Minnesota Momentum: The Vikings Funded “Grassroots” #Vikings Welfare Coalition

While on the subject of fake grassroots organizations, it’s worth giving Minnesota Momentum a plug. But, before doing so, check out this description of what “grassroots” actually means from Wikipedia:

The term implies that the creation of the movement and the group supporting it are natural and spontaneous, highlighting the differences between this and a movement that is orchestrated by traditional power structures.

Now, take a look at the Twitter bio for Minnesota Momentum:

@MNMomentum Twitter Bio

See the URL? Vikings.com? That’s strange. How many grassroots organizations are tied to tightly to a single corporation’s private interest in extracting public welfare?

Another way to look at this is to check out who owns this “grassroots organization’s” domain name, minnesotamomentum.com:

minnesotamomentum.com Domain Registration

It sure looks to me like this “grassroots organization” is, in fact, the Minnesota Vikings. Looks like a private business is attempting to influence legislators by creating the illusion of a grassroots organization.

When you think of “grassroots organizations” do you think “paid staff”? Me neither. That’s another example of what makes Minnesota Momentum’s stadium welfare lobbying group different from the average grassroots organization. Take Benjamin Casura as an example:

Minnesota Momentum Street Team Recruiter

Here is how he describes the work he does for Minnesota Momentum:

Minnesota Momentum Street Team Recruiter Job Description

Free Food and Memorabilia

When you think of grassroots organizations, do you think free food and free raffles? That seems like the opposite of what I generally expect to see. Usually, it’s “hey” could you chip in to help cover the costs of the bagels? We’re having a silent auction to raise money as well. But things are a bit different at Minnesota Momentum’s grassroots organization, where they have catering and giveaways:

Free Community Breakfast this Friday
The Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Momentum will hold a free community breakfast on Friday, May 8, at The Stadium Sports Bar and Grill in White Bear Lake.

Along with a full breakfast, members will receive an exclusive Vikings stadium update, as well as a chance to win lower level tickets to the Vikings 2009 regular season game versus the Baltimore Ravens (October 18). Autographed team items will also be raffled, and members will meet former Vikings great “Benchwarmer” Bob Lurtsema.

Vikings Vice President of Public Affairs/Stadium Development Lester Bagley
Vikings alum Bob Lurtsema
Minnesota Momentum members

A free breakfast and an official Minnesota Vikings stadium update. Team officials will also hold a raffle to give away two (2) lower level tickets to the Ravens at Vikings game on October 18, 2009, as well as autographed team items.

Giving stuff away on Twitter is another way to build support for Vikings stadium welfare:

Minnesota Momentum Vikings Stadium Welfare Promotions

So, by giving away free food, free autographed footballs, and free tickets to games, the Vikings have managed to build a Twitter account with 2,900 followers as of this writing. What do they do with those followers? Ask them to lobby our legislators for stadium welfare on the Vikings’ behalf:

Lobbying Amy Koch for Vikings Stadium Welfare at the Fair

Personally, I’d rather not see corporations running fake grassroots organizations in an attempt to extract hundreds of millions of public dollars from a cash strapped county and state for private profit. It comes across as a very dishonest approach to public policy to me.

Here is an example of this supposed grassroots in action parked in front of the state capitol:

Looks like Zygi Wilf, Lester Bagley, and Jeff Anderson have enough sense not to stand out there in expensive suits, begging for $600 million in welfare payments. Instead, they encourage this guy to take a vacation day from work so he can beg for them.

Why are The Vikings Doing This?

And, again, as a reminder to Vikings fans, if the stadium welfare proposal presented by the Vikings organization made smart political sense, why would the Vikings have to go to such great lengths to attempt to manipulate our elected officials into supporting it? If the plan made financial sense, it wouldn’t take an army of fake grassroots support to convince politicians to support it. They know how to count money and count votes, so if the money made sense, the votes would be there.

8 thoughts on “Minnesota Momentum: The Vikings Funded “Grassroots” #Vikings Welfare Coalition”

  1. Actually, by having these paid astroturf flunkies pretending to be grassroots, it takes away from a real grassroots movement from existing, right?

    Guess they didn’t have any faith in their fans to start one on their own, but it is doubly hard to start a game when the game is rigged.

  2. Well move over Robert Downey Jr., we found the next Sherlock Holmes. The way you sensationalize things makes the Enquirer look like the NY Times. The Vikings have never tried to hide any connection between the two organizations. In fact, they rolled it up under Vikings.com earlier this year.

    An organization should engage its active grassroots members. It worked well for the Twins when they got their new stadium.

    The only thing more disgusting than your condescending arrogant attitude is the level of presumption you exude in order to try and make yourself relevant in a debate where no one asked or cares for your participation.

  3. @Cory Merrifield, not asking or caring for an opinion, while simultaneously begging for $600,000,000 in welfare payments, is an interesting negotiating tactic. Why not just say “shut up and hand over the public’s money to Zygi Wilf”?

  4. @Cory Merrifield, do you think the Vikings organization is being honest when they refer to Minnesota Momemtum – an organization they fund – as a “grassroots organization”? When a private company funds an organization that’s designed to extract hundreds of millions of dollars in welfare payments from the public, it’s certainly an organization, but grassroots? Please.

  5. More sensationalism. SavetheVikes.org has always advocated for user based fan fee’s. We have no control, as much as we try, over the finance model the Legislature decides to move forward with.

    I know you have seen our suggested finance model as you have commented on it in the past. I have never asked the public for $600,000,000. I call you, a liar.

    Furthermore, you are using your “go-to” tactic which is to try and change the subject to one of your sensationalized concoctions so you don’t have to account for your juvenile behavior and hyperbole.

    It’s one thing to disagree, but you are such a sore loser and immature that you can’t even agree to disagree. Precedence shows that rather than be civil you will lie and insult when faced with the option to rebut with civility.

  6. @Cory Merrifield, when you said “no one asked or cares for your participation” I assumed that you were talking about more than just yourself. With that in mind, my comment about $600 million in welfare payments applied to more than just your opinion of my opinions.

    That said, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on whether creating a new public revenue source (Racino) then earmarking $28 million per year of it for a private company (Vikings) [for 28 years] is a tax on the public or not.

    And, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on whether earmarking $4-5 million/year of a lottery game’s revenue for a private company rather than having the money go to the general fund, Fish & Wildlife, environmental programs, and the natural resources fund is a tax on the public or not.

    And, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree about whether earmarking $500,000/yr revenue from state license plates for a private business is a tax on the public or not.

    And, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree about whether it’s intellectually honest to earmark the income tax revenues of players as a source of stadium funds, thus stealing them from the general fund, is a public tax or not.

    And, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree whether it makes sense for Zygi Wilf to take home $4 million out of $14 million year year in naming rights on a building he wouldn’t own.

    And, I suppose we could ignore whether there are any substitution variables at play here.

    I understand that you’re trying to paint as rosy a picture as possible, and come up with a plan that’s tolerable for the legislature to approve in this economic climate. But, the plan you’ve proposed, and the Ramsey County funded proposal don’t appear to be reaching a “hold my nose and vote for it” level of support from Koch, Zellers, or many cities within Ramsey County, including the largest: St. Paul.

    Frankly, it seems like we’re on the same side of this issue: We would love to see a new stadium, but we don’t want to pay for it. And, we both find ourselves frustrated with an owner who is unwilling to use his own money or raise private capital to pay for it. Instead, we find ourselves being held hostage by a guy in New Jersey who keeps making veiled threats that he’ll move his business to a city that’s willing to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in public welfare to his private business. Where we differ is in how we react to Wilf’s greedy behavior. I find it easy to say no to that type of greed, while you seem to be interested in accommodating Wilf’s greed using other people’s money.

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