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Parties saddled with post-election debt

Posted by: Eric Roper under Minnesota campaigns Updated: March 8, 2011 - 5:48 PM

Minnesota’s major political parties are deep in the red following this year’s elections.

Federal election filings released last month coupled with state reports show that the Minnesota Republican Party is about $780,000 in arrears and the DFL is behind by $400,000.

GOP chairman Tony Sutton said their number was higher than expected because of recount costs, which included Data Practices Act requests and retaining several GOP staffers longer than expected. The debt also includes an outstanding $200,000 loan from several years ago to pay former chairman Ron Ebensteiner’s legal fees.

Sutton said he expects to pay down about $500,000 of their debt by the end of May.

On the other side of the aisle, new DFL chair Ken Martin said they are “digging through” the finances and now expect to report “significantly more” debt than the initial $400,000. He plans to discuss the issue with the party’s executive committee this Saturday before saying how much more.

The bulk of the GOP recount costs, legal fees, were handled through a separate, specially created corporation called Count Them All Properly, Inc., which does not disclose its finances.

Gov. Mark Dayton’s campaign handled most of his own recount expenses through a separate fund, which was in the black as of the last IRS filing.

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