As we noted in Backer backer blames Rep. Wagenius for buffer legislation she voted against 2 years running, then Donnelly native attends McNamar fundraiser, catches up with MAHS & W. Central MN friends and finally Another letter responds to Backer backer's placebaiting attack in MN12 newspapers, there's a MN Jobs Coalition-spawned strategy to scold rural Democrats for holding fundraisers in the metro-area.
The notion is that a metro address will mean "metro values," or whatever. Never mind that it's a standard practice by both parties--and some, perhaps more than others--feed the influence industry's cultivation of--well-influence.
Witness the fundraiser being held as we type this at 11 Crocus Hill in St. Paul--which Ramsey County tax records show is owned by Libby Law Office professionals and registered lobbyists Kirsten Libby and William G Strusinski--for Senator Gary Dahms, R-Redwood Falls, and Representative Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent.
It's in the swanky Summit Hill neighborhood, and political fundraisers are frequently held at the address, for legislators from both parties, as well as those running in local municipal races. It's also the address for Capitol Resource's Cindy Jepsen, another lobbyist, according to the Minnesota Governmental Relations Council, the trade association for Minnesota governmental relations specialists, although her registration information at the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board gives a Florida address.
Who do Libby and Strusinski serve as lobbyists? Libby has but one client, Twin Cities Rise!, whom she shares with Strusinski, who has many. Before rural voters scoff at that "Twin Cities" in the name, Bluestem hopes that they will look at the work the organization, "a North Side nonprofit business that helps mostly minority men with training and attitudinal improvement in order to improve careers and lives," does.
Readers' mileage may vary on the worthiness of these associations--and the other politicians whose campaigns are fueled by receptions at the location. Whatever the case, perhaps rural Republicans like Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley, and their backers might want to look into the mirror (and the cash drawer) before searing that big, bad "M" brand into their opponents.
Indeed, place-baiting is a minor bigot's game. Perhaps the real discussion should be about working together to reduce the dependence on special interest cash in electing those who are supposed to be the representatives and senators for those people in their districts. The discussion shouldn't be that both sides do metro fundraisers; rather, the conversation should be how to avoid special interest cash at all.
Screengrab: Where this fundraiser is on the map.
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