According to Federal Election Commission data, Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District race has attracted the most money from outside groups so far.
The contest between Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan and Republican Stewart Mills has already seen nearly $1.4 million in PAC spending, with much of it coming from Nolan supporters, such as the House Majority Fund and the AFSCME union.
In contrast, the race for the Seventh Congressional District seat, which Republican Torrey Westrom hopes to snatch from longtime Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson, has only seen $245,000 in independent expenditures. Interestingly, the last filing documenting outside spending in that race was from eight months ago.
Minnesota's U.S. Senate race, so far, has drawn relatively little interest from independent spenders. According to FEC filings, outside groups have spent about $140,000 to weigh in on the battle between Democratic Sen. Al Franken and Republican Mike McFadden.
The FEC calculations only include expenditures that represent, "spending by individual people, groups, political committees, corporations or unions expressly advocating the election or defeat of clearly identified federal candidates."
This post first appeared in our Morning Hot Dish political newsletter. If you're not already getting the political newsletter by email, it's easy and free to sign up. Go to StarTribune.com/membercenter, check the Politics newsletter box and save the change.
The former top Iowa adviser to Michele Bachmann’s failed presidential campaign pleaded guilty to concealing payments he received from former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign to switch his support and ditch Bachmann.
Former Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson entered the guilty plea for one count of causing a federal campaign committee to falsely report its expenditures and one count of obstruction of justice.
Sorenson admitted he had supported one campaign for the 2012 presidential election, but from October to December 2011, “he met and secretly negotiated with a second political campaign to switch his support to that second campaign in exchange for concealed payments that amounted to $73,000,” according to a Justice Department release.
The Justice Department said Sorenson was paid about $8,000 a month with payments funneled through two companies before reaching Sorenson and his wife.
Sorenson publicly announced that he switched his support from Bachmann to Paul on Dec. 28, 2011, just days before the Iowa Caucus. The defection was a significant blow to Bachmann, whose campaign lost steam after she won the Iowa straw poll in August of that year.
At the time, Sorenson said it was clear that Bachmann was no longer a viable contender.
“The fact is, there is a clear top tier in the race for the Republican nomination for president, both here in Iowa and nationally,” Sorenson said. “Ron Paul is easily the most conservative of this group.”
Bachmann’s congressional staff did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sorenson’s plea.
In his plea, Sorenson also admitted that he gave false testimony to an independent counsel appointed at the request of the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee.
“Today, Mr. Sorenson has taken responsibility for his crimes,” said Acting Assistant Director in Charge Timothy A. Gallagher. “Exploiting the political process for personal gain will not be tolerated, and we will continue to pursue those who commit such illegal actions.”
Last year, a special investigator found probable cause that Sorenson violated Iowa’s ethic rules by taking money from committees tied to Bachmann’s campaign by laundering the money through separate consulting firms.
Iowa Senate ethics rules prohibit legislators from receiving payment for work on political campaigns.
On two separate occasions, Sorenson issued written statements to the Senate Ethics Committee, denying that the Bachmann campaign paid him.
Bachmann has also denied the allegations that her campaign paid Sorenson.
Tom Emmer’s victory in the Sixth Congressional District Republican primary Tuesday brings him a step closer to becoming the successor to retiring U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.
The former state representative and conservative radio host handily defeated Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah, capturing more than 70 percent of the vote.
Sivarajah stuck with her campaign even after Emmer secured the party nomination and Bachmann’s backing.
Emmer will be the favorite against Democrat Joe Perske and Independence Party candidate John Denney in November to represent the Sixth District, which includes the suburbs and exurbs north of the Twin Cities all the way to St. Cloud.
For Emmer, the race offers an opportunity to resume an ascending political career that stalled after his loss to Democrat Mark Dayton in the 2010 governor’s race.
WASHINGTON -- Minnesota's eight House members voted mostly like the rest of the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday on a measure to sue President Barack Obama over executive powers -- the state's three Republicans supported it, the five Democrats voted against it.
At the heart of the House resolution, which authorizes GOP Speaker John Boehner to sue the president, is Obamacare. Republicans say the president has not adequately enforced the law, which they oppose, because his administration has delayed some parts of its implementation, including the requirement that employers provide health coverage.
Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen's spokesman sent over this statement Thursday:
"Congressman Paulsen is concerned about the continued growth of executive power and its impact on our political system. The vote made by the House seeks more accountability of the executive branch through this narrowly defined action. This is more about making sure the president – and any future president – is constitutionally required to faithfully execute our nation’s laws or go through Congress to have them changed."
Joining Paulsen in a yes vote were GOP Reps. Michele Bachmann and John Kline.
Democrat Rep. Betty McCollum said ahead of the vote she was going to vote "no on the Boehner lawsuit and will instead focus my energy on the needs of the families of the Fourth District."
Democratic Reps. Tim Walz, Keith Ellison, Collin Peterson and Rick Nolan also voted no.
"Republicans have failed to get their work done in Washington and they use stunts like this lawsuit to distract attention from that simple truth," McCollum said.
Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann will visit the Rio Grande Valley sector of the U.S.-Mexico border this weekend to see firsthand where thousands of unaccompanied minors have crossed illegally into the country in recent months.
Bachmann and GOP congressman Steve King of Iowa plan to make stops in McAllen, Brownsville and Laredo and meet with Border Patrol agents to discuss the current immigration crisis.
A warehouse converted to process immigrant children who have entered the United States illegally opened last weekend in McAllen. There are also Border Patrol detention centers in Brownsville and Laredo.
“Although President Obama would prefer to play pool instead of visit the border, I want to see firsthand the impact of this administration’s immigration policies,” Bachmann said in a statement.
“I have deep concerns over the failure to enforce border security laws, and I look forward to meet with those tasked with the patrolling the border to hear their thoughts on the growing crisis.”