In MN17A: Is Ed Minn portraying Tim Miller as an "uncaring ogre"? A Bluestem factcheck, we looked at a mail piece that Education Minnesota had sent to a member in the west central Minnesota House district now represented by Andrew Falk (DFL, Murdock).
Rather than depicting Miller as "an uncaring ogre," as his wife had claimed in a letter to the editor, we found that the mail piece was directed toward Miller's Republican allies, rather than a personal attack on Miller himself.
We'd contacted the education union to see if we could obtain copies of the other mailers, while asking about member contact in MN17A in 2012. Monday, Education Minnesota press secretary Chris Williams responded via email:
Now that our annual fall conference is over I was able to look into the questions you asked about Education Minnesota’s involvement in the 17A race.
We’re not going to share the literature we distributed in 17A. However, I can tell you that it was intended to inform voters in the district about GOP positions on education and other issues. None of it critiqued Tim Miller personally and certainly none of it referred to him as an “ogre.”
The literature was paid for by the Education Minnesota Political Action Committee, not member dues. Education Members pay $15 a year into the PAC, which in turn supports candidates endorsed by the union’s members and provides most of the state organization’s funding for local levy campaigns. Members who do not wish to participate can opt out via forms mailed to them once a year.
According to our campaign staff, Education Minnesota did make independent expenditures in 2012 on behalf of Andrew Falk, who went on to win the race with 54 percent of the vote. The union did not produce any mailings that year that mentioned Miller by name. There’s no way for us to know if the Miller family was aware of the mailings two years ago.
Tim and Cherie Miller may complain about the mailings, but they don't share details of the content, nor are they accurate about the funding for the pieces. It's an appeal for pity by a couple trying to play the victim card while avoiding discussion of the votes that the Republican caucus Miller hopes to join in St. Paul.
Readers can check out the claims in the mailer at MN17A: Is Ed Minn portraying Tim Miller as an "uncaring ogre"? A Bluestem factcheck,
The image at the top of this post is one side of the mail piece a union member gave us. Not exactly a personal attack--and we don't see an ogre anywhere.
Photo: A scan of one of Education Minnesota's mail pieces. The recipient cut her name off the mail piece, hence the snipping of Miller's first name in the image.
If you appreciate Bluestem Prairie, you can mail contributions (payable to Sally Jo Sorensen P.O. Box 108, Maynard MN 56260) or use the paypal button below:
Email subscribers can contribute via this link to paypal; use email sally.jo.sorensen at gmail.com as recipient.