Minnesota For Sale: How a handful of big donors fund the state Democrats

With the 2022 election behind us, we can now total up the money. In this Part 2 of Minnesota For Sale, we focus on the state Democratic party.

Minnesota Democrats like to portray their fundraising prowess as evidence of broad, popular support for their preferred policies. In 2022, the state’s DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) party unit took in nearly $24 million from all sources.

In 2022, the state’s Republican Party took in a paltry $1.3 million. However, more than $300,000 of that amount came from small dollar (less than $200) donors. Small dollar donations represented almost one-fourth (24 percent) of the GOP’s total donations.

In sharp contrast, the Democrats’ take from small donors totaled a mere $11,000 in 2022, representing less than one-twentieth of one percent (0.048 percent) of total donations.

In their financial disclosures, parties must list all donors individually who give more than $200. The list of Republican donors for 2022 runs to 58 pages. The Democrats’ itemized list runs a mere 34 pages, despite taking in more than 26 times as much money from large donors.

In fact, donations to the DFL cause come from a surprisingly small donor base. Of the state DFL 2022 take of $24 million (including cash and in-kind donations), backing out the intra-party transfers from the DFL House Caucus ($4.2 million) and the DFL Senate Caucus ($7.1 million) leaves state Democrats with a net take of $12.7 million from all other sources.

A total of 18 donors, each giving $200,000 or more, account for a total of $8.2 million received, or roughly 2/3 of the total net $ take of the state Democratic party.

Among the 18 top donors, seven are labor unions and eight are individuals. Notable among the individuals are Alida Messinger (Rockefeller oil heiress and the ex-wife of the ex-Governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton), the financier George Soros, and the Governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker.

Other names will be less familiar. Sontheim is a billionaire heiress to the Cargill company fortune. She is said to live in Rancho Santa Fe, California, despite giving a local address for her donation.

Democracy PAC II is another George Soros-created funding vehicle.

Among other big individual, out-of-state donors not making the cut, but giving more than $25,000, were residents of La Jolla, Los Altos, Menlo Park, San Francisco, and Tiburon CA, and Millbrook, and New York, NY. Trust me on the geography of this, you can’t afford to visit any of these places.

Among this group, the most famous name is Katrina vanden Heuvel, a New York heiress and leftist publisher, who gave $50,000. The address she provided is a building located on the Upper West Side in Manhattan.

Part 3 to follow…