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Minnesota GOP vs. Neil Gaiman

English writer Neil Gaiman. Taken at the 2007 ...

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In Minnesota, House Republicans are examining state funding for some arts and cultural heritage groups.  On Tuesday they introduced an amendment though would cut funding to some organizations.  Rep. Dean Urdahl who introduced the legislation suggested it was Republican leadership that prompted the move.  The legislation would also force groups to compete for the money.  House Majority Leader Matt Dean said he just reminded Urdahl he had support of the Republican caucus.  But, how does Neil Gaiman get involved in this?

In the Star Tribune article on the subject:

Dean also singled out a $45,000 payment of Legacy money that was made last year to science fiction writer Neil Gaiman for a four-hour speaking appearance. Dean said that Gaiman, “who I hate,” was a “pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota.”

Gaiman addressed the fee last May:

The main reason I got a speaking agency, ten years ago, was because too many requests for me to come and speak were coming in,” Gaiman continued. “And the speaking requests were, and are, a distraction from what I ought to be doing, which is writing. So rather than say no, we’ve always priced me high. Not Tony Blair high, or Sarah Palin high (last time I read about them, they’re about $400,000 and $150,000 respectively). But I’m at the top end of what it costs to bring an author who should be home writing and does not really want a second career as a public speaker to your event. So if you want to pay me to come in and talk, it’s expensive

Gaiman has donated the money (minus commissions) to two charities.  The money was earmarked specifically to bring authors to suburban libraries and if unused did not carry over into the next year (use it or lose it!).

We’ve reached out to House Majority Leader Dean for comment and to see how exactly Gaiman “stole” money from the state of Minnesota.