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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GOP Speaker Boehner, Hubbard Broadcasting owners throw Mills fundraiser

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: August 8, 2014 - 4:45 PM

WASHINGTON -- The same day GOP House Speaker John Boehner is in Minnesota throwing a fundraiser for himself at the Minneapolis Club, he will traverse up to the Eighth Congressional District for a fundraiser for GOP challenger Stewart Mills.

Boehner will host a fundraiser for Mills, who is challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan, at the Grand View Lodge in Nisswa Aug. 14.

Gold sponsors of the fundraiser include Stanley and Karen Hubbard, executives of Hubbard Broadcasting.

The company, which owns two television stations, was under fire from Democrats earlier this month for pulling negative ads against Mills from their television stations in northern Minnesota. Mills says the independent ads were inaccurate, though they kept running in other parts of the state.

General admission tickets for the Boehner-Mills shindig run $250, but for $10,400 you can get four seats at the "VIP roundtable" and eight spots at the "VIP photo opportunity" and "eight spots to the general reception."

Speaker Boehner August 14

GOP challenger Torrey Westrom has hefty credit card, student loan debt

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: August 10, 2014 - 7:38 AM

WASHINGTON -- Torrey Westrom, the Republican challenger to 12-term Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson in the Seventh Congressional District, carries tens of thousands of dollars in personal debt for both credit cards and student loans.

Westrom, an attorney and former state senator, owes between $15,001 and $50,000 to U.S. Bank in credit card loans. In addition, he owes between $50,001 and $100,000 to a student loan servicing company, according to personal financial disclosures filed earlier this year.

Westrom's campaign spokeswoman Caitlin Carroll said in a statement: "As small business owners, Torrey and his wife have a credit card for business-related expenses."

The Westroms own a real estate rental property business.

He also carries two mortgage debts, one between $15,001 and $50,000 and another between $100,001 and $250,000.

Personal financial disclosures are required annually of all members of Congress and anyone running for federal office.They must disclose assets and salary in huge ranges, like between $15,001 and $50,000 or $50,000 and $100,000.

Westrom's annual salary as a state senator is $31,140. He also noted on his disclosures that he earned $23,000 at Midwest Injury Law, LLC.

Rep. Peterson's disclosures show he has no credit card debt, but carries three mortgages: one between $100,000 and $250,000 on a residence in Washington, D.C., one between $250,002 and $500,000 on a property in Detroit Lakes and $100,001 to $250,000 on a mortgage owed on Peterson Farms. As a member of Congress, Peterson earns $174,000 annually as a member of Congress.

Rep. Betty McCollum praises National Guard for dropping Earnhardt sponsorship

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: August 7, 2014 - 3:48 PM

WASHINGTON -- Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum praised the National Guard Thursday after it announced earlier this week it would end its $32 million annual sponsorship of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and its $12 million contract with IndyCar driver Graham Rahal.

The money was meant to boost recruiting, but Pentagon officials were never able to verify the program actually yielded any new recruits.

McCollum, from her perch on the defense appropriations sub-committee, has criticized the program for several yearsIn 2012, she found Republican support in ending the program in Rep. Jack Kingston, a Republican from Georgia.

It was unclear Thursday whether the Pentagon would do away completely with NASCAR sponsorships. The announcement was only about Earnhardt and Rahal. McCollum's office said the Pentagon also uses taxpayer-funded "marketing" money on professional fishing, motocross, World Wrestling Entertainment and cage fighting.

“Cancelling this NASCAR racing team contract is a victory for taxpayers and I’m pleased to say the National Guard has finally made the correct decision," said McCollumn, who represents St. Paul, in a statement. "Paying one race car driver $32 million in taxpayer funds year after year to put a logo on his car has been a complete waste of tax dollars."

Westrom campaign touted in weekly Republican address

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: August 4, 2014 - 1:38 PM

The head of the National Republican Congressional Committee used Saturday’s GOP weekly address to tout four congressional candidates, including Minnesota state Sen. Torrey Westrom.

Rep. Greg Walden urged voters to support Westrom and the other Republican candidates to bring accountability to Washington, D.C., and send a message to President Obama and congressional Democrats.

“As our campaign chairman, I can tell you our candidates for the House are people just as frustrated as you are; they are leaders who are ready to serve,” Walden said.

"Up in Minnesota, Torrey Westrom is talking to Minnesota families and farmers about the anti-energy policies and taxes that are making it harder for them to get by.”

Westrom is challenging 12-term Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson in the Seventh Congressional District.

"This November, Americans can reject the complacency and incompetence and begin to restore a government that works for us and not against us," Walden said.

St. Paul radio host honored at White House

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: July 28, 2014 - 3:31 PM

WASHINGTON -- A St. Paul spiritual radio host received the National Humanities Medal at the White House Monday.

Krista Tippett hosts "On Being" a syndicated radio show exploring faith issues that broadcasts on more than 300 radio stations. Tippett was among a handful of artists, critics, historians and filmmakers who were honored by President Barack Obama Monday as Humanities and Medal of Arts winners.

Tippett gave an interview to the Star Tribune about her honor last week. She says she never interviews "sitting"politicians and didn't plan to press the president with any questions while in Washington today.

Among the other winners:

  • M.H. Abrams, Literary Critic, Ithaca, NY
  • David Brion Davis, Historian, Orange, CT
  • Darlene Clark Hine, Historian, Chicago, IL
  • Anne Firor Scott, Historian, Chapel Hill, NC
  • William Theodore De Bary, East Asian studies scholar, Tappan, NY
  • Johnpaul Jones, Architect, Bainbridge, WA
  • Stanley Nelson, Filmmaker, New York, NY
  • Diane Rehm, Radio Host, Washington, D.C.

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