Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ryan Grim has published a new report in the Intercept that further illustrates the contrast between Jeff Erdmann’s progressive, grassroots campaign and his opponent Angie Craig.
Grim revealed that in 2012, Craig, then Chair of St. Jude Medical PAC, directed substantial campaign funds to Republicans like Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and Elizabeth Warren’s opponent Scott Brown (among many, many others), specifically to undermine the Affordable Care Act.
Per the report:
Craig, while at the medical device company St. Jude Medical, directed the firm’s political action committee in the 2012 election cycle, after spending the previous six years on its board. The goal of the St. Jude PAC was to buy influence with Republican and Democratic leaders, as well as members of the tax-writing committees, in pursuit of repealing the medical device tax that was a key funding mechanism of the Affordable Care Act. The effort eventually met with significant success.
While she ran it, the PAC spent heavily on Republican politicians, directing funds in the 2012 cycle to Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell, Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch, Scott Brown, Mike Enzi, Richard Burr, Bob Corker, and John Barrasso. Then-Speaker John Boehner and presumed-future-speaker Kevin McCarthy, as well as the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, all got money from Craig’s PAC.
After interviewing numerous Democratic campaigns and speaking to officials at the DCCC, Grim detailed how party leaders in DC systematically handpick corporate-backed candidates and shutout working class candidates who aren’t friendly to special interests:
DCCC operatives will “rolodex” a candidate… it involves candidates being asked to pull out their smartphones, scroll through their contacts lists, and add up the amount of money their contacts could raise or contribute to their campaigns. If the candidates’ contacts aren’t good for at least $250,000, or in some cases much more, they fail the test, and party support goes elsewhere.
That’s not how democracy is supposed to work, and beyond that, it’s terrible politics for a party that’s supposed to represent regular, working people. And it doesn’t even work! Grim’s report added that, in the 2016 election, the Craig campaign’s ability to raise and spend large sums of corporate cash–millions more than Jason Lewis–failed to translate to actual votes:
Despite spending $4.8 million, Craig lost by 2 points… Craig underperformed Clinton by 4,000 votes and even underperformed Democratic state Senate and House candidates by 13,000 and 2,000 votes, respectively. In 2012, the previous presidential cycle, congressional candidate Mike Obermueller spent $710,000 for a nearly identical level of support.
President Obama often said that the definition of craziness was doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. But that’s precisely what the Democratic establishment in Washington wants to see happen in Minnesota’s CD-2. Fortunately, voters in CD-2 get the ultimate say on caucus night on Tuesday, February 6th.