County Board gets political, despite being non-partisan

By John Holler:


As part of its role in county pol- itics, members of the Wright County Board of Commissioners don’t have their names listed with a party affiliation. However, at the June 19 meeting of the board, it was clear that party politics was coming to the county board and it would lead to an interesting 30- minute exchange.

Ann Burns of Monticello and Mary Beth Noll of Silver Creek Township came before the board representing American Promise, a group looking to garner support for the passage of a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution looking to eliminate the amount giant corpo- rate donors can give in political campaigns, which opened up con- siderable dialogue among the com- missioners.

“Our goal today is to gain your support to adopt a resolution call- ing for an amendment to the Con- stitution,” Burns said. “The problem is money having a cor- rupting influence on politics. We want to acknowledge right at the start that this is a cross-partisan problem – both sides are engaged in accepting huge amounts of money, but it resulting is what can be called legal bribery.”

A series of Supreme Court de- cisions have allowed unlimited campaign spending, deeming that corporations and Political Action Committees (PAC) have the right to contribute to election campaigns just as any citizen does. The solu- tion proposed by the resolution would be the creation of a 28th Amendment to the Constitution to prohibit the influence of big- money Super-PACs. In the last presidential election, more than $7 billion was spent to get candidates elected. Most of that money is spent on negative ads against an opposing candidate, not advocat- ing for the candidate they support. In the Minnesota 8th Congres- sional election in the northeastern part of the state, more than $15 million in outside money was spent to influence the election. Burns said that 0.5 percent of the U.S. population spent 68 percent of the $7 billion in the last federal elec- tions in 2016.

When the presentation was completed, Commissioner Charlie Borrell didn’t mince words about his feelings about American Prom- ise, which he felt was run largely by Democrats and unseen funders of its own program, adding he doesn’t want the board to support a resolution that would hinder pro- grams that he believes in.

“I think this a Democratic-led thing even though you try to make it non-partisan,” Borrell said. “I ac- tually value that when my little sliver of money goes to the NRA (National Rifle Association) or to Citizens United that is has such a huge effect. It makes me more powerful, because they’re causes

that I believe. If we take this out where we can’t pool our money to- gether and have a bigger voice, then we’re left with our liberal metro school teachers that are in- doctrinating our kids to be little communists. We have our colleges that are teaching socialism to everybody and we have the most corrupt news media that has to be countered all the time. I value that I can donate money and have a bigger voice. I don’t want you to take that away from me.”

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