Hotdish politics: McFadden’s campaign pushes ‘Mike is not Mitt Romney’

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U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden

Photo: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

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– The Senate campaign of Minnesota businessman Mike McFadden is in town pushing a message: Investment banking is not the same as private equity.

Or, in political terms: McFadden is not the failed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Armed with a D.C.-based public relations and political consultant, McFadden’s campaign manager Brad Herold sat down with reporters Tuesday to explain his boss’s 20-year career as an investment banker.

McFadden first started Goldsmith Agio Helms, where he was a partner, and then was a co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market, once Goldsmith was acquired. McFadden took a leave of absence last year to run against Democrat Sen. Al Franken.

McFadden’s handlers said Wednesday that investment banking differs from private equity in that there is scant operational control beyond simply helping others buy and sell companies. A struggling company will hire an investment banker, for example, to find a buyer and once a suitable buyer is found, the investment banker is usually done with the deal, campaign officials said.

Whatever happens next is now in the new buyer’s — not the investment banker’s — control, campaign officials say.

Allison Sherry

House speaker: ‘Very difficult’ to pass new disclosure law

 

The Minnesota House appears unlikely to approve a measure to bring now secret political spending into the sunshine this year, House Speaker Paul Thissen said Tuesday. “I think it would be very difficult to pass that bill this year because of opposition from certain interest groups,” said Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis.

The measure, which had the strong backing of DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, would require groups that spend money on Minnesota politics to reveal their spending and donors, no matter what type of group they are.

Such undisclosed spending has grown in the state but, because much of it comes from political nonprofits and the ads avoid certain words that trigger disclosure, there is no mandatory reporting requirement.

Chief sponsor, DFL Rep. Ryan Winkler, said that without the new law there are big loopholes “that these groups can drive truckloads of cash through.” But some say the law would have posed a risk to free speech and resulted in excessive regulatory burdens.

 

Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

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