The state campaign finance board has thrown out a complaint by the Republican Party of Minnesota against Gov. Mark Dayton’s campaign and the state DFL party, which alleged that both coordinated to produce a campaign commercials.
The complaint, filed Oct. 31 with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board just days before the 2014 election, accused Dayton’s gubernatorial campaign committee, Mark Dayton for a Better Minnesota, and the Minnesota DFL of colluding to create the advertisements, which aired in July, September and October. Each featuring footage of Dayton speaking to a pair of students.
Republicans alleged it was a violation of campaign finance law’s “approved expenditure” clause, which prohibits any expenditures on behalf of a candidate other than his main campaign committee. The party alleged that the use of the video in both the DFL and Dayton advertisements amounted “to a campaign contribution of hundreds of thousands of dollars." The complaint cites case law spurred by a similar 2002 complaint against the Minnesota Republican Party and the campaign of then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty. In that case, the board ruled that probable cause existed to support an “approved expenditure” complaint.
“This matter is nearly identical,” The Republican party alleged of Dayton’s case.
The case was dismissed Tuesday for lack of probable cause that a violation had occurred, saying that there is no evidence that the material was shared beyond the YouTube posts, or that the material fit the criteria of "approved expenditures" The full opinion is below: