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.

Minnesota delegation weighs in after Obama speech on Islamic State fight

Posted by: Allison Sherry under 1st District, 2nd District, 5th District, Minnesota U.S. senators, President Obama Updated: September 11, 2014 - 10:31 AM

WASHINGTON -- President Obama outlined a campaign Wednesday to launch airstrikes in both Syria and Iraq. Obama said he doesn't believe he needs Congressional approval for this military action, which will be conducted with allies. He will seek Congressional support and additional money to finance the operation.

Here are comments from some of Minnesota's Congressional delegation after the speech:

Sen. Al Franken, Democrat: "I want to find out more about the potential ramifications of these actions on the civil war in Syria, for more specifics about the coalition the administration intends to build, and about their ongoing efforts to stifle terrorist recruitment activities in Minnesota and around the country."

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Democrat: "I support targeted airstrikes in Iraq and Syria as well as training and equipping the moderate Syrian opposition, and I also think it's critical that we work with our allies in the international community so we are united in our effort defeat this terrorist organization."

Rep. John Kline, Republican: "It's never a good strategy to telegraph to the enemy what options are off the table. As a 25-year Marine Corps veteran, the father of a son who has served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a member of the House Armed Services Commmittee, I will continue to ensure our allies and personnel in Iraq and around the globe are receiving the support they need to combat terrorism, while carefully reviewing additional military actions taken by the president."

Rep. Tim Walz, Democrat: "The president has the authority to expand strategic airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq. I believe he should exercise that authority. Before taking any warranted action against ISIL in Syria, however, I believe the president should consult with Congress."

Rep. Keith Ellison, Democrat (via Progressive Caucus statement): "Congress must weigh in when it comes to confronting ISIL through military action. The voices of the American people must be heard during a full and robust debate in Congress on the use of military force."
 
Rep. Betty McCollum, Democrat: "As the U.S. confronts the growing threat from ISIL in the middle east, I strongly support President Obama and the men and women of the Armed Forces, intelligence community and diplomatic corps whose duty it is to defend our freedom while protecting the lives of millions of innocents in distant lands."
 

 Rep. Michele Bachmann, Republican (via Twitter)

"The president gave a poll driven speech that has nothing in common with defeating a brutal enemy that has declared war on the United States."

"The president's so-called strategy offered virtually nothing new, and it's clear he doesn't understand the threat of Islamic jihad."

Franken, McFadden remain focused on terrorism

Posted by: Abby Simons under Minnesota U.S. senators, Minnesota campaigns, Democrats, Republicans, President Obama Updated: September 10, 2014 - 4:39 PM

Hours until President Obama’s address to the nation on the Administration’s next step in Iraq and Syria, Democratic Sen. Al Franken and his Republican challenger Mike McFadden have continued their focus on terrorism abroad and recruiting at home.

In a statement released Wednesday, McFadden maintained his stance against sending ground troops to the Middle East to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL). He remains in favor of U.S. airstrikes.

“If defeating ISIS requires our military to strike targets in Syria, the President should seek Congressional approval for these strikes, have the support of our allies, and ensure that strikes are conducted without coordinating with the Assad regime.”

McFadden’s statement comes the day after he supported a bill by Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann to revoke the passports of U.S. citizens fighting with or assisting ISIS and other terror organizations. Federal authorities say upward of a dozen Somali men and three women from Minnesota have fled the country to fight alongside or aid extremists in the Middle East, and grand jury proceedings are underway to determine who is behind the terrorism recruitment efforts.

Last week, Franken called the Obama Administration’s lack of a strategy to take on ISIS “troubling” and called on Attorney General Eric Holder to focus Department of Justice resources on recruiting at home.

“ISIL is a barbaric terrorist organization that needs to be stopped from harming the United States. Sen. Franken wrote to the Justice Department last week to make sure that they are taking every step to identify, track and apprehend individuals fighting with ISIL.” Franken spokesoman Alexandra Fetissoff said.

Asked whether Franken backs Bachmann’s proposal, Fetissoff said: “The State Department already has the authority to revoke passports but Sen. Franken will look at any proposal that would make sure that individuals fighting with ISIL cannot return to this country.”
 

Minnesota tax collections in August netted $1.35 billion, just short of expectations

Posted by: Ricardo Lopez under State budgets Updated: September 10, 2014 - 5:24 PM

Net Minnesota tax collections were $1.35 billion in August, falling just short of officials' projections in February, the Minnesota Management and Budget Office reported Wednesday.

Overall income tax, sales tax and corporate taxes were off a combined $10 million, about 0.7 percent below a February forecast.Individual income tax withholding was $621 million in August, sales tax receipts were $503 million. For fiscal year 2015, tax collections are at $2.3 billion, down 3.3 percent from estimates.

Minnesota Management and Budget officials said in a statement that monthly revenue reports are preliminary and can vary wildly from month to month. 

DFL plans to spend more than $1 million on ads in the governor's race

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota governor, Gov. Mark Dayton, Political ads, Democrats, Republicans Updated: September 10, 2014 - 4:37 PM

The DFL Party plans to launch a major ad campaign starting next week to support Gov, Mark Dayton's re-election.

Ken Martin, DFL Party chair, said the party would spend more than $1 million on the ads. Martin would not say what message the ads contain.

"It’s a very significant buy," Martin said. "We haven’t seen anything from the other side yet in a real way. "

The DFL's $1 million ad buy is one of the single biggest ad campaigns the low-key governor's race has yet seen. There is little public sign that the state Republican Party, still paying off old debts, has plans for paid television ads.

Neither Dayton nor Republican challenger Jeff Johnson has yet aired any television ads, although the DFL governor has some ad reservations lined up for later this month. The anti-Dayton Freedom Club spent six figures on ads before the primary but went silent for a few weeks. Public documents indicate Freedom Club is ramping up for second ad campaign. The pro-Dayton Alliance for a Better Minnesota has also spent on ads.

Both of the two main contenders for the governor's post are furiously raising cash. According to reports filed this summer, Dayton had raised more than three times what Johnson had and had more than six times the cash banked than had his Republican rival.

Johnson faced a competitive primary in August and has been spending significant time raising money since his win.

On Tuesday, Martin also accused Johnson of being disingenuous about his connection to the Tea Party.

"This is a question of character," said Martin.

Martin said Johnson was trying to "reinvent" himself post-primary.

"It's the hypocrisy. It's the lying. It's the misleading," Martin said.

As proof, Martin shared a video of Johnson saying on Tuesday that he had not asked for the Tea Party's endorsement and questioning whether the Tea Party even endorses.

The DFL compared that to a video of Johnson at an April Tea Party meeting in which he says, "I would be truly honored to earn your support and endorsement in this race."

But that request, the Johnson campaign said, was about requesting the individuals' support for his Republican party convention endorsement bid. Almost all of the South Metro Tea Party group to whom to he was speaking were convention attendees, said Johnson spokesman Jeff Bakken.

Johnson has frequently spoken at Tea Party gatherings across the state and been welcomed by Minnesota Tea Party leaders and meeting attendees.

Bakken also said that the DFL smack did not smart.

"Minnesotans are smarter than the Democrats think they are and will see these silly, juvenile attacks for what they are: Meaningless tripe being peddled by people and politicians terrified of losing their power," Bakken said.

Klobuchar slams NFL's investigation of Rice case

Posted by: Corey Mitchell under Minnesota U.S. senators Updated: September 10, 2014 - 6:44 PM

Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar slammed the NFL’s investigation of former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice’s domestic abuse case.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he never saw the elevator video of Ray Rice striking his then-fiancee until Monday morning when TMZ.com posted video of Rice punching his then-fiancée during an altercation at an Atlantic City hotel in February.

Klobuchar, a former prosecutor, wonders if Goodell and his staff tried to "get all the evidence."

“What I was most shocked by in the case was that the NFL didn’t try to get all the evidence, because you really want to,” Klobuchar said at an event hosted by the National Journal.

“You just can’t close your eyes and try not to see the evidence. You do everything you can to see the evidence so that you can make the best decision … They didn’t appear to me to be making that attempt.”

Goodell said he and his staff saw the first video in February, the one in which Rice is seen dragging his Janay Palmer-Rice’s body out of the elevator.

The league tried to obtain more footage from law enforcement agencies, but was rebuffed,  Goodell said.

A spokesman for the New Jersey state attorney general told ABC News it would have been “illegal” to provide the tape to the NFL.

In late July, Goodell handed down his first punishment against Rice, a two-game suspension. Several weeks later, amid a torrent of criticism, he announced a new domestic violence policy for the league: a first offense would receive a six-game suspension, and a second offense, an indefinite suspension of at least a year.

The Ravens terminated Rice's contract Monday afternoon, hours after TMZ released the footage. Later that day, Goodell announced he has indefinitely suspended Rice based on the new video evidence.

“I think it’s good, obviously, that he was terminated from the team,” Klobuchar said.

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