Senior Nolan staffer opposes DFL-endorsed candidate, rankles DFL Party

The above headline is one no first term 8th District DFL congressman wants to see and newly-hired congressional staffers are cautioned that any perceived transgression – personal or professional – reported in the media will be framed in exactly this manner. And most are careful to always act in the Member’s best interest, behaving in a manner that serves to further their mission to serve constituents rather than detract from it. Wise staffers understand that others will assume their actions are sanctioned by the congressman and typically steer clear of intraparty battles involving other candidates for public office and instead strive to maintain good relationships within the party. Yet Congressman Rick Nolan’s district director, Jeff Anderson, has chosen to formally endorse a candidate who is challenging the DFL-endorsed candidate in a race for the Duluth School Board and to snub the DFL party apparatus in Northern Minnesota.

Nolan is facing some potentially serious problems within the ranks of the DFL and his district director’s actions, which one die-hard DFLer describes as “disheartening”, have no doubt contributed to the growing discontent among some members of the party. And it isn’t just the involvement in intraparty election contests that rankles activists. Anderson was scheduled to speak on Nolan’s behalf at the 8th District DFL Annual Fall Dinner last month, yet he never showed up at the event and did not even send other Nolan staffers in his place. But he did make sure some of his former campaign staffers attended the event, thus the table purchased by the Nolan campaign was occupied solely by those who supported Anderson in the DFL primary. No one spoke on Rep. Nolan’s behalf, leaving the congressman without representation at a major party event just as the Cuyuna Range native faces a tough bid for re-election.

Duluth School Board elections are non partisan, but the Duluth DFL does endorse candidates. In District 1, DFLers endorsed long time party and community activist Rosie Loeffler Kemp over newcomer Joe Matthes. Matthes had stated he would abide by the endorsement, but declared the process unfair after he lost to Loeffler Kemp, whose name was placed in nomination from the floor of the convention per DFL party rules. Anderson formally endorsed Matthes in his challenge to the duly endorsed DFL candidate. Matthes did make it through the three way primary with 28 percent of the vote but finished far behind Loeffler Kemp, who made a strong showing with 54 percent.

This race not only pits DFLers against each other, but also long time rivals AFSCME Council 5 and AFSCME Council 65. Matthes is a representative for Council 65, Loeffler Kemp’s husband is a field representative for Council 5 and together these unions represent approximately 12,000 members in the 8th congressional district. Also in play is a 2007 controversy involving the Loeffler Kemps hiring of a non-union contractor to build their home, an act that was characterized as a misunderstanding but nonetheless fueled the sometimes tense relationship that exists between the public employees union and the building trades. The story was revived just last week on MNLabor.

Only three other unions joined Council 65 and Council 5 in endorsing candidates in this race. The Duluth Building and Construction Trades Council backed Matthes and the Duluth Federation of Teachers and AFSCME Local 66 threw their support behind Loeffler Kemp, a former organizer for Clean Water Action. Of note is that the Northeast Area Labor Council endorsed candidates in every school board race except District 1.

The District 1 race was not the only school board election which Nolan’s district director chose to get involved in this year. In District 4, there was no DFL endorsement because delegates remained divided between Justin Perpich and incumbent Art Johnston. Anderson formally endorsed Perpich, one of his former congressional campaign staffers, over Johnston and EPA biologist David Bolgrien. And like Anderson, Perpich angered the DFL party by distributing campaign materials that gave the impression that he had received the party endorsement and he too failed to emerge from the primary. Bolgrien was the top finisher with 38 percent of the vote, followed by Johnston with 33 percent and Perpich with 29 percent. Perpich subsequently threw his support to Bolgrien.

It’s interesting that both of the candidates Anderson endorsed for school board received roughly the same percentage of the vote that he received in his unsuccessful primary challenge to the DFL-endorsed candidate in the race for 8th district congress.

The involvement of Nolan’s district director in these school board races is perplexing, especially since there is no record of the former city councilor formally endorsing any candidate who is seeking election to the Duluth City Council.But Anderson did join Mayor Don Ness and Councilor Dan Hartman (both of whom supported him in his primary race against Nolan) in co-hosting a fundraiser for council at large candidate Zack Filipovich last month.

Nolan’s district director has an interesting personal history with the DFL and the endorsement process that perhaps offers some insight into his recent actions. Anderson sought and received the endorsement for Duluth City Council in 2008, yet chose to not abide by the process in 2012 when it became obvious he would lose the DFL endorsement for congress to Rick Nolan. Nolan was indeed endorsed by a resounding 76 percent of the delegates to a mere 10 percent for Anderson, who then accused the 8th district DFL of being anti-mining and joined Republican incumbent Rep. Chip Cravaack in calling for deregulation of the mining industry. Nolan vehemently opposed such legislation and went on to handily win the primary with 38 percent of the vote. Anderson finished last in the three way contest, garnering just 29 percent to Tarryl Clark’s 32 percent, but as district director seems to have prevailed on the issue of deregulating the mining industry. We noted in September that Nolan changed his position and voted for the bill – which expedites the permitting process by gutting the Clean Water Act and NEPA – that Anderson advocated, a move that angered many supporters, including the Lake County DFL. Interestingly, one of the candidates Anderson opposes has ties to a group that advocates for clean water and another works for the federal agency charged with enforcing rules and regulations that protect the environment.

Anderson’s apparent disdain for both the party and the endorsement process stands in stark contrast to that of his boss, who is a staunch supporter of the endorsement process and has always run for office with the party’s full support. But the buck stops with Nolan. It is his responsibility to ensure that his district director serves him well because the assumption is that Anderson is acting with his full knowledge and consent. And a first term DFL congressman who has no presence at the 8th District DFL’s annual dinner and sees nothing wrong with his district director opposing the DFL-endorsed candidate in a local race may well find lukewarm support from party activists in his bid for re-election.

Congressman Nolan’s communications director did not respond to our request for comment.

An earlier version of the story erroneously switched the names of Art Johnston and David Bolgrien in the District 4 race. We regret the error.

Nolan Puts Mining Company Interests Above Workers, Communities

Mining is deeply ingrained in the culture of Minnesota’s Iron Range, and this issue more than any other defined the candidates in the 2012 race for 8th district Congress. Candidate Rick Nolan’s position put the Cuyuna Range native on the correct side of the worker v mining company nuance that made him a true ally of Rangers: strongly support mining, but enforce the rules and regulations that protect our environment and the health and safety of our workers. Unfortunately, Congressman Rick Nolan appears to have abandoned this common sense approach in favor of a Company Man position, voting for the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act, legislation he previously vowed he would not support because it expedites the permitting process at the expense of our workers, communities and our environment.

The current legislation, HR 761, is a reincarnation of HR 4402 passed by the US House of Representatives in 2012. DFLer Jeff Anderson, Nolan’s opponent in the primary, and Republican 8th District Rep. Chip Cravaack both strongly supported HR 4402 and criticized Nolan for refusing to do so. In fact, the harshest criticism came from Anderson (now Nolan’s district director), who deliberately and methodically mischaracterized Nolan as being anti-mining. But candidate Nolan was adamant that one did not need to compromise safety rules and regulations in order to expedite the permitting process and repeatedly blasted both for supporting the legislation that was being pushed by right wing Republicans at the behest of the mining companies. Indeed, Nolan made his position quite clear in this statement from July 2012*:

Yet on 18 September 2013, Congressman Nolan voted in favor of HR 761 (legislation that contains language identical to that of HR 4402), a move that stunned many observers, supporters and constituents. And Nolan told the Mesabi Daily News that he’s comfortable with the legislation and continues to insist we don’t need to sacrifice safety in order to expedite permitting:

But Nolan said he believes we can have both expedited permitting and environmental safety.

“I’m pro-mining. But I also very strongly believe we have to do it right. And we can. We have the brains and the technology to do so,” Nolan said.

So, is the congressman going to hold his nose and vote yes on the bill?

“No, I’m comfortable voting for it. It’s not the bill I would write, but they’re not asking me. But it’s a start in streamlining and standardizing the permit process,” Nolan said.

Wow.

When questioned about the change in his position, the Duluth News-Tribune reports

Nolan’s office said the difference this year is a “deeper appreciation on Congressman Nolan’s part for how the delayed and broken permitting process is holding back projects” on Minnesota’s Iron Range.

Huh?

Does that mean that candidate Rick Nolan didn’t understand the issue or truly support mining as alleged by his former primary opponent and current district director Jeff Anderson?

Does it mean ‘screw our workers, screw our communities, screw our environment – mining projects come first at all costs?’

Or does it mean that staffers have convinced Nolan to compromise his beliefs and take the easy road to favorable headlines in order to boost his support on the Iron Range as he heads into an election year?

Nolan’s press release does nothing to clarify his position and offers little more than Orwellian doublespeak:

Even though this is not the bill I would have written, I voted YES on H.R. 761 because we need to streamline and standardize a broken mining permitting process that is delaying projects with the potential for thousands of good paying jobs, and billions of dollars in economic development, across Minnesota’s Iron Range. We are long past the time when we need to choose between good jobs and a healthy environment in our great nation. I will continue to do everything within my power to advance good paying mining jobs, and work for strong environmental protections in all the laws and policies that affect the mining industry.

What we do know is that Congressman Nolan firmly believed that provisions in last year’s bill were harmful to workers, harmful to the environment and harmful to communities, and that gutting rules and regulations was not necessary to expedite the permitting process. We know that he clearly stated he would not support that bill. And we know he inexplicably reversed his position and chose to vote for a bill introduced this year that contained identical language.

Going back on one’s word and throwing our workers, environment and communities under the bus in order to further the interests of the mining companies is a questionable strategy at best, and definitely not what one would expect from a candidate who campaigned on a theme of integrity and changing the way we do politics ‘Because you matter’.

Congressman Nolan certainly got the headlines he wanted, but at what cost?

*Text of Nolan’s statement in the above video is as follows: “….HR 4402 that was passed by the House of Representatives here recently ostensibly to expedite the process, and to the extent that it does that I would quite frankly have no problem with that legislation. But careful observers and journals all around the country and around the Congress say that the bill does more than that. I don’t know if Jeff (Anderson) just read the Republican press releases or if he’s actually read the bill. The fact is that the bill guts many environmental health and safety provisions for workers, for the community, for the environment. It guts provisions requiring mining companies to pay royalties and to forego many of the rules and regulations…. Democrats and Republicans both support mining. The primary difference is the fact that Democrats insist on rules and regulations to protect the health and safety of workers, to protect the health and safety of our communities, the health and safety of our water and natural resources and our heritage. Make no mistake about it – mining is very, very important for our region, but so are the pensions of the workers and the health and safety of the people who work in those mines and the footprint that will be left behind. That is every bit as important. Mining has a time-certain limitation on it. The long range consequences are something that will be with us not simply for a lifetime. They will be with us here forever. So don’t underestimate under any circumstances the importance of stepping up and making sure that we insist on these kind of protections for the people here now today and for future generations.”

Are Labor Endorsed Candidates True Friends Of Organized Labor? Part 4

It has been said that the true test of one’s character is what one does when no one else is looking, and the same test can be applied to discern how committed a candidate is to the principles of organized labor. Indeed, a good way for organized labor to identify parlor friends and street friends is to examine how labor-endorsed candidates choose to spend the thousands of dollars they receive from labor unions after walking out of the union hall. A true trade unionist believes in justice for workers and the right to bargain collectively, and will adhere to those principles during the course of their campaign by treating workers fairly and by supporting those businesses that employ union workers. To be sure, workers are injured every time candidates choose to pass over a union facility in favor of one with no union contract or one that was built with scab labor. FEC reports that are exposed to the light of day will often show exactly who chose to throw labor under the bus the minute they thought no one was looking.

Previously, we reported that Jeff Anderson received a sizable reimbursement from his campaign on Dec.31,2012 while his former staffers were still awaiting their final paychecks from August. Today, we examine how Anderson’s campaign spent the union contributions he received for his primary campaign.

Jeff Anderson for Minnesota reported spending $5034 on lodging, meals, events and food for volunteers during the course of the 15-month campaign for 8th district congress. Only $203 was spent at union facilities.

Reports filed with the FEC show that the campaign made nine expenditures for lodging in 2011 totaling $1278. Two expenditures were made in Brainerd where there are no union hotels, but the remaining seven were made in Duluth and Washington, DC where union hotels are readily available. Only two of those expenditures were made to a union hotel.

Radisson, Duluth, Lodging, 7/19/11, $69
Brainerd Hotel, Brainerd, Lodging, 7/20/11, $109
Brainerd Hotel, Brainerd, Lodging, 7/20/11, $109
Sheraton Hotel, Duluth, Lodging, 7/21/11, $234
Radisson, Duluth, Lodging, 7/25/11 $134
Renaissance Downtown, Washington DC, Lodging, 10/04/11, $263
Fitger’s Inn, Duluth, Lodging, 10/24/11, $158
Fitger’s Inn, Duluth, Lodging, 11/13/11, $135
Fitger’s Inn, Duluth, Lodging, 12/13/11, $67

There was just one reported expenditure for food in 2011, and that was for a meal at a non union hotel in Washington DC

Renaissance Downtown, Washington DC, Meals, 10/03/11, $23

In 2012, FEC reports reveal the campaign spent $3733 on lodging, meals, fundraisers and food for volunteers. Not one payment to a union hotel, restaurant or bar is reflected during this time period.

The campaign spent $963 for lodging, but there are no documented expenditures to union hotels. Of the four expenditures for lodging, two were at non union hotels in Duluth and two cannot be determined by the information in the report.

Priceline , Lodging, 1/04/12, $155
Priceline, Lodging, 3/21/12, $377
Fitger’s Inn, Duluth, Lodging, 5/02/12, $203
Fitger’s Inn, Duluth, Lodging, 7/02/12 $228

The campaign reported no expenditures for meals prior to April. Between April and August, there were 23 reported expenditures for meals totaling $474. $359 was spent at restaurants in Duluth, the remainder at gas stations.

Not one cent was spent at a union hotel, restaurant or bar.

Blackwater, Duluth, Meals, 4/30/12, $30
Blackwater, Duluth, Meals, 4/30/12, $74
Pizza Luce, Duluth, Meals, 5/04/12, $26
Green Mill, Duluth, Meals, 5/07/12, $27
Fitger’s Inn, Duluth, Meals, 5/21/12, $40
Pizza Luce, Duluth, Meals, 5/21/12, $32
Blackwater, Duluth, Meals, 5/25/12, $32
Fitger’s Inn, Duluth, Meals, 6/04/12, $68
Green Mill, Duluth, Meals, 6/22/12, $30

The campaign reported expenditures for fundraisers/events and for food for volunteers totaling $2296.

Once again, not one cent was spent at a union hotel, restaurant or bar.

Sheraton, Duluth, Fundraiser, 3/05/12, $437
Zeitgeist Arts Cafe, Duluth, Fundraiser, 3/19/12, $208
Zeitgeist Arts Cafe, Duluth, Fundraiser, 4/02/12, $47
Zeitgeist Arts Cafe, Duluth, Fundraiser, 4/02/12, $257
Zeitgeist Arts Cafe, Duluth, Fundraiser, 5/07/12, $212
Blackwater, Duluth, Fundraiser, 5/09/12, $72
Pizza Luce, Duluth, Event, 5/16/12, $286
The Chocolate Moose, Ely, Fundraiser, 5/16/12, $113
Pizza Luce, Duluth, Fundraiser, 7/01/12, $422
Sawmill Saloon, Virginia, Food for Volunteers, 8/13/12, $105
Pizza Luce, Duluth, Food for Volunteers, 8/17/12, $137

Labor-endorsed candidates should want to patronize union facilities as a matter of conscience. Yet Jeff Anderson’s FEC report shows just two documented expenditures at union facilities during his entire campaign for congress. What a slap in the face to the unions and members who contributed their hard-earned money to Anderson’s Duluth-based campaign! Is this what organized labor wants to see on the FEC reports of a labor endorsed candidate?

Tomorrow, Part 5 – Friends of Tarryl Clark 2012

Jeff Anderson for Minnesota – Reported Operating Expenditures for Travel Expenses (Lodging,Meals,mileage,gas), Fundraisers/Events, and Food for Volunteers JUNE 2011 – DECEMBER 2012

2011
ANDERSON, JEFFERY MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT DULUTH MN 55801 06/08/2011 $250
RODERICK, MATTHEW FOOD EXPENSES AT EVENT ELY MN 55731 06/12/2011 $250 In Kind
PLASCH, HARVEY FOOD EXPENSE FOR EVENT DULUTH MN 55805 06/16/2011 $300 In Kind

HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 07/05/2011 $42
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 07/14/2011 $20
RADISON-DULUTH LODGING DULUTH MN 55802 07/19/2011 $69
BRAINERD HOTEL LODGING BRAINERD MN 56401 07/20/2011 $109
BRAINERD HOTEL LODGING BRAINERD MN 56401 07/20/2011 $109
SHERATON HOTEL DULUTH MN 55802 07/21/2011 $234
RADISON-DULUTH LODGING DULUTH MN 55802 07/25/2011 $134
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 07/26/2011 $45

HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 08/01/2011 $48
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 08/15/2011 $25
MCCONNELL, JASON EVENT FOOD AND BEVERAGE COST DULUTH MN 55802 08/17/2011 $395 In Kind
ANDERSON, JEFFERY MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT DULUTH MN 55801 08/22/2011 $300
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 08/22/2011 $47
LONDON RD CAR WASH FUEL DULUTH MN 55812 08/22/2011 $50
SULLIVAN, JOHN L. FOOD AND DRINKS FOR EVENT MINNEAPOLIS MN 55405 08/24/2011 $300 In Kind
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 08/29/2011 $93

LONDON RD CAR WASH FUEL DULUTH MN 55812 09/02/2011 $63
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 09/08/2011 $45
DELTA AIRLINES AIRFARE ATLANTA GA 30320 09/09/2011 $452
BUEHLER, KENNETH FOOD AND LOCATION RENTAL FOR EVENT DULUTH MN 55802 09/10/2011 $1,104 In Kind
LONDON RD CAR WASH FUEL DULUTH MN 55812 09/12/2011 $52
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 09/13/2011 $33
LONDON RD CAR WASH FUEL DULUTH MN 55812 09/19/2011 $47
LONDON RD CAR WASH FUEL DULUTH MN 55812 09/19/2011 $33
LONDON RD CAR WASH FUEL DULUTH MN 55812 09/21/2011 $40
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 09/20/2011 $45
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 09/26/2011 $35
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 09/27/2011 $32

DELTA AIRLINES AIRFARE ATLANTA GA 30320 10/03/2011 $60
RENAISSANCE WASHINGTON DC MEALS WASHINGTON DC 20001 10/03/2011 $23
RENAISSANCE WASHINGTON DC LODGING WASHINGTON DC 20001 10/04/2011 $263
DELTA AIRLINES AIRFARE ATLANTA GA 30320 10/04/2011 $6
ANDERSON, JEFFERY MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT DULUTH MN 55801 10/04/2011 $325
DELTA AIRLINES AIRFARE ATLANTA GA 30320 10/05/2011 $14
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 10/04/2011 $22
ARTHUR’S FORMAL WEAR TUXEDO RENTAL DULUTH MN 55811 10/05/2011 $297
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 10/11/2011 $27
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 10/12/2011 $31
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 10/17/2011 $51
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 10/17/2011 $40
FITGERS INN LODGING DULUTH MN 55802 10/24/2011 $158
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 10/25/2011 $56
LONDON RD CAR WASH FUEL DULUTH MN 55812 10/25/2011 $11
LONDON RD CAR WASH FUEL DULUTH MN 55812 10/31/2011 $50

LONDON RD CAR WASH FUEL DULUTH MN 55812 11/01/2011 $7
AMERICAN AIRLINES AIRFARE FORT WORTH TX 76155 11/03/2011 $255
LONDON RD CAR WASH FUEL DULUTH MN 55812 11/03/2011 $14
ELLICKSON, JOE MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT MINNEAPOLIS MN 55407 11/04/2011 $500
FITGERS INN LODGING DULUTH MN 55802 11/13/2011 $135
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 11/17/2011 $42
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 11/18/2011 $48
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 11/21/2011 $45
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 11/28/2011 $14
AMERICAN AIRLINES TRAVEL FORT WORTH TX 76155 11/30/2011 $14

AMERICAN AIRLINES TRAVEL FORT WORTH TX 76155 12/01/2011 $25
AMERICAN AIRLINES TRAVEL FORT WORTH TX 76155 12/05/2011 $25
AMERICAN AIRLINES TRAVEL FORT WORTH TX 76155 12/05/2011 $50
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 12/11/2011 $42
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 12/13/2011 $40
FITGERS INN LODGING DULUTH MN 55802 12/13/2011 $67
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 12/30/2011 $38

2012
LONDON ROAD CAR WASH AUTOMOTIVE EXPENSES DULUTH MN 55812 01/12/2012 $61
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 01/03/2012 $28
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 01/04/2012 $29
PRICELINE LODGING NORWALK CT 06850 01/04/2012 $155
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 01/23/2012 $41
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 01/23/2012 $40
SUPERAMERICA FUEL DULUTH MN 55802 01/23/2012 $25
LUCKY 7 FUEL ELY MN 55731 01/25/2012 $44
LONDON ROAD CAR WASH AUTOMOTIVE EXPENSES DULUTH MN 55812 01/30/2012 $48
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 01/31/2012 $47
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 01/31/2012 $43

SUPERAMERICA FUEL DULUTH MN 55802 02/02/2012 $46
SUPERAMERICA FUEL DULUTH MN 55802 02/02/2012 $6
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 02/06/2012 $58
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 02/06/2012 $48
LUCKY 7 FUEL ELY MN 55731 02/06/2012 $47
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 02/16/2012 $43
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 02/21/2012 $49
LONDON ROAD CAR WASH AUTOMOTIVE EXPENSES DULUTH MN 55812 02/22/2012 $51
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 02/23/2012 $25

HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 03/01/2012 $40
ANDERSON, JEFFERY MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT DULUTH MN 55801 03/04/2012 $285
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 03/05/2012 $57
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 03/05/2012 $41
SHERATON FUNDRAISING FOOD & BEVERAGE DULUTH MN 55802 03/05/2012 $437
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 03/12/2012 $41
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 03/12/2012 $6
SUPERAMERICA FUEL DULUTH MN 55802 03/12/2012 $49
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 03/13/2012 $33
SUPERAMERICA FUEL DULUTH MN 55802 03/14/2012 $43
LONDON ROAD CAR WASH AUTOMOTIVE EXPENSES DULUTH MN 55812 03/16/2012 $95
SUPERAMERICA FUEL DULUTH MN 55802 03/16/2012 $12
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 03/19/2012 $53
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 03/19/2012 $45
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 03/19/2012 $19
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 03/19/2012 $9
ZEITGEIST ARTS CAFE FUNDRAISING FOOD & BEVERAGE DULUTH MN 55802 03/19/2012 $208
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 03/20/2012 $50
PRICELINE LODGING NORWALK CT 06850 03/21/2012 $377
SUPERAMERICA FUEL DULUTH MN 55802 03/27/2012 $74
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 03/27/2012 $3
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 03/29/2012 $28

ZEITGEIST ARTS CAFE FUNDRAISING FOOD AND BEVERAGE DULUTH MN 55802 04/02/2012 $47
ZEITGEIST ARTS CAFE FUNDRAISING FOOD AND BEVERAGE DULUTH MN 55802 04/02/2012 $257
ANDERSON, JEFFERY MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT DULUTH MN 55801 04/02/2012 $1,000
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 04/06/2012 $45
LONDON ROAD CAR WASH AUTOMOTIVE EXPENSES DULUTH MN 55812 04/09/2012 $68
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 04/16/2012 $42
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 04/20/2012 $30
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 04/23/2012 $36
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 04/27/2012 $53
BLACK WATER MEALS DULUTH MN 55802 04/30/2012 $30
BLACK WATER MEALS DULUTH MN 55802 04/30/2012 $74

FITGERS INN LODGING DULUTH MN 55802 05/02/2012 $203
PIZZA LUCE MEALS DULUTH MN 55802 05/04/2012 $26
GREEN MILL MEALS DULUTH MN 55802 05/07/2012 $27
ZEITGEIST ARTS CAFE FUNDRAISER FOOD AND BEVERAGE DULUTH MN 55802 05/07/2012 $212
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 05/08/2012 $55
LONDON ROAD CAR WASH AUTOMOTIVE EXPENSES DULUTH MN 55812 05/09/2012 $85
BLACK WATER FUNDRAISER FOOD AND BEVERAGE DULUTH MN 55802 05/09/2012 $72
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 05/14/2012 $21
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 05/14/2012 $24
PIZZA LUCE EVENT FOOD & BEVERAGE DULUTH MN 55802 05/16/2012 $286
THE CHOCOLATE MOOSE FUNDRAISER FOOD AND BEVERAGE ELY MN 55731 05/16/2012 $113
ANDERSON, JEFFERY MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT DULUTH MN 55801 05/16/2012 $1,500
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 05/17/2012 $48
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 05/18/2012 $49
PIZZA LUCE MEALS DULUTH MN 55802 05/21/2012 $32
FITGERS INN MEALS DULUTH MN 55802 05/21/2012 $40
BLACK WATER MEALS DULUTH MN 55802 05/25/2012 $32
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 05/25/2012 $50
SUPERAMERICA FUEL DULUTH MN 55805 05/29/2012 $12
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 05/29/2012 $26

HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 06/01/2012 $51
FITGERS INN MEALS DULUTH MN 55802 06/04/2012 $68
HOLIDAY MEALS MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 06/04/2012 $13
LONDON ROAD CAR WASH FUEL DULUTH MN 55812 06/04/2012 $37
ANDERSON, JEFFERY MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT DULUTH MN 55801 06/05/2012 $1,000
HOLIDAY MEALS MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 06/05/2012 $10
SUPERAMERICA MEALS DULUTH MN 55805 06/05/2012 $2
HUIE, ERIC FUNDRAISER FOOD, BEVERAGE AND SPACE RENTAL DULUTH MN 55805 06/08/2012 $675 In Kind
LONDON ROAD CAR WASH FUEL DULUTH MN 55812 06/08/2012 $50
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 06/18/2012 $31
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 06/18/2012 $53
HOLIDAY MEALS MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 06/19/2012 $7
GREEN MILL MEALS DULUTH MN 55802 06/22/2012 $30
LONDON ROAD CAR WASH AUTOMOTIVE EXPENSES DULUTH MN 55812 06/25/2012 $81
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 06/25/2012 $17
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 06/25/2012 $45
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 06/25/2012 $52
KAVAJECZ, ROCKIE CANAL PARK BREWING COMPANY OWNER * IN-KIND: LODGING WASHBURN WI 54891 06/25/2012 $194 (Note:not on operating expenditures as required)
HOLIDAY MEALS MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 06/27/2012 $12
ANDERSON, JEFFERY MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT DULUTH MN 55801 06/28/2012 $150
HOLIDAY FUEL MINNEAPOLIS MN 55440 06/28/2012 $52

PIZZA LUCE FUNDRAISER FOOD AND BEVERAGE DULUTH MN 55802 07/01/2012 $422
FITGERS INN LODGING DULUTH MN 55802 07/02/2012 $228
LONDON ROAD CAR WASH AUTOMATIVE EXPENSES DULUTH MN 55812 07/02/2012 $30
BLOMBERG OIL FUEL ELY MN 55731 07/04/2012 $72 *memo
LUCKY 7 FUEL VIRGINIA MN 55792 07/04/2012 $14
LUCKY 7 FUEL VIRGINIA MN 55792 07/05/2012 $54
LUCKY 7 FUEL VIRGINIA MN 55792 07/05/2012 $45
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 07/05/2012 $62
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 07/09/2012 $64
SUPERAMERICA FUEL DULUTH MN 55805 07/09/2012 $56
ANDERSON, JEFFERY MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT DULUTH MN 55801 07/09/2012 $1,112
LUCKY 7 MEALS VIRGINIA MN 55792 07/16/2012 $3
HOLIDAY STATION STORE MEALS DULUTH MN 55803 07/18/2012 $8
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 07/20/2012 $41
SUPERAMERICA FUEL DULUTH MN 55805 07/23/2012 $83
HOLIDAY STATION STORE MEAL DULUTH MN 55803 07/23/2012 $19
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 07/24/2012 $50
GIESLER, ROBERT FUNDRAISER FOOD AND BEVERAGE PINE ISLAND MN 55963 07/24/2012 $108 In Kind
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55811 07/26/2012 $58
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55811 07/26/2012 $51
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 07/30/2012 $25
LUCKY 7 FUEL VIRGINIA MN 55792 07/30/2012 $52
LITTLE STORE – HINCKLEY FUEL HINCKLEY MN 55037 07/30/2012 $51
ANDERSON, JEFFERY MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT DULUTH MN 55801 07/30/2012 $512
HOLIDAY STATION STORE MEALS DULUTH MN 55803 07/31/2012 $9
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 07/31/2012 $58

HOLIDAY STATION STORE MEALS DULUTH MN 55803 08/01/2012 $8
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 08/01/2012 $47
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 08/06/2012 $24
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 08/06/2012 $88
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 08/07/2012 $62
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 08/08/2012 $73
LITTLE STORE – HINCKLEY FUEL HINCKLEY MN 55037 08/10/2012 $49
HOLIDAY STATION STORE MEALS DULUTH MN 55803 08/13/2012 $5
SAWMILL SALOON VOLUNTEER FOOD VIRGINIA MN 55792 08/13/2012 $105
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 08/14/2012 $70
HOLIDAY STATION STORE MEALS DULUTH MN 55803 08/14/2012 $4
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 08/14/2012 $38
HOLIDAY STATION STORE MEALS DULUTH MN 55803 08/14/2012 $9

PIZZA LUCE VOLUNTEER FOOD DULUTH MN 55802 08/17/2012 $137
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 08/20/2012 $50
HOLIDAY STATION STORE MEALS DULUTH MN 55803 08/20/2012 $6
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 08/21/2012 $24
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 08/24/2012 $55
LITTLE STORE – HINCKLEY FUEL HINCKLEY MN 55037 08/27/2012 $13
HOLIDAY STATION STORE FUEL DULUTH MN 55803 08/28/2012 $52

HOLIDAY STATION STORE TRAVEL DULUTH MN 55811 11/23/2012 $58

ANDERSON, JEFFERY REIMBURSEMENT DULUTH MN 55801 12/31/2012 $1,120

Are Labor Endorsed Candidates True Friends Of Organized Labor? Part 3

“An injury to one is an injury to all”

This mantra of organized labor takes on added importance today as unions are under ever increasing attacks from right-wing extremists like the Koch Brothers who are fighting to roll back over 75 years of labor law. And it’s not just taking away the right to bargain collectively that damages labor; workers are injured every time we choose to pass over a union facility in favor of one with no union contract or one that was built with scab labor.

Candidates and staff spend a great deal of time on the road while campaigning in Minnesota’s 8th congressional district, which spans from the Canadian Border to the fringes of the Twin Cites Metropolitan Area. Expenses for lodging and meals while traveling, and for events like fundraisers and meetings typically account for a sizable chunk of a campaign’s operating expenditures. As union membership has dwindled over the past decade, the number of union hotels, bars and restaurants has significantly decreased in northern Minnesota as well. Thus it is imperative for the health of the labor movement that we support those businesses that have negotiated union contracts with their employees, and we should expect no less from our labor-endorsed candidates. Any candidate who refuses to spend union contributions at union facilities is no street friend of organized labor no matter what they say in the union hall.

As in Part 2, a review of 2012 year-end FEC reports filed by all four of the labor-endorsed candidates for 8th district congress yielded some surprises. Only one, Rick Nolan, stayed exclusively at union hotels while traveling the northern part of the district, and his report also reflects several expenditures at union facilities for meals, fundraisers and meeting space. Republican Chip Cravaack stayed primarily at non-union facilities (including one built with scab labor) yet patronized union facilities for lodging and fundraisers more often than Democrat Jeff Anderson. Despite the fact that the vast majority of Anderson’s expenses for food and lodging were incurred in union-friendly Duluth, his FEC report reflects just two stays at union hotels, and no expenditures at union facilities for meals or fundraisers. Tarryl Clark’s FEC report reflects no itemized expenditures for lodging, meals or fundraisers, so it is impossible to discern exactly where she spent her money.

Detailed analysis of campaign expenditures begins tomorrow with Jeff Anderson for Minnesota.

Are Labor Endorsed Candidates True Friends Of Organized Labor? Part 2

For decades, workers who mined iron ore in northeastern Minnesota suffered numerous injustices at the hands of the mining companies that formed the omnipotent Steel Trust. It was only through the political process that these early iron miners were ultimately successful in their fight for worker’s rights, finally signing a contract with the United Steelworkers in 1943, and no where is the sense of justice for workers today stronger than on the Iron Range. Indeed, former Governor Rudy Perpich (a native of the Mesabi Range) went ballistic when initially denied a pension of around $80 per month he earned at a job decades earlier, and was ridiculed and criticized by many in the Twin Cities for fighting the employer for what was for him a very nominal sum. What they couldn’t seem to understand is that for Rangers, it’s not the money, it’s the principle: you earned it, you’re entitled to it. No exceptions. This basic concept is so deeply ingrained in the political culture of the Iron Range that breaking from it seems unconscionable.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for campaigns to end with debts owed to employees for wages earned or for expenses incurred. Sometimes these workers eventually get paid, but other times they are left out in the cold, much like steelworkers who lost their pensions after the bankruptcy of National Steel. A true trade unionist believes in justice for workers, and will adhere to that principle whether employing people in business or for a political campaign. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that a candidate receiving endorsement from organized labor would make paying their workers a priority. And if you think only a Republican would dare violate this covenant with workers, think again. As AFL-CIO President Trumka astutely pointed out months ago, labor’s parlor friends are all too often found within the ranks of the Democratic Party.

Jeff Anderson for Minnesota is the only campaign to report outstanding debts to employees for wages (ranging from $625 to $3000) totaling $6,625, with the remaining $24,153 debt owed for vendor payments/candidate loans. The circumstances surrounding these on-going obligations to former employees is indeed troubling to see from a labor endorsed democrat, particularly one who is a native of the Vermilion Range. These staffers (who include a college student and a single parent) have been waiting since August for their final paychecks. Anderson held a fundraiser to pay off his campaign debt in late December, receiving $1000 from the Northeast Area Labor Council and $2000 from the Boilermakers. Inexplicably, he didn’t use this money to pay his workers. Instead, on 31 December Anderson paid himself $1120 for ‘reimbursement’, leaving a remaining balance in his campaign coffers of $5,979 and his workers wondering exactly when they are going to get paid.

Friends of Tarryl Clark 2012 reports outstanding debts to vendors of $24,135.50. Clark’s FEC report reflects absolutely no payments or monies owed to her for reimbursement for expenses during the course of the campaign.

Cravaack for Congress has no outstanding debt, and Cravaack’s FEC report shows he finally paid his legal bills – with interest – as ordered by the mediator in the dispute.

Nolan for Congress closed out the year with outstanding debts of $53411.88 owed primarily to vendors, with some expense reimbursement due individuals and win bonuses owed to staffers. But in this case, the candidate (who is a native of the Cuyuna Range) is sharing the pain; the campaign also owes Nolan a sizable sum for reimbursement of campaign expenses.

Organized labor is the first to protest when a business shuts its doors and leaves workers holding the bag while executives escape unscathed. Decency demands there be no less of an outcry when a labor-endorsed candidate chooses to use union contributions to reimburse himself before paying his former employees wages that are rightfully due them. Labor needs to demonstrate that treating workers fairly applies to all or risk looking like hypocrites when protesting the next round of executive golden parachutes.

Are Labor Endorsed Candidates True Friends Of Organized Labor? Part 1

Iron Rangers learn early in life the importance of differentiating between friends who will happily accept your hospitality as long it suits their purposes and friends who will loyally back you to the death in a street fight. Faced with an unprecedented attack on workers’ rights that threatens the very lifeblood of the union movement, the ability to bargain collectively, the labor movement too has come to realize the biggest mistake unions can make is to confuse parlor friends with street friends, a point AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka drove home in 2011 when he declared that organized labor would no longer tolerate fair weather friends and that a candidate’s affiliation with the Democratic Party no longer guaranteed endorsement.

Every election cycle candidates flood into local union halls at screening time, each professing to be the true champion of working people in the race. The recent campaign for 8th district congress was no exception, and all 4 candidates – Jeff Anderson (D), Tarryl Clark (D), Chip Cravaack (R), Rick Nolan (D) – received endorsements and hefty contributions from labor unions. It has been said that the true test of one’s character is what one does when no one else is looking, and the same test can be applied to discern how committed these individuals are to the principles of organized labor.

Indeed, a good way for organized labor to differentiate parlor friends from street friends is to examine how candidates choose to spend the thousands of dollars they receive from labor unions after walking out of the union hall. FEC reports that are exposed to the light of day will often show exactly who chose to throw labor under the bus the minute they thought no one was looking. Labor-endorsed candidates who regularly patronize hotels that have been targets of labor disputes or built with non union labor are clearly fair weather friends rather than true champions, as are those who pay themselves before paying their employees long overdue and hard-earned wages. Posts in the coming days will reveal the Good, the Bad and the Ugly among labor-endorsed candidates, republican and democrat alike, in the 2012 race for 8th district congress.

Broader issues surrounding labor-endorsed candidates and union contributions merit discussion in future posts. Do unions have expectations as to how their members’ money is spent by candidates? Are unions comfortable that their endorsed candidates spend union contributions at Wal-Mart or Office Max rather than at local stores or more worker-friendly national chains? Should candidates be held accountable for how they spend union dollars?

MN-08: Rick Nolan For Congress Sets Record Straight On Mining; Calls Out AAN For False Ads

Rick Nolan supports mining, he supports miners and he supports mining families. He’s absolutely confident we can do projects like Polymet – and do them in the right way.


Campaign spokesperson Steve Johnson reiterated DFL endorsed candidate Rick Nolan’s position on mining Monday in response to ads attacking the former congressman’s record on mining issues. Johnson blasted the television ads aired by Chip Cravaack’s right wing extremist friends,the American Action Network:

The Republican ads are false and misleading, with no relationship to the record or to Rick Nolan’s statements on mining issues. In fact, Chip Cravaack has done nothing on mining during his one term of office but hold meetings and issue press releases. He has been 100 per cent ineffective on mining. The ads are undoubtedly intended to divert attention from that fact.

Equally outraged by the ads defaming Nolan were former Duluth City Councilor Jeff Anderson, State Rep. Carly Melin, and United Steelworker union member Ray Pierce Jr, all natives of the Iron Range. The three joined forces at a Monday afternoon press conference to defend their fellow Ranger, pointing to Nolan’s track record of both creating jobs and permitting mining projects, and all echoing Anderson’s sentiment:

Rick Nolan is absolutely right on this issue. Rick Nolan does support our mining industry and he’s going to work hard to make sure projects like PolyMet, Twin Metals and our taconite industries take place. Rick supports these projects and understands the challenges they face and he has a track record of being able to get things done, he’s not just talk.

And all three Rangers had harsh words for Cravaack, whom they characterized as “all talk and no action” on mining, with Melin noting “he has done nothing but hold ‘feel good’ meetings in Duluth, a good 70 miles from the Iron Range.”

Pierce, a millwright at Minorca mine near Virginia and a USW Rapid Response team member perhaps most clearly defined the difference between supporting mining (Nolan) and being a shill for the mining companies (Cravaack):

As a miner I work and see the dangers of mining first hand. I see the pollution that can be created, and as a union member working with the corporations I see how they view their responsibilities on mining and I see ‘profit first.’

…Many union members who came before me fought hard to make sure mines are safe and that mining is done responsibly….Cravaack’s idea to move mining forward is rolling back safety and environmental regulations.

I live here, I work here, I have a family, a wife and 3 kids. We have to drink the water here and breathe the air here so we know its important we have the safety and environmental regulations in place.

Nolan has always been a supporter of mining, not just during election years. I know Rick Nolan’s record for creating jobs as well as protecting the workers. We know our friends will never let that rollback legislation pass. Rick Nolan has worked across the aisle to make sure mining projects move forward in a safe and responsible way.

Chip Cravaack is a pretender, Rick Nolan is a leader.