Disclosure: Minn. GOP’s McFadden worth up to $57M

Published 3:33 pm Saturday, August 17, 2013

ST. PAUL — The Republican businessman running to challenge Democrat Al Franken for U.S. Senate next year reported Friday that he’s worth at least $15 million and as much $57 million.

Mike McFadden, who lives in the St. Paul suburb of Sunfish Lake, is on leave from his job as co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market, a financial management firm that deals with mergers and acquisitions, as he makes his first run for political office. Democratic groups, and one of his Republican challengers, have made his wealth a campaign issue, with some liberal advocacy groups likening him to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

McFadden’s campaign gave The Associated Press a copy of a federally required public financial disclosure report. His spokesman, Tom Erickson, said the form was being filed with the U.S. Senate on Friday.

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The report showed that McFadden earned $2.4 million in salary and bonuses from Lazard Middle Market between January 2012 and July 2013. He started his leave from the downtown Minneapolis firm when he filed for office in May, promising a campaign that would focus on improving education and reducing the federal debt.

Two Republicans in the state Legislature, Sen. Julianne Ortman and Rep. Jim Abeler, are also running to be the party’s candidate against Franken next year. The financial disclosure reports must be filed with the U.S. Senate by the end of the month.

Ortman has made several jabs seemingly directed at McFadden’s wealth, including a comment in a speech when she joined the race two weeks ago that voters “don’t need more disinterested millionaires in the U.S. Senate.”

Franken’s most recent financial disclosure report, filed in May, estimated his personal wealth at between $4 million and $12 million in assets. Besides his U.S. Senate salary of $174,000, Franken continues to earn residuals from his work as a writer and performer in television and movies, and from several of his best-selling books of political satire and commentary.

Asked when he entered the race if his wealth would be a detriment in the eyes of voters, McFadden pointed out that Franken too is living comfortably.

“There are two millionaires in this race,” he said at the time.

McFadden also pushed back against comparisons between Lazard’s work and Romney’s business background, saying his firm mostly worked with small- and medium-sized businesses to set them on financially sustainable paths.

But that hasn’t stopped groups like the Democratic-allied Alliance for a Better Minnesota from comparing McFadden to Romney and tarring him in a web video for “profiting from layoffs.”

The estimates of wealth in the financial disclosure are wide — between $15 million and $57 million for McFadden, and between $4 million and $12 million for Franken. That’s because senators and Senate candidates are given wide parameters for listing their assets. For instance, McFadden estimates more than half a dozen holdings in publicly traded companies in a range between $1 million and $5 million.

McFadden holds shares of a long list of both publicly and non-publicly traded firms. His investment income comes mainly in the form of dividends and capital gains.

In addition to his position at Lazard, McFadden serves on the board of directors of Minneapolis-based Premier Restaurant Equipment Company, Wisconsin-based shoe manufacturer Allen Edmonds, and Cristo Ray Jesuit High School in Minneapolis.