PoliGraph: Seifert misleads on campaign dollars

PoliGraph: MisleadingMarty Seifert has issued a challenge to Gov. Mark Dayton: refuse campaign contributions from lobbyists.

Seifert says he’s never taken lobbyist contributions and wants Dayton, whom Seifert hopes to unseat this fall, to do the same.

“Not accepting lobbyist contributions so far this election, and in all my previous elections, has made my campaign unique,” said Seifert in a press release.

Seifert’s campaign finance reports don’t include lobbyist contributions. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t taken them.

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The Evidence 

PoliGraph looked at contributions to Seifert’s state House and gubernatorial bids, and found no donors who were identified as lobbyists. The Seifert campaign also said that it does not actively seek contributions from federal lobbyists.

But Seifert has taken contributions from at least two lawyers who work for the well known lobbying and legal firm Lockridge Grindal Nauen: Charlie Nauen and Joseph Bruckner each gave Seifert $200 in 2004.

Additionally, Seifert has taken large sums of money from interest group, corporate and lobbying firm political action committees.

For instance, during his previous gubernatorial bid, Seifert took $25,000 from political action committees formed by interest groups representing car retailers, nurse anesthetists, hospitals, sugar beet growers and gasoline retailers, among others.

Of that $25,000, more than $3,600 came from political action committees formed by legal and lobbying shops, including Best & Flanagan, Dorsey & Whitney, Faegre Baker Daniels, Gray Plant Mooty, Lindquist & Vennum, Messerli & Kramer and Winthrop & Weinstein.

So, in the strictest sense, Seifert hasn’t taken contributions from individual lobbyists. But he has taken money from interest groups that lobby on behalf of the companies and employees they represent.

Dayton, meanwhile, raised more than $98,000 from individual lobbyists in 2013 and nearly $63,000 from lobbyists in 2010, when he first ran for governor.

The Verdict

It’s true that Seifert hasn’t raised cash from individual lobbyists.

But he’s defining “lobbyist” narrowly by not counting the thousands of dollars he’s raised from political action committees that are funded by interest groups and lobbying firms.

As a result, Seifert’s claim is misleading.

ADDITONAL SOURCES

Andy Post, spokesman, Marty Seifert for Governor

Campaign finance reports, Marty Seifert, 1996-2013

Campaign finance reports, Gov. Mark Dayton, 2010 and 2013

Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, Lobbyists and their Associations