Late Thursday, Bluestem
Karl Eggers responded:
We're sending mailers in key districts where we think the voters - and potential Republican delegates - deserve to know how poorly their legislator performed this session.We're working with other groups who feel similarly about Speaker Daudt's caucus increasing spending by $3 billion, enacted tough regulations on small businesses and supporting warrantless, mass surveillance. We do not believe any of these things are "small government" programs so the legislators in question have no right to call themselves conservatives.
What criteria does Liberty Minnesota PAC use in determining a key district?What other groups is Liberty Minnesota PAC working with to get this message out?
Are any of these groups contributing direct or in-kind contributions to help get the word out?
The mailer, scorecard and website is fully-funded and provided by Liberty Minnesota PAC.We use a variety of criteria in determining a key district but I can't comment further on that.
While Watchdog.org and The UpTake get money from partisan donors, the money trail behind five-month-old Alpha News is much more difficult to track.
Its website says nothing about its donors or editorial process, but does carry ads and asks readers to donate. One thing is certain: Alpha News has ties to a prominent Republican donor and the political group he founded years ago.
Business filings show that Alex Kharam incorporated Alpha News. Kharam also works as executive director for the Minnesota Freedom Club, a political group that supports conservative candidates and was founded by and largely bankrolled by Republican donor Robert Cummins.
Kharam did not respond to emails or phone calls to discuss Alpha News.
Reporter Julia Schliesing, who goes by the name Julia Erynn while on the job, declined to talk about Alpha News because of a non-disclosure agreement she signed when she took the position.
Schleising--a former beauty queen--"auditioned" for the news reader job, MPR reports.
On September 3, the Liberty Minnesota PAC shared an event wherein genial Tea Party activist Walter B. Hudson was sharing the scorecard at the Minnesota Tea Party Alliance's next meeting.
Now Cyndy Brucato may have convinced readers of MinnPost that the Minnesota Tea Party Alliance is "the" tea party in Minnesota--and it certainly lightens her workload to assert that, while keeping things simple for the DFL's messaging machine. That's tidy and motivated, but not a terribly accurate picture since the Tea Party movement is Minnesota retains more than a few decentralized outposts.
At Kolblog, Republican activist Jeff Kolb writes in a March post, GOP Should Tell MN Tea Party Alliance to "Go to Hell":
. . .Here in Minnesota, two opportunists in particular have done a great job of establishing themselves as self-appointed "leaders" of the Tea Party movement, they being Jack Rogers and Jake Duesenberg of the Minnesota Tea Party Alliance. They have a sweet URL that makes them seem extra legit, teaparty.mn and they operate the MN Tea Party PAC.
Jack and Jake haven't been as successful as the guys from FreedomWorks, only raising $8,200 in 2014. They spent $8,900. The irony of the deficit spending is probably lost on them. A total of $0 was spent to support the election of any candidates. They did spend $1,300 on a wi-fi hostspot, $1,110 on Facebook ads, and just shy of $1,000 to Constant Contact for emails.
Over $1,700 of their expenses (an atypically high 19%) are unitemized, probably either because of their overwhelming commitment to transparency, or because it's none of the government's business how they spend their money. Just guessing on that last part.
Credit where credit is due, Jack and Jake may not raise a lot of money, but they have perfected the art of over the top symbolic gestures as a way to generate media coverage. As just one example Jack was behind an aborted attempt in 2014 to orchestrate a meaningless show vote of "No Confidence" in then Minority Leader, now Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt. A quick search of the Star Tribune archives shows Jack has been mentioned in 12 recent stories, Jake, sadly, only 6. In most of these stories you can find Jack and Jake bad mouthing Republicans. About the only candidate they seemed to like in 2014 was Jeff Johnson. Take from that what you will.
I think it's high time Republicans say the same thing to Jack and Jake. No serious candidate for office or elected official should attend any event sponsored by the MN Tea Party Alliance. The group seems to exist for the sole purpose of promoting Jack and Jake. It's time other Republicans stop playing along.
Sadly, no. The North Metro Tea Party's October meeting will feature state senator Roger Chamberlain (72%; ranked 3rd) and Rep. Peggy Scott, who flunked at 42%, to be ranked at number 23, a tie with Representative Franson, who was targeted. The Andover Republican, who chairs the Civil Law and Data Practices Committee, will address how "Federal Government is pressuring MN to comply with their national drivers's license."
During the session, Liberty Minnesota PAC enjoyed some other allies (Sunday Sales, the Republican Liberty Caucus), though these groups don't seem to be involved in the postcard campaign to spreading the news about some flunking Republicans.
For instance, Liberty Minnesota PAC has been an ally of Restore the Vote, as the April 29 post above and others reveal, but the criminal justice reform group doesn't show up recently on the Facebook page.
The issue doesn't go away completely. There's a scored vote on a Senate amendment related to the issue on the report card. There's nothing on the report card for the House--as the bill to restore voting rights never came to a vote. MinnPost's Doug Grow looked at the stall-out in the House in How a bill does not become law: behind the mysterious death of a bipartisan measure to restore felon voting rights.
But the issue does dovetail into some of the scuttlebutt we're hearing from multiple sources about the money for the targeted campaign. One of the rumors we've been hearing from our sources is the notion that West Metro conservative moneybags Robert Cummins (see 2012 MPR report Stealth donor gives millions to GOP candidates, causes) is the contributor funding the scorecard campaign against House members.
But we've also heard Cummins opposes restoring the vote for people convicted of felonies and have been released from custody (though still on probation)--and this moneyed opposition might be an answer to Doug Grow's mystery.
Cummins's wife was a big funder of the photo id amendment campaign; voting by people convicted of felonies was a talking point for the amendment. KARE 11 reported in Ballot questions attract huge sums of cash to Minnesota:
We'll wait with abated breath until February 1 (the year-end reports will be posted online on Ground Hog's Day/Candlemas 2016) to see who is funding these attacks and who is being paid to put them together and mail them.
Supporters say it's essential for preventing voter fraud before a ballot is counted, rather than prosecuting someone after the election is over.They point to nearly 200 felons prosecuted for voting in 2008 before they were off probation, which is illegal.
Opponents point out those felons didn't pretend to be someone else, which is what photo ID's are designed to prove. There are no documented cases in recent history of Minnesotans being prosecuted for voter impersonation or double voting.
Nearly 90 percent of all the money raised during 2012 by Protect My Vote came from a single donor, Joan Cummins of Deephaven. She is married to prolific Republican donor Robert Cummins, who owns Primera Technology, a worldwide printer supplier based in Plymouth.
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