Rep Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) has raised over $2 million for his re-election effort in this year’s midterms. But only 2 percent of that total comes from small, individual donations.
By contrast, his Democratic colleague Keith Ellison － who represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District － has taken 54 percent of his 2018 campaign funding from small donations.
Paulsen’s funding sources should be no surprise. Now in his fifth congressional term, Paulsen hasn’t held a true town hall in years, but he has ensured a steady stream of corporate money by, for instance, lending support to the GOP’s corporate tax cuts, which he and the rest of his party peddled under the innocuous-sounding guise of “tax reform.”
Paulsen has essentially become a lobbyist for the medical device industry, and has fought against the medical device tax for years, despite the fact that its repeal would lead to a $20 billion federal budget shortfall.
In addition to the medical device industry, big banks (like U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo) and major corporations (like Target － his old employer － and 3M) have funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into Paulsen’s campaign coffers.
In exchange for his devotion to corporate interests, Paulsen has earned a 91 percent rating from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the virulently anti-immigration, climate-denying, anti-worker organization that lobbies on behalf of American businesses.
His whole record attests to his allegiance to Corporate America and the one percent. But despite his popularity with monied interests, Paulsen is facing a tough re-election campaign. Democrats, fueled largely by anger toward President Trump and the GOP’s inaction on climate change, guns, and a host of other issues, are fired up about pushing Republicans out in the fall. And voters are becoming wise to the fact that despite his mild-mannered representation of himself as a centrist and a man of the people, Paulsen is anything but.