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D.C. Memo: Spilling the beans

A quick look at the fundraising in the Fifth Congressional District; Angie Craig passes two bills; and McCollum and Omar push for appropriations for the Twin Cities.

President Trump advocated for Goya, which is well known as a distributor of beans and adobo seasoning. The CEO of Goya Foods praised the president last week, angering a number of fans.
REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo. This week from Washington, a quick look at the fundraising in the Fifth Congressional District; Angie Craig passes two bills; and McCollum and Omar push for appropriations for the Twin Cities. Let’s get on with this.

Fifth District funds

The race in Congressional District Five between Rep. Ilhan Omar and DFL newcomer Antone Melton-Meaux continues to surprise. A big one: as Briana Bierschbach at The Star Tribune reports, Melton-Meaux took a wide fundraising lead in the second quarter of 2019, which runs from April to the end of June.

Melton-Meaux raised more than $3.2 million, while Omar, still one of the most prolific fundraisers in the House, took in $471,624. One big Melton-Meaux donor that caught my eye: Haim Saban, of Power Rangers distribution fame.

A sixth of Melton-Meaux’s total fundraising haul, about $500,000, comes from money bundled through NORPAC and Pro-Israel America, two PACs that lean toward conservative policies on Israel. We examined Melton-Meaux’s relationship with NORPAC, a group that includes a number of Trump supporters in its ranks, last week.

Other money has also started pouring into the race. A Republican Super PAC, Americans for Tomorrow’s Future, is sending out mailers in support of Melton-Meaux.

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A tale of two bills

Rep. Angie Craig passed two bills through the House in the last month. One was almost immediately signed by the president; the other will likely languish without a Senate voice. Both of Craig’s bills are representative of the current Congress. Democratic Senators like Tina Smith call the Senate a “legislative graveyard.”

In total, 148 laws passed by Congress in the current Congressional session, which started in January of 2019, have been enacted. That’s down from around 800 per session in the 1970s and ’80s, and down from 300 to 500 bills per session more recently.

There are more than 400 bills that have passed the House currently waiting for a Senate vote. In contrast, there are 141 bills that have passed the Senate that are waiting for a vote in the House.

Read more at MinnPost.

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By the numbers

  • $2,000: Rick Nolan, the former representative of Minnesota’s 8th District, gave current DFL congressional candidate Quinn Nystrom $2,000 for her congressional campaign to oust Republican Rep. Pete Stauber. Nolan retired in 2018 and was briefly a candidate for lieutenant governor on former Attorney General Lori Swanson’s ticket.
  • $18,750: What is Sen. Al Franken doing with his leadership PAC’s money? He donated $75,000 to charitable causes like Women’s Advocates and the The Du Nord Foundation. But he also spent $18,750 on communications consultants in D.C., New Partners Consulting, which is run by former DFL Executive Director Corey Day. 
  • 35%: There has been an estimated 35 percent decline in childhood immunizations in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Emergency assistance appropriations

Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota’s Fourth District and Omar of Minnesota’s Fifth added language to the fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills that will help get emergency assistance funding for the Twin Cities, after President Donald Trump denied Minnesota emergency assistance. Here’s what McCollum, who is an appropriations sub-committee chair, said in a statement:

President Trump’s denial of critical emergency assistance to the Twin Cities was a callous political decision that hurt the innocent neighborhoods and businesses devastated by the consequences of civil unrest. The power of the Appropriations Committee provides an avenue to direct federal support to communities in dire need. It is going to take some time, but we have succeeded in advancing language that opens the door for federal funding in the next fiscal year to help with long-term recovery. Along with a new president in the White House, this language will empower the next administration to invest in urban communities working to take on economic and racial inequality.

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In other news

Quote of the week

“If it’s Goya, it has to be good,” reads a caption next to Ivanka Trump’s photo, after the president advocated for Goya Foods, which is well known as a distributor of beans and adobo seasoning. The CEO of Goya Foods praised the president last week, angering a number of fans.

What I’m reading

Hannah Giorgis in The Atlantic: The Harper’s Letter Is a Weak Defense of Free Speech

Did you read The Harper’s letter? Giorgis makes what I think is a clear eyed argument for how to to interpret it.

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.