Pity poor Representative Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg.
After his Appleton prison bill failed to become law, he was forced to misrepresent the record of his opponent, former state representative Andrew Falk, on introducing legislation related to the privately-owned hoosegow.
And after talking at a town hall about how Corrections Corporation of American had offered to sell the prison for $99 million, Miller washed himself of that stiff price tag (when a constituent challenged the figure as way high) by saying that legislators aren't involved in negotiations.
Then we learned there are no negotiations for the prison.
More recently, Miller told television audiences during a debate that the negotiations are a complex thing and he's working on them.
We will voice our support for Democrats Andrew Falk running for the Minnesota House seat in District 17A and for DFL Sen. Lyle Koenen in Senate District 17. We side with these candidates because we believe they are willing to make the best case for the need for Minnesota to invest more in rural economic development, more in education, and more in our infrastructure. We also believe they will figure out the best way to fix our broken health insurance programs with the aim of ensuring that thousands aren’t again left without insurance.
Republicans have consistently argued to lower spending in these areas.CCA
The shuttered prison is located in Swift County (the county spent at least $40,000+ on contract lobbyists to push Miller's bill).
But don't cry for Tim Miller.
He did manage to snag some campaign cash from Corrections Corporation of America's executives and their spouses, as well as from a couple of CCA corporate lobbyists. From his pre-general election report to the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board (available here):
There's $250.00 each from CCA Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President David Garfunkle and his wife Carrie, both of Franklin, Tennessee, followed by the same amounts from CCA Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer Anthony Grande and his wife, as well as from CCA President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director Damon Hininger and his wife (page 4 of Miller's 2016 pre-general report).
Former Appleton warden Daren Swenson, now CCA's Tennessee-based Vice President, Facility Operations, Business Unit 2 also gave Miller $250 (page 6 of Miller's 2016 pre-general report).
Finally, there's the $500 each of CCA's corporate lobbyists (Kelly Durham and Brad Regens, page 7 of Miller's 2016 pre-general report) handed over.
All that money must be smooth as Tennessee whiskey for blunting the blow of rejection by Swift County's finest news source (We're not being snarly about the Monitor, whose editor is highly respected among country newspaper people).
An we haven't even touched on CCA's contributions to the Republican State Leadership Committee, which has given $755,000 in the last ten days to the MN Jobs Coalition Legislative Fund. Earlier this year, the MN Jobs Coalition tracker Kip Charles Christianson jostled parade volunteers at Raymond Harvest Fest Parade.
Photo: Tim Miller (left) and Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley, at a town hall in Minneapolis sponsored by Rep. Raymond Dehn, DFL-Minneapolis. Miller told those attending that he'd totally opposed re-opening the prison if a way could be found to reduce prison populations. Oh yes he did.
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