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.

Are Labor Endorsed Candidates True Friends Of Organized Labor? Part 5

We expected that examining the FEC reports of labor endorsed candidates in the 2012 race for 8th district congress – Jeff Anderson (D), Tarryl Clark (D), Chip Cravaack (R), Rick Nolan (D) – would give organized labor a good idea as to who is a parlor friend and who is a street friend by showing how those candidates spent union contributions when they thought no one was looking. Fair treatment of workers and patronizing union facilities should be no-brainers for a true trade unionist, but we did find some labor endorsed candidates (Anderson, Cravaack) who struggled with these simple concepts. In part 4, we reported that while Jeff Anderson for Minnesota spent a total of $5034 on lodging, meals, events and food for volunteers during the course of his 15-month campaign, only $203 was spent at union facilities. Today we’d like to report that Friends of Tarryl Clark 2012 regularly patronized union facilities, but we can’t because the campaign reported no itemized expenditures for lodging, food or event space during the course of Clark’s 16-month campaign for 8th district congress.

Payments for lodging, meals, and food/beverages for volunteers, fundraisers and other events are pretty standard operating expenditures for campaigns, yet surprisingly not one hotel, restaurant, bar or meeting facility shows up in Clark’s FEC filings. No expenditures for fundraisers and other events were reported, and below are the only itemized operating expenditures reported for travel expenses:

NATIONAL COMMITTEE TO PRESERVE SOCIAL SECURITY, WASHINGTON DC,06/22/2011 $1,771

DELTA AIRLINES, 08/29/2011, $601
AIRTRANAIR , 08/22/2011, $541
AIRTRANAIR, 08/30/2011, $369
SOUTHWESTAIR, 09/06/2011 $270
UNITED AIR , 03/12/2012, $613
SUN COUNTRY, 03/21/2012, $254
DELTA AIRLINES, 05/15/2012 $177
UNITED AIR TRAVEL,05/16/2012 $166
UNITED AIR TRAVEL, 05/16/2012 $166
UNITED AIR TRAVEL, 05/16/2012, $166
DELTA AIRLINES, 06/07/2012, $350
DELTA AIRLINES, 06/07/2012, $350
HOTWIRE, 06/08/2012, $267
HOTWIRE, 07/09/2012, $243

The campaign’s FEC reports do reflect unitemized reimbursements to staff for travel expenses, but no such payments were made to Tarryl Clark. While FEC rules do not require that candidates or staffers request reimbursement for travel expenses, once those expenses exceed $1000 they must be reported both as in kind contributions and as operating expenditures. It does indeed seem odd that a candidate for 8th district congress spent less than $1000 on travel expenses (mileage, meals, lodging) and that the campaign incurred no expenses for meet-the-candidate events or fundraisers, yet we presume that to be the case as Clark surely is familiar with FEC reporting requirements.

It is unclear from Clark’s FEC filings whether the reimbursements for staff travel were simply for mileage or included any meals or lodging, hence there is no way to know whether any of that money was spent at union or non union hotels, bars, or restaurants.

Friends of Tarryl Clark 2012 – Reported Operating Expenditures for Travel Expenses (Lodging,Meals,mileage,gas), Fundraisers/Events, and Food for Volunteers May 2011 – DECEMBER 2012

KLUTHE, CHRISTOPHER REIMBURSEMENT/MILEAGE – SEE MEMOS APPLE VALLEY MN 55124 07/07/2011 $394
CARLSON, KELLI TRAVEL WOODBURY MN 55125 07/19/2011 $91

CARLSON, KELLI TRAVEL WOODBURY MN 55125 08/10/2011 $173
TRUESDELL, OWEN TRAVEL APPLETON WI 54911 08/18/2011 $49
DELTA AIRLINES TRAVEL ATLANTA GA 30320 08/29/2011 $601
AIRTRANAIR TRAVEL ORLANDO FL 32827 08/22/2011 $541
AIRTRANAIR TRAVEL ORLANDO FL 32827 08/30/2011 $369 X

SOUTHWESTAIR TRAVEL DALLAS TX 75235 09/06/2011 $270
CARLSON, KELLI TRAVEL WOODBURY MN 55125 09/07/2011 $262
TRUESDELL, OWEN TRAVEL APPLETON WI 54911 09/07/2011 $177
CARLSON, KELLI TRAVEL WOODBURY MN 55125 09/22/2011 $323

CARLSON, KELLI TRAVEL WOODBURY MN 55125 10/06/2011 $99
TRUESDELL, OWEN TRAVEL APPLETON WI 54911 10/06/2011 $259

KLUTHE, CHRISTOPHER REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL – MEMO ENTRIES APPLE VALLEY MN 55124 11/10/2011 $299
CARLSON, KELLI TRAVEL WOODBURY MN 55125 11/10/2011 $83
TRUESDELL, OWEN TRAVEL APPLETON WI 54911 11/17/2011 $125

CARLSON, KELLI REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL WOODBURY MN 55125 01/09/2012 $147
KLUTHE, CHRISTOPHER REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL – SEE MEMOS APPLE VALLEY MN 55124 01/09/2012 $551
TRUESDELL, OWEN REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL APPLETON WI 54911 01/09/2012 $165

CARLSON, KELLI REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL WOODBURY MN 55125 02/07/2012 $407
KLUTHE, CHRISTOPHER REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL – SEE MEMOS APPLE VALLEY MN 55124 02/07/2012 $301
TRUESDELL, OWEN REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL APPLETON WI 54911 02/07/2012 $377
COLEMAN, LINDSAY REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL VANDLING PA 18421 02/21/2012 $232

CARLSON, KELLI REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL WOODBURY MN 55125 03/09/2012 $449
KLUTHE, CHRISTOPHER REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL-SEE MEMOS APPLE VALLEY MN 55124 03/09/2012 $353
TRUESDELL, OWEN TRAVEL APPLETON WI 54911 03/09/2012 $225
UNITED AIR TRAVEL CHICAGO IL 60666 03/12/2012 $613
COLEMAN, LINDSAY REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL VANDLING PA 18421 03/14/2012 $34
SUN COUNTRY TRAVEL SAINT PAUL MN 55120 03/21/2012 $254

CARLSON, KELLI TRAVEL WOODBURY MN 55125 04/09/2012 $609

CARLSON, KELLI TRAVEL WOODBURY MN 55125 05/04/2012 $126
TRUESDELL, OWEN TRAVEL DULUTH MN 55802 05/04/2012 $138
DELTA AIRLINES TRAVEL ATLANTA GA 30320 05/15/2012 $177
UNITED AIR TRAVEL CHICAGO IL 60666 05/16/2012 $166
UNITED AIR TRAVEL CHICAGO IL 60666 05/16/2012 $166
UNITED AIR TRAVEL CHICAGO IL 60666 05/16/2012 $166

CARLSON, KELLI REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL – SEE MEMOS WOODBURY MN 55125 06/07/2012 $206
DELTA AIRLINES TRAVEL ATLANTA GA 30320 06/07/2012 $350
COLEMAN, LINDSAY REIMBURSEMENT – SEE MEMOS VANDLING PA 18421 06/07/2012 $64
HOTWIRE TRAVEL SAN FRANCISCO CA 94111 06/08/2012 $267
NATIONAL COMMITTEE TO PRESERVE SOCIAL SECURITY AND TRAVEL EXPENSES WASHINGTON DC 20006 06/22/2011 $1,771

MARKS, LINDSAY REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL – SEE MEMO DULUTH MN 55802 07/02/2012 $489
TRUESDELL, OWEN REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL – SEE MEMOS DULUTH MN 55802 07/09/2012 $384
CARLSON, KELLI TRAVEL WOODBURY MN 55125 07/09/2012 $103
HOTWIRE TRAVEL SAN FRANCISCO CA 94111 07/09/2012 $243 X
COLEMAN, LINDSAY TRAVEL DULUTH MN 55805 07/09/2012 $109
KLUTHE, CHRISTOPHER REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL – SEE MEMOS APPLE VALLEY MN 55124 07/09/2012 $475
MEYER, ERIC REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL DULUTH MN 55811 07/09/2012 $81
WOLGAMOTT, DANIEL TRAVEL DULUTH MN 55805 07/09/2012 $1,453

WOLGAMOTT, DANIEL REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL DULUTH MN 55805 08/08/2012 $717
COLEMAN, LINDSAY REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL DULUTH MN 55805 08/15/2012 $135
MEYER, ERIC REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL DULUTH MN 55811 08/15/2012 $49
MEYER, ERIC REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL DULUTH MN 55811 08/16/2012 $13
TRUESDELL, OWEN REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL DULUTH MN 55802 08/16/2012 $911
WOLGAMOTT, DANIEL REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL DULUTH MN 55805 08/16/2012 $464
COLEMAN, LINDSAY REIMBURSEMENT/TRAVEL DULUTH MN 55805 08/16/2012 $36

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: Who’s Kidding Who Chip? You Don’t Care About Duluth!

Chip, you sure talk a good game about supporting Duluth, but your dismal record says otherwise. You care about Duluth? Who’s Kidding Who, Chip?

You refused to open an office or even hold a town meeting in Duluth until you were publicly shamed to do so.

So much for constituent service.

You opposed investing $20 million of Federal Stimulus in a new airport terminal to keep Duluth competitive in the aviation market

It’s being built in spite of you.

You opposed investing $16 million in Federal Stimulus funds for Duluth’s Intermodal Center— a project that creates construction jobs and will make Duluth a model transportation center.

Thanks Chip.

You opposed a $6 million investment in stormwater/wastewater overflow holding facilities that created construction jobs, and protected Lake Superior during this summer’s huge storm.

Thanks Again Chip.

You tried to undermine the rescue of Cirrus Aviation by a Chinese investor, then wouldn’t tell the public that the U.S. Treasury found no fault, no risk to national or economic security from the transaction, which has saved aircraft production jobs in Duluth.

Cirrus survived, no thanks to you.

Chip, it’s time to stop kidding around and tell the people of Duluth exactly what you think of them. Who’s Kidding Who Chip? You don’t care about Duluth!

MN-08: Home Sweet Where? (Seriously, If You Think Chip Cravaack Lives Here, Read This!)

In northern Minnesota, where one is from and where one has roots is of great importance to voters, and residency has figured prominently in the race for 8th district congress. While the only constitutional requirement of a U.S. Representative is that one “shall be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen”, there is an expectation by 8th district residents that their congressman actually live in the district. A recent examination of property records shows that Cravaack is claiming a homestead in two different states, leaving residents wondering exactly where their congressman lives. Thus in the closing days of this nationally watched race, the question of whether or not Rep. Chip Cravaack lives in the district and meets the residency requirements of the State of Minnesota still remains unanswered.

Chip Cravaack will make the argument that these are last minute attacks. They’re not. In fact, This residency issue has been plaguing Chip Cravaack for almost two years, and for almost two years he has been dismissing it as irrelevant, an odd assertion from one who created the issue during his 2010 campaign when he falsely accused Rep Jim Oberstar of not living here. Even at this late date in the campaign, those concerned about the residency issue should examine the facts and make their decision accordingly.The record tells us the following:

1. Cravaack owned a home in Lindstrom and a residential lake property in Wisconsin at the time he was elected to Congress in 2010.

2. In July 2011, Cravaack purchased a home in New Hampshire, sold the home in Lindstrom and purchased a new home in North Branch.

3. The mortgage for the home in North Branch contains a rider declaring this property as a second home. His primary home then, is in New Hampshire, where his family now resides.

4. Property tax records reveal that this ‘second home’ in North Branch is classified as 1A Residential Homestead.

5. All property is co-owned by Cravaack and his wife.

The record shows that Cravaack is now claiming two homesteads.

We’ll leave it to the lawyers to determine the technicalities of the voting and tax issues. However, Minnesota statutes do provide some guidance regarding determination of residency for voting, homestead and income tax purposes.

Readers are encouraged to pay specific attention to to the following clauses for determining residency for voting:

(d) if an individual goes into another state or precinct with the intention of making it home or files an affidavit of residence there for election purposes, the individual loses residence in the former precinct; and

(g) if an individual’s family lives in one precinct and the individual lives or does business in another, the individual’s residence is located in the precinct where the individual’s family lives, unless the individual establishes a home in the other precinct and intends to remain there, with or without the individual’s family

and for Homestead eligibility

(a) Residential real estate that is occupied and used for the purposes of a homestead by its owner, who must be a Minnesota resident, is a residential homestead…..Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the Department of Revenue may, upon request from an assessor, verify whether an individual who is requesting or receiving homestead classification has filed a Minnesota income tax return as a resident for the most recent taxable year for which the information is available.

Minnesota Department of Revenue guidelines for determining residency include this statement:

When it comes to determining residency, your words and actions are both considered, but of the two, your actions carry more weight than words.

That Cravaack apparently doesn’t see a problem with his contradictory statements about where he lives should come as no surprise. Air line pilots are notorious for having a rather cavalier attitude towards residency which at times gets them into trouble. The feeling that you live wherever you happen to land at the time may work for them because passengers don’t care where their pilot lives. But this doesn’t work in politics because constituents in the 8th district of Minnesota do care where their congressman lives, and they expect their congressman to live in the district. Residency is a matter of real concern to his constituents whether Cravaack wants to recognize it or not. The fact that he doesn’t seem to get it now indicates he doesn’t understand the district, yet he certainly got it well enough when he relentlessly lobbed false accusations at Chisholm native Jim Oberstar.

How convenient.

Chip Cravaack’s pompous, self righteous indignation over the residency issue exists only because those very same questions are now directed at him. It is the very definition of hypocrisy. Cravaack needs to stop shedding crocodile tears and give his constituents the honest answers they deserve.

The intricacies of residency requirements for voting, taxes and eligibility to run for office are issues for attorneys to argue over. This is not about technicalities of the law. We’re just interested in what’s right and what’s wrong, and it seems wrong that Chip Cravaack is able to claim a homestead in Minnesota while also claiming a primary residence in New Hampshire (a state that has no income tax).

Readers are encouraged to review the record, read the statutes and come to their own conclusions.

MN-08: Chip Cravaack’s False and Misleading Ad Reflects A Bad Case Of Steelworker Envy

Rep Chip Cravaack lost the coveted United Steelworkers endorsement to former Congressman Rick Nolan last month, prompting a whiny temper tantrum that echoed across the Iron Range. Cravaack’s jealousy over Nolan’s big endorsement has now morphed into a serious case of steelworker envy with the airing of a desperately deceptive mining ad purporting to be filmed on the Iron Range.

The ad titled “Good Man” features two Iron Rangers discussing mining and Cravaack visiting with workers. The release that accompanied the ad reads:

A strong and vibrant mining industry is key to creating good-paying jobs for Minnesota workers and their families…. I am thankful for the support of so many former and current miners throughout this far-reaching district,” said Chip Cravaack

To say this ad offers no credible evidence of support from Iron Range steelworkers is an understatement. Consider the following:

1. It was shot at the Operating Engineers Local 49 Training Facility in Hinckley, not at a mine on the Iron Range

2. The retired miner is not a member of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR), and the active miner is viewed as a renegade who once tried to sue the USW for not advocating enough for workers, and reportedly threatened to run against Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

3. Cravaack is shown with 49ers, not steelworkers

Talk about compensating for one’s shortcomings!

Cravaack is trying to parlay a very misguided endorsement from the 49ers into an implied endorsement from SOAR and USW, both of which have endorsed Nolan. And how arrogantly insulting that Cravaack thinks Rangers won’t notice. Packsacker Chip Cravaack may not know the difference between steelworkers and 49ers, or between Hibbing and Hinckley, but Rangers sure do.

This deliberately misleading ad is devoid of all credibility and is just the latest of many desperate attempts by Cravaack to deceive voters into believing he has support of Range steelworkers.

Only an outsider or one truly clueless would think this ad is going to be effective with its target audience. Insulting the intelligence of voters from across the Iron Range is not a winning strategy, something Chip Cravaack would know if he were actually a Minnesotan.

MN-08: Mining Issue Separates A Ranger From A Packsacker

As election day rapidly approaches, mining and Medicare are lining up as the key issues in the race for 8th district congress between Rep Chip Cravaack and former Congressman Rick Nolan of the Cuyuna Range. But on the Iron Range of northeastern Minnesota, mining takes center stage and it is this issue that separates a Range native from a packsacker more than any other in the race.

Both candidates have voiced support for mining, but being pro-mining on the Iron Range is not as clear cut as one might think. Mining has created a classic love-hate relationship between Rangers and the mining companies; love the mining, but not the mining companies. It’s a nuance that most outsiders don’t get, and this is in fact the major difference between the candidates in the race for 8th district congress. Chip Cravaack’s determination to roll back rules and regulations in order to give mining companies free reign makes him a much hated ‘Company Man’, one who would likely have told Jim Oberstar’s dad to just shut up and vote the right way if he wanted to keep his job or fired Veda Ponikvar’s father for union organizing. In contrast, Rick Nolan’s commitment to protect workers and the environment makes him an ally of miners and is an extension of the common good that anchors the moralistic political culture of the Iron Range.

While Cravaack sees mining through the very narrow jobs-only lens typical of an outsider, Cuyuna Range native Nolan understands that mining is much more than that. Mining is a part of our culture and a source of pride; steel made from Iron Range red ore built a nation and won two world wars, and taconite continues to fuel the domestic steel industry. In addition, the taconite production tax is a major source of revenue for our cities, schools and counties, and state mineral leases generate millions of dollars for students throughout the state. Any candidate who hopes to carry the heavily DFL Mesabi Iron Range on election night must understand what mining really means to Rangers and be on the right side of the worker v company man nuance of the mining issue.

Rick Nolan’s pro-worker position on mining harkens back to the roots of the Iron Range, to the core of who we are, to the common good. Chip Cravaack’s company man position evokes bitter memories of oppression by the Steel Trust, of the bad old days when the mining companies were allowed to sacrifice worker safety and the environment for profit margins.

The choice Iron Rangers must make on November 6 is simple: Do we want to maintain the hard fought status quo of being equal partners with the mining companies or do we want to return to a time when the mining companies had the power to do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted to whomever they wanted?

The Ranger or the Packsacker.

Seems like a pretty simple choice.