1.) If MNsure thought it was operating under a microscope before, employees there have even more inspection on the way. Jim Nobles, head of the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA), told legislators on Thursday that 2014 would be “the year of MNsure” for his department. That was greeted as welcome news by lawmakers from both parties during the meeting of the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee, though Republicans seemed especially concerned about a number of developments with the newly launched state health insurance exchange. Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, complimented interim MNsure CEO Scott Leitz for ushering in a new culture of transparency that she claimed had been lacking under his predecessor, April Todd-Malmlov, and said the OLA investigation should prove fruitful in revealing new details about problems with launching the MNsure.org website. Benson also asked Leitz if he and his staff could at some point provide information on who was involved in certain decision-making responsibilities at the exchange; Leitz replied that he would try to produce a chronology of those events in the near future.
2.) Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden announced on Thursday that his campaign had raised about $780,000 during the fourth quarter of 2013, and has $1.7 million in cash on hand at the start of this year. McFadden has consistently led all comers in the GOP field in that race, and none of the other candidates have volunteered their current financial standing to this point. In a press release accompanying the Thursday announcement, McFadden signaled that his campaign would focus on problems with the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, among other issues that are affecting the middle class. “I look forward to hitting the campaign trail again in 2014 and holding [DFL U.S. Sen.] Al Franken accountable for failing to address the challenges that Minnesota families face today,” McFadden said.
3.) KSTP has the details of a bizarre recent incident that apparently led to House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt being briefly detained by authorities in Montana. Daudt had traveled to that state with a friend, with the intent to purchase a truck from a Montana resident. After a dispute, Daudt’s friend produced a gun and, according to a criminal complaint, pointed it at the seller and his family members. In an attempt to explain the circumstances, Daudt said his friend had felt threatened by the other man, and called the episode “an unfortunate situation.” Daudt was not charged with a crime, though his friend faces three felony charges for his actions.
COMINGS & GOINGS