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

GOP, Trump campaign try to quell Minnesota ballot panic

This post has been updated. 

After hours of ringing alarm bells in national GOP circles over whether Donald Trump is in danger of not getting on Minnesota's presidential ballot, the Trump campaign says everything is in working order and voters will have a chance to cast their ballot for the brash tycoon in November.  

As of this morning, Donald Trump's name did not appear on the sample ballot on the website of Secretary of State Steve Simon

Michael Brodkorb, a former GOP political operative and Star Tribune blogger, reported on Twitter last night that the Republican Party of Minnesota had failed to properly submit the name of its presidential and vice presidential candidates, as well as electors and alternate electors for the Electoral College. The deadline for submission is Monday August 29. 

A spokesman for Secretary of State Simon said Thursday the filing is complete and that the Republican ticket would be listed on the office website shortly. 

Mike Lukach, Trump's Minnesota state director, sent out a statement: "The Minnesota Republican Party is working closely with th Secretary of State's office to certify Mr. Trump's nomination and the state party's electors to the Electoral College, and will finalize his ballot placement today, in advance of the August 29 deadline."

The ballot issue did not escape notice among national conservative outlets like RedState, which catalogued the potential flub

Brodkorb also reports that alternate electors were not properly selected at a state convention and so could be challenged. The courts have traditionally given parties wide latitude on internal matters, however. 

In other ballot news, Evan McMullin has made the Minnesota ballot on the Independence Party line. McMullin is an alum of the CIA and Goldman Sachs and worked on Capitol Hill. 

Update: Republicans for Johnson-Weld, a group steering GOP voters toward the Libertarian Party presidential candidate, tried to exploit the ballot problem with a quick Minnesota-specific Facebook ad that notes Trump's third place finish in the caucus here. 

Patrick Condon contributed to this report. 

Outside political group alleges campaign-finance violations by two DFLers

A Republican allied political group on Thursday filed a complaint against a DFL House candidate and a former DFL legislator alleging violations of campaign-finance law.

The Minnesota Jobs Coalition says Gary Schindler, the current DFL candidate hoping to unseat the GOP incumbent, Peggy Bennett of Albert Lea, "knowingly" received a banned corporate donation. That donation - for nearly $2,900 - came from the business of former state DFL legislator, Robin Brown, the Jobs Coalition said in the campaign.

The outside political group is asking the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board to investigate. It 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.

"Gary Schindler owes Minnesotans an explanation as to why he knowingly accepted a prohibited corporate contribution and then falsified his campaign finance report to cover it up," said Kevin Magnuson, Jobs Coalition president, said in a statement.

Joseph Brown, the treasurer for Robin Brown's campaign committee and the former legislator's husband, disputed the notion a violation was knowingly made. He explained that any problem stemmed from keeping  three accounts with one bank: a personal one, one for the horse business and one for his wife's campaign. 

He said there was no intention to violate campaign-finance law, but simply to transfer the remaining balance -- $2,896.56 -- from his wife's unsuccessful re-election bid in 2010. For nearly six years, he said he didn't close the account after his wife chose not to run for office again. 

Brown said that in hindsight, he would have closed the campaign account immeidately after his wife decided not to seek office again. "In retrospect, it should have been done differently."

"If didn't file the right procedures, I certainly apologize for that," he said. "If there is [a violation], I'll take full responsibility for that."

A message seeking comment from Schindler was not immediately returned Thursday.

Gary Goldsmith, executive director of the campaign finance board, said he was unable to confirm or deny the existence of a complaint until the campaign-finance board takes more definitive action. Under state law, a complaint must go through several steps before the board determines whether to open a formal or informal investigation or to dismiss it.