Minnesota GOP fined $170,000 for FEC violations

Categories: Politics
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The state GOP failed to report nearly $1 million in debt.
The worst time to owe someone money is when you're in debt. That's the case with the  Republican Party of Minnesota, which is already in debt, but now owes the Federal Election Commission $170,000 for campaign finance violations.

Funny thing, too. Those violations stem mainly from the party's refusal to acknowledge that it was in debt.

Four years ago, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the FEC, based on a leaked memo from former Minnesota GOP finance director Dwight Tostenson. In that memo, Tostenson said Republicans had been misleading federal and state officials, and failing to report their outstanding debts. According to the FEC's investigations, the Republicans didn't report "at least $994,319 in outstanding debt to vendors during 2006."

State GOP chair Tony Sutton, who was not in charge at the time, responded to the news by saying the party had taken steps to fix the problem, but he also grumbled a bit about "excessive government regulation" to the Star Tribune.

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Tony Sutton and the GOP owe $170,00.
Sutton, himself a former treasurer of the state Republican Party, told the Star Tribune that the GOP had "learned a very hard lesson" from it's little run-in with the FEC.

"I could say something here about excessive government regulation," Sutton said, "but we're taking our lumps and moving forward."

In the leaked internal memo that spurred the CREW complaint with the FEC, Tostenson wrote to the state Republican Party's executive committee that, "based upon my research and experience, I believe that the Party ha[s] been, among other things, violating FEC law by underreporting the Party's outstanding obligations/expenses."

Tostenson said he'd repeatedly taken the issue up with then-GOP chairman Ron Carey, but to no avail. The reporting problems might have stopped under Sutton, but the debt's still around: In March, the state GOP reported it was still $780,000 in debt.

In the FEC's findings, the party and the FEC admit the misreporting, but state that the lack of disclosure was unintentional.

Sutton released a statement saying that the GOP had since addressed the problem by hiring an outside accounting firm to take care of its campaign finance reports, according to MPR.

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15 comments
Phoenix Woman
Phoenix Woman

Tony Sutton joins his former deputy Michael Brodkorb in leaving his RPM post, barely a year after their ALEC-financed-and-fueled victories.  What does this tell you all?

David Schimelpfenig
David Schimelpfenig

Well at least they didn't take money from Hamas like Obama.  Or sell your senate seat, or be Soros's pet.  Good investment by Soros though when he bought the democrats.  He got 2 billion for offshore drilling in Brazil while Obama bin Biden put 150,000 Americans out of work drilling in the gulf.

Game of Life
Game of Life

Let the fools do what they did to the national debt ceiling by not paying their outstanding bills until they come up with a plan to cut their spending.

Makes a lot of sense doesn't it, you common sense repubaggers.  

Game of Life
Game of Life

Typical lying repubagger. The regs apply to all not just to him. Truthfully reporting debt isn't difficult and unfair to these greedy nuts? Debt has to be reported whether or not he feels it's too much regulation. Cry babies.

msbpodcast
msbpodcast

"Those violations stem mainly from the party's refusal to acknowledge that it was in debt."

Hey! We're the GOP! Republicans!

We don't anybody anything. (Well apart from actual money that some people were gullible enough to "lend" us in the hopes of getting "favors" back..)

green23
green23

Instead of fines, how about charging Sutton with perjury for signing forms that he knew were false?This should serve as a warning to the business community when the MN GOP wants you to do work for them. The "pay" part of the business transaction seems to get neglected. Those contracts are worthless. You'll end up in court, and the money that should have gone to you will instead go to an attorney defending them...who also won't get paid.

middle class old guy
middle class old guy

Looks like the GOP officers won't spend their own money to balance their budget they want more donations from the middle class to do that!

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

What?I thought the Republican Party was a bunch of "Rich white guys" with a massive war chest of funding.

The liberal Democrats have been painting that picture publicly for years. Could the Democrats been lying all these years?So confused...

ogradybt
ogradybt

I could say something here about excessive government regulation. Just sayin'.

vitajex
vitajex

B-b-b-but, WAIT!!!

I thought the Republicans NEVER have ANYTHING to do with deficits or debts!  I thought that was only Democrats! 

It's obvious what the problem is: The GOP is taking in too much in donations!  They need to stop so that more people have money in their pockets.  That will help them cut down on their debts... somehow... I guess...

Sally Jo Sorensen
Sally Jo Sorensen

Sutton wasn't the chair at the time, but he was treasurer in 2006 &2007 (two of the three years during which the shifting took place) and so he bears some responsibility for this, since he signed the FEC reports.

NoBigGovDuh
NoBigGovDuh

This was before the Supreme court allowed unlimited donations.

green23
green23

Republicans aren't donating to the Party anymore. They donate to PACs, 'astroturf' interest groups, or to the candidate directly. This has been the pattern since before the 2010 election.

Meanwhile, things like primaries and recounts are expensive. Paying attorneys to go before the MN SC is expensive. Paying Sutton to sign off on false financial reports is expensive.

Nearly one million is owed to "vendors". That's people who worked for them, Kirk. The MNGOP gets people to work for them, signs contracts for the work, and then doesn't pay up when the work is done. Those are people who set up sound systems, own venues, print campaign literature, create ads, rent vehicles, cater events, etc.

In other words, those are the small business "job creators" that you claim to be looking out for. When those "job creators" want money for their work, the MNGOP just shrugs and says, "Hey, we're broke. In fact, we KNEW we were broke before we signed that contract with you. Watcha gonna DO?"

Less confused now, Kirk?

jww
jww

You're confused because you are an idiot.

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