't mean it came with strings attached.
That point is driven home by the fact that the votes cited by Friends of Democracy all fell largely along party lines. In other words, Cravaack voted with his party every time and was never the deciding vote one way or another.
Finally, it's important to note that Cravaack's contributions from political action committees and people who work in the finance, insurance and real estate sector pale in comparison to other members of the U.S. House. Top members, including House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor , Democrat Charlie Rangel, who represents parts of New York City, and Barney Frank, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, have received millions from the finance sector over their congressional careers.
This claim has some truth to it: Cravaack has received roughly $100,000 from the finance, real estate and insurance sector since the start of his congressional career, and he did vote for legislation that some say would undermine the government's ability to oversee the industries.
But other votes cited by Friends of Democracy aren't specific to the financial sector. And there's no evidence to suggest that Cravaack's votes are tied to the donations as the ad implies. That's especially true when those contributions are compared to other House Democrats and Republicans who have received far more than Cravaack ever has.
Most voters realize campaign ads, especially those from outside groups, should be taken with large grains of salt. They will always try to make the candidate they're attacking look as bad as possible. PoliGraph is here in part to provide context to this ad, which earns a misleading rating.
Friends of Democracy, "Get in the Game," Aug. 9, 2012
The New York Times, Amendments to HR 1, accessed Aug. 9, 2012
Roll Call Vote 88, Frank Amendment to HR 1, Feb. 17, 2011
Roll Call Vote 198, final passage of HAMP Termination Act 2011, March 29, 2011
The Treasury Department, Statement of Administration Policy on the HAMP Termination Act, March 15, 2011
Roll Call Vote 621, HR 1315 Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act of 2011, July 21, 2011
The White House, Statement of Administration Policy on HR 1315, July 20, 2011
House GOP Legislative Digest, HR 3010, accessed Aug. 9, 2010
Roll Call Vote 888, HR 3010 passage of the Regulatory Accountability Act, Dec. 2, 2011
The White House, Statement of Administration Policy, H.R. 3010 - Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011, Nov. 29, 2011
OpenSecrets.org, contributions from the finance, insurance and real estate sectors to members of the U.S. House of Representatives, accessed Aug. 9, 2012
E-mail exchange, Molly Haigh, spokeswoman, Friends of Democracy, Aug. 9, 2012
E-mail exchange, Ben Golnik, spokesman, Cravaack campaign, Aug. 10, 2012(1 Comments)
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will announce his vice presidential pick Saturday morning, according to a press release from the campaign. NBC News is reporting Romney has selected Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI. The move means former Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been passed over as the number two on the GOP ticket.
Romney is scheduled to make the announcement aboard the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia at 9:05 a.m. EDT. CNN is reporting that Pawlenty will not be in Virginia. He's scheduled to campaign for Romney in New Hampshire on Saturday.
"Tomorrow I won't be at the announcement. You can deduce from there that since I am keeping my schedule in New Hampshire, I can't also be in Virginia at the same time," said Pawlenty, who ran for the 2012 GOP nomination but dropped out in August of last year.
Late Friday night, news outlets, including the conservative Weekly Standard, were reporting that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, was the likely Romney choice.
Pawlenty has been reportedly one of Romney's top picks. If Ryan is the pick, it will be the second time that Pawlenty was passed over for the job. John McCain seriously considered Pawlenty as his running mate in 2008 but ended up picking Sarah Palin.
Pawlenty will still be on the campaign trail this weekend for Romney. He's scheduled to be in New Hampshire on Saturday and will appear on NBC's Meet the Press and ABC's This Week on Sunday morning.
Pawlenty told several reporters that he isn't the pick. Here are some of his quotes.
Pawlenty says "I'm keeping my schedule tomorrow so I won't be in va and now we just have to wait for gov romney to announce his pick."— Shushannah Walshe (@shushwalshe) August 11, 2012
Pawlenty: "I didn't enter this thinking I was going to be the VP candidate so I'm not disappointed and I'm excited about his candidacy"— Carrie Dann (@CarrieNBCNews) August 11, 2012
"This doesn't affect my attitude towards wanting him to be president," Pawlenty said. "Im going to continue to work really hard to help him"— Carrie Dann (@CarrieNBCNews) August 11, 2012
One of Romney's calculations in picking Ryan may be whether his vice president can help him win in a contested state. According to a New York Times analysis, choosing Ryan would give Pawlenty a slight advantage over President Barack Obama in Wisconsin; picking Pawlenty would expand Obama's advantage in Minnesota.
MPR's Tom Scheck contributed to this report.
This blog post has been changed for content and style as a result of new information coming in.