WASHINGTON, D.C. — University of Minnesota’s Smart Politics asks “Who Does Keith Ellison Represent?” in an article today that details the congressman’s first quarter 2009 FEC filings and finds that more than 80 percent of his itemized individual campaign contributions came from those living outside the North Star State.
“From where is Ellison receiving all of these out-of-state funds? Who is taking such an unusual interest in Minnesota’s Congressman from the 5th District?” asks Smart Politics’ author Eric Ostermeier.
“Since 2006, Ellison has received itemized funds from residents of 34 states plus the District of Columbia. Minnesotans have contributed to just over one-third of these funds, 36.5 percent. California residents have been the second largest funders of Ellison’s campaigns, at 14.2 percent, followed by Florida (9.4 percent), Illinois (6.3 percent), Michigan (6.0 percent), and New Jersey (4.6 percent).”
Ostermeier’s interesting analysis is as follows:
“And whereas Representative Bachmann’s high-profile media appearances during the past year have coincided with an increase in fundraising for her in Minnesota, Ellison’s Page 1 story in becoming the first Muslim elected to Congress has coincided with a surge in campaign contributions from out-of-state, particularly in states with some of the largest number of Muslim-American residents (e.g. California, Illinois, New Jersey, Michigan).
“One presumes Ellison, like any officeholder, gladly accepts large contributions from those in his home state, if so offered. But, for whatever reason, those contributions are not coming in at a rate Representative Ellison can find elsewhere. And, as a result, he is turning to communities in states like California, Florida, Illinois, and Michigan to substantially fund his campaigns.
“All of this data raises some key questions. Are residents of Minnesota’s 5th District aware of this stark funding imbalance to their Representative in the U.S. House? Why has Ellison been less than successful in soliciting campaign contributions from his constituents and residents statewide? And, most importantly, how does such a reliance on out-of-state funding affect, if at all, Ellison’s ability to represent the interests of the residents of the 5th District?
“Representative Ellison’s reelection to D.C. by a 48.9-point margin last November indicates his constituents are either unaware of or untroubled by his receipt of such a large percentage of out-of-state funding, or are nonetheless quite content with his voting record and leadership on Capitol Hill.”