Searching for votes on the welfare line

Today is Super Tuesday, and the 2024 political campaign kicks off in earnest for Minnesota and the fifteen other states holding primary elections.

So, it’s time to check in with our favorite Democratic campaign cash powerhouse, the Alliance for a Better Minnesota (ABM) network.

We began this series almost two years ago, cataloging the sprawling DFL empire housed on the third floor of this craptacular office building on University Avenue in St. Paul.

Back in 2022, we counted at least nine separate corporate entities that began life in the building shown above. In 2024, we can add two more.

Two new nonprofits–We All Do Better PAC and WIN Minnesota PAC–were registered with the Minnesota Secretary of State on January 24. Exactly a week later (January 31) both entities were registered with the state Campaign Finance Board.

There’s a lot of work to do between now and November to protect the Democratic “trifecta” in Minnesota and much of the early effort falls under the euphemism of “voter outreach.”

The game is to register as many eligible voters as possible in the spring, so that their ballots can be harvested in the fall. Much of this work can and will be done by officially “nonpartisan” 501c3 nonprofits.

ABM affiliate Minnesota Voice is one such outfit, dutifully registered with the state Attorney General as a charity organization.

As Minnesota Voice explains in its tax returns, the organization is primarily in the business of “civic engagement.” It tells the IRS that it does

Nonpartisan education and outreach to community members about how to vote

Of this, I have no doubt. Which community members? Minnesota Voice helpfully provides a list of partner organization on its website. The groups cover the waterfront for every ethnic group, religion and gender. But I like to follow the money.

In the last election year (2022), Minnesota Voice reports that it gave away about 40 percent ot its total revenue as grants to other 501c3 charity nonprofits.

For example, in 2022, Minnesota Voice gave the nonprofit Somali Community Resettlement Services (SCRS) a grant for more than $50,000 for the purpose of “civic engagement.”

SCRS is one of many Minnesota nonprofits deputized by state government to deliver social welfare services. On its website, SCRS reports that it operates 14 separate programs on behalf of the state departments of Employment and Economic Development, Health, and Human Services, among other state agencies. SCRS also runs programs on behalf of Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis.

So the transaction appears to be that Minnesota Voice pays SCRS to ensure that its clientele (all recipients of taxpayer-funded government programs) cast votes in the election.

As I’m fond of saying, “What could go wrong?”