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Political notebook: Presidential candidates won't give hunters help

Minnesota hunters should not expect help from the two major presidential candidates in their battle against North Dakota. "States have a right to control the habitat," Sen.

Minnesota hunters should not expect help from the two major presidential candidates in their battle against North Dakota.

"States have a right to control the habitat," Sen. John Kerry told The Forum in a telephone interview.

A White House spokesman did not return a call for comment on President Bush's stand, but he and other conservative Republicans usually prefer the federal government keep out of such issues.

Kerry, who has hunted since he was 12 and fished since he was 4, said with mercury making fish dangerous to eat in many states, the federal government must regulate air pollution that carries mercury from state to state.

Minnesota has sued over North Dakota's restrictions on out-of-state hunters.


Donor search goofs

North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger temporarily took down part of his office Web site when its campaign page began producing inconceivable information.

For a week or more, visitors who asked it to "search disclosure reports" for "contributions by candidate" were being told that Republican Gov. John Hoeven had donations from Sen. Kent Conrad's Democratic political action committee, DAKPAC, from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and other such impossibilities. Other candidates' committees were showing equally weird - and erroneous - contributions.

For instance, a search showed Jaeger had received campaign gifts of $200 or more from 580 donors so far this year. "I wish," he joked. In reality, no one has given Jaeger that size donation.

On Thursday, the "contributions by candidate" link was deactivated and the state technology workers are fixing it. Election Specialist LeeAnn Oliver said it could take as long as a month to get it working correctly.

Other search functions on the page still work and most donations can be found by searching through a different route.

Issue lingers

Debate over a special Minnesota legislative session won't go away.


Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, DFL-Thief River Falls, has joined the chorus of legislators who want a special session to finish work they did not get done during the regular session.

"Now we must set aside the 'wants' on both sides and address the true 'needs' of the state," Stumpf said.

His comments came as Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, issued a plea to Gov. Tim Pawlenty to call a session to deal with taxes, public safety, public works projects and other needs.

It wasn't clear if the letter made any progress.

The regular session ended with none of lawmakers' priorities addressed, and leaders could not even agree on how to approach the differences.

Northwest Minnesota's concerns include funding flood-prevention efforts and college improvements.

More report wrinkles

Visitors to the secretary of state's Web site can't see what donations the state Democratic-NPL Party had so far this year but it has nothing to do with the glitch Jaeger and his staff discovered last week.


Instead it's a war of wills between Jaeger's office and party Executive Director Vern Thompson.

The party submitted its pre-primary report of donations, but in an electronic form that can't be posted directly online.

Oliver, of Jaeger's office, asked Democrats to submit it in a compatible form, just as the Republican Party and various campaigns have done.

Thompson said Friday the party's report satisfies the legal reporting requirement. He's asked his software vendor to make changes so the report can be re-submitted to accommodate the secretary of state, but "that hasn't been my highest priority," he said. "It isn't a biggie to me."

Thompson said the software compiles reports exactly as required by the Federal Elections Commission "and if it's good enough for them, it should be good enough for (Jaeger's office)."

Thompson said nothing prevents Jaeger's office from entering the information into its Web site by hand as was done in the past.

Meanwhile, the only way to see who gave money to the Democratic-NPL this year is to ask the party or Jaeger's office for a paper printout.

Additional aid


Moorhead could end up with more local government aid this year if Pawlenty changes how it is distributed.

Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said he is told the administration is leaning toward interpreting the LGA law in a way that would give Moorhead $117,000 more than expected. Another interpretation could cost the city $763,000.

Legislators forgot to change one part of the LGA law last year when they adopted a new aid formula. Pawlenty decided then to distribute the money as lawmakers intended, with the expectation they would fix the law this year. Since lawmakers failed to fix the problem, Pawlenty says he may be forced to follow the law as written, but there are different ways to interpret the law.

One column or two?

Dean Meyer, North Dakota Democrats' candidate for state treasurer, says the Republican Party has demanded he stop writing his humor column, "Hat Tips," published in several western North Dakota weekly newspapers.

He'll respond with a news conference in Bismarck this morning.

But GOP Executive Director Jason Stverak said the party made no such demand.

"We didn't ask Mr. Meyer to stop writing," he said. Instead, he asked the newspapers to, until the election, either not run the column or publish similar nonpolitical musings by Republican candidate Kelly Schmidt. Though Meyer has not written about his candidacy, the column gives him free publicity and, in fairness, Schmidt should get the same, Stverak said.


One paper has responded. The McClusky Gazette declined to make any changes.

Democrats' Executive Director Vern Thompson called Stverak's request "trivial."

Another Sand visitor

Two days after North Dakota GOP congressional candidate Duane Sand had a visit from U.S. House Leader Tom DeLay, another House leader is to be in the state to help his campaign today.

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., will campaign door to door in Grand Forks with Sand and take part in a joint news conference at the Hilton Garden Inn at 11 am.

Readers can reach Forum Capitol reporters Janell Cole at (701) 224-0830 or Don Davis at (651) 290-0707

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