It’s been 28 days since the last time political third-party spending groups and groups lining up on either side of the photo ID and marriage constitutional amendments had to report their fundraising and spending numbers, and frankly, not much has changed.
A trio of DFL third-party groups — comprised of Alliance for a Better Minnesota, Win Minnesota and the 2012 Fund — are still significantly out-raising a slew of independent expenditures groups on the right. And in the battle of the anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment — the most high profile electoral fight this cycle and the single issue drawing the most donations — groups opposing the amendment are still pulling in considerably more money than pro-amendment groups.
Alliance for a Better Minnesota, Win Minnesota PAC and 2012 Fund reported a combined $1.26 million cash on hand this reporting period, which ended on July 17. Alliance for a Better Minnesota, the spending arm of the DFL-aligned trio, marked the only major expense since the 56-day reporting date with a $35,500 research outlay to Project Lakes and Plains. Among the three, 2012 Fund pulled in the largest donation of the past month with $25,000 from the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees Political Fund.
On the GOP side of the aisle, the Freedom Club State PAC has about $321,550 in the bank. The group has spent less than $12,000 so far this year on political consulting. The group, founded in the 1990s by GOP uber donor Robert Cummins and other Minnesota businessmen, usually donates generously to the House and Senate Republican caucuses, but it’s unclear where its money will go this year. The Star Tribune has reported that Cummins might take a time out from spending his millions on the GOP majorities this cycle, after the stadium bill passed earlier this year and a Freedom Club-supported right-to-work constitutional amendment failed to gain traction in the Legislature.
Pro Jobs Majority, a political fund started at the end of 2010 by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce to take in unlimited corporate donations following the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, has about $230,000 in the bank and has spent less than $500 so far this year. The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Fund, which supports the chamber’s endorsed candidates and can only pull in a limited number of individual contributions, has raised nearly $60,000 this year, with about $45,500 on hand.
The Minnesota Business Partnership’s political fund has raised about $131,000 this year and is sitting on about $211,000 heading into the election cycle. The group also set up MN Forward last cycle to take in contributions from corporations to spend on the governor’s race. Despite a debacle with the new group stemming from a donation from Target Corp., MN Forward is still sitting on about $120,000.
In the marriage amendment fundraising contest, the pro-gay marriage Minnesotans United for All Families is the runaway leader, currently with $680,000 cash on hand and a total of $3.4 million spent already (not including nearly $638,000 spent via in-kind contributions). Since late June, the fund took in a $100,000 contribution from the New York City-based Freedom to Marry Minnesota PAC, and $22,000 worth of in-kind contributions from HRC Minnesota Family Freedom PAC, which operates out of Washington, D.C.
The anti-gay marriage group of Minnesotans for Marriage has raised about $620,000 this year, and has $398,000 cash on hand. In all, Minnesotans United has raised just under $5.4 million since the start of its quest to beat the marriage amendment, while Minnesota for Marriage has raised more than $1.4 million in total.
ProtectMyVote.com, the major spender in favor of the voter ID amendment, has collected $135,000 in contributions since January 1, and has about $25,000 in cash. The group took in $50,000 from Joan Cummins, her second such donation this year. On the opposition side, Our Vote Our Future’s total contributions have reached $182,969, with around $74,000 coming in the form of in-kind donations. On the cash side, Communications Workers of America and AARP Minnesota were the most generous contributors since the last reporting date, donating $50,000 and $40,000, respectively.