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Not just Emmer: KSTP’s corporation helps fund new effort to elect legislators

KSTP’s corporate parent, Hubbard Broadcasting Inc., has once again contributed money to a pro-business group trying to elect Minnesota candidates. In this case, HBI gave $10,000 to Pro Jobs Majority, a Minnesota Chamber of Commerce group focused on legislative races.

This summer, HBI gave $100,000 to MnForward, whose main effort is making Republican Tom Emmer governor. KSTP-TV initially failed to disclose the corporate conflict of interest when reviewing MnForward ads, though such disclosure was added after the first report.

Pro Jobs Majority spokesman Bill Blazar wouldn’t say how his campaign will advertise, noting his group was only organized in the last few weeks.

KSTP was also the only station that did not disclose state-level independent-group TV ad buys in its FCC-mandated “public file.” Now, all Twin Cities TV stations decline to release the data. Federal law does not extend to state-focused groups like Pro Jobs Majority, MnForward or DFL groups like Alliance for a Better Minnesota.

Blazar declined to reveal a budget, or say whether the pro-business group’s legislative favorites would tilt Republican. “We haven’t decided,” he said. “Our efforts will be a lot more bipartisan than some of the DFL-leaning groups.”

While the corporate donations are new — a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision that allowed direct candidate advocacy — the Hubbard family has donated individually to candidates and pro-business groups for years. The Chamber has a separate Leadership Fund for the individual contributions.

Groups such as Pro Jobs Majority are still required to operate independently of the candidates’ campaigns.

In the Twin Cities, HBI also owns KSTC-TV and radio stations ESPN 1500, KS95 and MyTalk 107.1.

[Hat tip: I first saw this via MPR political reporter Tom Scheck’s tweet.]

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Fritz Dahmus on 10/21/2010 - 11:28 am.

    Nothing new here….move along now.

    Rush used to have a show on KSTP-AM….hello!!

    The Hubbards have always leaned right, have always donated privately to right-leaning groups. Now they are doing it through their private corp because of “Citizens United”. I just wish ALL political donations were required to be fully disclosed. The more info the better, but not in the form of a “news breaking” MinnPost article. Not helpful…as usual.

  2. Submitted by Swanson Painter on 10/21/2010 - 11:50 am.

    This is news. When a TV station that is given the responsibility to report the news on the public airwaves, it should not be giving money to elect political candidates without telling the public in every news program. It should be telling the public which candidates and how much money is being given. This would allow the viewer to decide if we are really getting the “news”?
    I no longer watch or listen to any Hubbard owned companies. I liken them to FOX.
    It is getting harder to actually find real news anywhere in our society.
    But, when a company that owns the number of broadcasting outlets that Hubbard does
    chooses to give money to political candidates, the public does have the right to know, and the Hubbard should have the obligation to alert the viewers and listeners.

  3. Submitted by B Maginnis on 10/21/2010 - 12:15 pm.

    Ahem, Swanson?

    HBI is a privately owned company.

    They also hold FCC licenses.

    They owe handwringers such as yourself no explanations regarding who they support with donations, under the law.

    Don’t you have a Target “boycott” to attend to?

    Why do you hate jobs?

  4. Submitted by David Brauer on 10/21/2010 - 01:20 pm.

    Fritz – not helpful to whom exactly?

  5. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 10/21/2010 - 01:45 pm.

    Bob Maginnis,

    Say hi to Stan the next time you and he are meeting at a Republican event.

  6. Submitted by Bill Coleman on 10/21/2010 - 07:17 pm.

    It seems that owning the FCC granted broadcasting license would require some public interest non-partisanship by station owners. The publicly licensed airwaves are quite different than the Internet, newspapers and other forms of free press. By the granting of the license, the owner agrees to serve the community in the public interest.

    I agree that it is no surprise that KSTP is right-wing based on past performance, but contributing pre-tax corporate funds to political campaigns is a step way past the expected bias.

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