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REGIONAL— Two of northeastern Minnesota’s former lawmakers have joined the stable of lobbyists that represent a wide range of interests at the Minnesota Legislature. Both former Sen. Tom …
REGIONAL— Two of northeastern Minnesota’s former lawmakers have joined the stable of lobbyists that represent a wide range of interests at the Minnesota Legislature. Both former Sen. Tom Bakk and former Rep. Rob Ecklund have signed up to lobby on behalf of various entities.
As first reported in the Timberjay two weeks ago, the parent company of tobacco giant Phillip-Morris, known as Altria, has hired former Sen. Tom Bakk to lobby on behalf of the company on tobacco-related legislation.
More recently, the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board has confirmed that two other major corporations, Essar Capital Americas and Twin Metals Minnesota, have hired Bakk to work on their behalf in St. Paul.
Bakk will serve as one of eight lobbyists working on behalf of Twin Metals and is one of three lobbyists registered as working to support Essar Capital. Essar has been fighting to regain state mineral leases they say are critical to its hopes of completing a taconite pellet plant near Nashwauk. But the company, a subsidiary of Essar Steel, has a checkered record on the Iron Range, one that includes a bankruptcy that sought to discharge millions of dollars owed to suppliers and contractors, many of which are located in northeastern Minnesota.
Meanwhile, Twin Metals is a joint venture controlled by Chilean mining giant Antofagasta, that has proposed to build a sulfide-based copper-nickel mine near Ely.
Former Rep. Ecklund, who lives in International Falls, has registered as a lobbyist for a total of seven distinct entities, mostly tribal or governmental. Ecklund is registered to lobby on behalf of both the Bois Forte and Grand Portage tribal governments, both located in his former district. He is also registered to be working on behalf of the city of Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission, Forest Lake Area Schools, ISD 31, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association and a single corporate client, Verizon Wireless.
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