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The Capitol Note: Nobles calls 2014 “the year of MNsure” for legislative auditor’s office

Mike Mullen//January 10, 2014

The Capitol Note: Nobles calls 2014 “the year of MNsure” for legislative auditor’s office

Mike Mullen//January 10, 2014

 Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles said his office was undertaking a thorough review of MNsure. (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)
Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles said his office was undertaking a thorough review of MNsure. (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

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 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.


  • Democrat Jesse Winkler announced on Thursday that he will run for the Legislature in House District 34B, which is currently represented by Rep. Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove. The former House Speaker’s district is decidedly slanted in favor of the GOP, but Winkler expressed confidence in his chances, listing Sen. Bobby Joe Champion, DFL-Minneapolis, as one of his campaign co-chairs. Winkler has worked in human resources at Target Corp. for a decade, and has previously been employed with the Michigan House of Representatives and for U.S. Rep. Sander Levin.
  • Goff Public is hiring for a public relations intern position. Qualified applicants should have a college degree in PR or communications. The job runs for five months, and is a paid, full-time position. Resumes should be submitted to [email protected] by the Jan. 23 deadline.
  • Former GOP U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger used his most recent newsletter to announce that he would retire from his job with the National Institutes of Health Policy in May. Durenberger, who served in the Senate from 1978 to 1995, has worked as a senior policy fellow at the University of St. Thomas in recent years.
  • Longtime House staffer Jim Cleary is set to retire from his post later this month. Cleary works as a research analyst, and has specialized in the areas of DWI enforcement and Second Amendment policy. Earlier this week, Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, issued a letter that recognized Cleary for his service to legislators. “After 36 years of hard work on various legislative topics, Jim is taking a well deserved retirement to spend time with Trish, his wife of 43 years, and their children and grandchildren and traveling,” Dettmer wrote.

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