The best legislature money can buy: Stadium edition
There is hardly a shortage of speculation as to how the Minnesota Twins managed to convince so many lawmakers to finally grease the skids for a publicly funded ballpark. In one commonly held view, the Twins owe their success mainly to their freakish persistence. Returning to the Capitol year after year, the thinking goes, the Twins simply wore down exasperated legislators until they caved, battered palookas too weary to go another round. But there is a much more unseemly--and likely--explanation, too: the gobs of money the Pohlad clan has stuffed into politicians' coffers in recent years.
State Senator John Marty (DFL-Roseville), who can always counted on to shine a welcome light on St. Paul's other red light district, nails the point in a column he penned for the taxpayer watchdog group, the Apple Pie Alliance. Writes Marty:
You don't even need to count the contributions from the Twins' lobbyists. The Pohlad family, which owns the Minnesota Twins, contributed to Governor Pawlenty and to one of his DFL challengers. The Pohlad family gave to the Republican Senate Caucus and to the DFL Senate Caucus. They gave to the DFL and Republican House caucuses.
Carl Pohlad and his sons gave to legislative leaders of both parties -- they even gave to candidates running against each other. In the 2002 gubernatorial race they contributed to two Republican candidates for governor, two DFL candidates, and the Independence party candidate -- they had all the bases covered, regardless of who won the election. The Pohlad family has given well over $200,000 in campaign contributions since 2000!
In other words, they gave money to everyone they thought might do them the favor and, whaddya know, it worked.