Letter: Hagedorn doing little to condemn foreign money in campaigns

Published 6:47 am Saturday, October 26, 2019

Foreign money has no place in our politics. Nevertheless, Russian dirty money has shown up by way of Ukrainian back channels at Minnesota CD 1’s door.

The importance of condemning this attempt to buy influence should be obvious. But so far, it doesn’t seem obvious to Jim Hagedorn. At this writing, he has only addressed the issue on social media, where his comments amount to the statement that he did nothing wrong.

In 2018, Hagedorn received the benefit of $1.7 million in attack ads on his opponent from the super-PAC ‘America First.’ Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Soviet-born U.S. citizens recently arrested for election law violations, donated heavily to America First.

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This money was mostly not their own. According to their indictment, Parnas and Fruman funneled it into America First from an as yet unnamed Russian power broker shopping for influence.

They also passed it directly to multiple U.S. political candidates and Republican party offices. Other Republicans have faced the scandal squarely and condemned this effort to acquire political influence by means of foreign money on behalf of foreign interests.

Mr. Hagedorn’s constituents deserve no less from him. Let them hear their representative condemn this attempt to buy favor. Those in the same business as Parnas and Fruman will be watching how our politicians react. Constituents and influence peddlers alike need a strong and clear statement from Mr. Hagedorn.

Sean Easton

St. James, MN