The committee that threw inaugural parties for Gov. Tim Walz took in big money from corporations and unions, with donations coming even after he was inaugurated, according to recently filed IRS documents.
The “One Minnesota Inaugural Committee” took in nearly $700,000 total and spent about $535,000 on parties celebrating the new administration.
A South Dakota biofuels company called Poet gave $50,000, with insurance giant UnitedHealth and Minneapolis law firm Winthrop and Weinstine also giving $25,000 each. The Teamsters kicked in $10,000.
The donations were first reported by Minnesota Public Radio.
“Gov. Walz brought his inaugural celebration to Minnesotans across the state and the inaugural committee worked hard to ensure all the events were free and open to the public. These donations allowed for Minnesotans in Mankato, Moorhead, Duluth and Minneapolis to come together and celebrate One Minnesota,” said Kristen McMullen, a co-chair of the committee and a prominent DFL fundraiser.
Inaugural committees are not subject to the same giving restrictions as political campaigns.
A who’s who of Minnesota corporations gave $10,000, including Best Buy, the Vikings, Xcel and Target, among many others.
An earlier IRS disclosure showed big donations to the inaugural fund from unions, including $40,000 from Education Minnesota, the teachers union, and $10,000 each from the sheet metal workers, SEIU and operating engineers.
The big donations from both corporations and labor mirror the 2018 Walz campaign’s success raising money from a diverse array of sources.
Many of the contributions came in after the inaugural events, as donors who had pledged money then delivered. That means corporations, legal and lobbying firms were paying for the Walz inaugural at a time when political candidates and party caucuses are not allowed to raise money. Minnesota law restricts that kind of fundraising during the legislative session, which began in early January.
McMullen said the committee did not solicit sponsorships while the Legislature was in session. She also said Walz did not personally solicit any funds and he did not review the roster of who gave.
She added that the committee will be shut down once expenses have been paid and donations collected for outstanding pledges.
Expense records show the money went to event planning companies, venues, political consultants, caterers and other service providers.