Hello and welcome back after the long holiday weekend. Here’s the Digest:


Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden picked up the endorsement of some former Independence Party leaders. (MPR News)

It’s fair to say former Democrat Andy Dawkins is burning a few bridges as he pursues a Green Party campaign for Minnesota Attorney General. (MPR News)

The first day of school means the first day of free all-day kindergarten for parents statewide. (Star Tribune)

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman met with community leaders to talk about the police use of a stun gun on a man in the skyway who said he wasn’t doing anything wrong. (Pioneer Press)

MNsure is still struggling to catch up to changes in people’s insurance status. (Pioneer Press)


President Obama spent his Labor Day in Milwaukee, talking about the minimum wage and equal pay for women. (New York Times)

Meanwhile a potential 2016 GOP presidential contender, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, is headed to Mexico. (New York Times)

Now that the Supreme Court has lifted a cap on individual donations, campaign cash is rolling in from wealthy donors. (Washington Post)

DFL U.S. Rep Rick Nolan talked to reporters in Duluth on Fri. Aug., 29, 2014.  Dan Kraker/MPR News

Eighth District U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan called on President Obama today to avoid further American military involvement in the Middle East without Congressional approval.

Obama said yesterday that he has authorized the Defense Department to provide him with options for military strikes within Syria but added that he is not close to authorizing air attacks against Islamic extremists there.

The president has ordered bombing strikes against the group known as ISIS in Iraq and has said that he believes he already has authority from Congress to do that.

At a news conference in Duluth Friday Nolan, a Democrat, said he opposes the country’s continued military actions in Iraq.

The U.S. has already sacrificed enough in the region, there’s no American military solution to the conflict, and the people of the Middle East need to resolve the crisis, Nolan said.

“The simple truth is that by our getting re-involved in this war, we make ourselves a target, a target in a one thousand year old conflict.”

Nolan said he’s concerned about Minnesotans and other Americans who have traveled to Syria to get involved in the conflict. But he said he would support only humanitarian intervention.

Nolan is battling Republican Stewart Mills in a competitive race for the 8th District seat in northeast Minnesota.

poligraph-falseFor months after a rocky roll out of the federal and state health insurance exchanges, Democrats distanced themselves from the Affordable Care Act.

Now, they’re using it to throw barbs at their Republican opponents.

In Minnesota, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is criticizing 8th Congressional District Republican candidate Stewart Mills for saying he would scrap the law, including parts that both sides support.

  1. Listen Catharine Richert talks with MPR News’ Steven John

Millionaire Stewart Mills III has taken thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the health insurance industry, and now he wants to put the insurance companies poligraph-accurateback in charge to deny care to people with-pre-existing conditions and kick kids off their parents’ plans,” a DCCC press release states.

The DCCC’s claim is half wrong, half right.

 The Evidence

To support part of its claim, the DCCC points to information collected by OpenSecrets.com, a website that tracks campaign money. The website shows Mills has taken $7,100 from the insurance industry. But that’s the entire insurance industry, not just health insurance companies.

According to Mills’ campaign finance records, he’s gotten $1,000 from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association PAC, and that’s it.

The DCCC also claims that Mills wants to scrap popular parts of the Affordable Care Act, including a provision that prevents insurance companies from rejecting patients with pre-existing conditions and another provision that allows children to stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26.

Here, the DCCC is on stronger footing.

Mills recently told MinnPost that he would advocate replacing the Affordable Care Act if he’s elected, but that those provisions may not be a part of the new law.

Campaign spokeswoman Chloe Rockow says Mills isn’t opposed to making sure young adults and those with pre-existing conditions have access to health insurance – he just thinks there are better ways of doing it.

For instance, Mills wants to strengthen privacy rules for people with pre-existing conditions and to reinstate the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association, which is a special health insurance program for people with pre-existing conditions who can’t get insurance elsewhere. That program is being phased out, because those people are now get insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

The Verdict

The DCCC is incorrect that Mills has accepted “thousands in campaign contributions from the health insurance industry.” It’s more like $1,000.

But the group is correct that Mills isn’t keen on Obamacare, including two provisions that are relatively popular with the public.