Records:  For years, federal regulators pushed for mining near Boundary Waters as they eyed financial royalties

By Mike Kaszuba and Matt Ehling Environmentalists and mining officials have long debated how ambitious copper-sulfide mining proposals might impact the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and other sensitive land parcels in northern Minnesota. But hundreds of documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act litigation by Public Record Media, a non-profit based in Saint … Continue reading Records:  For years, federal regulators pushed for mining near Boundary Waters as they eyed financial royalties

For the Super Bowl, the NFL gets into airport management

By Mike Kaszuba When the Super Bowl was held in Minneapolis two years ago, federal aviation officials had a unique partner to make sure private planes bringing in fans avoided a logjam at Twin Cities airports – the National Football League. The arrangement allowed for the use of an NFL reservation system as the Federal … Continue reading For the Super Bowl, the NFL gets into airport management

For St. Paul’s soccer stadium, a behind-the-scenes tussle for federal approval

By Mike Kaszuba As the plan to build a Major League Soccer stadium in Saint Paul gained momentum in 2015, a potential problem stood in the way: Would the federal government let a sports stadium be built on property that had been purchased primarily with federal transit dollars?  And would it matter that the money … Continue reading For St. Paul’s soccer stadium, a behind-the-scenes tussle for federal approval

Documents:  A surveillance project attracts “too much media attention”

By Mike Kaszuba Twice during the past two years, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given permission to a notable defense contractor to help conduct an unusual mission:  Fly a sophisticated high-altitude balloon over a six-state area – including southern Minnesota – to help the government deter drug trafficking and homeland security threats. But in early … Continue reading Documents:  A surveillance project attracts “too much media attention”

With InfraGard, the FBI gives confidential briefings to Minnesota’s business community

By Mike Kaszuba The subject of the meeting was cryptic — “Containing High-Profile Attempts to Influence: Tactics, Response, and Lessons Learned.”  The location was a facility in suburban Minneapolis operated by Cargill, the meeting host and the largest privately-held company in the United States. And the meeting’s coordinator was the local office of the Federal Bureau … Continue reading With InfraGard, the FBI gives confidential briefings to Minnesota’s business community

PRM litigation reveals DOJ records about Espionage Act, investigations of media

By Matt Ehling and Mike Kaszuba A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit initiated by non-profit organization Public Record Media (PRM) has uncovered records showing that in early 2017, Department of Justice (DOJ) officials circulated a memo outlining proposed changes to the Espionage Act – a World War I-era statute that has been used to … Continue reading PRM litigation reveals DOJ records about Espionage Act, investigations of media

After obtaining a non-disclosure agreement, Google comes to Minnesota

By Mike Kaszuba Nearly three months before most Minnesotans knew that Google was interested in building a large data center in Sherburne County, local officials were already putting together a public subsidy package for the multi-billion-dollar company. New documents obtained by Saint Paul-based non-profit Public Record Media (PRM) show that the broad outlines of an … Continue reading After obtaining a non-disclosure agreement, Google comes to Minnesota

Documents shed renewed light on Wisconsin’s Foxconn deal

By Mike Kaszuba In 2017, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker announced that tech giant Foxconn would be building a major liquid crystal display manufacturing facility in the state. Walker touted the project as one that could transform Wisconsin in the same way Silicon Valley had remade the San Francisco Bay area. Despite the outward excitement, state … Continue reading Documents shed renewed light on Wisconsin’s Foxconn deal

After more than a year, Amazon bid released

By Mike Kaszuba After being kept from the public for over eighteen months, Minnesota’s unsuccessful bid to have Amazon locate a second corporate headquarters (“HQ2”) in the state was released on May 6th.  The bid document, however, contained few surprises – many of the public subsidies and locations that were offered to the company had … Continue reading After more than a year, Amazon bid released

Mueller Report:  Republican Peter Smith’s activities drew scrutiny

By Mike Kaszuba Two years after his body was found in a Rochester, Minnesota motel room, Republican operative Peter Smith emerged as a figure who drew the interest of Robert Mueller III as part of the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Mueller’s 448-page report, which was released Thursday, … Continue reading Mueller Report:  Republican Peter Smith’s activities drew scrutiny