Mark Dayton: Buying Minnesota With Daddy’s Money

posted at 8:50 am on July 17, 2010 by Mitch Berg

If you’ve followed Ed’s coverage on Hot Air, you know that Minnesota has a genuine choice in its gubernatorial election this year.  The GOP has endorsed Tom Emmer, a solid conservative in the Chris Christie mold.

The DFL”s endorsement (the Minnesota term for “Democrats”) depends on an August 10 primary – but as this is written former Senator Mark Dayton has a commanding lead over the DFL-endorsed candidate (speaker of the MN House Margaret Anderson-Kelliher) and former state Rep. Matt Entenza.

Yes – that Mark Dayton – scion of the Dayton-Hudson fortune, and ranked in 2005 as one of America’s Five Worst Senators, after a series of bizarre antics that culminated in Dayton shutting down his DC office after a terror threat, leaving the other 99 Senators to carry on the nation’s business by themselves.

So while the DFL doesn’t have an official candidate yet, the DFL contenders have had their hands full fighting to win their own base.  They’ve had to leave it to the ringers to fight the campaign against Emmer.

So far in this campaign, as the DFL hammers its way toward its primary next month, most of the attacks against Tom Emmer have come from a shadowy group, “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”.

I’ve busted them repeatedly stretching the truth and/or lying;  the Twin Cities’ ABC affiliate followed suit earlier this week.

But who are these people?  And where did they get the money to run all these slick (if utterly truth-free) ads, and all these posh (but amateurishly-designed) websites?

Because they run through a lot of money!

2006 Campaign – We first heard of “Alliance For A Better Minnesota” (A4aBM) during the 2006 campaign.  During that outing, A4aBM spent $2,545,162 – about $2.3 million of it in ads against Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Where did that money come from?

Their donor list is as follows:

  • CWA COPE $5,000
  • MAPE $5,000
  • Midwest Values PAC (Al Franken’s PAC) $5,000
  • MN AFL-CIO $5,000
  • United Food Comml Workers $7,500
  • Ma Mah Wi No Min Fund1 (Mille Lacs Tribe) $7,000

Unions and Native American gambling interests so far; no big surprises.

  • Tom Kayser (MN) $7,500  [One of Minneapolis attorney and several-time DFL Senate contender Mike Ciresi’s cronies]
  • Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux $15,000
  • MN Nurses $15,000
  • United Steelworkers $22,000
  • Afscme Council 5 – $25,000
  • Lks and Plains Carpenters $25,000
  • IBEW MN State Council $25,000
  • Intl Union of Operating Engineers $25,000
  • America Votes MN $30,040 [aka “ACORN 2.0“]
  • Coalition for Progress $50,000 (Mich)
  • Laborers Dist Cncl $60,000
  • Pat Stryker (CO) $100,000
  • SEIU MN State Cncl $100,000
  • Educ. MN $135,000
  • Tim Gill (CO) $300,000
  • Alida Messinger (NY) $746,000
  • Win Minnesota $778,500;

So – out of two and a half million dollars spent, about 20% – about $449,000 – came from those whom I thought were the most likely suspects, the unions.

And nearly 2/3 , over $1.5 million, came from two sources – “Alida Messinger”, and a group called “Win Minnesota”.

We’ll come back to both of them.

2010 Campaign So Far – To date in the gubernatorial campaign, A4aBM has raised $93,386 (as of this past Tuesday).  They’d spent $72,383 of it as of Tuesday (on ads that were, as we ascertained earlier this week,of dubious factuality).   Of that $93,386, 79.636 of it came from the “Win Minnesota PAC”.

So that’s two election cycles in a row (so far) where “Win Minnesota” has been the leading funder of scabrous hit pieces against Republican candidates.

Win Minnesota?  Seems pretty innocuous, doesn’t it?

Who is “Win Minnesota”, And Who Funds Them? – Here’s the list of major contributors to “Win Minnesota” during the 2006 campaign.  I’ll be adding the emphasis for reasons that’ll become fairly obvious:

  • Anne Bartley (San Fran) $25,000 [Linked via the Rockefeller foundation to Alida Messinger – whose maiden name was “Rockefeller” and who…well, we’ll get back to that.  She’s also linked to Hillary Clinton’s “Women’s Leadership Council” and former Clinton administration figure]
  • Shayna Berkowitz (Mpls) $100,000; ]
  • John Cowles (Mpls) $20,000; [Why yes, the former Minneapolis Star Tribune publisher!  But don’t you dare say the Strib is biased!]
  • Andrew Dayton (Mpls) $1,000;
  • David Dayton (Mpls) $5,000;
  • Eric Dayton (Mpls) $1,000;
  • Mark Dayton (Mpls) $25,000;
  • Mary Lee Dayon (Mpls) $100,000;
  • Vanessa Dayton $1,000;
  • Sandra Ferry (NY) $50,000; [Yet another Rockefeller – sister of Alida Messinger]
  • Barbara Forster (Mpls) $25,000; [generic liberal with deep pockets]
  • Roger Hale (Mpls) $100,000; [Former Daytons’ executive]
  • John Harris (PA)$20,000;
  • Myron Kunin $5,000; [Hair care tycoon]
  • Kim Lund (Mpls) $25,000
  • Darlene Luther 47A Committee $10,000 ;
  • Alida Messinger (NY) $165,000;
  • Midwest Values PAC (Franken) $20,000;
  • Linda Pritzker (TX) $30,000; [Scionette of the Hyatt fortune, big-time liberal with deep pockets; major donor to]
  • Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux $10,000;
  • Tina Smith (Mpls) $10,000;
  • Lynde Uihlein (WI)$100,000; [Schlitz heiress, long-time political plutocrat]
  • Julie Zelle (MN) $5,000

That was a lot of Daytons, and people linked with the Daytons…wasn’t it?

So how about this year?

So far in 2010, “Win Minnesota” lists the following donors to “Win Minnesota”‘s current warchest (currently worth $1,173,500), again with emphasis added by me:

  • Andrew Dayton $1,000
  • David Dayton $50,000
  • John cowles $25,000 [Remember him from 2006?]
  • MaryLee Dayton $250,000
  • Emily Tuttle (MN) $5,000
  • Ronald Sternal (MN) $5,000
  • Alida Messinger (NY) $500,000
  • James Deal (MN) $50,000
  • Roger Hale (MN) $10,000 [Remember him from above?]
  • Barbara forster (MN) $25,000
  • Democratic Governors Association $250,000;

So of the $1.1 and change million warchest, $851,000 came from Daytons, and Alida Messinger.

But wait!  There is another fund registered with the state, with a different account number but with the same email and street addresses as “Minnesota Wins”, that has $850,000 socked away but has spent no money.

And where did that $850,000 come from?

  • Alida Messinger (Mpls) $50,000
  • Win Minnesota $50,000
  • Education MN $250,000
  • Laborers District Council $100,000
  • MAPE $50,000
  • IBEW MN State Council $50,000
  • MN Nurses Assc $50,000
  • Local 49 Engineers $25,000
  • Vance Opperman $50,000 [WestLaw poobah and longtime DFL mega-activist]
  • Afscme Council 5 $50,000
  • MN AFL-CIO $25,000
  • SEIU MN State Council $50,000
  • AFSCME (Wash DC) $50,000;

And who is this Alita Messinger who has contributed so mightily – over $1.46 million over the past four years! – to the cause of disinforming Minnesotans about Republicans?  Other than the youngest daughter of John D. Rockefeller III?

The ex-wife of candidate Mark Dayton.

So “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” is essentially a front for a group of unions and, to the tune of millions over the past four years, Mark Dayton’s family, friends and ex-wife.

They are paying millions of dollars to advertise – and hiding it from casual view behind two layers of astroturf.

Mark Dayton is trying to buy the election, but he’s taking great pains to make sure you don’t know about it.

Crossposted at Shot In The Dark and True North.

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The Democratic party is one vast influence peddling operation.

rob verdi on July 17, 2010 at 8:57 AM

I expect no better and people are getting immune to this as long as it’s not evil corporations (that employ people, so unfairly, when they should just be giving them their “fair share”)

clnurnberg on July 17, 2010 at 9:00 AM

The Strib won’t have an expose on it any time soon either.

gitarfan on July 17, 2010 at 9:02 AM

But they have such good intentions, I mean, who doesn’t want a better Minnesota? Seriously, great recap and report, these types of things need to be exposed. I would be outraged to know my union dues were being wasted on crap like this.

PatMac on July 17, 2010 at 9:06 AM

Two things going down the tubes in November—Democrats and Unions

It’s almost borderline criminal the way these two entities go hand in hand with their quid pro quos and “deal-making exemptions” when unions only represent 12-14% of the workforce. But you’ve got to give the unions some credit, they’re always organized at every election cycle.

But, if it’s the unions that are a driving force for these liberal policies that have contributed to this unsustainable national debt, then we should make sure the voting public understands they are just as complicit as the Democrats in driving this economy to utter ruin.

Rovin on July 17, 2010 at 9:25 AM

I didn’t realize that Mn. was such a bought and paid for “principality”. Ed you need to get the locals to get their “tucs” out of their eyes.

tim c on July 17, 2010 at 9:34 AM

The Democratic party is one vast influence peddling operation criminal conspiracy.


N. O'Brain on July 17, 2010 at 9:37 AM

It’s only July and I’m already sick of hearing Dayton say “I’ll make the rich pay their fair share!”. He hasn’t learned anything from NY or RI that decided to tax the wealthy and watched them leave those states in droves.

Could we get a remedial political education class that explains to canidates that the more money people have, the easier it is for them to leave? And of course, that moves the rest of us “up the food chain” in taxes so pretty soon the “rich” are those with actual jobs.

darury on July 17, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Great stuff, Mitch. Glad to see that the DFL has made its peace with Citizens United, huh? Two observations:

1) Matt Entenza is one of Brave Sir Mark’s primary opponenents. He’s trying to buy the election too (with his wife’s money), but at least he’s up front about it.

2) Gitarfan is correct — the Strib won’t touch this one with a 10-foot pole. The two people who should are the political reporters for the two major television stations in the Twin Cities: John Croman at KARE and Pat Kessler at WCCO. If either had even an ounce of integrity, they’d use the information you’ve gathered and broadcast it. Too bad there’s almost no chance these partisan hacks will do it.

Mr. D on July 17, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Well, isn’t that interesting. The old adage “follow the money” seems to be a winner—–again.

BetseyRoss on July 17, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Excellent research. The connections are unbelievable.

Anita MonCrief on July 17, 2010 at 9:48 AM

So what else is new? Marky bought his US Senate seat the same way (with a very slick advertising campaign that could’ve been for diet cola as well as Dayton) and the rubes of 10,000 lakes keep falling for it.

Skipper50 on July 17, 2010 at 9:55 AM

Hope he (Dayton) gets Senator Al Franken to come back and campaign for him.

BigWyo on July 17, 2010 at 9:59 AM

Two things going down the tubes in November—Democrats and Unions

Rovin on July 17, 2010 at 9:25 AM

Dunno about that. The just passed finance reform bill puts unions on the BOD of banks and financial institutions. I’d say they are gaining ground, what with the GM takeover.

a capella on July 17, 2010 at 10:04 AM

The GOP has endorsed Tom Emmer, a solid conservative in the Chris Christie mold.

Sorry, but when Chris Christie was made he broke the mold!

Professor_Chaos on July 17, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Mark Dayton, Jesse Ventura, Al Franken, what a Minnesota trifecta! Dayton is following his typical behavior, that of a spoiled rich kid who decides to run for an office every few years when he gets bored. Vote Tom Emmer!

ironranger on July 17, 2010 at 10:29 AM

The Indians support Dayton? Wow, I thought they had issue with Target….

jbh45 on July 17, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Follow the money indeed. Good job, Mr. Berg.

swash_plate on July 17, 2010 at 10:47 AM

I hope Emmer does get to run against the former Senator. His straight liberal voting record and his gutlessness will be on display for all to see then. Emmer does not seem to be the kind of guy who avoids conflict where as Dayton is a typical passive-agressive appeaser.

Tony253 on July 17, 2010 at 11:10 AM

Can we say PONZI…

reshas1 on July 17, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Strangely enough, Bachmann is my congresswoman and Emmer was my state rep, so it’s pretty clear who I will be voting for; Dayton is a psychotic who should be locked up.

Bishop on July 17, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Perhaps this will come back to haunt him:

Dayton Graded Own Senate Performance An “F.” “If U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., was to grade himself on his accomplishments in Congress, it would be an ‘F,’ he told students Thursday at the Renville County West High School in Renville.” (Tom Cherveny, “Senator Says He Gives Himself An ‘F,’” West Central Tribune, April 21, 2006)

MagicalPat on July 17, 2010 at 11:52 AM


mrt721 on July 17, 2010 at 11:54 AM

Dayton is the guy who, IIRC, spent $30 million of his own money to win the senate seat in 2000 — and, then DID NOT DO ANYTHING of value in the U.S. Senate. Why would someone do that? If he wanted to be a senator that bad, why not leave an impression of doing something?

LindaDinNev on July 17, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Let’s hope the good folks of Minnesota have their heads out. How in hell did Franken ever get in there?

LarryG on July 17, 2010 at 1:52 PM

I know little of this man.

BUT An embarrassing fact about capitalism is that heirs often get the money.

Any member of the Congressional Black Caucus might be better than guys like this SINCE THEY TRAVELED AT LEAST SOMEWHAT BY DINT OF THEIR OWN EFFORTS AND SKILLS.

IlikedAUH2O on July 17, 2010 at 3:08 PM

My understanding of inherited money is like this:
1st generation earns it.
2nd generation sits on it.
3rd generation spends/blows it.

Mirimichi on July 17, 2010 at 3:33 PM

I vote for Emmer even though I am not from Minnesota.

I also vote for hotair to remove the ridiculous adds such as the one above. Jeebus!! Yeah, I made the mistake one time of clicking on it and I want my money back even though I did buy into it. I hadda extract myself from the darn thing.

And show the Monty Python? clip!

Sherman1864 on July 17, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Retraction. Not Monty Python clip? My bad.

Sherman1864 on July 17, 2010 at 5:09 PM

Let them spend their damn money. See what it gets them.

AshleyTKing on July 17, 2010 at 5:17 PM


And people are complaining about Alvin Greene (D-SC)?

Compared to this twit Greene is the second coming of Lincoln.

memomachine on July 17, 2010 at 10:52 PM

Don’t forget when dayton ran and was elected to the senate he spent 17 million of his own money to get elected. I lived in minnesocold for 27 years and never understood the electorate there. Franken, the wrestler, arnie carlson, and dayton, and now after all his odd behavior as a senator he wants to be govenor. Wake up minnesota.

chicken thief on July 18, 2010 at 7:14 AM

I just returned from a fishing trip in the great state of MN. The state was beautiful, but the fishing was lousy. While there, I occasioned to wash the tube. The TV was filled with indefinite commercials from (I presme) the DFL, blaming everyting from the weather to tooth decay on Pawlenty and Emmer. The commercials complained that their childred were uneducated because of the Repubs. (It takes a lot of moxie for the Repubs to go into each classroom and prevent the union teachers from teaching). The economy was the governor’s, not Obama’s or even Bush’s

The most interesting thing for me was that these overfunded DFL morons did not follow the first premise of political ads. The entire ads were filled with Pawlenty’s and Emmer’s names posted prominantly at the top. I took me three ads to figure out who the DFL candidate was. Dayton was mentioned in small print or voice buried deep in the AD, while Pawelenty’s was featured prominantly on every take. That is a lot of free advertising for the governor, particulary when the negatives were old socialist sibboleth’s at which everyone laughs. The only phrase they didn’t use was “capitalist running dog lackey”.

There would be no hope that these ads would provide anything but humor in a normal state, but remember, Minnesota elected Ventura and Frankin.

Old Country Boy on July 18, 2010 at 8:31 AM

The Democratic party is one vast influence peddling operation.


Now, isn’t that a little closer to the truth?

oldleprechaun on July 18, 2010 at 10:50 AM

Wonder where they learned it. Hello George Soros. Oh nevermind.

Tacitus on July 19, 2010 at 3:06 AM