On the seriousness of car-bike accidents

This morning, I got hit by a car while biking northbound down Hennepin toward Loring Park.  Residents in my neighborhood will surely recognize this craptastic intersection:

Hennepin and Oak Grove

It was lightly raining, so I was going slower than usual and had my lights on.  I was actually feeling good because unlike most mornings, there weren’t any cars inching forward into the crosswalk (the green stripe in the above photo, which of course is now faded), which means it’s easy to get onto the ramp and into Loring Park.  There was no traffic in either of the two lanes on my left as I approached the intersection, so everything seemed fine.

Then, out of my peripheral vision, I see a car on my left speeding ahead, and I can see that it’s signaling for a right turn – right into where I’m about to be.  I didn’t have even close to enough time to brake (even if it weren’t raining, but especially because it was), and considering how fast they were going, this person was clearly intending to take that corner as fast as they could before I made it into the intersection.

They weren’t fast enough, and so as I’m yelling at the top of my lungs, my bike clips their rear quarter panel and I’m sent sprawling into the street.  She drives off, pretending not to have heard either me or the loud thump when my bike hit her car.

So I’m not hurt too bad (of course I’m wearing a helmet and decided to put on gloves before I left too), but I decide to call the cops to at least report the accident, seeing as it’s a hit-and-run.  I give dispatch my location and a description of the car and which way it was headed.

While I’m waiting for the cops to show up, apparently some City of Minneapolis van which was behind her manages to track her down and “inform” her of what happened.  So this young woman walks over to the intersection a few seconds before the cops show up and tells me that she was the one who hit me and that she’s really sorry.

So an officer shows up, and I explain what happened and he basically tells me that I need to be more careful because it’s raining.  Thanks!  Meanwhile, the girl who drove off after the accident but who returned to the scene after being “busted” by a city employee – the officer doesn’t even ask her name, and her car is parked way up the road, so he sure isn’t getting her license plate info either.  The cop asks her what happened first, and she says “I didn’t see him!”  After I explain my version of events, this changes a bit to “I was trying to speed up to get around him!”

But the officer doesn’t really care either way.  Which is fine for her because she needs to get going because she’s “late for an appointment.”  So the twenty-something blonde (EDIT: I used those words to inform the reader of potential bias, not to myself be sexist/blonde-ist/etc.) just leaves, while the driver of the van tries to explain to the officer that indeed *I* was somehow at fault.  He thinks that cyclists are supposed to follow the crosswalk signs, and because it was flashing orange (according to him, anyway – I distinctly remember it being white for “walk”), I shouldn’t have been in the intersection, and this whole thing is my fault.  The officer nods his head in approval and I decide to leave rather than argue.  Hopefully that city employee is not a transportation engineer.

So anyway, the moral of the story is apparently this: if you are involved in a hit-and-run with a cyclist and someone catches you, just return to the scene of the crime.  This time around, no police report was written with anyone’s name in it, she got no ticket and can continue to drive recklessly.   And if she hits another cyclist and speeds off, no one will be the wiser.

UPDATE (10/2): I went down to City Hall to find a copy of the police report that was filed for this.  There was none filed – apparently cars running over cyclists is not a serious enough incident to warrant a report.  So I filed a complaint against the officer.  Here’s the text of my complaint:

On the morning of October 1, 2014, I was travelling via bicycle in the bike lane northbound on Hennepin Avenue approaching Oak Grove Street. As I approached the intersection, a car behind me sped up to overtake me and to take a right-hand turn onto Oak Grove. The car entered the intersection at the same time that I did. I struck the rear quarter panel of the car and was thrown off my bike, sustaining minor injuries.

The car did not stop. I called 911 to report a hit-and-run. Another driver (driving a city of Minneapolis van) who was travelling northbound on Hennepin witnessed the event and pursued the driver involved in the accident. The driver who was involved in the accident walked back to the scene (after presumably being “informed” of the accident by the van driver), where she said that she was the one who hit me, and if she could do anything to help.

Moments later, Officer Collier arrived on the scene. He asked what happened and the woman who hit me said that she did not see me as she was turning. I also gave my version of events, which were largely the same, after which the woman claimed that she did see me but was speeding up to get around me. After this brief interaction, the woman was allowed to leave without offering her name, license, or license plate information, let alone be given a ticket for reckless driving or leaving the scene of an accident.

I was disappointed in this response by Officer Collier, who also informed me that I was actually the one who needed to be more careful. I know exactly how careful I need to be, as I bike through this intersection almost every day. It is because of reckless drivers like the one who hit me that I exercise extreme caution. That no ticket was given for endangering my life indicates that MPD approves of the status quo: drivers are free to do what they want, and that cyclists need to figure out how to stay out of the way. My views on this were reinforced by the officer’s unwillingess to question why the driver was fled the scene – I find it difficult to understand how someone could just continue driving after hearing an object strike their car.

It has also come to my attention that no police report has been filed in this matter. I think a police report should be filed when cars strike cyclists or pedestrians. I also do not think it’s wise policy to allow hit-and-run drivers to go free without consequences, even if they later return to the scene of the crime. If it weren’t for the motorist who tracked her down, she would have gotten away without consequences. (Though in this case, even after returning to the accident scene, she was able to avoid any consequences.)

I live less than one block away from where a cyclist was struck and killed earlier this year. The ghost bike memorial there is a daily reminder of the fragile nature of riding a bike alongside cars and trucks. I would like the Minneapolis Police Department to show better judgment and impose serious penalties for reckless drivers when responding to car-bike and car-pedestrian accidents.

Letter to NY Times public editor

I’m trying to get in the habit of cc’ing the internet when I write to institutions, so here’s an email I sent to the New York Times public editor.  I’ll update with any response I receive.

To the Public Editor,

I am writing today about “Eyes Everywhere”, a Sunday Book Review of Glenn Greenwald’s recent memoir.  I found it on the web and am unclear on whether it has been published in the paper or not.
My primary criticism, which I will keep brief, boils down to the fact that this writer is clearly biased against Mr. Greenwald.  While I appreciate the candor of the reviewer – no attempt to conceal the bias is made – perhaps there is someone else who could review the book who doesn’t have such an axe to grind?  His sweeping generalizations (“Greenwald quotes any person or publication taking his side in any argument”), defense of weak journalism practices (“It seems clear, at least to me, that the private companies that own newspapers, and their employees, should not have the final say over the release of government secrets, and a free pass to make them public with no legal consequences. In a democracy (which, pace Greenwald, we still are), that decision must ultimately be made by the government.”), and assertions that Greenwald has been reckless with his reporting are all examples of a lazy review.
For the record, I’m currently a little over halfway through the book, and while it’s just a memoir and might only be interesting to a small group of people, I don’t think a book review is an appropriate place for the New York Times to continue its criticisms of Mr. Greenwald.  Furthermore, I hope that the editors of theNew York Times do not share Mr. Kinsley’s views regarding the role of journalism in modern society.  Expecting transparency from government institutions without the ability for journalists to publish government documents is a hopelessly naive position to take.

Open Letter to Katie Sieben on Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV)

I wrote an email to Senate Subcommittee Chair on Elections Katie Sieben (sen.katie.sieben at senate dot mn), and I encourage you to do the same if you want to encourage the possibility of ranked-choice voting in cities across Minnesota:

I was disappointed to read your quote in the Star Tribune editorial about ranked-choice voting.  Obviously your position means more than more others, as you are the Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Elections.  Ranking preferences of candidates is not “too complicated” for voters.  In fact, it’s much easier than deciding whether to vote for the candidate I really want, or to vote for the candidate who is most likely to defeat someone I want out of office.  *That* creates a much more complicated scenario than it needs to be!

All cities in Minnesota should at least have the option of exploring whether RCV would work for them.  There must be a stronger argument against RCV than “it’s too complicated” and I would like to hear it.  Even grade schoolers know how to rank things.

One reason I am writing this letter today is the dismal turnout (six percent) at yesterday’s primary for Hennepin County Commissioner.  While it will always be challenging to encourage turnout at off-year primaries for special elections, RCV would eliminate the primary and allow Minnesotans to vote just once for important positions.  Minneapolis proved last year that RCV is a smart way to handle elections when many candidates are seeking office.

Please reconsider your position on ranked-choice voting.

Heartbleed and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

As the Heartbleed story broke last week, a number of individuals and security vendors released tools designed to test for the vulnerability.  One very popular tool was written and hosted by Filippo Valsorda.  Many systems administrators took advantage of this free tool in order to test the security of their own systems.

Tools that test for vulnerabilities make the internet more secure.  Consumers feel safer knowing their bank or email provider is not leaking sensitive information.  Similarly, websites which do not immediately patch their systems put their customers’ data at risk, and assessment tools allow this information to be known.  A publicly-available assessment tool allows anybody to test whether sites they rely on are properly protecting data.

But releasing these assessment tools to the public is problematic from a legal perspective.  Using a security assessment tool to test any site you don’t control is a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

The CFAA amended 18 USC § 1030 to define crimes which occur due to computer misuse.  Multiple clauses of this law could be violated by scanning a website for vulnerabilities without prior authorization.  The Heartbleed bug allows an attacker to receive information located in a server’s memory just by asking for it, so the way to assess whether a particular server is secure is to ask for extra information and see whether the server provides it.  Subsection (a)(2)(c) of 18 USC § 1030 deals specifically with unauthorized access to information:

(a) Whoever —

(2) intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access, and thereby obtains—

(C) information from any protected computer;

What exactly is a “protected computer”?   The CFAA defines such in subsection (e)(2):

(e) As used in this section–

(2) the term “protected computer” means a computer–

(A) exclusively for the use of a financial institution or the United States Government, or, in the case of a computer not exclusively for such use, used by or for a financial institution or the United States Government and the conduct constituting the offense affects that use by or for the financial institution or the Government; or

(B) which is used in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or communication, including a computer located outside the United States that is used in a manner that affects interstate or foreign commerce or communication of the United States;

(The growth of the internet, unforeseen when the CFAA was introduced in 1986, essentially means that a “protected computer” as defined above covers every internet-connected computer, as they are used in “interstate or foreign commerce or communication”.)

Of course, being charged under one section of the CFAA does not preclude being charged under additional sections.  Subsections (a)(5)(B) and (C) cover potential damage caused by access from those who:

(B) intentionally accesses a protected computer without authorization, and as a result of such conduct, recklessly causes damage;

(C) intentionally accesses a protected computer without authorization, and as a result of such conduct, causes damage and loss

Section (b) of 18 USC § 1030 makes attempting or conspiring to attempt unauthorized access a crime.  Use of a vulnerability assessment tool could be considered tantamount to “casing the joint” before actually committing the crime:

(b) Whoever conspires to commit or attempts to commit an offense under subsection (a) of this section shall be punished as provided in subsection (c) of this section.

The provisions of the CFAA were intended to fight crime, but they’ve made criminals out of every internet user who is concerned about security.  Criminalizing security research makes us all less safe – after all, how does anyone know who to trust without  basic knowledge regarding security practices?

The inability of prosecutors to uniformly enforce this outdated law also creates a system of selective enforcement.  Since it’s impossible to punish everyone, a federal prosecutor can choose who they would like to charge under this law.  The technology community is painfully aware of what happens when overzealous prosecutors take the CFAA too far.

Part of this problem is symptomatic of a larger issue.  As it stands, it is currently impossible to count the number of federal crimes that could be committed:

“There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime,” said John Baker, a retired Louisiana State University law professor who has also tried counting the number of new federal crimes created in recent years. “That is not an exaggeration.”

There have been recent efforts to reform the CFAA.  A bill introduced by Zoe Lofgren would eliminate penalties for Terms of Service violations, such as using a friend’s Netflix account or joining a class-action lawsuit against Steam or Sony.  While these reforms are a step in the right direction, they do not go far enough to de-criminalize responsible online behavior.

Additional resources:
Prosecuting Computer Crimes Handbook
A Practitioner’s Guide to the CFAA
Cybercrimes & Misdemeanors

Hennepin-Lyndale repaving project

After reviewing some of the preliminary plans for the upcoming Hennepin-Lyndale Reconstruction Project, it seems like this is going to be primarily a road paving project.  I was hoping that more improvements would be made for those of us who walk, bike, and use mass transit in this corridor.  I’m honestly a bit skeptical about what can be done to lessen the bellyaches of everyone who travels through this area, regardless of vehicle choice.  (Personally, I’m in favor of something inspired by the Walker – maybe something avant-garde like removing all the stripes on the road and replacing road signage with Kandinsky paintings)

However, a few rather simple changes could make some intersections much more safe and friendly for cyclists and pedestrians.  I live in the Whittier neighborhood, but I have stayed away from biking north or south along Hennepin due to safety concerns, and it’s one of the only stretches of “protected” cycletracks that I tell novice cyclists to avoid.  Let’s look at some problems and (more importantly) some solutions…

Hennepin & Oak Grove:

LyndaleOakGrove-300x230

As a cyclist, there are a few dangerous circumstances here that can be mitigated through smarter street design.  The first is west-facing traffic on Oak Grove attempting to turn north.  While there is both a “No Turn on Red” sign as well as a bright swath of day-glo paint, cars still meander into the bike lane, even if they don’t intend to break the law by turning on red.  This can cause accidents as well as prevent cyclists from entering or exiting Loring Park safely due to the placement and necessity of a curb ramp.

This problem is easier to solve than you’d think, and we can use how drivers interact with the road to our advantage.  One way to do this is to supplement the signal marked at (1) with an additional signal marked at (2).  Cars tend not to move past where they can see all traffic signals which apply to them, so by moving a light closer to where traffic should actually stop (and maybe complementing it with a “Stop Here On Red” sign), it gives an indication that they should not proceed past that point.   One example of this behavior occurs further south, at this intersection where traffic from 94 can get to Lyndale or Hennepin:

94LyndaleSouth

While this intersection isn’t perfect either, cars tend to not stray into sidewalks or bike lanes largely due to signal placement and signage.  (Of course, these cars are exiting off a freeway and into an urban setting, which may lead to more malleable behavior, but I digress)

Looking back at the picture of Hennepin and Oak Grove, another major problem is the combined cyclist/pedestrian lane.  It’s inconvenient and dangerous for a number of reasons, partially due to the fact that it’s on a hill.  As northbound cyclists gain speed on the hill, they must pass groups of pedestrians (whose behavior can be erratic) while monitoring any southbound cyclists who may be also avoiding pedestrians or overtaking one another as they climb the hill.  In addition, before you get to Oak Grove, try to figure out which northbound right-turning cars will yield to you and which ones will cut right in front of you; something that can only be ascertained by observing whether a driver is looking at their mirrors.  (plus there are always the drivers who turn without signaling, which is always a fun surprise) That’s a lot of things to pay attention to!

But we can improve safety by limiting the things a cyclist needs to be aware of.  Removing the area where pedestrians and cyclists share a single lane and extending the sidewalk between Groveland to Oak Grove would accomplish this.  Yes, it means asking St. Marks to give up some space, and that might be an unpleasant conversation, but it’s one that needs to be had if this city is serious about improving alternative transportation infrastructure.   The problem of northbound traffic turning onto Oak Grove is a challenge that I don’t have a better solution for (though I’m open to suggestions).

Hennepin & Groveland:

HennepinGroveland

For cyclists, this intersection sometimes feels more safe than Hennepin & Oak Grove, due to fewer moving parts.  But the near-misses I witnessed here were the ones that caused me to rethink using this stretch altogether.  Each instance played out exactly the same – a southbound cyclist in front of me would approach the intersection and a driver would pull into the intersection completely oblivious of all activity on their right side.  The driver was so intent on figuring out how to turn right into those 4 lanes of oncoming traffic that they completely ignored the green paint and the cyclists they nearly ran over.

The best fix for this is to forbid right turns on red and to implement the same types of traffic signals that I mentioned earlier which discourage turning.  Add a signal prior to the bike path and make a clear “Stop Here on Red” sign to keep the prospect of turning out of the driver’s mind.  As long as I’m making demands, why not push westbound-facing drivers back 5-10 feet, both here and on Oak Grove?

Even if moving the west-facing drivers back isn’t an option, can we at least move the median at Groveland back or make it more friendly to pedestrians?  Pedestrians don’t want to climb over that thing, and instead they walk in the green painted area, and when the light changes it’s hard to find enough room for pedestrians and cyclists going both ways.  Again, this is also a problem that could be solved by extending that sidewalk down the hill to Loring Park.

Franklin & Lyndale:

And while it’s outside the scope of this project, it would be really nice to address that stretch from where the bike lane ends at the 94 ramp to Franklin Avenue.  I know in an ideal world we’d all ride on that cool bridge to our single-family homes in LHENA, but some bike-loving folks live in Whittier too.  To stay law-abiding, these cyclists are encouraged to go out of their way by taking the bridge and then biking down a giant hill on Franklin Ave, through the intersection with Lyndale (an intersection of two county roads – what could possibly go wrong?), then back up a giant hill.

As someone who has lived near this intersection for years, this is encouraging unsafe behavior.  The safe alternative is to illegally ride on the sidewalk past Rudolph’s – so why not come up with a way to make safe cycling legal?  One possibility would be to remove the street-level parking between 94 and Franklin and add a short protected cycle track.

Anyway, those are a few thoughts on how to improve bike and pedestrian experiences with a minimal investment in infrastructure. Once this repaving project is completed, it may be the last time we have an opportunity to address these issues for awhile.

The inherent insecurity of mobile phones

I’ve had some interesting conversations since my article on kill switch technology was published.  One thing has come up a couple of times – the general sentiment of “people are really going to set up devices that pretend to be AT&T cell phone towers?  That sounds ridiculous/farfetched/like a movie plot, etc.”

Well, you don’t have to spoof an AT&T cell phone tower at all – just create your own!  By their very nature, cell phones are very “chatty” devices – they are constantly sending out signals to figure out where the nearest tower is, and whether they should change towers.  This is why your cell phone works while you’re walking down the street (or driving, but you shouldn’t be doing that anyway).

A cell phone does not need to authenticate to any particular type of tower; it essentially trusts any tower that promises to transmit data.  This fundamental technological flaw (or “feature”, depending on your viewpoint) allows for just about anyone to create a working cell phone tower – and these towers can be used to track individuals when they come within range because they will connect to your tower.

It should be noted that the above-linked slide is from 2008, when this technology cost $40,000, but is built for far less money today (unless you’re buying from Harris).

In this video (spoiler alert: it’s also an ad), we can see a Raspberry Pi ($35) acting as a controller for the Ettus Research USRP B100 (possibly discontinued; Ettus suggests the B200 for $675).  Or in this (quite boring) video, we see the USRP N210 ($1,700) used in conjunction with Linux and OpenBTS.  Together, they are used to transmit a signal  – in this case, a text message – to a cell phone.

So the reason I’m strongly opposed to this proposed law?   Just imagine if he had sent a “kill” signal to that phone instead of a text message.  From my understanding, that phone would not be able to talk to *any* cell tower after coming in contact with this rogue tower.  Worse than that, I believe the proposed federal bill wants the capability to not only disable a phone but also to wipe data from the hard drive.

Communications technology is about enabling people to talk to each other.  Legislating a technology into existence which intentionally limits the ability to communicate is immoral, especially in a democracy which requires open communication between citizens.  And if you don’t think cell phone carriers can already disable your phone, try not paying your bill for a couple of months (which will surely happen for those MN legislators living on minimum wage).

Quick rant on state-issued IDs

Just in case I forgot how easily and subtly the deck can be stacked against certain groups of people, I had to go to the DMV to get my license renewed recently.  It was fairly slow in there, so I was chatting with the nice woman who was processing my paperwork and learned some interesting things.

Apparently you’re supposed to have your driver’s license or ID renewed any time you move.  I knew that you were supposed to, but I’d never personally done that before.  That’s $15.75 (currently) every time you move.  I’ve lived in 9 different places since moving to Minneapolis, so technically I should be out at least $140, not even counting the cost to renew an expiring license, which is $26.25.

So I asked the clerk if anyone actually did that, and she said people do it all the time.  I was skeptical, so I asked her why – pretty sure none of my friends bothered to go to the DMV every time they moved.  As it turns out, if you’re stopped by a police officer and give an ID that lists an incorrect address (more than 30 days after you’ve moved), you can be fined $200.  (So the correct answer to the officer is always “I *just* moved last week”)

If I were some Republican strategist making this an issue, I’d call it a Moving Tax.  Couldn’t make your rent and had to move back in with your parents? That’ll be $15, please.  Finally got a job and moved out of a homeless shelter and into your first apartment?  That’ll cost you another $15.

On a side note, while I was at the counter another man (likely homeless and perhaps mentally ill) needed a new ID issued.  He didn’t have the $15 to pay for it, so was instructed to wait until Friday and to go to 17th and Chicago to get a voucher (apparently Friday is ID voucher day at Catholic Charities).  This guy had trouble moving from his seat to the counter.  I couldn’t imagine him spending the better part of his Friday getting to 17th and Chicago, then waiting to get a voucher, then traveling back across town to the Government Center, so I paid for him.  I didn’t stick around to see what he listed on the address line.

Following the money on Mark Dayton

As an equal-opportunity opponent of institutionalized corruption current campaign finance law, I’ll take a look at the biggest fish in the gubernatorial pond, incumbent Mark Dayton.  Dayton has raised a total of $1,086,739.75 for his 2014 campaign, a number which dwarfs that of the highest GOP fundraiser, Scott Honour.

So where does that money comes from?  A few of Minnesota’s key political families play a big role.  Followers of MN politics will probably recognize the last names of Borman, Cowles, Dayton, Messinger, Pohlad, and Sieben – combined they donated $130,600, which is over 12 percent of Dayton’s total.  Those families each donated between $12,000 and $20,000 except for the Dayton family, who donated $54,750 in total.

Continuing the focus on big-money donors, let’s look at those who contributed the maximum amount of $4,000.  There were 106 such donors contributing to the 2014 cycle, a number which includes contributions from political committees (22 total) and registered lobbyists (11 total).  That means max donors accounted for almost 40 percent of Dayton’s fundraising total.

Looking further at those same max donors, there were 14 instances where 2 donors at the same residence donated the maximum amount – a fairly common tactic to maximize political influence. There was also one instance of three max donors using the same PO Box (the above-referenced Messinger family).

I was planning on going further in-depth on Dayton’s fundraising, but there are a handful of other projects I need to tackle this week, so I’m cutting this one short – I just don’t have the bandwidth to give this the attention it deserves. I’ll write more on the influence of money as we get closer to the election. I’ll leave you with this short speech from Senator Wellstone on the realities of political corruption:

 

Following the money on Scott Honour

Every year before an election, candidates for state office are required to file with the MN Campaign Finance and Disclosure Board.  And every year, intrepid reporters dig through those disclosure forms, creating pretty graphs or writing interesting stories about numbers.

I like to dig through those reports too, though my approach is less methodical in some ways (and moreso in others).  I don’t know the candidates very well, and I find campaign rhetoric to be quite tedious, so I focus on the process.  For the record, I don’t hate all the players, but I sincerely hate the game – when money mixes with politics, democracy always loses.

I was able to extract some text from the online filings (despite them being “copy-protected” which renders the copy-paste function on some PDF readers unusable) and was able to glean a little bit of interesting information from it.  Let’s kick things off with our top moneymakin’ challenger Scott Honour!

Scott Honour had itemized contributions from approximately 309 donors in 2013, and raised a total of $596,680.  Not too shabby! 16 current employees of the Gores Group (based in Los Angeles, and where Honour was once senior managing director) contributed $21,250, not including spouses, who kicked roughly an additional $10,000.  Not to be outdone, 11 employees of Moelis & Company chipped in $26,750 (their spouses gave an additional estimated $13,250).  So employees (and spouses) of just two companies account for over 10 percent of Honour’s total fundraising!

Also interesting was that of those 309 total donors, approximately 91 were from California – a close second to Minnesota, which had 134 donors.  So less than half of Honour’s donors live in MN – in fact, one $4K donor (the maximum amount allowable) lives in Singapore!

Speaking of max donors, there were a total of 58 individuals who donated the $4,000 max to Honour’s campaign in 2013 – that’s over $250K!  How many of these folks are connected with good ol’ Minnesota businesses?  Well, not too many – here are their employers (number in front is how many $4,000 donors that employer accounts for):

1 API Group
1 ATEK Companies
1 Bijan
1 BreitBurn Mgt Co.
1 Dalton Capital
1 ELO Touch Solutions
1 GTL
1 Gold Mine
1 Golden Gate Capital
1 Gravitas Development Group
1 Legendary Media
1 Macquarie
1 Meagher & Geer PLLP
1 Medtox Scientific
1 Miller Barondess LLP
1 Mount Yale
1 Northern Pacific Group
1 Norwest Equity Partners
1 Overbrook Capital
1 Palisades Ventures
1 Sagent Advisors
1 Self-employed actress
1 Self-employed entrepreneur
1 Skadden Arps
1 Superior Edge
1 TCF Bank
1 Top Hat
1 UCLA
1 Weil Gotshal
2 Self-employed Investor
3 The Gores Group
5 Moelis & Co.
6 Retired
13 Homemaker

Most of those are investment groups of some form or another, so I’m not really sure what they do.  Though judging by their contributions, an ally in office must be vital to their success – I suppose they are allowed a bigger say in who gets elected since they’re the ones that will eventually profit from it.  I’ll admit I was curious about the “self-employed actress” that could afford to give $4,000 to Mr. Honour – maybe it’s a celebrity! It turns out she’s just good pals with the Gores Group folks.

Is this the kind of candidate Minnesotans are willing to get behind?  Is an important factor in choosing a governor is to know how many friends they have in the financial services sector?

Anyway, the above information probably isn’t a surprise to those who follow politics closely.  But I hold Minnesota Republicans to a higher standard than their national counterparts and they should be wary of thinking a professional money man is palatable to the voters of this great state.

(And yes, while this post is focused on a Republican, Mark Dayton’s filing is even more interesting and some data from that will be detailed in a future post.)