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DFL accuses GOP of campaign finance violations

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota legislature, Democrats, Republicans Updated: January 28, 2014 - 4:25 PM

According to Minnesota law, parties are supposed to clearly report their spending designed to elect or defeat candidates on a candidate by candidate basis.

That means, when the DFL or Republican Party spends money in a particular state Senate district, the parties have to report on how much they spent, what they spent it on and when they spent it.

But, the DFL Party claims, the Minnesota Republican Party reported no spending in any Minnesota Senate race in 2012. Despite that, there were mailings sent into Minnesota Senate Districts in 2012 that say they came from the Minnesota Republican Party, the DFL said in a formal complaint this week to the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

"No fewer than 22 different pieces of literature, and likely many more, were mailed to thousands of homes across the State. However, the Republican Party failed to disclose a single independent expenditure against any DFL Senate...hiding thousands of dollars of electioneering activities from the public," DFL Party chair Ken Martin's complaint said.

Republican Party Chair Keith Downey, who took office as head of the GOP in 2013, said  until the Campaign Finance Board acknowledges it is investigating the complaint, "it would be impossible to comment on it."

Downey, who was a candidate for state Senate in 2012,  said the complaint may only serve as a distraction from the $100,000 fine the campaign watchdog levied against the DFL Senate Caucus late last year. In December, after a lengthy investigation, the campaign board fined the DFL group $100,000 for improperly coordinating spending with Senate candidates. The fine was one of the largest in state history.

Whether a distraction from that wrongdoing or not, Downey said the Republican Party stands ready to fix any problems on its reports.

"It was before my time, but if the state Party made a mistake we'll own up to it and correct it," he said.

Here's the complaint:

Final Complaint  by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

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