A group of local business owners recently condemned Rep. Erik Paulsen’s (R-MN-03) attack ads in an open letter, but records show that almost all of the signatories are donors of his opponent.
The letter, peddled by The Star Tribune and promoted by nearly every major Minnesota news outlet, rebuked the Paulsen campaign for exhibiting “some of the worst behavior and judgment.” Democrat Dean Phillips later touted the letter as “stunning” and “incredible,” but both he and his friends in the media have neglected to mention one important fact: its authors are wealthy Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party donors who have donated directly to Phillip’s congressional campaign.
Bill and Penny George, for instance, have donated more than $5,000 to DFL candidates this election cycle, including a $3,200 donation to Phillips filed under Penny George’s name, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Ed and Valerie Spencer have each dropped thousands of dollars on Phillips’ campaign, including a $3,400 donation from Ed Spencer and another $2,000 donation from Valerie Spencer. Terry Saario and Lee Lynch, who are married, haven’t donated directly to Phillips’ campaign, but gave the DFL a massive $5,000 donation, and another $5,000 to Phillips’ DFL colleague Dan Feehan.
Jim and Carmen Campbell have donated $2,000 to the Phillips campaign, making Tad and Cindy Piper the only couple who signed the letter not to donate to Phillips or any Democratic candidates and causes.
The letter comes in response to a recent ad from the Paulsen campaign that claims Allina Health Care ignored sexual harassment claims while Phillips served on its Board of Directors.
“Seven nurses say they were subjected to lewd comments, groping, and even assault. A doctor even accused Phillips’ board of covering up the harassment charges,” the ad states, referencing an 11-year old lawsuit that was settled out of court.
The attorney who represented the women in the case called on Paulsen to take down the ad and apologize.
“This is the most vile, offensive, and objectively untruthful campaign ever conducted in Minnesota, and Erik Paulsen is to blame,” said Zach Rodvold, Phillips’ campaign manager. But Paulsen Campaign Manager John-Paul Yates attributed the blowback to Phillips’ donors simply not liking Republican attack ads.
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