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 Response Page - Mike Dean  Interview -      

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Mike Dean Interview of

The Questions:

1.  _7.3 average response_____On a scale of (0) most disagreement , to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, please indicate how strongly you share a view that corporate campaign contributions should be publicly released online within 24 hours.

2.  _5.7 average response_____ On a scale of  (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, please indicate how strongly you share a view that prior approval from shareholders should be required for corporate campaign contributions.

3.  _5.7 average response_____ On a scale of  (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, please indicate how strongly you share a view that Minnesota taxpayers should be allowed a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit of up to $100 for individual campaign contributions.

4.  Comments? __________________________________________________ 

Gordy Jacobson (5) (0) (0)

John Nowicki (10) (10) (0)

I feel that Minnesota candidates, regardless,   the office they are seeking should only be allowed to receive financial support from corporations whose home office is located in the office location they are running for the same for individual contributions. No national money should be allowed except for a presidential race. In the case of congress they work for the state and not a national party. The same goes for state and local races.

Ray Cox (5) (0) (5)

don't feel the Citizens United decision will have a detrimental effect on campaigns. There may be some additional funds that flow to some areas, but I cannot see the flood gates being opened just because of this decision. We may have more activity from corporations and labor unions, but I hope it will be good, balanced campaigning.  

While I used the $100 PCR process in my political campaigns, I'm fine with having it eliminated and saving the state the cost of the program. I'd much rather accept $20 of 'real' money from a supporter than many $100 contributions that the state refunds.

Donald H. Anderson (10) (8) (5)

Jackie Underferth (10) (10) (10)

Carol Becker (5) (10) (10)

I think I agree with these guys most of anyone you have had so far.

Alan Miller (10) (10) (10)

David Broden (3) (0) (0)

Question 1: Disclosure yes perhaps in 48-72 hours but not 24--too many chances for mistakes etc. The supreme court decision brought balance to the use of funds from some unions, non-profits and corporations. Let's get all on the same page of rules and regulations and then we will see what happens.

Question 2:  Shareholders like voters express their opinions at annual meetings not on each decision. The shareholders if they wish can express opinions at the annual shareholder meeting and that can set the tone but not for actions for each contribution etc. This gets back to responsibility of the board of directors and the executives of the company.  

Question 3:  Tax credits are a good thing but participation is the key and this is a kind of unnecessary expression of government funding the candidates as public finance of campaigns. This is the role of government.

Bert Press (10) (10) (0)

Chris Stedman (10) (10) (3)

Dennis L. Johnson (10) (5) (0)

The US has many special interest groups in addition to corporations. In view of the present anti-business attitude of many of these groups, including Common Cause, corporations more than ever need the privilege of free speech in political matters. in order to defend their interests and counter the biased or false information spread by these many anti-business groups. Remember, only businesses actually create jobs for people. The poor do not, politicians do not, public employees do not, civic groups do not, idealists do not, well-intentioned environmentalists do not, etc. etc. Remember the old story about Geese and golden eggs.

Al Quie (10) (0) (0)

Fred Senn (10) (5) (10)

Tom Swain (6) (2) (9)

David Detert (10) (9) (5)

Deb Frenzel (0) (0) (0)

Vici Oshiro (1) (8) (5)

Because of Common Cause's strategy of addressing state elections before federal, I'll confine my comments to MN elections.  

We already have transparency.  Anyone contributing $100 or more has name and address listed online.  Caveat:  I've not checked Campaign Finance regulations recently, but don't think this has changed.

Just this week I have read of national efforts to give shareholders more influence on this issue both in terms of decision to give and of transparency.

Increasing PCR to $100 may make sense once we achieve a balanced budget and have stronger agreement on what state should finance.  It's not my top priority for state dollars.

Jim Keller (0) (0) (8)

Question 1:  I believe there should be one set of rules for all contributors. 

Rick Krueger (9) (10) (10)

John Milton (10) (10) (10)

Carolyn Ring (2) (1) (6)

Corporate contributions should not be subject to 24 hour disclosure and shareholders approval as Unions are not.  I remember when our oldest daughter was 16 and got a job in a grocery store and had to join the meat-packers union.  She was outraged when the union gave money to McGovern.  She asked how can they take my money and give it where I don't want it to go.  What's right for one, must be right for the other.

Bill Hamm (5) (0) (10)

Question 1: Having been a candidate multiple times and potentially will be again, I can't yet take corporate money but I can take union money with far more strings attached than any corporate money. Your non partisan discussion here totally failed to mention that fact, or as in the Supreme Court case at hand private non-profits. You went right to corporate which clearly identifies this as a leftist discussion. Dean's statement that this ruling eliminates the 1907 law is not supported by legal experts who are saying this interpretation is absolutely wrong, again pointing to a strong DFL bias in your non-partisan effort. This misrepresentation goes all the way to the White House on your side of the fence.

Question 2: This is DFL obstructionism at its worst for something we already don't allow and hasn't yet been a problem. We have real problem to fix without chasing imaginary ones.

Question 3: I would wholeheartedly support the reinstatement of the Minnesota PCR, I would also support doubling it. Now if you really want to make it effective and actually allow poor people to take advantage of it we need to add a low income cut of point where poor Minnesotans can sign the form allowing the state to pay their contribution directly to the candidate. Many people I have represented can't afford $50, let alone $100 each, so that change does nothing for them. This was a good idea that has never quite given those on the bottom equal access. One more point, in order to get any of this you're probably going to have to address, (increase), the existing caps on individual contributions as well. 

This forum was more irritating than usual due to seeing this issue presented from such a biased position, especially considering how much info has been out there and on PBS about this decision. You're playing "Henny Penny" DFL politics here and packaging it as bi-partisan. I am personally quite happy with this ruling as it removes McCain-Fiengold restrictions on the NRA, something that irritates some of you non-partisan people to no end.

Clarence Shallbetter (9) (10)(3)

Shirley Heaton (10) (10) (5)

Bill Frenzel (0) (0) (1)

Question 1:  I wonder if this guy has ever been a campaign treasurer?  

Question 2:   Shareholders should probably approve pencil purchases, cab fares, and janitorial costs, too.

Question 3:   My experience is that the credit is more of a prize for doing something that would have been done anyway, rather than an incentive to do something different.

I am not a fan of the Citizens United  decision, and I don’t like 527s, but, like Gene McCarthy, Ii have a bad attitude about gov't messing around in elections.

Bill Kuisle (10) (0) (2)

Question 1:  This should be coupled with any group that contributes to a campaign. Ex. unions.

Question 3:   The present PCR of $50 always seemed to be more appropriate.

Richard McGuire (10) (5) (10)

All of the above ideas are fine but likely only slightly effective.  Until the courts and society get a better grasp on the legal fiction we call corporations, this kind of decision and the logic underlying it will not change.  We’ve fallen so in love with anything “corporate” we’ve forgotten why the corporate structure was originally created…..only as a vehicle to limit financial liability of investors.

Peter Hennessey (5) (5) (0)

Question 1:  Yes, of course, but apply the same requirement to contributions from other associations / fictitious persons.

Question 2:  Yes, of course, but apply the same requirement to contributions from other associations / fictitious persons.

Question 3:  This is just another sneaky attempt at public financing of political campaigns. No way. Not another red cent for politicians to enhance their slush funds. More money, more guaranteed money, the more corruption. Enough already. Nothing undermines individual freedoms more than government "assistance" in exercising one or more of them, especially something as fundamental as participation in the political process. As we know all too well, any form of government "help" results in government control. All we need is government deciding how the funds will be allocated, who is a valid candidate, what is a valid proposition, etc., and we can kiss our freedoms goodbye. At least under the present system of individual freedom and individual choice, people are free to decide whom to support or from whom to withdraw support, as the RNC is finding out now in response to the news about their lavish expenditures on parties, drinks and strippers.

Question 4:  The fundamental error was the invention of the concept of fictitious persons, such as corporations, unions, clubs, and more recently PACs. It was one thing to have a privately, individually or collectively owned enterprise such as the Ford Motor Company, owned by Henry Ford and company, meaning himself and other co-owners who are directly and individually responsible for all actions taken in the name of the Company. It is quite another to have a corporation, a non-person, having legal powers such as hiring employees, entering into contracts, etc., where a special class of employees called officers and directors act in the name of the Corporation but are not themselves individually or collectively responsible for these acts and their consequences; the liabilities all fall on the Corporation, not on the human actors and decision makers. 

You would think a non-person would not have any civil rights, because ... it is not human. But alas our legal system decided otherwise, jumping to the erroneously conceived notion that an association of humans has the same rights as real humans. Consequently, human members of an association could well have double the civil rights; once as individual citizens who are free to vote, make contributions, etc., and the second time in the form of the association that makes contributions, announces endorsements, makes proclamations, publishes position papers, hires lobbyists, sends special representatives to visit the President and other politicians and political gatherings, and speaks in the name of all human members of the association, whether or not they collectively or individually agree to what is being said and done in their name. 

In actual fact, the management of a corporation does not speak for all employees, not even a sizable minority of them. The AARP does not speak for all seniors, not even a sizable minority of them. The AMA does not speak for all doctors, not even a sizable minority of them. The various unions do not speak for all workers, not even a sizable minority of them; remember the hard hats? remember Reagan Democrats? Yet the media gleefully proclaim their endorsements of (socialist) policies, as if they reflected the views of the membership.

If you want to correct this error in the law and end the discussion over whether corporations, unions, PACs,, clubs, etc. have too much influence in politics, well, the solution is very simple. Change the law to say that the freedom of assembly and association does not grant the right to invent yet another, new "person;"  Associations have no civil rights, only real live human citizens have civil rights. Officers and other official or self-appointed representatives of an association are not permitted to speak on behalf of the membership as if it were a separate entity; only real human citizens have the right speak and then only on behalf of themselves, not others. Officers and other official or self-appointed representatives of an association are not permitted to make campaign contributions on behalf of the association as if it were a separate entity; members are free to meet and pass the hat for their favorite candidate, but the contributions must come from their own pockets, not from the association's funds. 

Change the law so that the bylaws of any association -- corporation, union, PAC, club, etc. -- are specifically required to prohibit the association (that is, the officers of the association) from engaging in any form of political activity that I tried to enumerate above, in the name of or on behalf of the association as if it were a separate real person. All participants in an association -- members, officers, employees, etc. -- already have all their civil rights as individual citizens to engage in any political activity they wish. That is plenty enough. We don't need fictitious persons pretending they are real humans with real civil rights. 

It takes lawyers and judges to be capable of such silly nonsense; it's high time we infused the law with a dose of common sense.

David Gay (0) (0) (0)

Question 1:  Reporting should be the same for corporate, union, non-profit and individual donors. If you really want transparency make all the lobbyists communication with legislators public, including labor unions.

Question 2: This should be determined by the rules the corporation runs by. Shareholders and customers will automatically limit corporate donations.

Question 3:  Why should tax payers who do not contribute to campaigns subsidize those who do?

Anonymous (10) (7.5) (10)

Carl Scheider (10) (10) (10)

Matt Mihlbauer (10) (10) (10)

LaMont Jacobson (10) (10) (2.5)

Anonymous (0) (0) (0)

Question 1: This puts an undue burden and cost on corporations unless it is the responsibility of the candidate, campaign committee, or PAC to publicly release an accounting of campaign contributions.

Question 2: This has the effect of limiting the right to free speech that the Supreme Court decision protects- putting curbs on this constitutionally protected right. Shareholders can remove a board, or members of the board, if they disagree with a decision or a contribution. Most corporations may seek shareholder approval first anyways, however that should be their decision- otherwise any restraints or requirements like this has the effect of violating the constitutional protection of free speech.

Question 3:  Why? Studies show that such tax credits do not increase the most diverse and broadest participation in the democratic process. Candidates should not be campaigning on the public dole.

Anonymous (10) (10) (10)

Charles Lutz (10) (10) (10)

Greer Lockhart (10) (10) (10)

Question 1:  Should apply to both corporate and union contributions

Question 2:  Should apply to unions as well

Colin Lee (10) (10) (10)
Question 3:  Corporations should not be able to act as a secretive front for other organizations. The worst case scenario for our democracy is that corporations will be able to use a web of shell companies to obscure their political involvement and to prevent their customers from holding that corporation accountable for actions against the American people. As the Citizens United ruling currently stands, it is a violation of the free speech and freedom of association rights of Americans who work for corporations that make political donations against the best interest of their workers. How would the West Virginia families of Massey Energy feel if they found out that Massey had spent company funds to support candidates who oppose mine safety regulations?

Pat Curtiss (10) (7.5) (10)

Question 3:  This is a strong piece of campaign finance reform and perhaps one day will be considered a stepping stone.

Anonymous (7.5) (10) (10)

Terry Stone (5) (2.5) (5)

Question 1:  There is a constitutional issue with imposing requirements upon one class (corporate) of citizens but not on others.

Question 2:  The expenditure of all money is a contract between investors and the board of directors. This is well established and government must not aspire to micromanage it.

Question 3:  The much larger concern is the impact of political action committees that contaminate both our state-wide and legislative elections.

Anonymous (0) (0) (0)

Dick Angevine (7.5) (5) (10)

Question 2:  Due to the practicality of obtaining approval I would suggest that prior approval would need to be obtained for contributions above a certain level with the level tied to the size of the corporation.

Dave Durenberger (10) (5) (7.5)

Question 1:  Providing the corporate contributions to associations whose contributors are currently masked must be revealed as well.

Question 2:  it'll never happen except in big contrioversy

Question 3:  The CU v. FEC decision is so impactful that it suggests a re-look at how voters get information on which to base judgment, the many ways in which corporations exercise 1st amendment privileges which are currently influencing policy-maker decision-making and the financing of "grass roots" information and influence. This is really big, but I for one get tired of trying to change campaign and lobbyist financing law when " the system" always finds a way circumvent the individual single issue person's rights to express themselves thru single issue associations.

Anonymous (10) (0) (0)

Ray Schmitz (10) (5) (5)

Question 1:  I think that this concept needs to be extended to other group contributions, PACs of all kinds, anything other than contributions by individuals.

Question 2:  I suspect that most corporations will stay away simply because it is not good for business, does a business need to irritate the opponents of a position and perhaps lose their business.

Question 3:  I am not sure what the solution is to campaign financing, taxpayer funding has been shown to balance the field in some cases but in others it just maintained an individual with little support in a race.

Ellen Brown (10) (7.5) (10)

Question 1:  But by whom, the contributor or the recipient?

Question 2:  Yes in theory but is this really feasible?

Question 3:  I have another comment that doesn't fit these questions. I think one of the biggest risks of this opinion is that the name of the entity paying for a tv ad, say, doesn't have to, and generally doesn't, proclaim its political bias. So we have a host of organizations who can now run political ads without there being any sense of who they are or where the money comes from and they can hide behind an innocuous sounding....even that disguises their true intent. Very troubling.



The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions, reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

   Verne C. Johnson, chair;  David Broden, Charles Clay, Marianne Curry, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  Marina Lyon, Joe Mansky, John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  and Wayne Popham 

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
8301 Creekside Circle #920,   Bloomington, MN 55437.
Verne C. Johnson, chair, 952-835-4549,       Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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