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.

Posts about 2012 Presidential election

House Ethics Committee extends Michele Bachmann probe

Posted by: Updated: September 11, 2013 - 4:40 PM

The House Ethics Committee announced Wednesday that it will extend its probe of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s 2012 White House bid, although it gave no timetable for a resolution of the long-standing case.

The decision came with the release of 430-pages of investigative materials from the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), which found “substantial reason” to believe Bachmann’s campaign violated campaign finance laws and rules barring the use of campaign staff to promote her book, “Core of Conviction.”

The OCE report is the first by any of the half-dozen federal and state agencies investigating Bachmann's campaign that offers an official window into the nature and the scope of the allegations arising from Bachmann’s topsy-turvy White House bid.

While deciding to pursue the Bachmann case further, the Ethics Committee leaves the four-term congresswoman somewhat in an ethical limbo: The committee chose not to dismiss the case against her; nor did it immediately impanel a subcommittee to conduct hearings into the case.

Now on Kindle: 'Bachmannistan... behind the lines'

Posted by: Updated: August 26, 2013 - 7:21 PM

From the people who brought you the federal election complaints and affidavits against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, now comes the book: “Bachmannistan." 

The tell-all book comes direct from the whistleblower, Florida minister Peter Waldron, the man behind most of the legal turmoil that has visited the Minnesota congresswoman since she ran for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

The “report from the inside” is co-authored by Twin Cities attorney John Gilmore, the lawyer who represented former Bachmann aide Andy Parrish, who helped engineer her run for the presidency before a falling out in Iowa.

The subhead for the new digital book, which will be distributed through Amazon on Kindle, is “Behind the Lines,” -- a line Bachmann herself likes to use to describe her presence in the Washington swamp.

While the broad outlines of the tale might be familiar to readers who have followed the Bachmann campaign saga since its slow unraveling in late 2011, Waldron promises that much remains to be told, and he’s naming names.

“It’s explosive,” said Waldron, who was the campaign’s point man for the evangelical pastor community. “It’s like handling an IED.”

While promising to pull no punches, Waldron credits Gilmore with imposing some lawyerly restraint on the Bachmann story. “He threw his body over some of the grenades,” Waldron said.

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan returning to Minnesota

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: August 26, 2013 - 11:09 AM

Former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will take a swing through Minnesota next month for the Center of the American Experiment.

Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan, of Wisconsin, will be the featured guest at a $100 luncheon and a $5,000 pre-lunch event for the right-of-center think tank.

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan arriving in Minnesota for a November 2012 Romney campaign event

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan arriving in Minnesota for a November 2012 Romney campaign event


The events will be on Sept. 26 at the Hilton Minneapolis in downtown Minneapolis. 


Former WCCO anchor Shelby will not run for Congress

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: August 9, 2013 - 11:15 AM


By Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Kevin Diaz

Former WCCO anchor Don Shelby has ended Democrats' hopes he will run for Congress.

"The decision is made, after a lot of consultation...it became clear to me that this was the wrong time in life for the wrong guy, to make a run for congress," Shelby told the Star Tribune, confirming Thursday media reports.

National Democrats had pressed Shelby to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen. He is well known throughout the state and Democrats hoped he could have made inroads in the moderate suburban Third Congressional District, which has long been in Republican hands.

But  the long time television fixture he made clear that electoral politics is not for him.

Don Shelby in his Excelsior home in 2012

Don Shelby in his Excelsior home in 2012


In dashing Democrats' hopes, Shelby joins the long line of top potential recruits deciding to sit out 2014 runs for office.

Republicans had talked up potential U.S. Senate runs from U.S. Rep. John Kline and Paulsen but both sitting House members decided they would stick with the districts that brought them to Washington instead.

Democrats had been high on businessman Jim Graves, who had plotted a second run against Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann next year. But shortly after Bachmann announced she would not run, Graves followed suit.

DFLers had also been excited about CaringBridge website founder Sona Mehring's announced run against Kline. But, shortly after Kline said he would run for the House again next year, Mehring said she had decided to return to work at the nonprofit website for the families of ill people that she nursed into a multimillion dollar venture.

Across the country, many potential recruits have decided not to enter the fetid world of Washington politics, seeing more possibility for change outside its partisan walls.

"There were two frightening possibilities: One that I would be elected, and one that I would lose," Shelby said on Friday.

He told WCCO, his former home,  that : "When you see statements by John Boehner that says our job is not to pass laws but to repeal them, it makes you wonder who in his or her right mind would really want to get into that business, especially if they come from a background of trying to change things."

The former anchor, who would start the race as a political newcomer, considered but never fully embraced the idea of a political run. He told the Star Tribune that he probably would not have excelled in Washington, didn't really consider himself a Democrat and was uncomfortable leaving journalism behind.

"I really don’t think I’d be a very good representative for the Third District of Minnesota because as a freshman I would probably come in there pretty loud and opinionated, but opinionated based on facts," he said. "And I probably wouldn’t be the perfect Democrat candidate because my tendency as a reporter is to go where the facts are, and if the conservatives held the facts on one side, then I’d have a tendency to find some importance in supporting public policy based in the facts that they held.”

Paulsen won his third term last year with 58 percent of the vote, the same year Democratic President Obama won 49 percent of the vote in the district narrowly edging Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney by 3,000 votes.




Bachmann whistleblower says Iowa will suffer for 'pay to play'

Posted by: Updated: August 7, 2013 - 3:09 PM
The man behind the allegations of ethical and financial irregularities in U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s 2012 presidential campaign said Wednesday that the ongoing scandal has diminished the Iowa Caucuses and the economic benefits that go with them.
Amid fresh evidence that conservative Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson was paid first to support Bachmann and then former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, the term “pay for play” is being bandied about to describe the Hawkeye State, not Chicago.
Bachmann has never publicly acknowledged insider reports that her campaign paid Sorenson, but she did accuse him of taking money to defect to Paul.
Peter Waldron, who served as Bachmann’s faith-based organizer, noted that the candidates who compete in Iowa’s influential straw poll and caucuses, and the media who cover them, contribute untold dollars to Iowa’s economy.
In a letter to Iowa’s Senate secretary, Waldron said that the citizens of Iowa “do not deserve to have their state legislature soiled by the behavior of one” individual, and urged a quick resolution to the Sorenson affair, which is being examined by a special investigator.
“Unless Iowa shows the nation it has taken decisive action to prevent sales of public office from happening again,” Waldron said in a statement, “the national political parties should let another state caucus or primary become the new ‘first in the nation.’”



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