The National Republican Congressional Committee is plunking down about $17,000 on a radio ad to go after Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson. The spot, which will start airing today, opens with the sounds of the Twins winning the 1991 World Series. The ad says: “Nineteen ninety one. Twins win, Collin Peterson goes to Congress. A lot’s changed since then… The national debt’s exploded -- more than four times what it was when the Twins won and Peterson went to Washington. After 22 years, Minnesota could use some relief from Collin Peterson’s spending.” Peterson, who has long won western Minnesota’s Seventh Congressional District by hefty margins, has also been known as a fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrat. Republicans have yet to dent that reputation, but the ad shows they plan to try hard to do so in the 2014 cycle.
Spokeswoman for the NRCC Alleigh Marré said, "This most recent ad is proof that we are targeting Peterson more heavily than in previous cycles." The Republican group has also run paid web ads and billboards going after Peterson.
Last week, state Sen. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, announced he planned to challenge Peterson next year.
The news of the radio ad first appeared in our Morning Hot Dish political newsletter. If you're not already getting the political newsletter by email, it's easy and free to sign up. Go to StarTribune.com/membercenter, check the Politics newsletter box and save the change.
Minnesota, a state known for clean politics, ranks among the worst for financial disclosure from the judiciary, according to the Center for Public Integrity.
"Minnesota is at the back of the pack for financial disclosure requirements, ranking 45th in the country along with Iowa," the Center found in a nationwide study of disclosure required of supreme court justices. "It has a self-policing system for enforcing the disclosure rules, in which Supreme Court justices would be asked to rule on a complaint about themselves. And the state currently does not require judges to report gifts, investments such as stocks or any financial debts on the one-page form."
The Center gave Minnesota an "F," for its judicial disclosure requirements. Minnesota's low ranking on this score is not unusual -- the state often gets below average grades from good government groups that measure transparency and disclosure required of public officials.
Earlier this year the state's campaign finance agency and some lawmakers pushed for more financial disclosure from lawmakers and other public officials. While that proposal largely fell by the wayside, Minnesota did increase the disclosure required of the judiciary.
From the Center: "Minnesota is toughening its requirements starting next year, meaning its lousy grade will undoubtedly improve. Legislation passed this year will require judges to file an additional form that other state officials already file. The form will ask judges to report investments, locally owned real estate and even involvement in horse racing starting in January 2014."
And now Minneapolis has a half-naked candidate for mayor emerging from a swim to proclaim: "I will not take money from the developers. I will not take money from the political angle. I will not even go to the strip clubs anymore. Wake the f*** up!"
Jeffery Alan Wagner, one of nearly three dozen candidates for the highest office in Minnesota's biggest city, then walks back into the water.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has launched online and print ads in six college newspapers that single out Republicans, including U.S. Rep. John Kline, on the issue of student loan rates.
The ads will run in the Minnesota Daily, the campus newspaper of the University of Minnesota, which is not in Kline's district.
With the rate on federally subsidized student loans set to double on July 1 if Congress doesn't act, lawmakers remain divided over a solution. Without an agreement, the loan rate for undergraduate students would double, rising from 3.4 percent to 6.3 percent.
Last week, House Republicans passed Kline's plan to address the pending increase by switching loan rates to market-based system. But it's unlikely to become law because Democrats don't approve of it. The day before the House approved Kline's legislation, the White House threatened to veto it, arguing that the plan would create uncertainty for students and families.
For the second consecutive summer, the pending rate hike will be a hot-button issue for college students across the country. On average, Minnesota college students graduate with a $30,000 loan debt.
During an event at the White House today, President Obama publicly called on Cognress to prevent the loan rates from doubling. Like Kline, Obama has also voiced support for a switch to market rate loans, which would end the system in which rates are set by Congress.
Kline, the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, spent Thursday touring campuses and meeting with students in his district.
"It's time for the president to stop politicizing the student loan issue," Kline said in a statement today. "Instead of holding campaign-style events, the president should urge his Senate colleagues to put forward their own plan to solve the problem."
Facing a similar deadline on the student loan issue last summer, Congress simply extended the 3.4 percent rate for another year. Now the matter has resurfaced, with little more than four weeks until zero hour.
The DCCC would not reveal how much they're spending on the ad campaign against Kline.
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