Tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m., pre-primary fundraising reports for Minnesota's two special elections will be available online.
In the money chase for the special election in Minnesota House District 23B, reports of large contributions to candidates in the Republican primary may provide a couple of tantalizing hints at what we'll be reading in the morning.
On January 16, challenger Scott and Amy Sanders contributed $5000 to his own campaign. It's not clear if this is a flat-out contribution or a loan.
Jeremy Munson received $6000 from Metro-area donors and PACs tossing $1000 each into the kitty: Joan and Robert Cummins; Dale Zoerb; Action4Liberty PAC; and, Cummins-associated committee Freedom Club State PAC--and one more.
Republican Party donor, and Canary Party anti-vaccination activist, and Vibrant Technologies founder Jennifer Larson was the first (January 16) to contribute a large pot o' money following the mandatory reporting trigger. Larson is subject to frequent public scrutiny as the co-founder with Mark Blaxill of the anti-vaccine movement group.
We looked at Larson's connections in a 2015 post, Anti-vaxxer injected cash into Republican candidates' campaigns--and Rick Nolan, too:
At the Star Tribune, blogger Michael Brodkorb draws our attention to the fact that Head of anti-vaccination group to host fundraiser for Rand Paul in Minnesota.
In the Pioneer Press post Rand Paul visiting Minnesota campuses on Monday, Rachel Stassen Berger takes a broader noting:
Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul will drop by two Minnesota college campuses and an Eagles Club on Monday, according to invitations released by his campaign on Facebook and elsewhere.
Paul, a U.S. Senator from Kentucky, will visit the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus in the morning, its Duluth campus in the afternoon and the Rochester Rochester Eagles Club in the late afternoon.
He will also have a fundraiser in Orono in the evening. . ..
Before Minnesota's chattering class dives into a bipartisan bashing of Paul for having such an anti-vaxxer pal in Orono--Bluestem loathes the consequences of the anti-vaccination movement--we hope that they look a little deeper into political giving by host Jennifer Larson, as Paul is not the only beneficiary of her largesse.
Larson heads the Canary Party in Minnesota, which is not a political party as the name suggests, but a political committee registered with the state Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board. State and federal campaign filings reveal that she's given to everyone from Senator Dave Osmek to Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills and Eighth Congressional District Democrat Rick Nolan.
According to a search of the individual donor database at the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, Larson gave a total of $54,665 in itemized political contributions between 2004 and 2014, much of it to her own PAC, though Osmek, VOICES of Conservative Women State PAC (VOICESPAC), the 44th Senate District RPM and Randy Gilbert for State Auditor committees received healthy contributions:
05-11-2011 Canary Party of Minnesota $24,665.00
11-15-2011 Canary Party of Minnesota $11,000.00
12-08-2011 Canary Party of Minnesota $5,000.00
03-07-2012 VOICES of Conservative Women State PAC (VOICESPAC) $500.00
06-03-2012 Osmek, David Senate Dist. 33 Committee $50.00
10-18-2012 44th Senate District RPM $100.00
10-18-2012 44th Senate District RPM $175.00
10-23-2012 Osmek, David Senate Dist. 33 Committee $150.00
06-21-2013 Libertarian Party of Minn $500.00
05-31-2014 Canary Party of Minnesota $2,775.00
07-01-2014 Canary Party of Minnesota $500.00
07-13-2014 Gilbert, Randy State Aud. Committee $50.00
08-31-2014 Canary Party of Minnesota $50.00
09-30-2014 Canary Party of Minnesota $50.00
10-31-2014 Gilbert, Randy State Aud. Committee $300.00
11-01-2014 Canary Party of Minnesota $900.00
11-15-2014 Canary Party of Minnesota $ 950.00
11-24-2014 Osmek, David Senate Dist. 33 Committee $1,000.00
11-30-2014 Canary Party of Minnesota $950.00
Things get a bit more ideologically broad with her federal giving. Larson has contributed $25,370.00 to federal candidates and parties, $15,000.00 in joint fundraising and $44,800.00 to joint fundraisers. While $15000 of the latter went to committees related to Rand Paul's ambition, the other $29,800.00 helped inoculate the NRCC from losing seats.
This is a contributor who has given $2300 to MN06 Congressman Tom Emmer and $1900 to MN08 Congressman Rick Nolan. . . .
Canary Party crowd implicated in 2017 measles outbreak
Why would a contribution from Larson matter? In Minnesota, Larson's Canary Party co-founder Mark Blaxill was among those lecturing Somali-American parents against vaccine last spring when a measles outbreak flared up in their community. The Star Tribune's Erin Adler reported in Speaker says vaccines and autism may be linked, a view denied by public health officials:
A national speaker who believes there are links between vaccines and autism told a group of Somali-American parents Sunday night that they should choose whether to vaccinate their children by weighing risks and benefits. He also said the government has lied in its previous vaccine research and that the danger of measles is overstated.
About 90 people met at Safari Restaurant in Minneapolis to hear Mark Blaxill, who is on the executive leadership team of the nonprofit Health Choice, present information on measles outbreaks, autism rates and what he said were the fraudulent results of a 2004 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the link between autism and vaccines, a theory that health officials have debunked.
"It should be the right of every parent and family to make their own decisions," said Blaxill.
Blaxill's visit comes in the midst of Minnesota's second measles outbreak in seven years. As of Sunday morning, there were 32 cases of measles in Minnesota, including instances in Ramsey and Stearns counties as well as Hennepin County, where the majority are concentrated.
The Minnesota Department of Health says "all Minnesota children 12 months and older who have not received a measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine should get it now."
Public health officials have said vaccination rates among Somali-Americans have fallen in recent years as more parents opt out due to autism fears. . . .
While Larson and Blaxill insist they're not anti-vax, that point of view would make a cat laugh.
Check out the consequences in the CNN report, Anti-vaccine groups blamed in Minnesota measles outbreak and Despite measles outbreak, anti-vaccine activists in Minnesota refuse to back down in the Washington Post.
Larson is also a co-founder of the Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota, which is gearing up for the Minnesota legislative session, according to its Facebook page. It's holding a briefing for legislators only on February 7:
Minnesota citizens, we need YOUR help!
We are hosting a legislative briefing to share your concerns of health freedom and Informed Consent with our legislators so they will be prepared going into the 2018 session.
They are not in session YET so can you all please via Facebook, twitter, Ig, Snapchat, email, snail mail and/or phone personally invite your legislators? Let them know you appreciate their service and as your representative you are asking they attend on your behalf because the issue is so important to your family. Say as much as you like about why and that you look forward to being available to answer any questions the may have afterwards. The more invitations and calls, the better!
****This briefing is LEGISLATORS ONLY. Admittance will be monitored and limited to them only. This is a safe space for them to listen and discuss with no pressure from the media or an audience.****
Would Munson join in that agenda if elected? Parents in the district should ask Munson if he'll vote for Representative Cindy Pugh's anti-vax measures. According to a post encouraging political contributions on the group's Facebook page:
Hey all. Attached is the link that talks about the MN Political Contribution Refund. It is $50 per individual or $100 a family. You see you can contribute more than once and will be refunded. You will receive a receipt for your donation. You send that in with a form filled out and the state sends the money back to you. It's a no brainer for us!! Please consider contributing to those legislator's campaigns that support us and the MNGOP. MNGOP supports all of our friendlies since most are republicans. Send me questions. ...
Minnesota's xenophobic ranters blamed refugees for the outbreak of measles but the anti-vaxxers are for real doing their bit. Meanwhile, Rep.Ilhan Omar, DFL-Minneapolis fought for more funding for outreach, education and vaccination.
Will Munson support efforts similar to Omar's appeal--or side with the anti-vaccine crowd and risk children's health? A top leader in the movement is a large donor to his campaign after all. Will he return the money so there's no confusion for voters about where his loyalties lie: activist cash or children's safety?
Photo: IMahat Issa, age 3, lies in a hospital bed in Children's Minnesota via NBC News report, Measles Outbreak, Fueled by Vaccine Fear, Sends Kids to Hospital.
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