Minnesota has a very special program intended to give the little people more say in politics.
It's called the Political Contribution Refund, and it entitles every Minnesotan to receive a $50 refund from the state on a donation to the political party of their choice.
Minnesota will literally pay you (back) to support your favorite politician.
That program was on hiatus for the past two years, but it's back in full swing this summer. Both the DFL and the Republican parties of Minnesota are really excited, advertising the opportunity on the front pages of their websites.
Nevermind that one of these parties has always condemned the PCR as "welfare for politicians."
You guessed it, the boot-strapping Republican Party doesn't think much of the state footing the bill for everybody's political donations. When the issue comes up in the Legislature, they're always the guys trying to get rid of the funding.
But, despite the small ideological problem of taking money from the government, Republican donors have really warmed to the PCR, asking for way more refunds than Democrats have. Over the past 10 years, Minnesota Republicans have accepted nearly $11.4 million in political welfare. Democrats? $4.8 million.
The Republican party's loudest critics haven't recused themselves from dining at Uncle Sam's table.
Tax committee chair Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston), according to the PiPress said, “This is welfare for politicians. We should not be taking taxpayer dollars and giving it to people so they can run for office." But even Davids couldn't say no to a very nice welfare check of $21,606.52 in 2014.
Here are the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board's records going back to 2006. (It skips the years when the PCR wasn't in effect.)
-2014: DFL ($671,448.12); Republican ($1,121,886.63)
-2013: DFL ($513,092); Republican ($898,752)
-2009: DFL ($655,590); Republican ($1,948,847)
-2008: DFL ($1,107,660); Republican ($2,895,729)
-2007: DFL ($954,704); Republican ($2,208,725)
-2006: DFL ($904,399); Republican ($2,322,721)