DFL Senate leader to GOP counterpart: Pay in full for 'illegal' fliers
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- February 17, 2012 - 12:47 PM
updated 12:45 p.m.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk on Friday asked the Senate Republicans to more fully explain the cost of fliers printed by the Senate that Democrats believe were partisan.
In a letter released Friday, Bakk asked Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, to convene a Rules Committee hearing to "guarantee the public that their tax dollars will be reimbursed completely for this illegal activity."
At issue are hand-outs that the Senate Republicans prepared for some members to give out at last week's Republican caucuses.
The hand-outs given to a dozen Senators included a link to the Republican Senate's campaign website, which the GOP later admitted was wrong because the website was partisan in nature and therefore should not have been included on materials prepared using official resources. The campaign website included a plea for donations.
"It's an important item and we erred and we are willing to certainly be accountable for that," Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said Friday.
The Senate GOP spokesman Steve Sviggum said this week that Republicans would use campaign funds to reimburse the state for the $47 cost of the fliers.
But Bakk said that $47 doesn't come close to the full cost to prepare the fliers.
Republican leader Senjem said Friday that the caucus would pay back the entire costs of producing the hand-outs and that the $47 printing cost may not be enough.
"If there are costs to be reimbursed I expect that we would also take into account labor costs," Senjem said. He said he is not in holding a rules committee hearing on the issue, as Bakk requested.
Bakk and the DFL, which filed an official complaint over the fliers this week, also say the content of the fliers was partisan, in part because it was designed only for distribution at the partisan caucuses, and therefore inappropriate. Republicans deny that charge.
Bakk also said Friday that the Senate should give the state any campaign contributions they got because of the link on the material.
Senjem, R-Rochester, said the flap may raise a broader question.
"Are we unique in terms of a partisan piece? Of course not," said Senjem.
Here's the letter from Bakk to Senjem:
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