http://www.mncampaignreport.com. Change it up.

I don’t pretend that the DNC will make its decision on where to hold the 2008 Convention based on the musings of a few thousand respondents to a DailyKos poll….but as I’ve noted before, Minneapolis is a perfect place to have the 2008 DNC. And more. Anyway, check out the poll and vote for the Mini-apple!

But that’s not what this post is really about. In conjunction with my previous post on Gil Gutknecht’s latest fundraising attempt, I look a quick look at his 2004 cycle fundraising, in particular his top contributors. See that donation of ten-large by Freedom Club of America? This set off some warning bells. I don’t like organizations that include the word “Freedom” in their name; it usually means something nefarious and decidedly non-freedom-espousing. I tried Googling “Freedom Club of America” and didn’t come up with an official homepage, only references to the group as a small group of wealthy Twin Cities businessmen who have, since their inception in 1997, become heavy hitters in upper-Midwest fundraising for conservative, pro-business Republican candidates.

Here’s the group’s FEC listing. I dug a bit deeper, and found some very interesting names and very high dollar totals on their list of donors (amounts are in aggregate since 1997):

  • John Trautz, Reliance Development Co: $6000
  • John Hinderaker: $5000. You know him as AssRocket of PowerLine infamy.
  • Ron Eibensteiner: $6500. Former MN-GOP State Chair
  • William/Bill Lurton of Long Lake: $5000
  • Cliff Olson, PAC Treasurer, New Hope: $6500. Mr Olson is also the Chairman of AbelConn LLC, an aerospace technology corporation which was formed in 1997 and is listed at the same address as the Freedom Club. Not a big deal that they’re in the same place - if a donor wants to send a check to the Freedom Club, no doubt they would address it to the Treasurer, who has a day job. The 1997 part is interesting, but also not necessarily important.
  • James Bissonett, Eden Prairie: $19,000. Wow. Heavy hitter here.
  • Robert Cummins, President of Primera Technology: $28,500
  • Joan Cummins, wife of Robert Cummins: $9,000 - in matching amounts to Mr. Cummins’s donations, on the same dates.

Wow. Between the two of them, Mr. and Mrs. Cummins donated $37,500 to the Freedom Club Federal PAC between 1997 and 2006. Now, to be fair, this isn’t really a whole ton of money for political donors. But take a look where else their money went:

  • $5000 to SOUTH DAKOTA REPUBLICAN PARTY on 10/04/04
  • $2000 to GUTKNECHT FOR U.S. CONGRESS COMMITTEE on 03/26/04
  • $2000 to GUTKNECHT FOR U.S. CONGRESS COMMITTEE on 03/26/04 (Matching donations from husband and wife)
  • CUMMINS, BOB, (Zip code: 55391) $1000 to SWIFT BOAT VETS AND POW’S FOR TRUTH on 09/01/04

And that’s just in the 2004 cycle. Their names show up ALL OVER conservative fundraising lists over the past five election cycles. Just who is Robert Cummins?

So here’s the thing. This group obviously has no scruples about the candidates and character-smear groups they support. They want to win, because they’re businessmen, and they want to be allowed to do whatever the hell they want to do in order to make money. Should their companies be allowed to make a decent profit? Of course they should. Capitalism is great as long as the middle class has a chance at it. But that’s another post for another day.

The question we face now is this: should Gil Gutknecht be allowed to get away with smearing Tim Walz’s hardfought success in fundraising when Mr. Gutknecht accepts big chunks of money from people like Mr. Cummins, who do the dirty work of demolishing the institutions that made this country great so they can make more money and Mr. Gutknecht can pass himself off as a “moderate”? I leave that to you.