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Business-backed PACs continued their fundraising push in the late summer as the focus shifted from contested primaries to November's general election. Most of their spending was dedicated to supporting first-term Republican incumbents in swing districts.

Business PACs’ campaign cash pile grows

Charlie Weaver, executive director of the Minnesota Business Partnership (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

The seven big business PACs in the Minnesota political spending scene have added to their cash pile since their last campaign finance reporting deadline in July.

Politics in Minnesota crunched cash-on-hand numbers from the groups’ pre-primary reports against today’s 42nd day pre-general election reports. The numbers show the collective cash on hand among the groups has risen by $148, 000 since late July, now totaling roughly $1,375,000. The amount raised year-to-date among the groups is nearly $1.3 million. Much of that money has flowed into races where first-term Republican legislators are seeking re-election in swing districts.

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fund

Beginning Cash on Hand (Jan. 1): $17,367
Received total: $128,492
Cash total: $109,977
In kind: $18,065
Spent/gave: $69,316 (of which $44,667 was cash)
Ending COH: $83,126

Where they got the money: The Chamber received lots of checks in the $100 to $500 range from executives throughout the state. An executive from Marshall-based Schwan Food Company gave a year’s supply of ice cream as an in-kind contribution. Members of the Hubbard family of Hubbard Broadcasting gave a combined $20,000. John Campbell of Wells Fargo gave $3,500.

How they spent the money: The Chamber gave $10,100 to the House Republican Campaign Committee and $5,000 to the Senate Republican Caucus’s Senate Victory Fund.

MN Forward

BCOH: $131,077
Received total: none
Cash total: none
In kind: none
Spent/gave:  $13,504
ECOH: $117,573

Where they got the money: No contributions received this year.

How they spent the money: No contributions to campaigns. McClung Communications received $9,000 in consulting fees. Brian McClung, who was a key figure in former Gov. Tim Pawlenty‘s administration, was responsible for organizing MN Forward, which played a significant role in the 2010 gubernatorial contest.

Coalition of Minnesota Businesses

BCOH: $20,827
Received total: $124,111
Cash total: $124,111
In kind: none
Spent/gave:  $36,536
ECOH: $139,208

Where they got the money: The Minnesota Business Partnership PAC gave $100,000 on August 27. NAIOP gave $10,000 on September 12.

How they spent the money: On mailers supporting Republican candidates in swing districts.

General notes: The group’s largest expenditure was $7,400 in favor of first-term Sen. John Carlson, R-Bemidji.

 

Freedom Club State PAC

BCOH: $285,888
Received total: $440,998
Cash total: $376,770
In kind: $64,218
Spent/gave:  $380,896
ECOH: $381,080

Where they got the money: Businessman and frequent GOP contributor Bill Austin contributed $102,000.Other major contributors: George Anderson ($52,000), Chris Leines ($51,000) and Michael Fry ($50,000).

How they spent the money: More than $90,000 went towards efforts to defeat GOP incumbent Reps. Connie Doepke and Steve Smith in Senate District 33. Both lost primary contests to more conservative challengers.

 

Minnesota’s Future

BCOH: $10,029
Received Total: $495,000
Cash received: $475,000
In kind: $20,000
Spent/gave: $55,561
ECOH: $429,468

Where they got the money: The group has no reported donations since the pre-primary reporting deadline.

Where they spent the money: Aside from minor spending on conferences, meetings and legal fees, the group has not made any major expenditures since the last reporting deadline.

Pro Jobs Majority

BCOH: $130,744

Received total: $164,742

Cash total: $132,225

In kind: $32,517

Spent/gave: $274,888

ECOH: $98,598

Where they got the money: Hubbard Broadcasting gave $50,000, David Frauenshuh gave $25,000, Minnesota Beverage Association gave $15,500, Deherty Employer Services gave $5,000, Upsher-Smith Laboratories gave $5,000. The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce gave $32,500 in in-kind contributions.

How they spent the money: The dollar figure $28,900 appears repeatedly on Pro Jobs report. That’s the amount the group spent in favor of first-term incumbents Sen. Ted Daley, R-Eagan, Sen. Ted Lillie, R-Woodbury, Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, Sen. John Pederson, R-St. Cloud, and GOP Senate District 20 challenger Michael Dudley. Pro Jobs also spent $23,000 in the contested GOP primary in Senate District 33 in favor of Rep. Connie Doepke, R-Orono, who prevailed over Dave Osmek. It also went big with $28,900 in favor of Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, who has received strong business backing.

Minnesota Business Partnership PAC

BCOH: $121,204

Received total: $179,700

Cash total: $169,700

In kind: $10,000

Spent/gave: $188,099

ECOH: $125,824

Where they got the money: The bulk of the contributions are in the low thousands of dollars from Minnesota CEOs. U.S. Bank CEO Richard David, General Mills CEO Ken Powell and Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel each gave $10,000. The House Republican Campaign Committee gave the Partnership $10,000 as an in-kind donation for polling data.

How they spent the money: The Partnership gave to both GOP candidates and GOP legislative caucuses. It gave $25,050 to the House Republican Campaign Committee and gave $15,000 to the Republican’s Senate Victory Fund. It also moved $100,000 to the Coalition to Minnesota Businesses.


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