The Ringer

The relationship between the Democrats and the  media occasionally usually seems intimate to the point of unseemly.

But it rarely seems like the media are directly employed by the Democrat party (Keri Miller and Lori Sturdevant notwithstanding).

But that’s changed.

Perhaps you recall; a few years ago, I was part of a small group – along with left-leaning reporter David Brauer and several Senate staffers – that rewrote the Senate’s media credentialing rules.  The changes opened up the Senate to all manner of alternative media, including bloggers.

That was a good thing.

But one of the rules read like this: “Organizations owned or controlled by registered lobbyists, political parties or other party organizations (defined as organizations registered with the Campaign Finance Board or the Federal Election Commission) shall not be granted credentials.”

Bill Glahn noticed something:

It turns out that in 2012 and 2013, the senate Democrats paid a total of $30,250 for “research” to a company listed as “Enlighten Enterprise” of 254 Wheeler Street in St. Paul.

Records on file at the Minnesota State Secretary of State’s Office show that a company called “Enlightened Enterprises” was registered at that address on July 25, 2012 by a Shawn Towle. The first payment from senate Democrats to Enlighten Enterprise occurred on July 26, 2012.

As pure coincidence would have it, a Shawn Towle is listed in both the 2012 and 2013 editions of Capitol News Coverage Directory as an accredited member of the senate press corps, representing Checks & Balances. That Shawn Towle is also listed in the current 2014 edition.

Sources in the Senate tell me Towle is at press conferences, pressing Republicans and back-slapping Democrats…

…which is fine, and not much different than the rest of the Capitol press corps.

But none of them are paid by the Senate DFL Caucus.

Is the Senate DFL paying for “media” presence, and violating its own rules in the process?

Someone should ask Tom Bakk…

More later.

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