It's a lovely summer morning in greater Minnesota, but one state Republican party officials might not be able to savor over the morning papers. The Morning Take samples a conservative Washington Post blogger's dismissal of TPaw, the Kind of Bland, as a potential Romney running mate--and there's more unsettling news closer to home.
Over at the Strib, Rachel Stassen-Berger reports in Top donor to Minnesota GOP calling a timeout:
Bob Cummins, who has donated more than $3.5 million to Minnesota Republican causes, is telling allies he has had it with Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature and will not give their campaigns any cash this year, according to multiple sources.
Cummins, CEO of Plymouth-based Primera Technology, is reportedly frustrated over legislators' failure to approve a "right-to-work" constitutional amendment that would limit union power. At least 21 states have such restrictions.
A pillar of GOP financing in years past, Cummins' support could be especially critical for Republicans, who have seen contributions drop off as their money troubles mount.
Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said he has not talked personally with Cummins recently but would not be surprised if he withheld contributions. "He was pretty tied in to the right-to-work issue, and I think that was his main legislative priority. I don't think I would expect a lot of help out of him given that we didn't advance that," Senjem said.
Bluestem reported earlier this year that the union-busting amendment was Cummins' Freedom Club only legislative priority, one it advanced in partnership with local Tea Party chapters across the state.
And Cummins' current tantrums underscores the threats he made last year during the push to get the marriage amendment on the ballot. In Peppin pimping hate: House member's spouse "lobbies" caucus on amendment--for whom?, we shared PIM's news:
Donations played into the calculus of the amendment vote in another way, according to one source who monitored the amendment effort. House Republican caucus uber-funder Robert Cummins, the chief executive officer of Primera Technology, is a fervid backer of the amendment and a past donor to anti-gay-marriage initiatives. Since 2004, Cummins has contributed more than $408,000 to groups like Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage — now Minnesota Majority — and the Minnesota Family Council, and has thrown hundreds of thousands of dollars at the House GOP caucus campaign chest. In a June 2010 Capitol Report story, then-caucus treasurer Matt Dean said Cummins is much more involved than the average donor. He works directly with House leaders to recruit Republican candidates to run in each district. “He understands the importance of winning elections,” Dean said at the time.
“Promises must have been made to outside sources,” the source said, adding that the caucus was reportedly promised several million dollars for the 2012 elections from various groups if the amendment passed this session.
Guess Cummins decided to add another amendment as a condition for his money as the West Metro 1% Club goes wild.
And Briana Bierschbach's article in PIM shared another flawed assessment in the political calculus the GOP caucuses made last year concerning the marriage discrimination amendent:
He [Gregg Peppin] added that there was a lot of discussion internally about whether it should happen in 2011 or 2012, especially as the leadership started out the year touting a budget-first agenda. But ultimately the prospect of wealthy donors on the pro-gay marriage side persuaded them to go for this session, Peppin said. “[Pro-gay marriage campaigns] typically have many well-to-do donors nationwide,” he noted, “and while there are some wealthy anti-gay-marriage supporters, there are more $5 and $10 donors on that side, and that money will take time to gather.”
Oops! This week's release of fundraising by Minnesotans United for All Families exposed the folly in Peppin's math.
And after that amendment? The deluge with news of the wreck of Republican finances under Tony Sutton, the Koch and Brodkorb affair and its fallout. That fallout continues.
In Let Senate Republicans pay their own legal bill, the editorial board of the New Ulm Journal shares a harsh assessment of the responsibility for legal bills incurred by Senate Republicans:
He hasn't even filed a lawsuit yet, but Michael Brodkorb, the former Senate Republican Caucus senior communication aide fired for his affair with then Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, has cost Senate Republicans nearly $85,000 in legal fees.
Brodkorb is planning to file a federal gender discrimination lawsuit, claiming he was treated differently from female Senate employees who had affairs with legislators and got to keep their jobs. His attorneys have also threatened lawsuits for defamation and invasion of privacy against several senators.
Chances are taxpayers are going to wind up paying this bill, and that is an injustice.
This is an internal employment issue involving the Republican caucus. This has little to do with creating and passing legislation for the public's beneift. Brodkorb was basically a political strategist and spin doctor whose job was to make the Republicans look good and the DFL look bad. The Republican Party should be footing the bill for the caucus' defense.
Of course, the Republicans have had trouble paying the rent on their state headquarters and paying for their recent recount challenges. They probably don't have the money for the legal fees, either.
If they are really concerned with protecting the taxpayers, the Republicans should pay their own legal bills.
The paper isn't a bastion of liberal media; it's a small town paper serving a conservative area of the state. The shockingly blunt words may signal trouble for Michael Brodkorb's hand-picked candidate for CD1, Mike Parry, who ran into surprising resistance in his bid for the party's endorsement. With no nod coming at the district's endorsing convention, Parry is locked in a primary battle against Allen Quist, who's matching Parry's self-proclaimed energy, such as it is.
Update: The editors of the Journal's sister in the Odgen Newspapers chain, the even-more-conservative Fairmont Sentinel, has a different idea for paying the legal bill. Read about it in Fairmont Sentinel: to cut costs, MN Senate should settle with Michael Brodkorb
Image: Uncle Moneybags.