2323 E. Franklin Ave Minneapolis, MN 55406 612-338-4094 mdean@commoncause.

org March 14, 2012 Barry Clegg Charter Commission c/o City Clerks Office City Hall, Room 304 350 S. 5th St. Minneapolis, MN 55415

Dear Mr. Clegg, In years past, the redistricting process in Minneapolis has been plagued by partisan games and back room deal making. That partisan manipulation has generated public mistrust of the redistricting process and left some people feeling disenfranchised. That is why Minneapolis voters approved a series of reforms to improve the redistricting process in 2010. However, the current rules still allow for individuals that represent moneyed interests to influence the process and create an appearance of impropriety. Specifically, Common Cause Minnesota has recently learned that there are three registered lobbyists on the 2012 Minneapolis redistricting group. The citizen-run redistricting commission in California prohibits registered lobbyists from participating in the redistricting group.1 Such a ban is important to avoid a conflict of interest. A lobbyist that sits on a redistricting group has tremendous power over the future of elected officials that they lobby. Therefore, under the current rules, a lobbyist has the power to punish or reward local officials in the most palpable way – by increasing or diminishing their odds at the ballot box. While this type of retribution might be unimaginable in Minneapolis, it is unfortunately possible under the process the Redistricting Group has adopted. The mere possibility of this may only further undermine the public trust in the redistricting process. Now that it is so late in the process, it would be unwise to remove the three individuals altogether. However, we do urge that the Minneapolis Redistricting group enact rules that prevent lobbyists from participating in the redistricting process in the future. More importantly, Common Cause Minnesota is urging Commissioner Kozak to recuse himself from future votes and participation in the redistricting conversation on the Charter Commission. His presence, as a registered lobbyist, on the redistricting group raises a serious conflict of interest because he represents clients that have issues that are before the Minneapolis City Council.

California Senate Redistricting website, http://senweb03.senate.ca.gov/focus/redistricting/commission.aspx

2323 E. Franklin Ave Minneapolis, MN 55406 612-338-4094 mdean@commoncause.org

Specifically, Commissioner Kozak is a registered lobbyist for three different groups that have an interest in the Vikings Stadium debate. This issue could be before the Minneapolis City Council in the next several weeks. Specifically, Commissioner Kozak is registered to lobby Minneapolis City government officials on behalf of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves have been advocating for a way to pay for both a Vikings and Timberwolves stadium solution.2 Moreover, Mr. Kozak represents the Minnesota Gaming Association, local developers and the University of Minnesota, all of those groups have an interest in the stadium conversation. Depending on what the final proposal from the legislature looks like, it is possible that the final decision could be with the Minneapolis City Council. During that same time, the Minneapolis Charter Commission could be deciding what the final redistricting maps look like. This real conflict of interest for Commission Kozak cannot be ignored. In addition, Commissioner Kozak also represents Covanta Energy Corporation,3 who is seeking to expand the operations at the downtown burner. This issue is still before the Minneapolis City Council and represents another conflict. This is exactly why citizen redistricting commissions often create restrictions on who can participate on the redistricting commission. If Commissioner Kozak is allowed to continue to participate in the proceedings, it will taint the work of the Minneapolis Redistricting group, regardless of the final outcome. We urge you to not let the work of the group be spoiled by allowing a registered lobbyist with interests before the Minneapolis City Council to further participate in this process. This revelation should also propel the Minneapolis Redistricting Group to create rules that would prevent such a conflict of interest from happening in the future.


Mike Dean Executive Director, Common Cause Minnesota

2 3

Rand, Michael. Star Tribune May 9. 2011 http://www.startribune.com/sports/blogs/121524069.html

Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board registered client list for Andrew Kozak. http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/lobby/lbdetail/lb141.html

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful