With the Entenza campaign calling for fact-checking Rebecca Otto's record to counter her denials of Entenza scolding for her record in for one short term in the Minnesota House, and media responding, it looks like the Entenza campaign is attempting to make honesty and integrity central issues in his battle for the primary.
Honesty and integrity? Bluestem suspects both candidates have it in spades--and the more we dig into Entenza's record, the more bait we catch. It's possible we'll have a nightcrawler stand by the second Tuesday in August.
We're not on campaign manager Dave Colling's media distribution list, or that for Otto's campaign for that matter, so all we know is what we read in online media.
But we are of a certain age where we can remember Entenza's earlier bids and questions that came up in 2004 and 2006, and if pitching woo to Michael Brodkorb about old votes is fair game on the part the challenger's part, a poor country blogger who hasn't caucused with the DFL after 2010 can look at all comers.
Is Matt Entenza a native of Greater Minnesota?
We're seeing the Entenza campaign recycle Marty Seifert's place-baiting talking point about being the only candidate in his race who is a native of Greater Minnesota, sometimes on the same Go-To Blog for DFL Bros.
While Seifert can claim lifelong residency in Lyon County, such is not the case for Matt Entenza's eliding of the facts of his own origins. According to the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library,'s Legislators Past and Present entry page for the former St. Paul legislator, Mathew Keating Entenza was born in Santa Monica and moved to Worthington, Minnesota when he was 15.
While he may have visited his grandmother during the summers, as this loving 2010 profile at KTTC.com describes in a lyrical fashion. Entenza didn't live or grow up in Worthington--and given that he went straight to college from high school--Bluestem is thinking that he spent all of two or three years going to school and living in the Southwestern Minnesota town.
It's a slender claim, although we must confess that it holds more weight than North Dakota native and former Minnesota House speaker Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove) running around Northern Minnesota yelling "We're all Iron Rangers" in his gubernatorial challenge to endorsed Republican candidate Jeff Johnson.
Nonetheless, Entenza's California childhood isn't stopping him and the media from reporting otherwise. Take the report on KVRR Fox in Fargo, Matt Entenza Campaigns for MN State Auditor:
A former Democratic House Leader says his connections to rural Minnesota make him the best choice for the State Auditor position.
Matt Entenza is running against incumbent Rebecca Otto in the primary election.
The Worthington native says he would be the first Auditor in two generations who has grown up in Greater Minnesota.
"Here in communities like Moorhead up and down the Red River Valley we need an Auditor who's going to help make sure that they get the support that they need. If we're going to stay competitive, if we're going to have a strong economy, we need an Auditor who's from Greater Minnesota and who gets it," said Entenza.
For her part, Otto can claim a family forefather in C.D. Gilfillan, who established the family farm near Redwood Falls where FarmFest is held every August. Perhaps she and Entenza can thumb wrestle for the title of Most Greater Minnesota Auditor in the forum building.
Update 6/15: the Otto Campaign has contacted us to note that the "family forefather" is on her husband's side. In past speeches, Otto describes how her husband used to play on the farm in summers as a child, but has never claimed to be from Greater Minnesota herself. [end update].
South Dakota PAC money laundering?
Few of the local news and blog links remain active that informed Democratic Money Funnel?, a post at the right-leaning South Dakota War College that's about the contributions that Matt Entenza's former wife made to South Dakota PACs back in the last decade--and which found their way back to Minnesota campaign coffers that Entenza controlled.
It's a much updated post at the SD War College, but worth the read.
Via Nexis, we learn that the Entenza and Quam contributions weren't merely the trade of bloggers, who mattered so very much in the 2006 collapse of the Entenza for Attorney General campaign.
On August 31, 2006, Bob Mercer at the Aberdeen American reported in "Minnesota fight exposes laundering Former executive director of S.D. Democratic party facing scrutiny:"
Facing scrutiny from the state attorney general and secretary of state, a former executive director for the South Dakota Democratic Party has admitted he failed to properly report two large contributions from a Minnesota health care executive.
The incident, which centers on payments of $25,000 and $30,000 by Lois Quam of St. Paul three years ago, puts a spotlight on the unusual and complex financial maneuvers employed by Bret Healy while he was in charge of the South Dakota Democratic organization. . . .
Law loophole: South Dakota law places no restrictions on the amounts that a person can contribute to a PAC. Nor does state law place any limits on the amounts that a PAC can contribute to a state candidate or another committee in South Dakota.
Under Healy's system, that loophole allowed wealthy Democratic activists from across the nation to make five- and six-figure contributions in near-anonymity through the PACs he controlled. . . .
The path: Healy's practices of shifting Democratic money through and between the PAC accounts and the party account appear to have substantially ceased after Jason Schulte became the Democrats' executive director for the 2004 elections.
Quam's checks to two of the Healy PACs in early 2003 came to light amid an internal Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party dispute in Minnesota earlier this summer involving her husband, Matt Entenza.
Entenza is a high-ranking Minnesota legislator who was the DFL candidate for attorney general. He dropped out of the race in July, after it was learned that his campaign had hired a Chicago investigation firm to probe the background of Minnesota's current attorney general, Mike Hatch, who also is a Democrat and was running for governor.
Quam's checks were written on her joint personal account with Entenza about one week apart in early 2003 to two Healy-controlled PACs called Wanalain and the Capitol Committee.
Most of Quam's money appears to have eventually been routed back to Minnesota into a DFL legislative campaign fund controlled by Entenza, after the contributions were cleansed of their original identity through Healy in South Dakota.
Healy failed to report Quam's original contributions to two of the PACs he controlled, known as Wanalain and Capitol Committee. Instead ,her money originally was reported incorrectly as a smaller single donation to a third PAC, the South Dakota Democratic Statehouse Fund.
The money's route from Minnesota through South Dakota and back to Minnesota can be traced through campaign finance reports. . . .(Nexis All News, retrieved June 13, 2014).
That sort of cleverness will no doubt endear Entenza to those in Greater Minnesota seeking honesty and integrity in the state auditor's office.
Photo: The pier in Santa Monica, capitol of Greater Minnesota boyhoods.
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