MNCD7 Republican challenger Lee Byberg has never been shy about his paid friends in the entertainment business. His FEC reports document that endorser and Valley radio talker Scott Hennen had a most worthy business relationship with Byberg.
The Willmar turkey industry executive is making his second bid against DFL incumbent Blue Dog Collin Peterson.
As Bluestem reported on July 14, 2012 in FECQ2: Freedom Force Communications continued lucrative relationship with Byberg:
Political wars are not unprofitable for radio talk show hosts who own consulting services and other living things.
Take Scott Hennen's consulting relationship with Minnesota CD7 endorsed Republican Lee Byberg.According to the latest Byberg filing with the Federal Elections Commission, Hennen-owned Freedom Force Communications LLC was paid $14,500 in Q2 for media/fundraising ($7000 in April and $3500 in May) and "monthly website" ($4000 in April).
The haul is declining a bit, however, from earlier quarters.
In April, Bluestem posted in Freedom Force Communications expands lucrative arrangement with Byberg campaign:
Bluestem didn't believe that the [Scott Hennen's] endorsement [of Byberg] was bought, but we did wonder what sort of disclosure might be required by Hennen of the lucrative arrangement between his business and the Byberg campaign. Hennen is a radio talk show and serves as a frequent speaker at Republican and Tea Party events. A bit of transparency might help listeners evaluate Hennen's remarks.
The question remains a valid one.[Blogger and Gretchen Hoffman supporter John] Gilmore noted that " Scott Hennen has been paid over $35,000 by candidate Lee Byberg over the last two years."
Lee Byberg's Q1 2012 FEC report lists new payments to Freedom Forum Communications. The campaign paid FFC $10,000 for a new website design, with $4000 monthly web services fees ($12,000 total) following the design, $7000 for fundraising and $7000 for administration/salary/overhead. That's $36,000 in three months; the campaign spent a total of $91276.64 for the quarter.
The total payments to FFC for the first six months of 2012 now total $50,500. When Hennen discusses the congressional campaign in Minnesota's 7th--he promotes Byberg in a July 12 broadcast about the Browerville Tea Party rally--he doesn't mention that his firm is being paid to consult with the Byberg campaign.
And the "Freedom Poet"? $1000 in speaking fees.
Now Byberg has a new friend, Lee Greenwood, who's headlining his upcoming concert in Alexandria. There's been some chatter in the media about the appearance. The Alexandria Echo Press reports in Freedom Chorus featuring Lee Greenwood to perform in Alexandria:
The Lee Byberg campaign is bringing a “Freedom Chorus” to Alexandria featuring Lee Greenwood.
The choir is wrapping up its tour with a grand finale event in Alexandria on October 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Lake Geneva Christian Center. Admission is free.
Byberg, who is making his second bid for U.S. Congress, said his campaign isn’t sticking to the script of TV ads, phone calls, and direct mail.
“Yes, we’ll be advertising on TV. Yes, you’ll hear us on the radio,” said Byberg. “But to really connect with voters we are going big. We are leading a movement, and the Freedom Chorus is a celebration of what unites us as Americans.”
Byberg has been able to command more attention this year than in 2010 for a variety of reasons. His name recognition is higher now just because he’s been in the public eye for so long, but door-knocking and making speeches is only part of his strategy. He published a book this year (“Builders of Our Land”), has scheduled a concert with country music star Lee Greenwood (of “God Bless the USA” fame) in Alexandria, and, in one of his campaign’s more ambitious efforts, is assembling an area “mega-choir” of more than 100 District 7 residents to sing hymns and patriotic songs at a few venues around the area.
“The music is symbolic of us coming together,” he said.
Now that Byberg has a more visible platform, he’s trying as often as possible to broadcast his message, one of smaller government and economic encouragement. The best way to increase government revenue, he said, is by businesses and individuals making more money. . . .
Byberg told the Echo and other venues that the Alex concert is "nonpartisan." That's surprising, since his campaign committee's latest report shows that Lee Greenwood, Inc. has been paid $8000 for a "solo acoustic performance" for the Rally for America. Presuming that that the sum is the total fee, and not an advance retainer, the money is a reduced rate for Greenberg. The 70-year-old singer's "God Bless The U.S.A." has graced Republican campaigns since the Reagan administration.
Still, the illusion that an event paid by committee fees--with a paid entertainer who is a big-ticket item for a campaign that's over $100,000 in debt--is "nonpartisan" might be put to rest by the media reporting on this campaign event.
Here's the record of the payment in the Byberg Q3 report to the FEC:
|Lee Greenwood Inc.
3010 Poston Ave
Nashville, Tennessee 37203
|Solo Acoustic Performance - Rally for Am||8000.00|
Photo: Lee Byberg, whose campaign events are so not partisan.