The Minnesota DFL Monday reported to the state campaign finance board its deal with gubernatorial candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher, which allowed her donors to give money directly to the party for her access to the DFL voters' file.
The letter, from party executive director Andy O'Leary, says he was asked in August if Kelliher's campaign could have donors pay the fee to access the database.
"I was operating under the mistaken belief that the Party had received a legal opinion during the 2006 gubernatorial campaign that such an arrangement was permissible," O'Leary said in the letter. But when a second gubernatorial campaign asked him about the arrangement in Dec. 2009, "I could not find any such opinion and, upon consulting legal counsel, learned that the arrangement was not permissible."
He said he told the Kelliher campaign, as well as the other campaign (which appears to be that of Rep. Tom Rukavina) and asked Kelliher to replace the donors' payments with cash from its campaign.
O'Leary said he offered all the donors a refund but some declined, "since they were not expecting the Party would use their contributions in any particular way. The Party has accordingly refunded $1,500 to contributors who have not declined."
Read the full letter here.