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Hot Dish Politics

Tracking Minnesota’s political scene and keeping you up-to-date on those elected to serve you

Campaign finance complaint against DFLers to be taken up by campaign board

This post has been updated to include response from Gary Schindler. 

A DFL challenger in a key legislative race faces the prospect of a campaign finance violation hearing just a month before the November election. 

The GOP-aligned Minnesota Jobs Coalition leveled a complaint against Gary Schindler -- DFL candidate hoping to unseat the GOP incumbent, Rep. Peggy Bennett of Albert Lea -- for "knowingly" receiving a banned corporate donation. That donation -- for nearly $2,900 -- came from the business of former state DFL legislator, Robin Brown.

The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board has scheduled a probable cause hearing for Oct. 5. 

The Jobs Coalition -- a key ally of House Republicans who are trying to hold on to their majority -- alleges that the two campaign committees "falsified" their campaign-finance reports in accounting for the donation that they said came from Brown's horse business, Wedgewood Peruvian Pasos.

Candidates who terminate their campaign committees -- like Robin Brown in this case -- are allowed to give leftover money to other candidates. The Jobs Coalition alleges the money did not come from the terminated campaign account, but from the business account, constituting an illegal corporate donation.  

Joseph Brown, Brown's husband and the treasurer of her campaign committee, said recently it was not an intentional violation but mere confusion arising from existence of several bank accounts. 

Update: Schindler released a statement saying everything was reported and corrected once the error was discovered. Although the money came from a business bank account, it was actually from Brown's terminated campaign, he said. 

The statement continues: "I am not a veteran politician. This is a 'lesson learned,' and I am better because of this experience. I am moving forward and will continue to talk to voters about a positive vision for the future of Greater Minnesota and the state as a whole." 

Gov. Mark Dayton asks Minnesotans for stewardship pledge on clean water

Gov. Mark Dayton continued his push for clean water Tuesday at the State Fair by calling on Minnesotans to take a "stewardship pledge" as part of the state's "Year of Water Action."

Dayton asked Minnesotans to use water efficiently; learn about what they can do to protect and preserve water; make informed consumer choices; and, talk to each other about water protection and preservation.

The state's 40th governor has made clean water a legacy-defining issue since seeing a 2015 report from the state Pollution Control Agency that detailed the vast swaths of the state's water resources that are no longer safe for swimming or fishing, especially in farm rich southern Minnesota.

"The future of clean water in Minnesota is dependent on the action we all take now," Dayton said, according to a news release. "That is why I am asking all Minnesotans to join me, in pledging to protect and preserve clean water throughout our state,” he said. 

House Republicans responded swiftly, saying Dayton had missed a chance to improve the state's clean water infrastructure by not calling a special legislative session so lawmakers could strike a deal that would borrow millions for public works projects like sewers and treatment plants. 

“Why wait a year to address water issues when Governor Dayton could move forward with vital water quality projects across the state that were included in the bonding and tax bills?” said Rep. Dan Fabian, R-Roseau. 

Dayton and House Republicans gridlocked on tax and public works bills because they could not agree on money for metro transit, and especially the Southwest Light Rail.