Minnesota's Future, a pro-business political fund supported in 2012 by a large contributions from a handful of large corporations, has sent direct mail to voters in Senate District 22 attacking popular Worthington mayor and small business owner Alan Oberloh as a tool of "Powerful Special Interests who want job-killing tax increases on Minnesota families and small businesses."
The piece names Oberloh's endorsement by AFSCME Minnesota Council 5's political committee but cites no specific legislation, questionnaire or statement by the DFL-endorsed candidate to support its claims.
Oberloh, who had been courted to run for higher office by both parties, owns an auto repair business. He emerged as a strong voice for rural Minnesota during his term as president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, advocating for job-building economic development and local government aid.
His campaign for Minnesota Senate has been the target for out-of-state push-polling calls that seed doubt about his last name and character as Bluestem reported in SD 22: out-of-state calls ask voters which candidate has most American-sounding name.
It is not known which group paid for the phoning from a Utah call center.
The origin of the attack mail is quite certain (see second image above). According to the group's registration information at the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, the committee is chaired by Chris Tiedeman, while Gregory Johnson serves as treasurer. Both individuals are prinicpals at Weber Johnson PA and the committee shares an address with the "public affairs" firm.
The group's 2012 42nd Day Pre-General Report of Receipts and Expenditures, available here, notes cash contributions from a handful of Minnesota corporations and in-kind donations of polling from the HRCC and the Senate Victory Fund, the campaign committees for the state House Republican Caucus and the Republican Senate Majority caucus.
Minnesota's Future 2012 42nd Day Pre-General Report of Receipts and Expenditures notes that through September 18, 2012, the committee took in $474,000 in cash and $20,000 in in-kind contributions, for $495,000, mostly from metro Twin Cities business
The contributor located nearest to the district was Rosen's Diversified in Fairmont, which gave $50,000.
Davisco Foods, Eden Prairie,
Frauenshuh Companies, Minneapolis, $100,000
Great Plains Sand LLC, Chaska, $25,000
Hubbard Broadcasting (KSTP etc) St. Paul, $150,000
Micro Control, Fridley, $50,000
Both Republican legislative caucuses made in-kind contributions of $10,000 in polling, according to the filing.
Politics in Minnesota staff writers Charley Shaw and Briana Bierschbach reported in Pro-GOP business groups proliferate — but keep mum about big-picture coordination:
The biggest mystery among GOP third-party groups this cycle is Minnesota’s Future. The political fund was formed during the 2010 election by now-Republic National Committee chief of staff Jeff Larson. During that cycle, Minnesota’s Future was almost entirely funded by the Republican Governors Association as a vehicle to attack then-DFL candidate Mark Dayton. But this year the group’s strategy has appeared to shift as it looks to be a player in dozens of legislative races. . . .
. . .Calls to various operatives at public relations firm Weber Johnson, which is running the political fund, went unreturned. But one of the firm’s operatives, Chris Tiedeman, previously told Capitol Report that Weber Johnson is looking to partner with the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) — the legislative equivalent to the RGA — to spend money on behalf of Republican candidates.
Tiedeman said at the time that political observers shouldn’t expect to see spending from the group until the late summer or early fall.
Images: Minnesota's Future mail piece.