Gov. Dayton implores reporters to protect secrecy of his efforts to win new jobs for Minnesota.
Gov. Mark Dayton sets off Wednesday on a second mystery “economic development” trip.
The new trip was announced just a few hours after the governor defended keeping secret the destination of a trip he took out of state last week.
“I went because I am trying to get jobs for Minnesota and part of that is meeting with businesses who don’t share my willingness to be put in the public limelight,” Dayton said of his trip last week.
The governor’s mysterious Wednesday trip is designed to woo a different company than the one Dayton approached last week, spokesman Matt Swenson said.
All his office announced about his Wednesday plans was that the governor would be “traveling out of state for a meeting regarding a possible economic development opportunity for Minnesota. The governor will leave by commercial flight tomorrow morning and return home tomorrow afternoon.”
Dayton has made a quest for transparency a hallmark of his first term — voluntarily releasing both his tax returns and his campaign finance data — but said on Tuesday that requests to know the details of his jobs trip were “unreasonable.”
The governor said it would destroy the possibility of getting a company to pick Minnesota “by making the kind of disclosure you are asking for.” He said that reporters have a “moral responsibility” as well as a “journalistic responsibility.”
“Do you want us to go out there and try to get people more jobs in Minnesota or not?” he asked. “If we announced this and [said where we were going] I wonder how many of you would have even thought it was worth a story. It is really disappointing how it has been blown out of context.”
In response to questions, Dayton said he had not signed a confidentiality agreement with the company he visited last week and had made no commitments for any state subsidy if the company comes to Minnesota.
Swenson said the governor did not have a nondisclosure agreement or any agreement of subsidies with the new company either.
Dayton would not disclose how many jobs were in the offing last week, saying only it was “enough to warrant my involvement.”
Although the governor was asked about past mystery trips and the frequency of such trips by a reporter on Tuesday, Dayton did not reveal that he had another trip planned.
Dayton only said: “I would hope that there would be a dozen a month.”
Swenson, his spokesman, said the governor would likely have revealed that he had another trip planned if reporters had asked about his future plans.
Dayton got some support for his secrecy from Senate Minority Leader David Hann.
“I think it’s fine, in my opinion, for the governor to go out and promote the state. I wish him well,” Hann, R-Eden Prairie, said on Tuesday. But, Hann added, “I think he could do a far better job, though, of promoting the state by paying attention to our tax policies and regulation policies that would make Minnesota more attractive.”
Staff writer Jennifer Brooks contributed to this report. Twitter: @rachelSB