As a part of our series that takes a closer look at how campaign money shapes politics in Minnesota, we take a closer look at the House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC). Their counterpart, the DFL House Caucus Committee (DHCC), was reviewed last week.
Republicans won back control of the Minnesota House last year, despite weaker fundraising at the caucus level. The HRCC raised $2,028,212, half of the DHCC’s $4,205,402.
Whereas 83% of donations to Democrats came in contributions of $10,000 or more, 59% of donations to the Republicans were $10,000 or more. Historically, the DHCC always raises more money than the HRCC, but the difference was remarkable in 2014.
As we pointed out last week, 61% of the large donations that come into the DHCC were from labor unions, with the majority of that money pouring in from public-employee unions.
As with our look at the DHCC, we combined individual family members in our totals for HRCC donors. The HRCC’s largest donor was Stan Hubbard, who– along with his son Robert–gave $92,000. But this donation was dwarfed by Governor Mark Dayton’s ex-wife Alida Rockefeller Messinger who gave $255,000 to the DHCC in the same election cycle.
Hubbard’s large donation to the HRCC was a small fraction of the top three largest donations to the DHCC which came from the teachers union, Education Minnesota ($532,905), the Service Employees International Union or SEIU ($315,194), and the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee out of Washington D.C. ($300,000). SEIU also gave to the HRCC, but only$12,500. Labor union donations comprised just 2.4% of the large donations to the HRCC, compared to 61% of the large donations to the DHCC.
Other employee-interest groups did donate the HRCC, including many from the insurance industry which combined for $54,300 in donations. Political Action Committees’s representing the banking industry gave $26,250. For comparison’s sake the labor union representing nurses in Minnesota gave $126,525 to the DHCC and the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, (a public-employee union,) gave $116,048.
Suprisingly, the second largest donor to the HRCC, after Stan Hubbard, was Representative Pat Garofalo’s campaign commitee which gave $60,000. The Republicans were much more reliant upon money from individual House representatives and their committees than the Democrats. Republican candidate donations were 19% of the large donations to the HRCC, while Democrat candidate donations were only 3% of the large donations to the DHCC.
A notable donation to the HRCC was from Brad Rixmann, CEO of Pawn America. He’s a donor to the DFL Senate Caucus fund as well. The Star Tribune recently questioned whether his donations had anything to do with a bill to regulate payday loans dying during the 2014 legislative session.
Another donor, Robert Haselow, along with his wife, gave $40,000 to the HRCC and $43,500 to the DHCC. Haselow is the founder of Minneapolis Radiation Oncology (MRO) which has spent millions to lobby the legislature in order to maintain the moratorium on new radiation oncology clinics being built in a 14-county area. Haselow is also a major donor to Governor Mark Dayton. Interestingly, MRO’s main competitor, Minnesota Oncology, also donated to the HRCC, although their $5,000 was not enough to make the large donor list.
Take a look at who else gave $10,000+ donations to the HRCC committee in 2014: