1.) The Republican Party of Minnesota finished 2013 still in the red, but made significant gains during the course of that year in paying down its outstanding debt. RPM put out a press release on Monday to spell out its current financial picture in advance of disclosures to the state campaign finance board. The party began this year with just $90,000 in the bank, and total liabilities in the amount of $1.17 million. Those numbers don’t seem promising, but are a considerable improvement over the situation at the end of 2012, when the state GOP owed $1.7 million and had all of $2,000 in the bank. RPM treasurer Bron Scherer said the new bottom line marked a “better financial position than [the RPM] has been in for many years],” and Chair Keith Downey added that the new figures show “good progress” for a party that had been saddled with huge debts for a number of years. “”We still have plenty to do,” Downey said, “but we are much better positioned for the future.”
2.) The Council on Black Minnesotans is hoping for the first time to turn its public service role into one of direct policy advocacy, according to the Pioneer Press, which reports on that group’s Monday meeting on Martin Luther King Day. Executive Director Edward McDonald announced the release of 13 separate legislative bills the council would support in the coming session, issuing a range of proposals that would seek to address topics such as racial gaps in opportunity for education and employment. McDonald said the group’s hope was to find “community-driven solutions that eradicate disparities in Minnesota.” He added that the Council on Black Minnesotans plans to hold a Capitol rally in support of its agenda on Feb. 26, where he expects to see 1,000 people in attendance.
3.) Sen. Sean Nienow, R-Cambridge, has broken his silence about a federal lawsuit against his failure to repay a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. Nienow told the Star Tribune that the suit, which seeks to claim $748,000 in debt owed jointly by Nienow and his wife, is unrelated to his service as a state senator. Nienow also said he had not even seen the lawsuit, which was filed by the Minnesota U.S. Attorney’s Office late last week. In a statement, Nienow said he could not comment further until he knew more about the matter, and hinted he would not discuss it again before finding some sort of settlement with the feds. “As with all pending actions of this sort, discussion of any details cannot take place until it is fully resolved,” he said.
COMINGS & GOINGS
- The Minnesota House of Representatives has a number of job openings for both partisan and non-partisan staff positions. Among the openings are a writing job with House Public Information, a communications role working for the House DFL caucus and an IT analyst’s job with the chief clerk’s office; of those, only the last is listed as a permanent job opportunity. See the full list of openings here.
- The Lockridge Grindal Nauen firm announced that it has promoted lobbyist Dan Larson to serve as director of its state and local government affairs operation. Larson, a former five-term DFL House member, has been the Lockridge for nine years. The firm also announced on Monday that Rebecca Klett has been promoted to serve as its partner in charge of state government relations; in that role, she will lead projects that include communications and grassroots advocacy.
- A series of offensive tweets have forced staffer Boone Leach off Republican David Gerson‘s 2nd Congressional District campaign, according to the Star Tribune. Leach has authored a number of fringe-issue missives, including apparent threats against the “world police,” and another that called for the rape of U.S. senators who voted in favor of the Affordable Care Act, which he compared to the “nazi holocaust”[sic]. Gerson, who is challenging Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline for the GOP nomination in that district, called the tweets “undeniably unacceptable.”
- Minnesota Citizens Concerned For Life (MCCL) will hold a three-stage rally at the Capitol tomorrow, beginning on the front steps at noon. Later, the pro-life organization will inhabit the upper and lower mall areas, before finally holding a 1:00 p.m. rally in the Rotunda prior to embarking on its “March for Life.”