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Media political donations: Michele Tafoya to Emmer

It's always an end-of-election parlor game to figure out which media figures show up on campaign finance reports. Four years ago, it was Fox9 morning anchor Alix Kendall, who gave $250 to Al Franken's Midwest Values PAC; somewhat embarrassingly, she explained she thought the donation was anonymous.

In the wake of yesterday's reports from the three gubernatorial candidates, the list of media givers is pretty skinny. (Most of us use our jobs as a handy excuse not to give.) The biggest name is WCCO-AM afternoon host Michele Tafoya, who donated $120 to Republican Tom Emmer between May and July under her married name, Michele Vandersall. AP's Brian Bakst spotted it Tuesday.

Knowing me for the liberal running dog that I am, I still regularly get emails from Good Neighbor listeners griping about Tafoya's conservatism. It's a little hard to get worked up about this donation, though. Talk show hosts are in the opinion business, and while Tafoya isn't exactly Jason Lewis (or even Dark Star) when it comes to vehemence, if she wants to throw her money in that direction, fine.

According to WCCO-AM program director Wendy Paulson, the station has no policy restricting political contributions by hosts. (I emailed Tafoya via her producer as well as Paulson, but the P.D. is doing the talking.)

Paulson adds that Tafoya has not mentioned her financial support for Emmer on the air. Should she? Full disclosure is generally good, but I suppose it could further polarize Tafoya on a station that generally shies away from that. Needless to say, Tafoya's influence on the election probably equals Kendall's.

The other media donation, which has been reported, belongs to outdoors host and former Star Tribune columnist Ron Schara. He gave $500 to Tom Horner.

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Comments (2)

Good reason to not tune in to her show. Should any radio host be contributing to any candidate? I think not, and don't give me the 1st Amendment ploy. No more valid than the idea that cab drivers can choose to not take passengers with wine bottles because of their religous belief. If she chooses to be an afternoon host, she should limit her political support.

Any of you actually listened to 'cco lately?

I used to listen regularly. Now I do by accident because of my previously programmed startup setting in the car. (I've got to change that)

If I had wanted to listen to "AM 1500 KSTP" I would have done so - not have "aggressive talk" inflicted upon me by formerly staid WCCO.