Minnesota For Sale: Out-of-state money dominates Democratic state politics

We document more than $30 million flowing into Minnesota last year to support Democrats.

If you’ve wondered why state Democrats are pursuing such a radical policy agenda, more befitting California or New York than a midwestern state, consider that upwards of half of their financial resources are coming from out of state.

In this part 5 of our Minnesota For Sale series on campaign finance, we dive into the huge pile of out-of-state cash flooding into state Democratic politics.

I previously documented some of the specific sources here, here and here. Here are a few of the leading out-of-state donors to state Democrats.

Below, we add up the take of Minnesota-based political funds and party units from out-of-state donors:

This $30.6 million represents about 46 percent of the $66.7 million coming into state party units and Minnesota-based campaign funds during the most recent election cycle.

As before, it does not include any activity at the Congressional level.

Out-of-state contributions aren’t limited to party units and political committees. The approximately 200 individual Democratic candidates in Minnesota at the state level can and do accept contributions from individuals located in other states. However, the cash amounts are much smaller, as contributors are limited to a maximum of $1,000 from each donor for candidates for the state legislature, for example.

Two examples can be found among the most prolific fundraisers among the incoming class of state legislators. Samakab Hussein was elected last year to represent a district in St. Paul at the state House of Representatives.

For a first-time candidate, Hussein raised an amazing $147,000 from individual donors in 2022. More amazing, he did so in only 10 months with each donor chipping in no more than $1,000 per. He did so with a lot of help from out of state. No fewer than 20 of his donors are located in Washington state, with six in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one each in Missouri and North Dakota.

Even more amazing was the effort put in by first-term state Sen. Zaynab Mohamed of Minneapolis. Although her total haul was only $132,000, her 2021-22 contributors represented nine states and the District of Columbia.

She had 18 donors from California, 15 from Virginia, 9 from Ohio, two from Massachusetts, and one each from Arkansas, DC, Maryland, Michigan, and North Carolina. The Arkansas donation was significant, as the donor was no less than James M. Walton, a third-generation heir to the Walmart fortune. He gave the maximum amount of $1,000, of course.

Incidentally, campaign finance records also show that the young Walton gave $1,500 (oops) to the first term rep. from St. Paul, Maria Perez-Vega.

To come up with a total percentage of out-of-state money at the state level is nearly impossible. As noted in this post, Minnesota-based 501c4 “dark money” outfits take in a couple of million dollars per year where the donor and location of the original source cannot be determined through public records.

in Part 6, we dig into the Minnesota donations of the New York-based Soros family.