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D.C. Memo: Conventional jokes

This week from Washington, the Democratic convention, Rep. Jim Hagedorn fires his chief of staff and Trump’s new unemployment payments aren’t coming any time soon.

photo of amy klobuchar
Sen. Amy Klobuchar delivered an address on the first night of the Democratic National Convention.

Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo. This week from Washington, the Democratic convention, Rep. Jim Hagedorn fires his chief of staff and Trump’s new unemployment payments aren’t coming anytime soon. Let’s get on with this.

The Democratic convention

Democrats met (mostly virtually) this week, from Monday to Thursday, in order to formally nominate Joe Biden to be the Democratic candidate for president. Minnesotans from all around the state attended as delegates.

Kevin Diaz at the Star Tribune writes about the virtual roll call process, where Minnesota politicians like St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and Sen. Amy Klobuchar represented their home delegates to nominate Joe Biden for President.

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Torey Van Oot and Zoë Jackson at the Star Tribune talked to at least two: Claudia Moses, a 17-year-old delegate who supported Sen. Bernie Sanders; and her grandfather and political mentor, Jules Goldstein, a Biden delegate.

To get a sense of how things were going, I talked to Sami Banat, a Sen. Elizabeth Warren delegate from St. Paul.

Despite the virtual workaround, Banat said there’s still been a sense of community and conversation among the Minnesota delegates. “I think prior to the convention over the past couple months, we’ve been meeting regularly and discussing real issues too,” said Banat. “We’ve had a number of different debates on Zoom meetings with the delegation over different issues regarding the convention, the platform, things like that.”

As the co-founder of Minnesota High School Democrats, Banat said he was excited to see the increase in youth participation this cycle. “I think there’s always room to grow with this,” he said. “But I do think that, especially this year, there’s been a lot more youth participation, which has been warmly welcomed by the party. A lot of young people are stepping up, through really any level of the convention process, starting back at the precinct caucuses.”

Hagedorn’s mail

Rep. Jim Hagedorn fired his chief of staff after it became clear that he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on franked mail, which was paid to a consultant that had a role in the office.

According to Legistorm, a non-partisan congressional research organization, Hagedorn spent 40 percent of his 2020 budget in just three months; that’s unusual for any member of Congress.

Daniel Newhauser, a freelancer for the Minnesota Reformer, has followed the story closely. Today, Newhauser pointed out that Hagedorn has hired attorney Elliot Berke to represent him before the House Ethics Committee. Berke is the same lawyer who represented Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of San Diego, who was investigated and sentenced to 11 months in prison for illegally spending campaign money on things like a trip to Disneyland. 

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By the numbers

Where’s your $400?

After the additional $600-per-week unemployment benefit expired, President Donald Trump promised $400 a week to most people on unemployment because of COVID-19. But that money still isn’t here — and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has no idea when it’s coming.

“Minnesota received initial guidance late [last] Wednesday from the U.S. Department of Labor,” said Rita Beatty, a spokesperson for DEED. “However, it does not provide the detailed information the state needs to administer the program. We have requested additional information.”

Read more at MinnPost.

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How Rep. Ilhan Omar won her primary

It’s a question worth looking at in terms of the complicated primary history in the Fifth District. But if you want to boil it down quickly: Omar won Minneapolis by leaps and bounds. If you want to know how that breaks down, we talked to a few people about the win. Read more at MinnPost. 

In other news

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Quote of the week

“The president may hate the post office, but he’s still going to have to send them a change of address card, come January,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, during her DNC speech.

What I’m reading

Meredith Haggerty for Vox: The MyPillow guy and oleandrin, an unproven, potentially toxic Covid-19 treatment, explained

For Vox, Meredith Haggerty read Mike Lindell’s biography to get a sense of who he is. For one, it seems to reinforce that he really thinks he’s selling something useful and not a dangerous snake oil, miracle COVID-19 cure.

Katelyn Burns for Jezebel: When Surgeons Fail Their Trans Patients on Gender Confirming Surgery

For Jezebel, Katelyn Burns writes about one of the many aspects of the health care system that fail transgender patients: surgeons who, despite causing serious problems, think they know best.

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