Rick Nolan holds high-dollar fundraiser on the Iron Range as hundreds lose jobs

The steel industry is crashing and over 1000 Iron Rangers are out of work, but that isn’t stopping U.S. Rep Rick Nolan from holding a high-dollar fundraiser in the heart of the Mighty Mesabi.

Suggested contributions for individuals range from $100 to $1000 and from $1000 to $5000 for PACs, putting the July 2 reception at the Holiday Inn Express in Mountain Iron more in line with the larger,wealthier Twin Cities than an area with higher-than-average unemployment that is bracing for a lengthy economic downturn.

Ironically, it is Nolan’s most expensive event in Northeastern Minnesota this year.

A March “Progressive Professionals” fundraiser in Duluth commanded prices from just $25 to $100:

Nolan Fundraiser March 11 2015

Nolan requested contributions ranging from $25 to $500 for a barbecue fundraiser in Crosby earlier this week:

Nolan Fundraiser June 29 2015

It isn’t just the price of admission that differentiates the events. The Nolan camp heavily promoted the Crosby and Duluth fundraisers on social media in addition to email, but there’s been nary a mention of the Range fundraiser on either Facebook or Twitter. Email invitations were sent to supporters beginning June 10:

Nolan Fundraiser Invitation June 10 2015

And again on June 23, June 28 and July 1:

Nolan Fundraiser July 2 2015

Nolan’s July 3, 2013 fundraiser at the same location requested contributions of just $100 to $250.

Holding an obscenely pricey fundraiser on the Iron Range while the local economy is tanking and workers are struggling to put food on the table is at a minimum distasteful, which is no doubt why the campaign is trying to fly this event under the radar.

And Nolan, who has repeatedly decried the role of money in politics, should indeed be ashamed.

The lack of transparency is troubling enough, but it makes the congressman even more beholden to special interests.

The campaign is not publicly promoting the fundraiser and Nolan claims he doesn’t personally spend time ‘dialing for dollars,’ so the bulk of the responsibility for ensuring a successful event falls on the hosts, among which are four unions, IRRRB Executive Director of Development Steve Peterson, lobbyist and former RAMs director Ron Dicklich; lobbyist and Silicon Energy Vice President Gary Cerkvenik and Mining Minnesota Executive Director Frank Ongaro.

And think about it a minute.

Who on the Iron Range does Rick Nolan think has an extra $1000 to toss his way right now?