WASHINGTON - Two donors from Minnesota gave $325,000 to pay for President Obama's second inauguration in January, making up the vast bulk of the $364,570 donated by residents of the state, according to data released Monday by the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation.
The single biggest donor by far is an unfamiliar name in Minnesota politics: Johannes Marliem of Wayzata, who contributed $225,000. According to the web site of the Marliem Marketing Group where Marliem is listed as founder and CEO, he's a graduate of the University of Minnesota and previously worked for Best Buy. A search of campaign donations also shows that Marliem gave $132,500 to Obama's campaign and various state Democratic parties during the 2012 election cycle. There is no evidence Marliem made political contributions before 2012.
The second biggest contributor is a much more familiar name, Alida Messinger, who contributed $100,000. Messinger has helped fund the liberal group, Alliance for a Better Minnesota and is the former wife of Gov. Mark Dayton.
Overall, individual and corporate donors gave more than $43 million. No Minnesota-based companies are listed as contributors to the inauguration.
A couple of other familiar names that popped up on the donor list include DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken, who gave $305.
One surprising entry is Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, who also gave $305. Paulsen's most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission also shows a payment for the same amount from Paulsen's campaign committee and records the entry as a ticket to the inaugural ball. A campaign aide did not respond to a request for more details about Paulsen's contribution.
Before you keep reading ...
MPR News is made by Members. Gifts from individuals fuel the programs that you and your neighbors rely on. Donate today to power news, analysis, and community conversations for all.