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

FAA flight data:  A glimpse at the jet set for Super Bowl, Final Four

By Mike Kaszuba Three hours before Super Bowl LII began last year in Minneapolis, a charter flight listed simply as “Saudi VIP” arrived in the Twin Cities from Washington, D.C.  The plane would stay just a few hours – long enough for the game to be played – and then depart back to the U.S. … Continue reading FAA flight data:  A glimpse at the jet set for Super Bowl, Final Four

Examining an ethics issue regarding Rep. Ilhan Omar

By Mike Kaszuba In July 2018, as Ilhan Omar was running for Congress, the rapidly rising Minneapolis DFLer suddenly faced questions about money she was paid to give speeches at community colleges while she served on a higher-education finance committee as a state legislator. Though Omar returned the money, claiming the speeches were booked before … Continue reading Examining an ethics issue regarding Rep. Ilhan Omar

Records:  University of Minnesota tried to obtain Bob Dylan’s archives

By Mike Kaszuba In August of 2011, music legend Bob Dylan had just turned age 70. Newly obtained records show that the University of Minnesota reached out to his representatives at that same time about an archiving project. Documents obtained by Saint Paul-based non-profit Public Record Media (PRM) reveal that the school was interested in … Continue reading Records:  University of Minnesota tried to obtain Bob Dylan’s archives