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.]