Are Minnesotans Involved in DNC “Pay-to-Play”?

The latest WikiLeaks data release last week contained evidence of “pay-to-play” activity between the Democratic National Committee, the Obama ‘08 and ‘12 campaign and Hillary Clinton campaign and major donors.  Some of Minnesota’s most prominent DFL/DNC donors made the list:



Sam & Sylvia Kaplan* According to the Wikileaks documents, the Kaplans bundled $902,206 for the Democrats and the Obama campaign.  Sam Kaplan was rewarded with an Ambassadorship to Morocco in 2014. From and the Center for Responsive Politics: “Kaplan and his wife have contributed more than $273,100 to federal candidates, parties and committees since 1989, including the legal maximum of $9,200 to Obama last cycle and $2,000 to Clinton since her 2000 U.S. Senate bid. The Kaplans also bundled at least $100,000 for Obama’s presidential campaign.”  Sam Kaplan was also a member of the Obama’s Campaign National Finance Committee.

Minnesota State Senator Dick Cohen
Minnesota State Senator Dick Cohen

cohen-wikileaksMinnesota State Senator Dick Cohen – Is included in the Wikileaks documents and is reported to have bundled $738,400.  His reward was to be considered for Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, and then was appointed by Obama to the Presidential Commission Arts and Humanities: “Cohen has kept his hands in national politics. He was among the first state legislators in the nation to support Obama’s presidential run and was a mighty fundraising bundler in both presidential campaigns. (In the 2008 campaign, Cohen raised about $1 million for Obama’s race and more than $400,000 in 2012.) His support of the president wasn’t forgotten. He was appointed to a spot on the president’s Committee on Arts and Humanities.” ( 04/04/201)


Lou Frillman attending a White House dinner.
Lou Frillman attending a White House dinner.


Lou Frillman reportedly bundled $1,232,876 making him one of the largest combined fundraisers for 2011-12. He is on the Advisory Board of Organizing for America, is the founder of “Brass Tactics” (a DC-based 501c-4 political consulting firm), a member of Wellstone Action, and was on Obama’s National Finance Committee.  Frillman was Representative Betty McCollum’s (D-MN) guest for the 2016 State of the Union Speech and has been an invited guest at White House dinners.

The three DFL operatives above were mentioned in the WikiLeaks document dump, however, they are not the only power-bundlers in Minnesota.

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Updated 7:45am, 09/20/2016

Andrea Mayer-Bruestle

Andrea Mayer-Bruestle is a former writer for Alpha News.