Daniel Willard "Dan" Cohen (born June 10, 1936) is an American author, businessperson, and politician from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has provided financial support to candidates of the Democratic and Republican parties and ran as an independent candidate in the 2013 Minneapolis mayoral election, ultimately finishing seventh out of 35 candidates.
He is a member of the Minneapolis Planning Commission and the Minneapolis Charter Commission. He was a member of the Minneapolis City Council from 1965 to 1969 (President, 1967–69) and the Planning Commission from 1976 to 1980 (President, 1977–79).
Cohen grew up in Minneapolis and attended Kenwood School and the Breck School, before graduating from the Blake School in 1954. He attended Stanford University and graduated from Harvard Law School.
At age 29, in 1965, Cohen was elected to City Council and was City Council President from 1967 to 1969. As a member of City Council, Cohen was the original sponsor and supporter of the Minneapolis Industrial Development Commission. He supported long range residential street paving and the establishment of a municipal Human Rights Commission. In his book Losing the Center: The Decline of American Liberalism, 1968–1992, author Jeffrey Bloodworth describes Cohen running the City Council with a "stern, yet decidedly liberal, hand".
In his second term, and as President of the City Council, Cohen ran for Minneapolis mayor and was soundly defeated in the 1969 mayoral election by an independent candidate, Charles Stenvig, despite holding the endorsements of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL), the Republican party, and of President Richard Nixon.
Cohen moved to Washington, D.C., and served as a Special Assistant to the Director of the Peace Corps, Washington D.C. In the 1970s, Cohen served on the Minneapolis Planning Commission for four years. He served again in 2009 and 2012 through present.
While working for Wheelock Whitney, Jr.'s 1982 gubernatorial campaign, Cohen agreed to pass some documents with information about DFL Lieutenant Governor candidate Marlene Johnson's criminal history to the Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press in exchange for his confidentiality. The newspapers exposed Cohen, who consequently lost his job with the campaign and subsequently sued Star Tribune owner Cowles Media Company. The case, which was eventually argued before the Supreme Court of the United States in 1991, was decided 5–4 in Cohen's favor, with the defendants ordered to pay $200,000 in damages.
The Star Tribune reported Cohen to be "leading the charge" against conflicts of interest on the Planning Commission. During Cohen’s time on the Commission, he also supported Plain Language Charter Reform.
Cohen announced his candidacy on June 18, 2013, for Minneapolis Mayor in the 2013 election, ultimately finishing in seventh place out of 35 candidates.
Cohen is the author of 20 books, including a biography of Hubert Humphrey, Undefeated: The Life of Hubert H. Humphrey.
Cohen has been a horseman for many years, mainly dealing with thoroughbreds and primarily for racing at Canterbury Park. He has been on the Board of the Minnesota Thoroughbred Association and is currently serving on the Thoroughbred Breeders Fund Allocation Advisory Committee to the Minnesota Racing Commission.