The usual suspects appear in the line up of big spenders on Minnesota lobbying, according the report on 2012 lobbying just released by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
"The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce reported the largest total disbursements during the period. The largest total disbursements for administrative action lobbying was reported by Xcel Energy Services Inc. Lobbyists for Education Minnesota reported the largest total disbursements for legislative action lobbying, and lobbyists for the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors reported the largest disbursements in attempts to influence metropolitan governmental units," the report said.
View the entire report here, which will show how much each group spent.
It will also show the lawmakers and officials who accepted small items of value -- including plaques or meals -- from lobbying groups. Their total haul? $7,165.
A former state representative filed suit on Thursday to ban Minnesota senators from getting their new home.
The suit requests that the courts stop the state from designing the building or spending any money on it because of the way the Legislature approved of it.
"This building was authorized in the omnibus tax bill, which is about taxes, not building new buildings," former state Rep. Jim Knoblach said. Generally, authorization for state buildings appears in bonding bills, not tax bills.
That, his legal filing claims, is in violation of the state constitution's 'single subject rule.' Over the years opponents of various laws have cited the rule, which outlines that "no law shall embrace more than one subject," to challenge legislation. Those challenges have succeeded in striking down some laws -- including the controversial 'conceal-carry' law, which was later passed again -- and failed at ousting others.
Planning for the new senate office building is underway. If it goes forward, it would be built on what is now a parking lot to the north of the state Capitol.
The state plans spend about $90 million for the new building and parking ramps. The building itself is expected to cost $63 million to construct.
The suit names the state of Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton, the Department of Administration and Administration Commissioner Spencer Cronk as defendants.
"Now that a lawsuit has been filed, this question will be properly decided by the Judicial Branch.," Dayton spokesman Matt Swenson said.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, was more blunt.
"This lawsuit does not contain any legitimate concerns," Bakk said. "I fear the only result of this suit will be the waste of taxpayer resources on legal expenses and the potential costs associated with delaying the construction project."
Meanwhile, Knoblach, who long represented St. Cloud in the Minnesota House and ran for congress in 2006, said on Thursday that he would not run for congress again this year. He had been considering making a bid for the seat U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann will leave after the next election.
Read the complaint here:
A new office building for the Minnesota Senate survived legislative battles this year but may now enter a legal war.
Prominent conservative attorney Erick Kaardal said in an email that he and former state Rep. Jim Knoblach will hold a press conference on Thursday to announce a lawsuit to stop the planned building's construction.
Knoblach, a Republican from St. Cloud who ran for congress in 2006, "will be filing a lawsuit for a court injunction to prevent the design and construction of the new $90,000,000 state senate office building just north of the Capitol building," an email from Kaardal's office said.
Late in the legislative session this year, lawmakers approved spending $89.5 million to construct the new building through a provision tucked into the Legislature's tax bill. Most large state building projects are approved in bonding bills. Bonding bills require a super majority to pass, tax bills do not.
The suit will focus the fact that the building's approval was in a tax bill, not a bonding bill, Kaardal said on Wednesday.
In alerting the media to his plans to hold a press conference on Thursday, Knoblach noted that while in the Legislature he "served as chairman of the Capital Investment committee and the Ways and Means committee, and was a member of the Tax committee for eight of those years." The Capitol Investment committee is the one charged with crafting bonding bills.
Construction of the new building has yet to begin. Getting that started was delayed for at least a month this summer when a seven-member committee charged with selecting contractors decided they needed new criteria for the project. That process is now complete and design of the building is underway.
Plans call for the building to be complete around 2015 so that senators can move in while the Minnesota Capitol is undergoing a massive renovation. The building is slated to be built on what is now a parking lot.
Currently, the state's 67 senators office in two buildings -- with the majority in the Capitol and the minority in the State Office Building. All of the state's 134 House members office in the State Office Building.
Amos Briggs, DFL Senate spokesman, said the Senate had no comment until it learns more about the suit.
And, with all the drama a one page order posted online can summon, it is case dismissed.
On Tuesday, the 'order of dismissal' was filed in the long running case of Michael Brodkorb v. the Minnesota Senate.
The one sentence order sheds no new light on the now-settled Brodkorb lawsuit. Brodkorb is a former Senate employee who was fired in late 2011 after he had an affair with then-Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch. After she stepped down, he was dismissed. A few months later, he sued the Senate for gender discrimination.
Brodkorb settled that case for $30,000 a month ago and Brodkorb, a longtime Republican staffer, admitted the facts did not support his case.
Below, read the final legal coda to the case:
Minnesota Sen. Julie Rosen said on Tuesday that she's still considering whether to make a run for governor.
"I'm getting real close," said Rosen, R-Fairmont. "It's not too late."
There was little buzz about Rosen when Republicans gathered over the weekend for a non-binding straw poll in the governor's race. Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson won that preference poll and former Rep. Marty Seifert came in a surprising third place as a write-in candidate. Seifert, of Marshall, is not yet running but may jump into the race soon.
Rosen said on Tuesday that she has spent much of the last month traveling outside of Minnesota. Her trips included a visit to Istanbul and one to Las Vegas, where one of her rodeo bulls (yes, she has a stake in rodeo bulls) performed well in a national competition.
"I have been out of the loop a lot," she said. But she added that she has not taken a campaign off the burner and if a candidate has the basics in place, there is still time to jump in. She said she had many -- but not all -- of the basics in place.
If she ran, Rosen would be the first woman to enter the Republican 2014 contest to take down DFL Gov. Mark Dayton. According to the University of Minnesota's Smart Politics blog, Minnesota is one of just 10 states that has never had a female nominee for governor from one of the major parties. (In 2010, the DFL endorsed House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher but she lost to Dayton in a primary.)
Rosen is best known for her sponsorship of the Vikings stadium legislation, which had bipartisan support when it passed in 2012. The Vikings deal has been considerably tarnished since its passage and begot jeers from Republican activists on Saturday's gathering.
Like Seifert, Rosen is from greater Minnesota. Currently, school teacher Robert Farnsworth, of Hibbing, is the only Republican candidate for governor to hail from outside the metro and suburban areas.
State Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, is also considering a run, he said over the weekend. He said he would make a decision on whether he will make a bid within the next month.