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:


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