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Rep. Erik Paulsen's campaign mostly fueled by out-of-state special interests

Only 25 percent of the $1.9 million Paulsen has raised so far comes from people in Minnesota's 3rd congressional district.

Only 25 percent of the $1.9 million Paulsen has raised so far comes from people in Minnesota's 3rd congressional district. Jeff Wheeler

Reader John Albers responds to GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen’s campaign almost entirely funded by corporations and the wealthy:

Another thank you to City Pages for reporting on Rep. Erik Paulsen -- this time on his re-election financing, another topic that other local news sources appear to avoid.

Pete Kotz's report is demonstrative on two levels. The first, donations by moneyed special interests to Erik Paulsen do influence his votes. An unbiased evaluation of his voting record confirms that his votes reflect the minority interests of his donors and not those of the majority of constituents that he was elected to represent.

Secondly, the majority of the 2017 donations to his re-election campaign are not from his constituents. While Kotz did accurately describe the fact that only 2 percent of donations to Paulsen are from individuals capable of only donating up to $200, a further parsing of FEC data shows an even more disturbing metric: Only 25 percent of the $1,982,045 in 2017 contributions reported to the FEC came from 435 individuals within the Third Congressional District. The remaining contributions came from 363 individuals and 649 PACs -- $351,269 and $1,136,891 respectively -- a majority of whom are out-of-state.

Let this soak in: Only 800 individuals and 649 PAC’s are funding Paulsen’s 2017-2018 election cycle to date, and most are out-of-state. It needs to be asked: Who does the congressman really represent?

To be fair to Paulsen, one donation does not buy a congressman. Kotz rightly points out that Paulsen has received $142,000 from Big Pharma and $184,000 from the insurance industry. It needs to be emphasized that these amounts are only for 2017.

Paulsen was elected to congress in 2008, and the running total of donations he has received from just these two special interests during his tenure are $1,172,778 (insurance) and $1,068,729 (pharmaceuticals/health products), according to OpenSecrets.org. It is these strings attached contributions from special interests that buys my representative’s attention and votes and keeps him in office.

Erik Paulsen has demonstrated by his actions, and not his deceptive assertions to the contrary, that he has no interest in meeting with the rank and file of his district. He has received repeated requests to hold free and public meetings to hear the concerns of his constituents in an on-the-record open forum. He has refused these many requests because there is no money in it.

Instead, he invites members of the district with the means to buy an annual membership in either his Leadership Club ($1000/$2000) and Eagle Club ($2,700/$5,400). According to his club brochure, “Membership entitles you to club breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings where Erik will keep you updated on what is happening in Washington.”

Money buys access to Paulsen that most of the 433,000 voters in the Third District can’t afford.

Last October, City Pages published “Cowardly Lion: Minnesota needs a hero. It has Erik Paulsen instead” by Cory Zurowski, a well-researched expose’ on the failings of Paulsen. Not only is Erik Paulsen a coward; he is a coward bought and paid for by a minority of individuals and out-of-state special interests.

Erik Paulsen is up for re-election this November.