Perhaps they could use the number on the card and call Daley to use his mad intelligence skillz to find out for them.
Politics in Minnesota's Brian Bierschbach reports in In swing races, ground battle intensifies:
Senate District 51: Eagan has flipped back and forth between DFL and GOP control in recent years, flipping from a full slate of Democrats to one composed of Republicans in 2010. This year it will once again be a major battleground. . . . Daley, however, has also recently earned help from Americans for Prosperity Minnesota, the state arm of the Koch Brothers’ national group. The group has put out pro-Daley mailers. . .
As the race heads into its final weeks, [DFL challenger Jim] Carlson says his campaign is looking to make a bigger issue of Daley’s membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a controversial GOP-aligned legislation-crafting group that has come under fire this year.
It's fair to say that the Koch Brothers' money is the common thread in the weave binding together Americans for Prosperity Minnesota and ALEC. Not that we'll ever know, since neither AFP nor ALEC are subject to political disclosure laws.
AFP sends postcards around election time, but they are so not independent expenditures with express advocacy to get Daley re-elected.
Just as the corporate-bill factory ALEC writes legislation and schools conservative legislators in its model bills, but is so not a lobby.
Politics in Minnesota's Weekly Report for September 28, 2012 noted how Americans for Prosperity Minnesota so does not have to tell voters anything about its funding:
There is an entire class of organizations – often registered with the IRS under section 501(C)(4) of the tax code – that aren’t required to file as political organizations. The only restriction on such groups is that they can’t explicitly endorse or oppose a candidate.
This distinction was reinforced last month in an advisory opinion issued by the Minnesota Campaign Finance & Public Disclosure Board [link added by Bluestem]. At the request of an un-named C4 organization, the board considered whether such communications are subject to disclosure rules under state law. The conclusion: “A communication naming candidates that is made independently from the candidates and does not use words of express advocacy is not subject to disclosure under Chapter 10A and will not trigger a registration requirement for the association publishing the communication. "
An example of such expenditures occurred in the bitter, high-dollar GOP primary in Senate District 33. This week's campaign finance filings revealed that Freedom Club State PAC spent an unprecedented $55,000 to defeat state Rep. Connie Doepke. But just before Election Day, Americans for Prosperity Minnesota sent out a mailing featuring pictures of Doepke and President Obama. "Obamacare is Bad Medicine ... Yet Representative Connie Doepke refused to help fight it," it read.
Ultimately Doepke lost the race to GOP endorsee Dave Osmek by 107 votes. “It was probably the nail in the coffin,” says Jonathan Aanestad, a GOP strategist who worked closely on Doepke’s campaign, of the Obamacare mailing. “That was a killer. ” While the piece was clearly intended to hurt Doepke's electoral prospects, there's no record of it in campaign finance filings since Americans for Prosperity Minnesota isn't required to register as a political organization.
It’s unclear to what extent such organizations will play a role in the current campaign season. But one thing to note: the Freedom Club has a registered 501(C)(4), according to filings with the Secretary of State's Office, that’s separate from its better-known political spending PAC.
As is completely, 100 percent crystal clear from the scanned images at the top of this post, AFP-Minnesota is so not asking voters in SD51 to vote for Daley. Instead, they should call his state senate office to tell his legislative assistant, or whichever public employee answers the phone these days, that he's doing a great job.
(As Bluestem says, perhaps the could ask who's funding AFP-MN--especially since the postcard is so not a campaign activity. Who could object to a Republican caucus staffer receiving a publicly funded salary answering a few so not campaign related questions?)
So what are the Koch Brothers up to with a state wing of Americans For Prosperity, which is so totally not doing express advocacy for getting Ted Daley re-elected when it sent those postcards pictured above right before an election?
We don't have to look too far. On October 13, the McClatchy Newpapers circulated a report by Wichita Eagle staff writers Bill Wilson and Roy Wenzl, The Kochs' quest to save America. Wilson and Wenzl report:
. . .“The Koch political machine is the most elaborate, comprehensive financial dip into American politics since Standard Oil and the robber barons a century ago,” said Larry Jacobs, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota.
“This is the 21st century version of how you buy yourself a government in America.” Their motive, Jacobs suspects, is wealth. “The rest of this may well be the means to an end.”. . .
And the once-shy group is now opening up about its activities (though not its funders) on the federal level, NJ.com reports in Playing to donors, GOP groups spill secrets. Some ATM machines for the group, like KTSP owner Stanley Hubbard, Minnesota media mogul and major Republican donor, are noting their involvement:
Hubbard attends the Koch brothers' donor summits, has given to Americans for Prosperity . . .
AFP is turning to state politics and the competition is fierce. Hubbard gives money to a number of groups that are required to disclose--like Minnesota's Future--but they'll be up for assessment. Hubbard told the New Jersey chains:
"No matter what, there's going to be a little slowdown, because people have been giving so much money in this particular time period that I think they're going to take a breath," Hubbard said. "After 2013, it's a different story again. Then, you reassess the situation, see where you are and ask if there is any critical need to donate."
Because this hidden money is so not related an election year or Mr. Hubbard getting people elected to the legislature to do his bidding. And shame on Bluestem for even using a word like bidding, since one connotation of the term implies that state senators like Ted Daley are for sale.
Indeed, only a churl and an oaf would dare suggest that the American Legislative Exchange Council-- funded by the Koch brothers and other corporations--would do anything remotely like lobbying. No: those cookie-cutter bills simply appear like dew in the morning.
Nor is there anything at all to be said of the notion that there was anything at all untoward in Senator Ted Daley's membership on ALEC's Public Safety and Elections Task Force, [see page 47 of the pdf) which the so-not-a-lobby group shut down after criticism.
The Nation's John Nichols reported in ALEC Disbands Task Force Responsible for Voter ID, 'Stand Your Ground' Laws:
Pressured by watchdog groups, civil rights organizations and a growing national movement for accountable lawmaking, the American Legislative Exchange Council announced Tuesday that it was disbanding the task force that has been responsible for advancing controversial Voter ID and “Stand Your Ground” laws.
ALEC, the shadowy corporate-funded proponent of so-called “model legislation” for passage by pliant state legislatures, announced that it would disband its “Public Safety and Elections” task force. The task force has been the prime vehicle for proposing and advancing what critics describe as voter-suppression and anti-democratic initiatives—not just restrictive Voter ID laws but also plans to limit the ability of citizens to petition for referendums and constitutional changes that favor workers and communities. The task force has also been the source of so-called “Castle Doctrine” and “Stand Your Ground” laws that limit the ability of police and prosecutors to pursue inquiries into shootings of unarmed individuals such as Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
The decision to disband the task force appears to get ALEC out of the business of promoting Voter ID and “Stand Your Ground” laws. That’s a dramatic turn of events, with significant implications for state-based struggles over voting rights an elections, as well as criminal justice policy. But it does not mean that ALEC will stop promoting one-size-fits-all “model legislation” at the state level.
Indeed, the disbanding of the “Public Safety and Elections” task force looks in every sense to be a desperate attempt to slow an exodus of high-profile corporations from the group’s membership roll.
Update: Daley was on the conference committee of the voter suppression amendment and signed off on the report (final language) without protections for deployed military, elderly and disabled, absentee voting, student voting and vouching for a person already registered.
Indeed. It looks like some of Senator Daley's corporate friends simply shifted their largesse. Perhaps that's another thing that his constituents could use his state capitol phone number for: call his office and follow-up on the statement in the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board that the Minnesota Legislature is in charge of writing law when it comes to outfits like Americans for Prosperity-Minnesota. While it doesn't appear that the state can limit contributions (corporation are people, my friend), it's quite possible that postcards like the one at the top of this post could so too be seen as advocating Mr. Daley's re-election if the legislature decides to update state law.
After all, such a change would be only a wise application of free market priniciples, a twist on the "lemon law" concept. For a free market to work really well, all players in a market need equal access to information. The ordinary middle class Eagan voter, Bluestem believes, should be able to know who bought Senator Daley and what price was paid.
Asymmetric information is not the consort of liberty, nor the legislator purchased with its use an equal and loving partner.