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D.C. Memo: Something in the water

3M’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs Denise R. Rutherford
Oversight Committee video screen shot
3M’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Denise R. Rutherford, testifying on Tuesday before a House oversight panel.

The D.C. Memo is a weekly recap of Washington political news, journalism, and opinion, delivered with an eye toward what matters for Minnesota. Sign up to get it in your inbox every Thursday.

Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo. This week in Washington, corporate executives deny there is a problem, the Minnesota congressional delegation talks gun legislation, and Al Franken returns (somewhat). Let’s get on with this.

Keeping an eye on 3M

This week marked the first time Maplewood-based 3M testified in front of the House Oversight Committee. The result? The company said they do not believe potentially cancer-causing chemicals they used in a variety of consumer products — two types of compounds in a group known as PFAS — are harmful unless people are exposed in extremely high concentrations. Read more at MinnPost.

“In many ways Minnesota, my state, is ground zero for for the PFAS contamination that confronts the country,” former Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson testified before the committee.


Gun legislation

There were multiple mass shootings over the long recess before Congress went back into session this week. What do members, particularly Minnesota members, intend to do moving forward? Patrick Condon at the Star Tribune has the story.

“If I hear the words ‘common-sense gun legislation’ one more time, I’ll throw up,” Rep. Collin Peterson, of Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District told the Strib. “This is poll-tested nonsense.”

Florida, man

On Wednesday, Peterson effectively voted against the state of Florida. Peterson and all three Republicans in the Minnesota delegation voted against a bill supported by 26 Florida congress members: 13 Democrats and 13 Republicans.

The bill, The Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act, “permanently extends the moratorium on oil and gas leasing, pre-leasing, and related activities in certain areas of the Gulf of Mexico.”

Only four other Democrats joined Peterson in bucking the Democratic delegation, all from Texas: Reps. Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-7), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), and Filemon Vela (TX-34).

Attempting a comeback

Former Sen. Al Franken, who resigned after being accused by eight women of sexual misconduct, will be headlining the Politicon conference, which features pundits from around the country.


Other speakers include Donna Brazille, the former Democratic National Committee chair who leaked debate topics to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016; Sean Hannity, the Fox News host who recently defended the racist “send her back” chants; and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House press secretary who refused to say that the press are not the “enemy of the people.” Truly an evening to remember.

Franken’s appearance follows a scheduled speaking event in Portland, Oregon on Oct 2.

The President next door

The third Democratic presidential debate was  last night. It was the first time we got to see (almost) everyone on one stage: Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Minnesota’s own Sen. Amy Klobuchar, among others. You can watch the debate here. 

Speaking of, former Vice President Walter Mondale withdrew his statement that Klobuchar’s campaign has become a “prayer.” Nevermind, he says. “I had a bad day,” he told the New York Times. “I dismiss and reject what I said.”

Will you be watching? Let me know your thoughts at gschneider@minnpost.com.

In other news

  • In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court said the Trump administration could continue the “Remain in Mexico” policy, in which asylum seekers are made to remain in Mexico until they receive a hearing. Only Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg explicitly dissented.
  • Purdue Pharma and its owners, members of the Sackler family, have tentatively reached a $3 billion dollar settlement for the devastation resulting from the opioid epidemic.
  • California legislators passed AB-5, a bill that would reclassify independent workers, like Uber drivers, as employees of the company, a move that Uber and Lyft said they will fight in the coming weeks with a ballot measure.
  • India is building mass detention camps after almost two million people in the state of Assam were told they could be effectively stripped of citizenship.


What I’m reading

Jennifer Bendery for HuffPost: Controversial Trump Court Pick Gets Expedited Senate Confirmation Hearing

Who is Federal court nominee Steven Menashi and where does he come from? Read this whole piece, but this excerpt should help explain why you should:

Menashi’s past writings include him comparing race data collection in college admissions to Germany under Adolf Hitler; denouncing women’s marches as sexual assault; opposing the ”radical abortion rights advocated by campus feminists and codified in Roe v. Wade”; arguing that diverse communities “exhibit less political and civic engagement, less effective government institutions, and fewer public goods”; and writing that it is “ridiculous” to say that students chanting the Dartmouth football cheer, “Wah-hoo-wah! Scalp ’em!,” are propagating “a racist belief in the inferiority of American Indians.”

Suhauna Hussain for the LA Times: 48 states are probing Google on antitrust grounds. Why isn’t California?

California is one of less than a handful of states not investigating Google, which is based in… California. A reporter tries to figure out why.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for sticking around. Until next week, feel free to send tips, suggestions, and sound advice to: gschneider@minnpost.com. Follow at @gabemschneider. And don’t forget to become a MinnPost member.

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