A lifelong resident of Minnesota, Michael Brodkorb is an experienced communications, social media, public affairs & research consultant and is an observer of all things political. He also blogs at politics.mn. He lives in Eagan with his family.

I am dreaming of a white Christmas

Posted by: Michael Brodkorb under Weather, Holidays, Society Updated: December 24, 2014 - 11:20 PM

It is almost 11:30 PM on Christmas Eve and I just took a walk outside. The Christmas lights are up on the house and the neighborhood street is glowing with the colors of Christmas. I know it is Christmas Eve, but the lack of snow on the ground has me thinking a visit from Santa Claus is still weeks away.

I visited Paul Douglas's blog for the Star Tribune and read his most recent post where he officially declared there would be no snow this year for Christmas.

As a life-long Minnesotan, I enjoy that we have four virbrant seasons. I do not want the snow to hit in October, but I realized tonight that I want a white Christmas. I know Santa Claus cannot deliver everything on Christmas, but as I check NORAD's Santa Tracker, I am hoping he will sprinkle the ground with snow as he visits Minnesota in just a  few hours.       

Ortman confirms payment to rival candidate

Posted by: Michael Brodkorb under Minnesota campaigns, Politics, Republicans Updated: December 16, 2014 - 9:10 PM

Former Republican U.S. Senate candidate and current State Senator Julianne Ortman confirmed tonight that her U.S. Senate campaign wrote a check to rival candidate Monti Moreno, but denies that the payment was authorized by her campaign. Moreno claims that he received the payment for endorsing Ortman's candidacy at the Republican State Convention this past summer.  

In response to new questions about the payment to Moreno, Ortman wrote tonight the "check was not authorized by me or by the campaign." Ortman added that "the matter has been referred to [a Federal Election Commission] Compliance expert."

In an interview last month, Ortman would not specifically answer repeated questions regarding her campaign’s payment to Moreno. At the time Ortman wrote, "I don't know about a check to Moreno” but she declined to answer if her campaign committee wrote Moreno a check. Today’s statement is the first from Ortman that acknowledges a check was written from her campaign.

However, despite the check’s existence, the expenditure does not appear on any of Ortman’s filings with the FEC. Ortman’s campaign has had ongoing compliance issues with the FEC, which led her to file one overdue report and amendments to every previously filed report late last month.

Moreno has repeatedly claimed he received $400 from Andy Parrish, who served as a top advisor to Ortman’s campaign, for endorsing her candidacy. Moreno said in a past interview that Andy Parrish wrote him a check in Ortman's campaign office a few days after the Republican State Convention.

Ortman’s statements today seem to indicate that Andy Parrish acted outside his authority when writing the check to Moreno. However, sources inside the Ortman campaign claim that Andy Parrish did have authority to write checks for Ortman's campaign, and did so frequently.

Andy Parrish did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the check to Moreno. Andy Parrish also declined to comment on Ortman's claim that the check written to Moreno was "not authorized by [Ortman] or by the campaign."

Charles P. Erickson, who serves as Ortman’s campaign treasurer and is a member of the Waconia City Council, did not respond to a request for comment. Jim Sanborn, who is listed as the assistant treasurer of Ortman’s campaign committee and was recently elected as the mayor of Waconia, also did not respond to a request for comment.

Picture source: Andy Parrish, Julianne Ortman for U.S. Senate, Monti Moreno for U.S. Senate

Twitter account for local Home Depot store shutdown after "war crimes and torture" tweet

Posted by: Michael Brodkorb under Iraq, Military, Politics Updated: December 15, 2014 - 6:25 PM

Tweets highly critical of former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were sent today by a Twitter account used by the Home Depot Kitchen Design located at a Home Depot store in Apple Valley. Less than two hours after being sent, the tweets were deleted and the Twitter account was taken down. 

The tweets, which contained an image of Bush and Cheney with the text "we....committed documented war crimes and torture" were first noticed by Brian McClung, President of McClung Communications & Public Relations. 

The store manager at the Home Depot in Apple Valley connected to the Twitter account said all media calls about the tweets were being answered by public relations staff at Home Depot's corporate office.

Stephen Holmes, Director of Corporate Communications for Home Depot said in a statement that this was not  "a company Tweet or a company statement."  Holmes added that Home Depot "quickly investigated and an employee admitted to accidently retweeting this, not realizing it was coming from the store’s Twitter account." Holmes did not know if the Twitter account would be activated again. 

Picture source: Brian McClung via Twitter

Ortman's campaign files another amended finance report

Posted by: Michael Brodkorb under Minneapolis elections, Minnesota campaigns, Politics, Republicans Updated: December 4, 2014 - 4:10 PM

The campaign treasurer for former Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate Julianne Ortman filed a third version of the 2014 April Quarterly Report for Ortman's campaign, according to documents posted on the Federal Election Commission's (FEC) website today.  

The latest April Quarterly Report filed by Ortman's treasurer contained the pages which were missing from a report filed on November 20, 2014 and posted last week by the FEC. Over 100 pages of the campaign’s amended April Quarterly Report were missing, including all of the pages which would detail the campaign's expenditures from January 1 to March 31, 2014.

The reports were mailed to the FEC two days after it was reported the pages were missing from Ortman's report

The complete 2014 April Quarterly Report was required to be mailed by April 15, 2014 - over seven months ago. In the last few weeks, Ortman's campaign has filed one overdue report, and amendments to every previously filed report. Ortman declined a request for comment on why her reports were filed late and incomplete. She also declined to comment about the lack of transpaprency in filing amended reports that were originally filed last year. 

Charles P. Erickson, who serves as Ortman’s campaign treasurer and is a member of the Waconia City Council, did not respond to a request for comment. Jim Sanborn, who is listed as the assistant treasurer of Ortman’s campaign committee and was recently elected as the mayor of Waconia, also did not respond to a request for comment. 

In each of the new filed reports (except the 2014 Pre-Primary Report, which only covers three week’s time) Ortman’s campaign overstated the amount of money it had raised and understated the amount of money her campaign had spent, which led to inflated cash on hand totals at the closing of the reporting period.  

The flury of newly filed reports come as allegations involving offers to pay the campaign debts of two Republican candidates who endorsed Ortman's campaign were reported. These issues came during a review of Ortman’s campaign finance reports after inconsistencies were made public by the FEC.

The campaign must file one more report for this reporting year, which is due on January 31, 2015.

Picture source: Julianne Ortman for U.S. Senate

The new phonebook is here, but who cares?

Posted by: Michael Brodkorb under Compost, Home, Commercial, Society, Local Updated: November 30, 2014 - 11:59 PM

Evan Ramstad wrote last week the "era of the White Pages is ending in Minnesota." Before reading his story, I could not remember the last time I used the White Pages or the Yellow Pages. If I need a phone number, I search online.

But a few days after I read Evan Ramstad's story, a new copy of the Yellow Book - which is different than the Yellow Pages - arrived at my mailbox. Technically, it was placed on top of my mailbox, not inside the mailbox.

I was suprised that any form of colored book was being delivered to my home with listings of phone numbers I do not need. Unlike like Steve Martin's character in the movie "The Jerk", I was relieved my phone number was not listed in the book. 

It is almost 2015 and if I want a printed book of phone numbers, I will order it. But it is time to drop the delivery of the phone book - White, Yellow, or any color.  

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