Pat Anderson now a racino lobbyist

pat anderson_edited-1.jpgMinnesota’s newly elected Republican National committeewoman may have already stepped off the party platform. Patricia Anderson, formerly the State Auditor and now a lobbyist, has added Canterbury Park and its racino efforts to her lobbying portfolio.

That’s in spite of a party position against gambling in Minnesota. Here’s the relevant section of the 2010 party platform.

We seek to eliminate all state-sponsored gambling and oppose any expansion of gambling in Minnesota. In regards to casinos already in place, current gambling laws should be changed so that Minnesota is allowed to tax profits and revenue of tribal casino gambling in the state.

Anderson registered with Canterbury via email over the weekend. She isn’t officially listed on the state Campaign Finance Board website, but the board processed her filing this morning, according to staffer Patricia Waller, and Anderson confirmed she’d signed on with Canterbury.

Anderson isn’t making any apologies. She points to a 2003 racino bill passed by House Republicans that gave the state auditor authority to look through casino books around the state — a measure she says she supported. She also pointed out that more than a dozen current Republican members of the legislature (as well as now-Congressman Erik Paulsen) voted for that bill eight years ago.

Nobody should be surprised that she’s a racino proponent, Anderson says. She’d been one long before she went on the party’s ballot.

“I look at it from a pure free market position and a competition position,” Anderson said in an interview. “We have given an unregulated, untaxed monopoly to the Indian tribes, and not one dime in Minnesota goes back to the taxpayers, and I think that’s just wrong for many, many reasons, and we should be getting on board and supporting some of these other proposals.”

Anderson also says she doesn’t think a national committee member, or any Republican, is duty bound to support every single plank of the GOP platform.

“I think you have an obligation to generally support the party platform. Generally., Anderson said. “There are areas where Republicans themselves disagree, and I think if you asked any Republican if they support the platform 100 percent, you will not find anyone, or very few that could actually say that. So there are going to be differences, certainly if you look at the Republican activists themselves, and the delegates, and the elected Republicans, I would say at least half of them don’t agree with that particular plank in the platform… You are there as a representative of the Republican Party, but you also have your own viewpoints, just like any elected official.”

Party officials, though, aren’t quite so sanguine about the matter.

Deputy chair Michael Brodkorb said he thought the party faithful that elected her at the state central committee meeting earlier this month would be unpleasantly surprised by her new duties. He thinks she probably would have best brought this up during her campaign for the RNC.

“She is not starting off her time as national committeewoman in a very strong way,” Brodkorb said. “There is an expectation that a national committeewoman can work with people and effectively communicate, and I don’t think she’s done a good job in this situation. I think she’s got some work to do with relationships and internal discussions on these things. But ulimately, it’s a conflict.”

He stopped short of saying the party would take formal action against Anderson, although he did point out that she’s only serving out the last year of Evie Axdahl’s term, and will be back before the party sooner, rather than later. But he suggested the situation ought to resolve itself before it came to that.

“Look, I’m not saying by any stretch of imagination that she shouldn’t be able to go out and work,” Brodkorb said, “but the reality is that she has taken a position and handled this in such a way that I think she’s ultimately going to have to make a choice. I don’t believe that she can do both.”