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h/t City Pages Blotter

Al Franken’s campaign announced that during the ifrst quarter, they raised almost $2 million, and they have a bit more than that on hand. The assumption until recently was Republicans would make him a top target, but so far, candidate recruitment has been rather halting. Here’s hoping for a much cheaper race this year than record-setting 2008, or at least for more cats like that cute little fellow. Who I’m guessing donated online.




UPDATE: Please read the comment (below) for an explanation from the Alexander campaign —

Former Republican Ian Alexander has a few problems with his campaign finance report. Alexander is running in the DFL Primary for the 59B seat vacated by Bobby Champion who is running to replace Sen. Linda Higgins. He faces Terra Cole and Ray Dehn next Tuesday, August 14, 2012.

Alexander says he raised $18,324 yet only has $4,908.84 left. What happened to the $13,415.16 that is unaccounted for? He says his campaign only spent $50. Unfortunately, the math doesn’t match. (Click on the image below to go to the report.)

This missing $13K+ most likely went for literature, mailings and fundraising. Its unlikely anyone donated the printing and mailing costs and his report does not indicate much of any In Kind contributions.


MN-08: DFL backs up Rick Nolan with TV ads

by The Big E on July 18, 2012 · 2 comments

I’m rather worried about the Eighth District race in Minnesota. Its not just that a union broke ranks. It’s that Tea Party Republican first-termer Chip Cravaack (R-MN/NH) is vulnerable and I’m concerned we DFLers aren’t going to be able to take advantage of his many weaknesses.

Cravaack moved his family to New Hampshire last summer and won’t meet with constituents. Cravaack won’t hold well-publicized, free, evening events in the major cities of MN-08. He usually announces mid-day meetings in tiny towns mere days beforehand and sends staffers. I can only document him visiting 3 times every two months. Cravaack won’t release documentation of how often he visits.

Furthermore, Cravaack supports the Ryan Budget which means severe austerity and massive, hideous budget cuts to everything but the military. Cravaack supports ending Medicare and Social Security. And despite all these weaknesses, I’m paranoid.

My concerns are:

  1. Former Congressman Rick Nolan has the DFL endorsement, seems to be doing well organizing in the district, but his fundraising isn’t great ($127K in 2nd Q).
  2. I like former Duluth Council President Jeff Anderson. He’s young, hard-working and would be great in Congress …except for his anemic fundraising.
  3. Former State Senator Tarryl Clark is raising plenty of money, but has other problems. She’s not from the district and doesn’t have the grassroots support.

Here comes the DFL to the rescue (or to Nolan’s rescue that is). Party Chair Ken Martin wants the DFL endorsement to mean something. So in the only primary that matters in MN, he’s backing up his words with a $100,000 ad buy on Duluth TV:

[The ad] focuses on Nolan’s previous experience as a member of Congress and his roots in the 8th. The party expects to spend $100,000 to run the ad on Duluth broadcast and cable channels between now and the Aug. 14 primary, but a DFL spokeswoman cautioned that the amount could change.

The DFL does polling and must know how beatable Cravaack is. They also know what buttons to push with voters and what messaging resonates.

They’ve reserved this air time and $100K will buy a lot of TV time. MN-08 is one of the least expensive districts in terms of advertising. The bottom line is that with Nolan’s $127K (UPDATE: Nolan has $98K cash on hand), the DFL’s money and then consider that his labor backers will also kick some money in, this might counter Clark’s warchest (she has $268K in the bank).

Then there’s this quote from Martin that gives me some hope:

In a press release announcing the ad, DFL party chair Ken Martin said it’s time for the district’s Democrats to unite around one candidate.

“With the general election less than four months away, it’s more important than ever that we unify behind the candidate who is ready to send Chip Cravaack packing and get to work creating jobs and helping rebuild the economy in Northern Minnesota,” Martin said. “That candidate is Rick Nolan, and we are proud to stand by him in this race.”

The DFL is doing well fundraising (2011 was the best off-year ever for fundraising) and if the DFL and allies really gets behind Nolan, I think Nolan can take down Cravaack. And it is starting to look like they are.


Jim Graves announced that his campaign has raised $400,000 in the second quarter. Graves is the Democratic candidate challenging Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). His campaign reports the $400K came from nearly 1,000 donors although one of those donors was Jim Graves himself. He loaned the campaign $150,000 according to MPR.

Bachmann isn’t doing too badly, but probably won’t be anywhere near the $13 million she raised last time. So her strategy is to play the victim card (which she does so very, very well):

“We will not be able to match his personal campaign war chest,” Bachmann wrote on June 27th, “I need your immediate donation to ensure we have the resources necessary to run a winning campaign.”

Still, Bachmann’s campaign is hardly hurting for funds. She raised $579,000 last quarter and has $642,000 in the bank.

This race is unique because this is the first time that this race will be a straight DFL-GOP fight. Every other time, the anti-Bachmann vote has been split between a DFLer and an independent candidate.


Former legislator Mike Obermueller promised to raise $1.2 million in his bid to oust Rep. John Kline (R-MN). Mike reported that in the first two months as the endorsed DFL candidate, he’s raised over $250,000.

Former DFL state Rep. Mike Obermueller, a U.S. House candidate in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District, raised $252,976 in the second quarter of this year in his bid to unseat Republican John Kline.

Kline raised $428K during the second quarter and has $1.3M to spend on his reelection bid.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has promised to support Mike and this is welcome news. Past candidates had trouble raising this much for the entire campaign and consequently, the DCCC never paid attention to MN-02.

The reason Mike is succeeding at fundraising and the reason that the DCCC is helping is redistricting made this district winnable. This district was rated as R+4 before redistricting. When redistricting removed conservative western precincts and added liberal West St. Paul, this seat became winnable.

My best guess is that Kline lost around 10,000 votes via redistricting but I’m very probably counting too conservatively.

Kline has never faced a organized and vigorous campaign. Kline has never campaigned very hard since first winning the seat in 2002.

Maybe Kline will realize how much more money he’ll make as a lobbyist once he’s lost reelection …

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MN United raking in the bucks

by The Big E on June 21, 2012 · 0 comments

MN United, the campaign to stop the marriage ban, has reported excellent fundraising numbers. They’ve raised three times the amount that the marriage ban side have. So not only are polling number trending our way, so is the fundraising.

Minnesotans United for All Families, the main group lining up opposition to the amendment, raised $3.1 million in the first half of 2012, according to a report released Tuesday, June 19.

That brings the total raised since the start of the campaign in 2011 to $4.6 million. The group said it has taken in contributions from more than 19,000 individual donors over the entire campaign and that 85 percent of the money raised has come from within the state.

Total expenditures so far are roughly $3 million.

While the Pro-Amendment side could easily raise a couple of million from a few rich evangelicals, more than 16,000 Minnesotans believe so strongly that the so-called “Sanctity of Marriage” constitutional amendment is such a bad idea that they’re willing to give money.

Furthermore, from Obama to local candidates, the DFL is going to be campaigning to defeat the marriage ban amendment.

I’m feeling cautiously optimistic.


Three candidates are vying for the DFL endorsement to face Rep. John Kline (R-MN) in November. Patrick Ganey is a Northfield City Council Member. Kathleen Gaylord is a Dakota County Commissioner. Mike Obermueller was in the State House.

Because MN-02 is now a winnable seat for the DFL, I want to talk about the bottom line for these three candidates: fundraising.

In 2008, I thought Steve Sarvi was a great candidate except that he couldn’t raise much money. In 2010, I liked Dan Powers, but he had the same problem. I’m fairly confident I’ll like all three current candidates once I get to know them.

I know Mike. He’s an incredibly hard campaigner. He will outwork anyone. Dave Mindeman at mnpACT! interviewed him about this race. Mike set a goal of raising $1.2 million. So he gets it.

Patrick is a fundraiser by trade. You can read Mindeman’s interview here. He’ll understand how important money is in making a candidate legitimate.

Kathleen was South Saint Paul’s mayor for two terms and has been a Commissioner for a decade. She’s not a political newbie. With her nearly 20 years of political networking, fundraising shouldn’t a problem, right? Dave Mindman promised to have an interview up soon with Kathleen.

I’m only interested in the candidate who can show me the money. Show me you can raise $300,000 by the end of June and I’ll take you seriously. You got slightly two and a half months to do this.

Otherwise, its the same old problems we’ve always had in MN-02. No money, no help from the DCCC, no national PACs bashing Kline, little help from the DFL because its not worth it, no momentum, no TV ads, no nothing except for another easy victory for John Kline.


In two days, at Edina’s Valley View Middle School, DFL CD3 Delegates will endorse a candidate to take on – and BEAT! – Erik Paulsen, R=Bachmann.

And while there are a lot of different factors to consider in choosing who to endorse, there is one that is exceedingly important – the ability to raise funds.

Neither Candidate – Sharon Sund nor Brian Barnes – has lit the world on fire, ala Tarryl Clark in CD8.  Last February, I took a look at both Candidate’s 2011 Q4 FEC Reports – and in the comments section, he’s what a Barnes Staffer wrote on February 13th:

Here’s what we pledge:  That the delegates at the endorsing convention on April 14th will see our report. We believe they deserve to know before they cast their votes.
(emphasis added)

And I noticed the same Barnes Staffer made a similar comment yesterday, on the DFL CD3 Facebook page:

The delegates deserve to know the truth without spin. We will have the FEC report for delegates to see at the convention. It’s not a problem as the report is due the next day anyway.
18 hours ago · (emphasis added)

Like it or not, fundraising IS a major factor in electability.

The 2012 Q1 FEC Reports – due Sunday, April 15th (the day after the Convention) – document that ability, for better or for worse.  The FEC Q1 Report filing will be the 3rd filed report for Sund and the 2nd filed report for Barnes.

What those reports show are very important for Delegates to consider, when they choose who to endorse to take on Erik Paulsen, R=Bachmann.

Calls to Staffers asking if Team Sund would have their FEC Filing available were not returned at time of posting; I’ll update if necessary.


Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) was far more in debt than anticipated from her presidential run. Like $1 million in debt. Plus, she filed late.

Bachmann’s bid peaked in August when she topped the Iowa Straw Poll. But Bachmann was merely the second shooting star amongst many other who shot to prominence then wilted in the spotlight.

Her accumulation of tactical blunders, gaffes, misstatements and lies piled up too high and the HPV Vaccine lie/gaffe proved to be the straw that squashed the camel flat. Bachmann was soon after relegated to irrelevance.

While Bachmann has maintained her small donor support, the large donors who make or break presidential campaigns stopped giving once they saw her as irrelevant.

Newly filed Federal Election Commission documents show Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann’s failed presidential campaign was more than $1 million in debt in the weeks following her decision to drop out of the race in early January.

According to the campaign finance documents, as of January 25 of this year, Bachmann’s presidential campaign still owed money to numerous campaign advisors, photographers, direct mailers, transportation companies and caterers.

And, of course, she filed late. Those pesky details of actually being an actual politicians are so difficult for Team Bachmann.

Bachmann detailed her finances through late January in a federal campaign report filed this week. The report had been due Feb. 20.
(Boston Herald)

Despite the probable fatigue amongst Bachmann donors, don’t forget that she raised $13.5 million in 2010 (more than most Senate campaigns). Furthermore, she’s got a broader, deeper fundraising list than in 2010.

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By The Numbers: The MN GOP’s Cooked Books, Part 5

by TwoPuttTommy on January 12, 2012 · 0 comments

In Part 1, we looked at how FEC Tony Sutton’s  MN GOP couldn’t (wouldn’t?) accurately report to the FEC how much they owed a vendor they hired to ensure accurate FEC reports.  In Part 2, we noted there are now 2 citizen watchdog groups looking into the MN GOP’s Cooked Books — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – which nailed ’em last time (the MN GOP got smacked with a near-record $170,000 fine), and Common Cause MN.  In Part 3,  we looked at how a payroll deductions “no, NO!” that got the MN GOP in trouble last time seems to be a pattern.  In Part 4 we looked at the MN GOP using a strange address for one of it’s fundraisers.

Today in Part 5 of the continuing Cooked Books Series we’re going to take a look at the official FEC Complaint – filed yesterday – by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”).  

CREW Files Second FEC Complaint Against Republican Party of Minnesota
January 11th, 2012

Washington, D.C. – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against the Republican Party of Minnesota (RPM) and its former chairman and treasurer, Anthony Sutton.  The complaint alleges the RPM violated the Federal Election Campaign Act and a conciliation agreement the party signed less than five months ago with the FEC by deliberately hiding its debts from FEC investigators.   Back in 2007, CREW had filed a similar complaint against the RPM, leading the FEC to impose a $170,000 fine last summer.

“The Republican Party of Minnesota’s FEC reports haven’t reflected the party’s actual financial condition for nearly a decade and make a mockery of the public’s right to know,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan.  “There appears to be ample evidence Mr. Sutton, repeatedly lied to FEC investigators for years to achieve the party’s political goals.   Party officials signed a conciliation agreement with the FEC pledging the party would clean up its act and – less than six months later – we discover absolutely nothing has changed.” (more, here)

OK, a little about that $170,000 fine – the MN GOP had to make a $20,000 down payment; it agreed to pay off the remaining $150,000 debt in ten equal installments.  I’m just putting this paragraph in because I enjoy seeing this picture of a GOPer check to the Feds!  I’ll be even happier when I can link to a picture of a MN GOPer doing a perp walk, though….

Back to CREW’s complaint:  

On December 30, 2011, the RPM held a news conference to announce the party had conducted an internal review revealing $2 million in debts, including $415,211 that had never been reported to the FEC. According to party officials, they had been fighting with party treasurer Anthony Sutton over the release of party financial information, but had been unable to obtain the records until Sutton resigned.  As RPM’s treasurer, Sutton appears to have filed false reports with the FEC.

Federal law requires state committees like the RPM to disclose all outstanding debts and obligations.  In addition, knowingly and willfully filing false reports with the FEC is a federal crime.  (more, here)

“…knowlingly and willfully filing false reports with the FEC is a federal crime.”

Bring on the Perp Walk!!!

OK, a little more from/for Part 4 of the continuing Cooked Books Series.  We demonstrated how the MN GOP reported the address of a registered vendor – “Fundraising Assoicates” – as a duplex a few miles away from their actual registered address (“7705 Tanglewood Court“).  We went on to point out that “Fundraising Associates” had it’s registered address appear on a FEC report filed by a Michele Bachmann related entity just around a year earlier, in 2010 (“4035 W. 65th Street“).

While perusing the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board’s 2010 report by the MN GOP, this item jumped out!

Yep!  In 2010, the MN GOP reported to the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board the correct address of “Fundraising Associates” – in 2011, they put down an apparently bogus address.

How does that happen?  WHY does that happen?  Was it deliberate?

Let’s go back to CREW’s Melanie Sloan:

“The Republican Party of Minnesota’s FEC reports haven’t reflected the party’s actual financial condition for nearly a decade and make a mockery of the public’s right to know. There appears to be ample evidence Mr. Sutton, repeatedly lied to FEC investigators for years to achieve the party’s political goals.”

“There appears to be ample evidence Mr. Sutton repeatedly lied…”

Yep – sure is! Even on the little stuff, such as where a vendor does business.

Which reminds me of what then-RNC Chair Michael Steele once said:  “You have absolutely no reason – none – to trust our words or our actions at this point.”

Stay tuned – the best is yet to come!