Freedom Club hits airwaves to hit Dayton

The conservative Freedom Club, a non-profit group of Minnesota business owners, announced today that it’s launching a statewide TV ad campaign to criticize Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposed budget. Michael Scholl, executive director of the Freedom Club, wouldn’t say how much money the group is spending on the campaign except that it’s “substantial.” A person with knowledge of the buy says it’s $130,000 and the ad will run in Duluth, Mankato, Minneapolis and Rochester.

Scholl said the ad is aimed at influencing lawmakers and the public as the budget debate begins.

“We have six weeks left in the session and our supporters want to make it perfectly clear that taxes aren’t an option,” Scholl said. “We have to cut spending.”

The Freedom Club raised and spent more than $1 million to help elect Republicans to the Minnesota Legislature. In fact, the House Republican Campaign Committee gave the group $107,000 to do polling on legislative races in 2010.

Bob Cummins, who owns Primera Technology, George Anderson with Crown Holdings Inc., William Austin with Starkey Hearing Foundation, Micheal Fry with EBF & Associates and Dean Suquist with Mate Precision Tooling were the major contributors to the Freedom Club PAC in 2010.

The ad could be the first of many that run this legislative session as outside groups try to influence public opinion over the competing budget plans. A spokesman for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce says that group is still considering whether to run ads.

A spokeswoman for DFL leaning The Alliance for a Better Minnesota said she isn’t sure if her group will run ads during the session.

A spokesman for Gov. Dayton had no comment on the ad buy by the Freedom Club.

  • Joyce LeClaire

    I would like a list of the “business owners” who subscribe to the freedom club. They deserve to have a boycott against their business. How much more does the middle class have to give while the rich get richer? Do these people have no conscience?

  • Mary

    As a non-profit, isn’t membership , as well as minutes of meetings and all business conducted required to be “public” and transparent? Isn’t campaigning under the guise of a non-profit an abuse of the spirit and intent of “not for profit”.

  • Julie Andrzejewski

    A recent Wall Street Journal poll reports that 81% of the public SUPPORTS taxing the rich! A Vanity Fair poll shows 61% support taxing the rich to solve the budget problem and the next 20% support cutting the military budget. These businesses and Republican (and some Democrat) legislators are out of touch with the public will!

    Read Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel Laureate in Economics) article:

    Of the 1%, By the 1%, For the 1%

  • Ralph Crammedin

    @Joyce and Mary, look up the Freedom Club’s Campaign Finance Board filings.

    Freedom Club is a Republican Money Laundry. In 2010 it flushed $400,000 of Big Donor Money directly into the Republican Party, then took back $107,000 of “in kind” polling costs back from the House Republican Caucus, which it then provided for candidates. Did all this constitute illegal money laundering? Probably, but that’s difficult and expensive to prove.

  • Jay Popple

    What is wrong with this state and this nation? My opinion is most are very greedy! It’s mine and I’m not sharing. But in reality that is the way of the world for ever. But one thing bothers me. Our government used to work this way: Each person voted his or her opinion during election time. The candidate with the most votes won and losers complained but supported the majority. It’s not that way any more.


  • Mark Williams

    It is time to fight back and stop this madness of the Republican Party. The party of the rich and greedy. The only jobs these people have been creating with all of their tax breaks have been in Asia.

    I also want a list of the companies that are a part of this spineless organization. I can’t wait for the next election when we can boot these people out of office once and for all and hopefully save education if it isn’t too late!

    We need to stand up and fight back like they did in Madison!


    I don’t think most of the people here realize that the same crap thats going on in WI is going on here just without all the fanfare. Just watch the MN senate on PBS and the rediculousness going on. They’re turning our country into a complete plutocracy where the almighty dollar decides elections by deviding us over social and religious issues while blindsiding us financially and taking away rights. We’re being played like a fiddle and we don’t even realize it . As long as they can keep people uneducated, misinformed and demoralized they never will. This is certainly not the vision of most Minnesotans.

  • Christina

    I have been watching all of these ads from the freedom club talking about how Gov. Dayton has ruined our employment rate but the truth is that it has increased greatly compared to the national average since he has been in office. Funny thing is I have seen the ad three times right before multiple news stories that talk about how much the unemployment rate has decreased!!! How many people will see the same? How many people will actually research the Freedom Club and see them for what they truly are? Answer is not enough!!

  • The teapartiers and republicans are all ignorant and destructive we need to vote them out in 2012 and send them a clear message that the middle income is fighting back.Unless we get out and vote they will get rid of the middle class.We cannot afford to be complacent any longer thinking that the next person will take care of it.We need to organize now and hopefully it is not to late.

  • Richard Bergman

    Freedom Club, the Tea Party and the vast majority of leadership in today’s GOP have gone far beyond their platform of being supportive of business. They are leading a national take over that is nothing less than promoting policies suborning predatory capitalism for the benefit of the wealthy. They buy into a cult-like belief system with supply side economics and deregulation at its core, a belief that has been historically at the bottom of most our nation’s recessions and depressions and much of our social anguish. Business is not the panacea these ideologues believe it to be, it is much more like fire, if it is controlled carefully it can be very useful, if left to its own devices it will consume everything in its path, including a healthy society. (Europeans are not as the right says, socialists. They have learned to understand this.) Greed is addictive. Addictive denial borne of greed blinds its victims to the pain of others. It blinds its victims from impending ecological disaster. This is a denial that is dangerous.

    Right-wing think tanks (aka propaganda machinery) are twice as numerous as those on the left, with four times the funding; even before the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited corporate spending to buy and influence elections with propaganda. Many right wing think tanks were founded to quiet public outrage to corporate excesses surrounding the Vietnam War.

    I urge everyone that cares about democratic freedom and cares about other members of society to pressure legislators to enact publicly financed elections, return citizenship rights to people only, and enact either jack pot pay-offs for voter participation, or punitive fines for non-participation, along with voting holidays and venues with civic education coupled with entertainment and other motivations. The people behind these right wing PACs and think tanks use their propaganda to discourage voters. (US federal elections have been below 43% for many cycles.) We have to change that, we have to put the Genie of this Right Wing overthrow of government for the sake of profit, back in the bottle. We need to secure the blessings of liberty for all, not just those that can buy it.

  • Richard,very elloquently stated and oh so true.My question is are you ready to organize and rally the forgotten class in this state and eventually the nation?If you are I am ready to help form a party to stand up to these right wingers.After all we have to start somewhere and some time how about now?Seriously you are an elloquent speaker and people would listen to you.

  • Ivy

    Why aren’t we getting together and forming an organization of our own? One that publicly disputes these blatant manipulations? Writing letters to senators and congresspeople on our own is not enough – there’s power in numbers. So I propose this – there are 10 people who wrote comments here; 11 counting me. Would you be willing to grass roots this and make something happen? Together we can spread the word about the Freedom Club and the other corporate, republican and tea party lies that are brainwashing the nation. We all share the same sentiment about this; I suspect we did during the Bush years as well. But we didn’t do anything about it; we just sat back, bitched about it and watched our economy and country go down the drain. Shame on us for not doing anything. But now we have the chance to do something. Why not start here? Just between our Facebook, Twitter and other social media contacts we can reach more people than we would on our own. Who knows where it might lead? I’m willing to give it a try – are you? If you’re interested, please email me at Here’s to making a difference!

  • Doug

    It was not difficult to find out who is funding the “Freedom” Club. Bob Cummins, who owns Primera Technology, George Anderson with Crown Holdings Inc., William Austin with Starkey Hearing Foundation, Micheal Fry with EBF & Associates and Dean Suquist with Mate Precision Tooling were the major contributors to the Freedom Club PAC in 2010. Of course, they never mention themselves by name in their repetitive, deceptive, and fear based ad campaign.

    We should try to avoid allowing our society falling into their hands so completely that we have anarchy. Let them use the airwaves. But, be warned, as Gil Scott-Heron so eloquently stated on his 1970 album, “The revolution will not be televised.”