Paulsen, Madia camps trade attacks over PACs

MPR’s Curtis Gilbert asked to send this along:

For the second day in a row, the campaigns in Minnesota’s closely watched 3rd Congressional District race traded charges. This time, the issue was donations from Political Action Committees.

The volley started with a press release from the state Republican Party. It accused Madia of violating his pledge not to take campaign contributions from corporate PACs. The release listed seven donations from PACs run by law firms, including Minneapolis-based Robbins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi, where Madia used to work as an attorney.

The donations totaled $11,000 — or about 1 percent of Madia’s total fundarising through the end of June.

While the release came from the GOP, the charges were echoed by Michael Brodkorb, who is currently handling press calls for Republican candidate Erik Paulsen’s campaign.

“I think it’s disingenuous for Madia to travel the state railing against corporate PAC money, while he is essentially lining his pockets with their contributions,” Brodkorb said.

The Madia campaign fired back with its own release. It made the distinction between donations from corporations and those from law firms.

Spokesman Dan Pollock said Madia “has taken the position, ever since he started running, that corporate PAC money basically has a taint to it. There is a problem with politicians taking corporate PAC money and then trying to stay independent from those same corporations.”

Pollock said Madia does not take the same position on law firm PACs, because he doesn’t believe those firms are standing in the way of “affordable and renewable energy and policies to help middle class Minnesotans.”

The Madia release said “Madia has never renounced money from individuals or partnerships.”

One of the contributions came from a New Jersey-based firm called Sterns & Weinroth, which is organized as a “professional corporation,” and not a partnership. Pollock said the campaign was returning that $500 donation, a gesture he called “symbolic.”

The Madia campaign also criticized Paulsen for taking $73,000 in what it classified as corporate PAC contributions. And it accused Paulsen of hypocrisy because as a state representative, he had favored restriciting PAC money in campaigns for governor, secretary of state, state auditor and the legislature.

It pointed to a 2001 press release from the state House of Representatives.It quoted Paulsen as saying “eliminating PAC contributions will restore integrity to the political process and give citizens the confidence that their voice is more important than special interests groups.”

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