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Dirty Politics? Republican Cries Foul in Race for Congress Against Keith Ellison

Chris Fields, who is challenging Rep. Keith Ellison for the U.S. 5th District seat, calls the Minnesota DFL party distributing information about his past divorce "the politics of personal destruction." The DFL calls it "opposition re

The Minnesota DFL is responsible for alerting a local news outlet about a dismissed 2006 temporary restraining order against 5th District GOP challenger Chris Fields.

Documents provided to Patch by Fields show that Washington, DC-based New Partners Consulting uncovered the information. New Partners confirmed it collected the information on behalf of the Minnesota DFL. The DFL mentioned the information to a blogger, said Executive Director Corey Day, who declined to name the blogger.

“We do opposition research on all of our opponents,” he said. “It’s pretty standard during election season.”

The information was first published on the City Pages’ politics blog.

Fields has called digging up the incident “the politics of personal destruction,” and the order was eventually dismissed. Both he and his ex-wife deny that there was ever abuse.

But Day said bringing up the order was valid because Fields had raised questions about Ellison’s character on Twitter, at events and at house parties.

“This piece of information calls into question Chris Fields’ character,” he said.

When asked how the order’s dismissal affects the context, he noted that the DFL didn’t do a press release on the subject and said it was just a piece of information mentioned to someone. He added that it’s up to Fields to explain the background.

Fields alleged Thursday that New Partners provided the information at the behest of Rep. Keith Ellison’s campaign.

Ellison’s campaign denied any involvement and expressed regret that it happened in the following statement sent to Patch:

I did not have anything to do with the release of information about a restraining order filed against Chris Fields. Contrary to Mr. Fields’ allegations, my re-election campaign did not pay News Partners, a political consulting firm, to uncover this information. I personally called Mr. Fields to let him know that my campaign was not involved. I also let him know that I was sorry this happened to him.

Day also denied that the DFL coordinated this with Ellison’s campaign.

Fields said the distinction is splitting hairs. He noted that Ellison gives money to the DFL and has, itself, paid thousands to New Partners.

“Either way you look at it, this is sanctioned, in my mind, by Keith Ellison,” Fields said. “When you sleep with dogs, you wake up with fleas.”

Finance records from OpenSecrets.org show that the Minnesota DFL was the sixth biggest beneficiary of Ellison’s campaign, accounting for $41,556 of the candidate’s expenditures in the 2012 campaign cycle.

Meanwhile, the same records show that New Partners Consulting is the biggest recipient of expenditures from Ellison’s campaign during the 2012 campaign cycle. The firm has received 16 payments worth $238,890. The next biggest recipient of expenditures is the Democratic Congressional Campaign with $135,006.

Will Hailer, campaign manager for Keith Ellison for Congress, told Patch via e-mail that the campaign paid New Partners for “fundraising consulting, website design, and new media consulting” between 2011 and March 2012. Since that time, it has only paid the company for fundraising consulting.

“As Congressman Ellison's statement said, his re-election campaign did not pay News Partners to uncover information about a restraining order filed against Chris Fields,” Hailer wrote.

Fields’ ex -wife, Jessica Fields, requested the restraining order for “domestic violence protection” in Oct. 12, 2006. A hearing was eventually scheduled for Nov. 20, but neither she nor Chris Fields appeared and the order was eventually dismissed.

He said he was never served the temporary restraining order and hadn’t known it existed until City Pages contacted him. He denied that he was ever abusive to his ex-wife.

Jessica Fields has declined to comment. But she released a statement through her ex-husband saying their divorce was amicable and that any assumptions he treated her poorly are “baseless and without merit.”

“Like my ex-husband, l am a retired Marine and was and remain fully capable of defending my child and myself,” she wrote “If I ever felt physically threatened or otherwise, I would have taken action. That situation never arose.”

Denise Mazone October 05, 2012 at 08:47 PM
So what, if this is true! The most important thing is that his ex-wife should not have to be subjected to domestic abuse. Don't forget the reason why this restraining order was initiated even if it wasn't executed. I am a Golden Valley resident and Congressman Ellison has had a great presence in my city.
Larry Reynolds October 05, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Denise is right. This is 'reaching beyond reaching' for skuttlebut. Besides, since the DFL did nothing with the obtained information, it seems odd that the GOP would want to be identified as instigators. 'Leave well enough alone' would have the better tact.
Joan Borowiec October 05, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Strange that the information contained in this Patch alert means nothing but the report in CP is held up as important. Why the double standard?
Matthew Nelson October 06, 2012 at 01:03 AM
This is supposed to distract people from the issues. Neither Keith Ellison or Chris Fields is a perfect person nor should they be trying to stray away from the issues that are actually affecting our pocket books. Chris Fields presents a message of a moving forward and not letting your situtation stop you from succedding. If you haven't heard Chris Fields story, background you may want to check it out...it's very inspiring...at least to me.
mike savick October 06, 2012 at 01:56 AM
It was not inspiring when Chris Fields castigated Congressmen Ellison for going to the Middle East when Ellison was requested to do so by Republican President George W Bush. Following the request of the President of the United States and doing his duty to our country was turned into a negative by an inexperienced candidate who merely parroted the teaparty propaganda. Ellison began earning his international reputation for working with many cultures and religious communities including Christians, Jews, Muslims and many others as a state representative assisting various nonprofit organizations. President Bush recognized Ellison's ability to be a goodwill ambassador to newly emerging potential democracies in largely Muslim countries. I would have hoped that a retired Marine officer would have stood on his own feet and done his homework. Fields should have run as an independent and acted as one.
James Sanna (Editor) October 06, 2012 at 03:09 AM
No, our reporting pretty clearly found that the DFL whispered the information to a blogger, and it looks like that blogger works for CityPage.
Emily B October 06, 2012 at 03:25 PM
As someone who plans to vote for Keith, I find it incredibly disappointing that the DFL didn't keep this info to themselves. It is irrelevant to the election and its rather distracting, not to mention that the polls show this type of low level campaigning is not necessary - not that I ever personally support trash campaigning from either side - but Keith has quite a lead, so I just find this sad. Honestly, this is one of the reason I have never and won't ever contribute financially to any party or politician.
Fabuladico October 06, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Much ado about nothing. There was a restraining order that was dismissed, there was never any abuse. A tempest in a teapot . Obviously, Ellison is feeling the heat to stoop to such base politics. Me, I'd rather have a guy with domestic problems representing me than a guy who's nothing but an Obama toady, who ignores his constituents, and cares nothing for his country.
Amy Paddock October 07, 2012 at 10:46 AM
I am not sure of the issue here with anyone having any information given to anyone else. It's campaign season. On the other hand, whatever may have happened in his marriage back then may have been just a bad moment that may not have been that bad, but she make an effort to go to the court house and fill out the complaint. There have been plenty attempts at knocking Keith Ellison down for things there is no proof on, and no one sees the error in that. I am glad that whatever happened in Chris Fields and his ex-wife's personal life seemed to be cleared up, but I am doubtful that Ellison actually did this directly. Just as Chris Fields has people writing for him, and against Ellison - Someone is going to find something and write about Chris Fields. You can spin anything, just as Chris Fields is now trying to spin this story about Ellison. It works both ways in campaign season. People will believe what they will want to believe. I know that Chris spoke for Jessica on this. It would be nice to have Jessica say something directly as well. I am not ready to believe that Chris Fields is violent, but it still would be nice to have his ex-wife directly say something.
Cheryl Poling October 07, 2012 at 12:43 PM
I don't see "controversy" anywhere in this article. Information (true information by the way) was given to a blogger. A blogger passed it on. Information was explained. End of subject. Are you telling me that if the shoe were on the other foot the GOP wouldn't have done the same? No, you aren't because they already did that before. The most responsible thing to do would be to change the title of this article to say: GOP reaps what it sows.
Candace Oathout October 07, 2012 at 04:04 PM
The article indicates that Jessica Fields was contacted and declined to comment on the matter. Although she did state that as a retired Marine in her own right she never felt threatened and if she had she was fully capable of taking care of matters if she needed to. That seems to be a pretty strong statement that should put to rest any question of abuse. In times of stress (divorce) people sometimes do things impulsively that they regret later. On another note, I find it interesting that folks in Golden Valley have such a great relationship with Mr. Ellison. It certainly doesn't extend to other parts of his District. Phone calls aren't returned, letters and emails voicing concerns, if responded to at all, are clearly produced and sent out without acknowledging addressing the concern. Although they often do thank the writer for supporting a position the writer was objecting to. This certainly is both frustrating and dismissive of even mild dissent.
Amy Paddock October 07, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I haven't heard the same about his communications. Not sure what kind of problems you are having? Anyway, the article on CP and the blog on here indicated that that she spoke through C. Fields, and not directly herself. Big difference. Why would he speak for her regarding this? That doesn't seem like a good idea. "Speaking for someone else" in this situation doesn't carry weight, and it shouldn't. Again, she took the time to go to the court house to fill out this request. Then he states that this is invasion into his ex-wife's life. Well, she made that report, and clearly signed it. It took some time to do that. Now, he is running for office. She should make her own statement separate from Chris Fields.
Cheryl Poling October 07, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Me either, Amy. Sounds more like the tripe those of us who live in CD3 get from Erik Paulsen. He has never responded to any concerns, just thanks people for agreeing with him - if he responds at all. Congressman Ellison does respond - even to those who do not live in his district.
Ezra Pound October 08, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Dear Mr Fields: You are hiding more than this. You can speak for your ex-wife. You can even state that you care for her and make her out to be a "crazy." You can even release a statement from her through your campaign. It does not cover the fact that at some point in your marriage she felt threatened and had the courage to stand up to what was going on.You,again, controlling the situation and lying about your awareness of the restraining order does not make you the victim....so pathological on your behalf. Good for your ex - wife that she did request the restraining order. Good luck on your current lawsuit with another strong, intelligent, courageous woman who is not coerced by your manipulation.
Nancy E Gertner October 08, 2012 at 05:26 PM
A former spouse may have a financial interest in Mr. Fields getting elected to Congress IF it means that he would be better able / required to provide financial support to her or dependent children.
guy davidson October 09, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Can we get a restraining order to keep Ellison out of Washington DC?
Daryl Fryxell October 12, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Good one, Guy. Actually, I'm fine with him being in Washington. I just don't want him there representing Minnesota.
Daryl Fryxell October 12, 2012 at 06:39 PM
On the substance of the campaign, Ellison is just wrong. He is on board with all of the Obama/Pelosi left wing programs and ideology. He stands for growing the government and shrinking our paychecks. He believes that your paycheck belongs to Washington and you can keep whatever they decide to let you have. Ellison is on the wrong side of every domestic and foreign policy issue. He needs to be replaced.
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