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Posts about 5th District

Ellison: Black lawmakers still at odds with Rep. Paul Ryan over 'inner city' comments

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: May 1, 2014 - 4:55 AM

Congressman Keith Ellison and other black Democrats emerged from a Wednesday meeting with Republican Rep. Paul Ryan on reducing poverty with a similar frustrated message: We still don't agree on solutions.

The session was set to find common ground between members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who want to tackle poverty largely by boosting federal spending on programs for the poor, and Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman whose recent budget bill would slash hundreds of billions of dollars from those same initiatives.

“The point that his budget basically goes after the poor, cuts taxes for the wealthy at the expense of the middle and working classes … that points was very well made in the meeting,” Ellison said during a Wednesday appearance on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show.”

“We should cut taxes and we should cut the social safety net because we have to cut the debt. That’s pretty much where he was coming from.”

Ryan, who angered black lawmakers in March with his comments about the causes of inner-city poverty, met with the Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday and pledged to study its proposal to help the poor.

Congressional Black Caucus members said Ryan did not directly address his remarks, including when he said there was a "tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value of work."

Many Democrats blasted the comments as a criticism of black culture.

“In terms of him accounting for his inaccurate … claim that generations of urban men don’t want to work. No, he never did really address that and certainly didn’t apologize for it,” Ellison said.

Ryan made the remarks on a talk-radio show, and said later he had been "inarticulate."

Ryan's budget plan, passed with only House Republican support earlier this month, proposes deep cuts to domestic safety-net programs, including many that aid the poor, in order to eliminate deficits within 10 years. But he will review  the black caucus proposal, the so called “10-20-30” plan, that would direct 10 percent of federal anti-poverty spending to communities where at least 20 percent of the population have lived below the poverty line for at least the last 30 years.

“He said that he’d been on a tour to talk to people in areas where the poverty was high and he has a lot to learn,” Ellison said Wednesday. “I think he’s right about that.”

National Sept. 11 Memorial Museum exhibit to feature Ellison

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 25, 2014 - 8:58 AM

The soon-to-open National September 11 Memorial Museum will include reflections from Democratic U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, on the effects of the attacks on America, the museum said.

Ellison will appear in the “Reflecting on 9/11” exhibition, which features video segments from elected officials and family members affected by the Sept. 11 terrorism attacks.

The exhibit will also include recording booths, where visitors will record their reflections about the attacks. Over time, their thoughts will be added to the main presentation.

The museum is set to open May 21 at the World Trade Center site in New York City.

With the exhibit still under construction, museum officials don’t have a breakdown of Ellison’s exact statements, said communications manager Anthony Guido.

U.S. House and Senate fundraising figures

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 16, 2014 - 10:56 AM

Here’s a look at what U.S. House and Senate candidates raised during the first fundraising quarter of 2014 and how much cash on hand their campaigns had at the end of March.

Candidate name



 Q1 Fundraising

 Cash on Hand

Aaron Miller





Tim Walz, incumbent





John Kline, incumbent





Thomas Craft



 $5,506  $2,966

Mike Obermueller





Paula Overby




Erik Paulsen, incumbent





Sharon Sund





Betty McCollum, incumbent





Keith Ellison, incumbent





Thomas Emmer





Philip Krinke



 $62,057  $315,744

Rhonda Sivarajah



 $172,759  $214,808

Joe Perske




James Read



 $26,711  $34,171

Torrey Westrom



 $136,924  $170,729

Collin Peterson, incumbent





Stewart Mills III





Rick Nolan, incumbent





Jim Abeler




Chris Dahlberg

Mike McFadden







Julianne Ortman




Al Franken, incumbent





Ellison calls for action to halt wage theft

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 4, 2014 - 5:26 AM

Democratic Congressman Rep. Keith Ellison is urging the U.S. Labor Department to step up enforcement against wage theft.

Ellison and two Democratic colleagues wrote to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez this week, asking him to do more to address complaints of companies that hold federal contracts paying workers below the minimum wage, demanding off-the-clock work and denying time-and-a-half pay for overtime.

The lawmakers also asked Perez to make data on wage theft more accessible to federal agencies so they can make better decisions about which companies deserve contracts.

A Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee study conducted last year found that companies that hold federal contracts accounted for nearly half of the total fines assessed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 2012.

Ellison has emerged as one of Congress' most vocal advocates for federal workers.

President Obama signed an executive order in February that established a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour for employees on new government contracts after Ellison and other progressive leaders pressed Obama on the issue for most of 2013.

The White House is also developing new rules that would expand the number of employees eligible for overtime pay.

CPC Wage Theft Letter to Perez

U.S. Supreme Court decision strikes down aggregate limits on giving; may not have immediate impact on Minnesota law

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: April 2, 2014 - 6:16 PM

On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court struck down federal limits on how much an individual can give to campaigns in aggregate, which could allow high dollar donors to spread their largess to a wider swath of political hopefuls and parties.

Unlike the federal system, which essentially limited how many donations in total a donor could give, Minnesota law does not place restrictions on the number of campaigns to which a high-dollar donor can contribute.

Current state law allows donors to give massive amounts to parties or PACs and allows donors to spread their donations to as many candidates  or party committees as they wish.

"We’ve never limited the amount that an individual donor can give to a whole group of candidates," said Gary Goldsmith, executive director of the Minnesota campaign finance board. "We don’t limit at all the amount of money that an individual can give to a party."

Minnesota does place limits on how much candidates can accept from certain types of donors but Goldsmith said those restrictions were not considered by the court.

Other states, including Wisconsin, do have laws to limit the aggregate donations a contributor can spend in an election cycle, according to the National Institute of Money in State Politics. Those nine states' laws may be directly impacted by the federal decision.

The Supreme Court did not overturn the concept of limiting what a campaign can accept from a donor. Currently, donors are limited to giving $5,200 per candidate per election cycle to federal candidates. Minnesota law puts similar restrictions on what an individual can give to a single candidate.

The court's decision will have a much more far reaching impact on federal campaigns and parties, including those from Minnesota.

DFL chair Ken Martin said the ruling allows parties to tap donors for funds, even if those donors had already given to multiple other parties or candidates.

"It has a big impact on state parties," said Martin.

Currently, donors are limited to giving $123,200 for 2013 and 2014 in total to all federal campaigns. That limit made federal cash difficult to raise, Martin said. The Minnesota parties were not limited to what they could raise from individuals in their state committees.

After the decision, Minnesota parties will be able to raise more federal money -- up to $10,000 per individual -- from donors whether or not those individuals had already given to many other federal committees.

"That is hugely helpful to state parties," Martin said. He said the lifting of the overall cap will mean that parties can be more involved in helping federal candidates "up and down the ballot here in Minnesota."

Minnesota Republican Party chair Keith Downey said the decision may mean candidates and parties will be able to raise more.

"It will serve to direct campaign spending toward those who are closest to the public and most publicly accountable for their campaign activities. It also underscores the importance of both transparency and the protection of political speech, which are so important in our political process," Downey said.

Several donors with Minnesota ties have contributed enough in 2013 that they could have bumped up against the limit the court struck down.

According to a Star Tribune analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics, John Grundhofer, former chairman of U.S. Bancorps, donated $142,200 through the end of last year and Patricia Grundhofer, whose is listed on federal documents as the director of the John F. Grundhofer Charitable Foundation, donated $125,600. They gave primarily to non-Minnesota Republican committees.

Stanley Hubbard, head of Hubbard Broadcasting and a a frequent donor to state as well as federal causes, gave nearly $100,000 to federal committees last year alone. He said that every election cycle he gets many calls soliciting donations and he has to refuse them because he is maxed out.

Hubbard has a simple prediction for what will happen now that the court rejected the overall limits: "They are going to start calling."


Star Tribune data editor Glenn Howatt contributed to this report.

12-536_e1pf by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger


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