Bluestem rarely comments on Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District, since Duluth and the Range enjoy a history and heritage my beloved prairie simply doesn't share. However,Why Did Cravaack Hide Ties To Mining And Metals Industry?, a recent post on the Minnesota Progressive Project, does raise some interesting questions about due diligence research by bloggers and political campaigns--and these are questions that aren't grounded in geography.
First off, the MPP post is slightly inaccurate about the candidate's brother. John Cravaack is on the board of the Cincinnati chapter of the MSCI, not on the board of directors for the national MSCI. The blogger at MPP did not provide a link to document that information in her post at MPP; it's found here. Here's the list of names of the national board of directors.
Perhaps an equally interesting question as "Why did Cravaack Hide Ties To Mining and Metals Industry?" is "Why didn't anyone in the DCCC, Oberstar campaign,the CD8 DFL, Environment Minnesota, or social media ask questions about missing information on Chip Cravaack's FEC reports BEFORE the election?"
As in, when this information (that the candidate's brother sits on the board of a local chapter of the MSCI) might have in some way swayed voter opinion? The information about John Cravaack cited by the MPP blogger, as well as his two 2008 campaign contributions to John McCain and to McCain Victory Ohio, both of which disclosed his occupation -- was readily available online. I'm surprised no one looked and wrote about this during the campaign.
Based on the information in the FEC report the MPP blogger provides, the first 2010 contribution by the new congressman's metal-industry-employed brother was made on January 11, 2010. This contribution was first disclosed to the public in a report filed April 15, 2010 and can be viewed online.
To adopt the language of the MPP blogger, it looks like the Cravaack campaign was "deliberately hiding" the employer/financial information of most of his contributors in that quarterly report.
Why didn't anyone raise the point at the time? By then, Cravaack had received his party's endorsement.
I don't raise this question to score an idle rhetorical point. Reading Randy Demmer's FEC report last summer in the not-yet-hot but targeted CD1 race, I noticed a lot of missing information from Demmer's report and posted about the omissions, in a blog entry that supplied the missing information. That post got a great deal of traffic in the district--and generated some very interesting reader tips from ordinary citizens.
Candidates and campaigns may or may not be deliberately concealing information about contributors--but Minnesota's progressive bloggers might use this episode to conduct thorough reviews of FEC reports at the time they are released.
After all, the information in Oberstar's FEC reports was spun to Jim's disadvantage. How unfortunate --whatever the complacency of the DCCC, the congressman's campaign, and partisan bloggers who cover CD8 and who regularly review campaign finance reports, that no one thought to do the same--or assumed that the information about John Cravaack was important.
Was there a reason no one brought this readily-researched information about the candidate's brother forward before the election? Is it thought to be more damning now that Chip Cravaack is in office? Or is it the absence of the infromation--and that about other contributors as well--that is a problem? If so, why wasn't that an issue during the election?
Related posts from July: