In the Know: October 6, 2015

Events today

  • In accordance with the proclamation issued by President Barack Obama, Governor Mark Dayton has ordered all United States flags and Minnesota flags to be flown at half-staff at all state and federal buildings in the State of Minnesota today from sunrise to sunset in honor of the victims of the tragedy in Roseburg, Oregon.
  • The Pesticide Action Network and Toxic Taters Coalition plan to gather outside 11 McDonald’s restaurants around the state Tuesday to protest the use of pesticides on potato fields.
  • Gov. Dayton will meet with a delegation of Chinese government officials and scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
  • 8:30 a.m. – The Legislative-Citizen Commission of Minnesota Resources will review 2016 Trust Fund proposals. 
  • 9 a.m. – The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council will review the Mississippi Habitat Complex, and land acquisitions.
  • Noon – Lt. Gov. Smith will provide remarks at the Women’s Advocates Annual Luncheon and Benefit.
  • 5:30 p.m. – Senate District 8 DFL is hosting a fundraiser at the Grand Arbor in Alexandria. Rep. John Persell is the keynote speaker.
  • Lt. Gov. Smith will provide remarks at the Friends of the Mississippi River’s Evening Celebrating the Mississippi River.

Mark your calendars

  • Oct. 8 – The House and Senate higher education committees will co-host a hearing this week to address issues related to new teacher qualifications that jeopardize the state’s popular College in the Schools program. The program allows high school students to take dual-credit college courses and participation has risen sharply in recent years. But the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation group serving 19 states, recently increased standards for college instructors. This means many high school teachers would no longer qualify to teach dual-credit courses and thousands of students would not have access to this program. Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township, said legislation he has authored would help to address this issue by incentivizing teachers – prospects or those already on the job – to attain a master’s degree in their licensure field. Urdahl’s proposal passed the House as a provision in this year’s House tax bill, but that package was not enacted and officially remains on hold in a conference committee. The tax credits are $2,500 in current form, but Urdahl said he is receptive to raising that amount in light of these recent developments.
  • Oct. 8 – The East Central Chapter of the Minnesota DFL Senior Caucus will meet at Bowe’s Restaurant and Bar, 118 Railroad Ave N E in Mora. Lunch will be at noon with the meeting starting at I p.m. Featured speaker will be Don Samuelson, former president of the Minnesota Senate. He has been active in Health and Human Services as well as current Chair of the Minnesota Board on Aging.
  • Oct. 8 – Issues facing the immigrant community in the Osseo school district will be discussed at a meeting organized by the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO. The meeting will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the offices of Education Minnesota Osseo, 9210 Wyoming Ave. N., Suite 200, Brooklyn Park.
  • Oct. 10 – The College Democrats of Minnesota are holding a 2015 Fall Leadership Summit. Noon, Teamsters Council Joint 32, Minneapolis. 
  • Oct. 13 – The first Democratic debate takes place in Las Vegas. It will air on CNN.
  • Oct. 17 – The Twin Cities Book Festival. Sen. Amy Klobuchar will read from her book “The Senator Next Door.” Minnesota State Fairgrounds. More information is available here.



  • Oct. 10 – Congressional District 8 will host its first Oberstar Dinner. 5 p.m., Hibbing Park Hotel and Suites, 1402 E Howard St., Hibbing. Congressman Rick Nolan will be the keynote speaker. He will be joined by special guest Congressman Lloyd Doggett of Texas. For more information, click here.
  • Oct. 11 – Senate Districts 25 and 26 will hold a FDR dinner at the Kahler Hotel in Rochester. The keynote speaker is Javier Morillo-Alicea, SEIU #26 President, political commentator and activist. He will share stories about his entry into progressive politics. DFL elected officials and candidates will also speak. For more information or tickets, contact Randy at 651-210-3981 ( or Nancy at
  • Oct. 17 – Le Sueur Co. DFL’s Annual Fall Fundraiser. American Legion Hall in Montgomery. The event includes a social hour (5 p.m.), dinner (6 p.m.), program and live auction (7 p.m.). Contact Janet Straub for tickets: 612-710-5783.
  • Oct. 24 – Pizza, Pie & Politicians DFL SD48 Fall Function! 6 – 9:30 p.m. at Homeward Hills Park Barn, 12000 Silverwood Dr., Eden Prairie. (more info)
  • Oct. 25 – Senate District 14 DFL will host the Wellstone Dinner, 5 p.m., Courtyard Marriott, 404 W Saint Germain St., St. Cloud. Click here for tickets.
  • Nov. 1 – CD 1 DFL will host its Autumn Dinner with Congressman Tim Walz. The keynote speaker is DNC Vice Chair R.T. Rybak. Special guests include Secretary of State Steve Simon and Attorney General Lori Swanson. 5 p.m., Owatonna Veterans of Foreign Wars, 135 Oakdale St., Owatonna. Please RSVP by Oct. 21 with meal choice (turkey dinner or vegetarian lasagna) to Shawn Groth at
  • Nov. 4 – CD3 DFL Fall Fundraising Event: An Evening with Vice President Walter Mondale, moderated by Don Shelby. The 7 p.m. event will be held at Hughes Pavilion, Centennial Lakes, 7499 France Ave. S, Edina. Tickets may be purchased online at Reservations can also be made by mail. Checks should be payable to CD 3 DFL and mailed to Nancy Parris, 8350 Airport Rd, Waconia, MN 55387.

2016 election

Clinton’s group of supporters includes Congressman Tim Walz, Mankato Free Press

Clinton sets up Minn. leadership council, Walz only House Dem on list, Star Tribune

Clinton names Minnesota leadership team, MPR

Hillary Clinton releases star-studded list of Minnesota backers, MinnPost

Clinton pushing new gun controls after deadly Oregon shooting, Star Tribune

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio will hurt women’s economic future, Market Watch

Jeb’s growing list of unfortunate comments, Politico

Why Hillary Clinton’s gun-control push puts Bernie Sanders in a bind, Washington Post

Clinton on offense in nationally televised NH town hall, The Hill


A job for life, and death, Star Tribune


Inside the Democratic game plan to defang the Benghazi committee: House Democrats will intensify the pressure on Republicans over their handling of the Benghazi committee in the run-up to Hillary Clinton’s Oct. 22 testimony. Washington Post

  • Step 1: In the opening salvo of a two-week campaign to discredit the former secretary of state’s interlocutors, the ranking Democrat on the Benghazi committee yesterday released a partial transcript of former Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills’ testimony. His aim is to rebut selective leaks by the GOP. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) says he’ll release the entire transcript in five days if chairman Trey Gowdy does not respond, thereby keeping his counteroffensive in the news.
  • Step 2: Leadership is searching for a rank-and-file member to file an ethics complaint alleging that the Gowdy committee’s taxpayer-funded work is misappropriating public funds because it is political in nature. Democrats won’t have the votes to pass such a measure, but they’ll get the headlines they’re looking for.
  • Step 3: Another option being actively considered is for a Democratic member to file a privileged resolution that could call for a rebuke of Kevin McCarthy over his gaffe and/or for disbanding the Benghazi panel. Though neither will pass, it will force the GOP rank-and-file to take multiple, uncomfortable votes of confidence in their new leader.
  • Step 4: Get everyone on the same page. Democrats are also being provided with talking points to attack the Republicans on the Benghazi committee as overzealous, modern-day McCarthyites. (For these purposes, it helps that the Speaker Apparent is actually named McCarthy…though no one thinks Joe would have gaffed the way Kevin did last week by acknowledging the political advantages of a congressional investigation.)
    • One favorite anecdote from Democrats on the committee: Sidney Blumenthal was suddenly served with a subpoena by two U.S. marshals at his home near the Naval Observatory, instead of being sent a letter asking him to come in for a voluntary interview, a courtesy that has been extended to other witnesses. Blumenthal wasn’t home when the subpoena arrived, so federal agents gave the summons to his wife.
    • Very telling detail: During his deposition, Blumenthal was asked more than 200 questions related to the Clintons, significantly more than about Benghazi. A source who was in the room said the first time the word “Benghazi” was uttered in a question to Blumenthal was at 6:30 p.m. The deposition began at 10:30 a.m.

Campaign finance

This week and the next, candidates and super PACs will be playing the political money game, disclosing how much they raised and spent over the summer (with a healthy side of spin).

But fundraising deadlines and quarterly totals are largely an insider’s game — mostly because, well, it’s confusing. And on top of that, how we finance campaigns is changing before our very eyes. But we’re here to help. Below, we put together a little guide for how you can follow along, broken down by candidates and super PACs. Washington Post

  • Candidate reporting deadlines
    • What’s reported: How much the candidate-affiliated campaigns raise and spend
    • How often: Every quarter (campaign numbers are due by Oct. 15 for the third quarter of 2015)
    • What to make of it: This number used to be the be-all, end-all when it came to a campaign’s financial strength, but that’s not as much the case anymore, as independent groups that can raise unlimited sums increasingly do the heavy lifting. (Candidates themselves have limits on how much they can collect.) This number is also helpful to analyze how many regular people are giving to a particular campaign — a gauge of grass-roots strength. Both Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and her main challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), highlighted last week how many of their donations were $100 or less, for example.
  • Super PAC reporting deadlines
    • What’s reported: How much was raised and spent by these independent groups, which can’t directly coordinate with campaigns but are finding an increasing number of grey areas
    • How often: Every six months in 2015 and every month in 2016. The next filing deadline is Jan. 31 (so no numbers this month).
    • What to make of it: This is where most candidates’ fundraising strength will truly show, because it’s where the large donors now more commonly write their checks. Thus, super PACs can be interpreted as a sign of who’s winning the invisible primary among party elite — a not-insignificant primary to win. But super PACs are not a cure-all for low campaign funds or poorly run campaigns. Flushed super PACs couldn’t save former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s or Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s GOP bids, for instance.

How to read these reports:

We asked The Washington Post’s crack campaign finance reporter, Matea Gold, for the numbers we should zero in on. Her response: move beyond the “raised” figures and check out a candidate’s or super PAC’s cash on hand (how much is in the bank) and a candidate’s or super PAC’s burn rate (how fast the candidate or group is racing through that cash).

Taken together, Gold says those two numbers tell you “the resources they have going into the final stretch before the primaries.”

Confederate flag

Confederate flag group rallying for former Hartland firefighter, Rochester Post Bulletin

Former Hartland firefighter: “They let me go or fired me…’ KAAL


Local DFL sponsors FDR Day Dinner, Rochester Post Bulletin


UnitedHealth plans to hire 1,700 in Twin Cities, Star Tribune

Education (E-12)

Anonymous website pokes at Farmington district’s referendum, Pioneer Press


How the GOP presidential scrum — and new delegate rules — could make Minnesota matter in a nomination fight, MinnPost

Fresh twists roil House GOP races, The Hill


Reid starts new gun-control push, calls Republicans ‘puppets’ of NRA, Politico

It’s our gun culture that’s mentally ill, Star Tribune

Health insurance

Debate rages as ‘Cadillac tax’ gets closer, MPR

Study: MNsure rate hikes among the highest in the country, WCCO

MNsure rates going up, but some could pay less, Fox 9


Target Field temp workers win fight for back pay, but not higher wages, MinnPost

Mayor solicits support in face of labor snub, Duluth News Tribune

Planned Parenthood

Support falls for Planned Parenthood, polls show, Star Tribune

Trans-Pacific Partnership

U.S., other nations reach agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership, sources say, MPR

Ellison: New Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement not good for families, MinnPost

A long road ahead for newly minted Pacific Rim trade agreement, Washington Post

U.S. finishes trade deal with 11 Pacific countries; Minnesotans split in support, Star Tribune

Fair trade advocates say fight over TPP has just begun, Workday Minnesota

It’s going to be a long slog to approval of TPP, Washington Post

  • Many insiders don’t expect a vote on Obama’s trade agreement with the Pacific Rim nations until APRIL at the earliest. PowerPost’s Kelsey Snell points out the mandatory waiting periods built into the review process: 90 days before the pact is sent to Congress; 105 days for the U.S. International Trade Commission to review it — though it could take less time; then 90 days max for Congress to take an up-or-down vote).
  • Fierce congressional opposition is already emerging.  Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said the deal “appears to fall woefully short,” per David Nakamura.
  • And several of the outsider candidates in 2016 are already decrying TPP as terrible on the trail, from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump. “The incompetence of our current administration is beyond comprehension,” Trump tweeted. Mike Huckabee said Obama got “rolled like sushi.

U.S. Supreme Court

The Washington Post’s Robert Barnes lists just a few cases that the nine justices are expected to hear in the fall and decide in spring and summer. And they are apparently not backing off contentious topics after a 2014-15 session full of them. On the docket:

  • the legality of Affirmative Action
  • how far government must go to accommodate religious liberty
  • how far government may go to restrict a woman’s right to abortion

White Earth land deal

Money, race, politics tangle northern Minnesota land deal, MPR

White Earth Band makes 2nd run at Legacy Amendment money, Pioneer Press


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