With an insider’s eye, Hot Dish tracks the tastiest bits of Minnesota’s political scene and keep you up-to-date on those elected to serve you.

Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, Baird Helgeson, Patricia Lopez, Jim Ragsdale, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry, Corey Mitchell and Jim Spencer.

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White House: We're reaching out to the American Muslim community for help denoucing ISIL

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: September 12, 2014 - 5:48 AM

WASHINGTON -- Obama administration officials are engaged in reaching out to Muslim communities across the United States -- including Minnesota -- to try and get them to speak up if they see radicalization taking place.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Phil Gordon, White House coordinator for the Middle East, said officials "were very attuned" to ISIL's propoganda machine -- on social and print media -- that has tempted some young American muslims to join the movement in the Middle East.

ISIL is a growing Islamist terrorist army in Iraq and Syria that is actively recruiting soldiers in Europe and the United States, including Minnesota.
 
The two confirmed Americans who have died fighting with the terror group had Minnesota connections. A federal grand jury in St. Paul is investigating a group of Somali-Americans who were allegedly conspiring to join terrorists fighting in Syria.
 
Both Democratic Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar have called on the Justice Department to fortify resources in Minnesota as details emerge that between 20 and 30 Minnesotans have been actively recruited by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Gordon said more European youth have been recruited to fight with ISIL than Americans.

"We  have obviously been reaching out to American Muslim communities who are overwhelmingly supportive of our efforts to denouce ISIL and show it for what it is and encourage them to speak up so that we minimize this risk that some Muslims are susceptible to this propoganda," he said.

Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, who represents Minneapolis with its large Somali community,  has encouraged the administration to work with residents there.

"I am one who believes that you need to counter this in a calm, methodical way," Ellison said earlier this week in an interview. 

McFadden backs Rep. Bachmann proposal to rescind passports of ISIS fighters

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: September 9, 2014 - 11:23 AM

WASHINGTON -- GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden said Tuesday he favored a proposal introduced this week in the House that revokes passport and re-entry privileges for American citizens who fight overseas for Islamic militants.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Michele Bachmann Monday.

Bachmann's bill, dubbed the Terrorist Denaturalization and Passport Revocation Act, amends existing laws and rescinds re-entry privileges for people who join terrorist armies overseas. A companion measure was introduced by Texas Republican Sen. Cruz that goes a step further and allows the U.S. government to strip citizenship of any person joining military forces with countries at war with the United States. 

McFadden's spokesman said he thinks Cruz's bill could be unconstitutional based on previous Supreme Court rulings on citizenship revocation.

Bachmann, who was on Fox News last night talking about her bill, endorsed McFadden at the May GOP convention in Rochester.

McFadden said in a statement Tuesday: "It is necessary that we have policies and procedures in place to prevent this from occurring and to ensure that trained terrorists do not come back to the United States with the ability to launch terror attacks here at home."

McFadden is hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Al Franken in November. Expecting a Franken response to the legislation in the next couple hours.

Student debt debate revived on Capitol Hill

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: September 9, 2014 - 8:28 AM

Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken will join Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a Capitol Hill press conference today in an effort to drum up support for her bill that would allow an estimated 25 million people with older student loans to refinance that debt at current, lower interest rates.

The bill stalled in July, but Democrats have vowed to keep pressing Republicans on the issue. Franken, an original co-sponsor of Warren’s bill, visited the University of Minnesota last week to discuss college affordability.

GOP lawmakers have accused Democrats of trying to capitalize on the student debt issue for election year gains.

A version of this item appeared in Morning Hot Dish, the Star Tribune's daily political newsletter. To sign up, go to StarTribune.com/membercenter, check the Politics newsletter box and save the change.

Mike McFadden: Both parties have let us down on immigration reform, Sen. Franken: It's up to the House

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: September 8, 2014 - 3:42 PM

WASHINGTON -- GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden pressed Congress returning Monday to address immigration reform, saying he wanted to secure the border first and then "move forward with a plan that would address those here illegally."

McFadden says he favors a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States illegally, as long they met certain requirements like proof of a job, paying back taxes or a fine, and a background check. He also said he wants proof of a secure border first.

When pressed on how he defined a secure border, a campaign spokesman said he supported the Cornyn-Cuellar bill that treats unaccompanied minors from Central America the same as those from Mexico. The proposal also expedites immigration hearings for children with asylum claims. 

"I think immigration is a classic example of how broken Washington is ... We have to solve it. I don't want to split apart families," he said, in an interview. "When someone gets through those hurdles, then they stand in line ... But I think they have to go through the hurdles first because they have broken the law."

In 2013, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill with a bipartisan 68-32 majority that included more money to secure the border, a path to citizenship for people living here illegally if they met certain requirements, and an overhaul to the visa system. The bill has lingered in the GOP-controlled House where leaders said they preferred to take up immigration reform in a piecemeal approach. Little has materialized in the last year from the chamber. 

McFadden declined to say whether he supported the Senate immigration reform bill.

President Obama has said he may take executive action to deal with the issue -- though White House officials over the weekend said they would wait until after the election. 

McFadden hopes to unseat Democratic Sen. Al Franken, who has said he didn't approve of the president taking executive action on immigration reform over the summer.

Franken, on Monday, said he was proud of the Senate bill and called "the end result greater than the sum of the parts." He said the House taking action is "much more sustainable" than Obama acting unilaterally.

"It's been with the House for more than a year," he said, in an interview. "This is something that's supported by the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO. It's supported by the farm workers and the farm bureau. This is a bill that works."

Center for Responsive Politics: Minnesota media mogul gives $191k to federal politicos this cycle

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: September 2, 2014 - 4:46 PM

WASHINGTON -- Minnesota radio and television station owner Stanley Hubbard has given more than $191,000 to federal party committees and candidates this election season -- something he told the Washington Post makes him poorer.

In cooperation with the Center for Responsive Politics, the Washington Post's story looks at a handful of large donors nationally benefiting from a Supreme Court decision, which ditched limits an individual could give to a candidates or party committee.

“My phone rings, rings, rings,” Hubbard told the Post. “It’s made me poorer, I’ll tell you that, but it’s made it possible for me do a better job as a citizen. It used to be kind of nice to say, ‘I’m maxed out,’ but I really believe that people running for office need to have support.”

Back in April, Hubbard predicted that he would use the high court's McCutcheon decision to his advantage.

Hubbard was in the news last month after Eighth District GOP candidate Stewart Mills bragged to supporters that his campaign got a television ad against him "yanked" by at least two television stations owned by Hubbard, who is a Mills supporter.

Mills contended the ad, which is spliced together, took his words out of context. Other stations continued to run the ad, which was paid for by the House Majority PAC.

Hubbard told the Star Tribune he had nothing to do with the decision to pull it from air.

"Our legal department received the complaint, and they inspected the ad, and felt that there were things in it that were out of context and not true. Tell the truth and you’ll have no trouble with us," Hubbard said last month. "Our stations do not get involved in politics, period.”

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