Alpha News will be taking a look at how campaign money shapes state politics in Minnesota. From who funds campaigns and political committees to how the money is spent, politics is big business in the Gopher State. This week we take a look at the House DFL Caucus Committee which is responsible for winning seats in the Minnesota House.
Democrats typically complain about money in politics, but when it came to donations in the 2014 campaign cycle, the DFL dominated. The DFL House Caucus took in $4,205,402 in 2014 compared to the House Republican Campaign Committee’s $2,028,212. Money didn’t make the difference though, and the GOP won back control of the chamber last year.
83% of donations to the DFL House Caucus committee came in as contributions of $10,000 or more. 61% of these large donations came in from labor unions (coded in blue,) many of which represent public employees. The teachers’ union, Education Minnesota take the top spot. They also gave a comparably small amount–$6,100– to the House Republican Campaign Committee in 2014. Their investment paid off in a 9.5% hike in K-12 spending in 2015.
We combined the Service Union International Union’s (SEIU) spending, which was split between two different Minnesota offshoots for a total of $315,194 in direct contributions. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union donated large amounts from both their Minnesota ($118,886) and Washington, D.C. ($200,000) branches to the House Democrats. AFSCME’s 17,500 Minnesota members received a 2.5% raise in July from the Dayton administration and will get another 2.5% increase next July. The Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE) gave $116,048 and its 13,000 government employees received the same 2.5% for 2-years as well as step-increases for qualified employees. Alpha News recently reported that MAPE state workers have received 11% salary increases since January of 2013.
Take a look at who else gave $10,000+ donations to the committee in 2014: