The radical center in Minnesota

A centrist Minnesota political action committee just got a big pile of cash from an unlikely source. On Monday, former Enron executive John Arnold of Houston, TX, gave $150,000 to a political action committee called More Voices Minnesota.

After Enron, Arnold got into the hedge fund business, and in 2007 became America’s youngest billionaire. He “retired” at age 38, in 2012, to focus on his philanthropy. At the time, he was Houston’s third-richest man.

More recently, Arnold supported a successful 2020 referendum in Oregon to decriminalize the state’s drug laws.

On Arnold’s Twitter account, this is his pinned Tweet, from 2018:

Looking at Federal campaign money databases, it would appear that Arnold donates far more frequently to Democrats than Republicans.

The More Voices Minnesota PAC is chaired by former candidate for governor, Tom Horner. In 2010, Horner ran for governor as an independent candidate, finishing 3rd with 12 percent of the vote, playing spoiler in the race between Republican Tom Emmer and Democrat Mark Dayton. Dayton prevailed in a recount that year.

More Voices was founded in 2020. That year the fund raised a little over $35,000. About $14,000 of that went to pay staff at FairVote Minnesota, the ranked-choice voting advocates.

Another $8,700 went to units of the state Democratic party. The rest was split between compliance costs and donations to individual candidates.

The $150,000 donation from Arnold is more than four times the amount of money the group raised in the last election cycle. In 2022, the Arnold donation is the only money received by the group. It reported no activity in 2021.

It will be interesting to see where the money goes.