MNGOP accused of violating campaign finance law

Categories: Politics
tonysuttonbat-thumb-200x200.jpg
Sutton accuses an organization founded by a Republican of political bias. Hmm...
We knew that the Minnesota Republican Party's financial situation is ugly -- but in self-flagellating with the ugly stick, did the MNGOP also violate the law?

Yes it did, argues Mike Dean, Common Cause Minnesota's executive director.

According to the Star Tribune:
Common Cause Minnesota filed a complaint with the state Campaign Finance Board on Wednesday, alleging that the [MNGOP] set up a shell corporation in an effort to hide its activities during the 2010 gubernatorial recount. The group alleges the party broke numerous state laws in its failure to disclose $1.1 million in expenses related to the 2010 elections. The nine-page complaint also asks the board to conduct a full audit of party books and forward its findings to the Ramsey County attorney for possible prosecution.
The alleged violations occurred under the disastrous-in-hindsight stewardship of former MNGOP chairman Tony Sutton, who abruptly resigned a month ago in the face of mounting pressure over party spending.

Shortly after Sutton's resignation, it came to light that the MNGOP is about $2 million in debt, largely due to the gubernatorial recount process. In his resignation letter, former MNGOP Secretary Treasurer David Sturrock said he was "neither consulted nor informed" about $450,000 in legal fees incurred during the recount.

Common Cause alleges that the party's failure to inform Sturrock about the legal fees is one campaign finance violation among many. Other alleged violations include filling false financial statements and hiding expenses the party was legally obligated to disclose.

Sutton, for his part, said the allegations are baseless and motivated by Common Cause's left-wing political agenda. The group, in fact, was founded in 1970 by John W. Gardner, a Republican who server as cabinet secretary under President Lyndon Johnson.

Common Cause's mission is devoted to making U.S. political institutions more open and accountable -- two virtues that the MNGOP has clearly lacked recently.

The Federal Election Commission issued a $170,000 fine to the MNGOP for similar violations last year. Dean told the Star Tribune that if past precedent were followed, the state board could fine the party for the full amount of its failed disclosures, or about $1.1 million.

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6 comments
E K
E K

Ummm.... You dismiss Sutton's concern that Common Cause is a partisan group.  You base this dismissal on it being founded back in 1970 by a former Republican congressman (John W. Gardner) who served in Democrat Lyndon Johnson's cabinet.  Today it is run by two Democrats (Robert Edgar and Robert Reich) and funded by George Soros.  The only way they're non-partisan is because they can't decide if they're in the Greens or the Democrats.

green23
green23

Hey, who HASN'T set up a shell corporation to screw attorneys out of their fees? Everybody does it.

Sure, some people would say that a shell corporation had no standing to initiate a recount. That's why the MNGOP lied about it at the time, and said that the Party was initiating the recount. But when it comes time to pay the bills, Sutton can change his story 180 degrees and deny that the MNGOP brought the recount to the MN Supreme Court.

If you tell two completely different stories, both of which can't be true, then who really knows if the MNGOP did anything wrong? Obviously, those with a "partisan agenda" will point out that this is called "lying", but that's a word that can very easily be re-defined to mean "something that Republicans don't do". Besides, attorneys should work for free.

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

And you dismiss the accusation of criminal activity in the face of daunting evidence. You base this dismissal on your prejudice towards supposed Democrats/Liberals and blind support of the MN GOP. Which is a bigger leap in logic?

green23
green23

It's always amazing that Republicans sincerely believe that they have no bias whatsoever, yet they dismiss criticism out of hand as "biased" without any thought of the validity of the criticism.

Of course, Sutton says the charges are "baseless", so it's "case closed" for EK. It doesn't matter that *another Republican* says the exact opposite as Sutton. It doesn't matter that Sutton has strong interests in playing down the charges, because Sutton can't be biased himself, can he? Of course, Sutton has already *admitted* publicly that Sturrock was right.  So, if Sutton admits that he didn't disclose those financial arrangements to Sturrock, and the charges are that he didn't disclose those financial arrangements to Sturrock, how are those charges "baseless"? Because Sutton says that they are, that's why.

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