Former Republican vice presidential nominee and GOP superstar Sarah Palin will make time to raise money for a conservative Minnesota fundraising group when she's in town for a Mall of America book signing next week, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by the Star Tribune.
The contact person on the invitation, MIdge Dean -- an experienced GOP fundraiser -- declined to comment about the event.
The Freedom Club has been a significant Minnesota fundraising source for Republicans. Over the last decade, the club and its members have given millions of dollars to Minnesota Republicans and organizations.
Here's what a 2002 Star Tribune story about the Freedom Club said:
Millions of dollars in contributions from the club's individual members have helped the GOP take control of the Minnesota House, replace moderate Republicans with more conservative members, win some key battles in the courts, and reduce or hold the line on taxes.
"They have changed the game," said former U.S. Rep. Vin Weber, a Washington lobbyist. The club has supplanted the party's traditional financial patrons, old-money types who tended to be moderates on fiscal and social issues, he said, and it harmonizes well with the grass-roots activists, many of them Christian conservatives and folks of modest means.
Club members started gathering in the mid-1990s, often at the downtown Minneapolis Club for lunch and earnest talk. They eventually incorporated as a political action committee, which allowed them to donate as a group. But most of the Freedom Club's largesse comes from individual contributions.
Most members are self-made entrepreneurs. Most have Minnesota roots. Many, including (then president) President Cliff Olson, are deeply religious. Several leading members, including Cooper, Sullivan and club founder Bob Cummins, are generous patrons of private, church-based schools, walking their talk about the need for school vouchers.
The Minnesota Republican party does not have and did not request an event in conjunction with Palin's Minnesota visit, according to a spokesman.
Meanwhile, Palin's Minnesota visit has already forced the Mall of America to apologize to the former Alaska governor.
The Mall of America's public relations director apologized Wednesday to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin after internal notes and comments were released to the Associated Press as the mall's guidelines for covering her book tour stop next week.
Among the supposed guidelines: Reporters would need to address Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, as governor, and foreign reporters would be banned.
There are lots of rules for guests and limited access for reporters attending the events, but the ones the Mall mistakenly emailed out are not among them.