Common Cause Files Complaint Against the Republican Party of Minnesota
RPM attempted to circumvent state law by hiding expenditures from the public
Common Cause Minnesota filed a complaint with the Campaign Finance Disclosure Board (CFB) against the Republican Party of Minnesota (RPM) for failing to disclose over a million dollars in expenditures tied to the 2010 election and recount. The complaint is the result of public admissions by the RPM that it failed to properly disclose $413,000 in expenditures made during 2009 and 2010. In addition, the complaint alleges that the RPM circumvented Minnesota disclosure law by creating a shell corporation to funnel $719,000 in expenditures to pay for the recount effort.
“The Republican Party of Minnesota has been using Enron-esque accounting standards to manage the party’s finances,” said Mike Dean, Executive Director of Common Cause Minnesota. “In keeping many expenditures off the books, the party has broken numerous state laws.”
The complaint asks the CFB to conduct a thorough audit of the RPM finances for the last several years. It is clear that the RPM has failed to properly manage its financial records with the recent admission that hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid vendor expenditures were recently uncovered. Based on this admission, the RPM filed a false statement with the CFB by failing to disclose these expenditures on its yearly Report of Receipts and Expenditures.
This violation represents a pattern of abuse and non-disclosure by the Republican Party of Minnesota. Last year, the RPM was fined by the Federal Election Commission for failing to report expenditures that it made in federal elections. Clearly the RPM has failed to learn it lesson and the CFB should send a message that these types of violations will not be tolerated.
Traditionally the CFM has based penalties on the amount of the violation. In this case, the fine could be as high as $1.1 million. In addition, under Minnesota law, criminal penalties can be sought against former RPM chair Tony Sutton and former treasurer David Sturrock.
The complaint alleges that the RPM violated Minn. Stat. §§ 10A.025, 10A.17, 10A.20 and 10A.29.
- Conspired to Circumvent Minnesota’s Disclosure law.
- Failed to receive approval from party treasurer for expenditures over $100.
- Filed numerous false statements with the CFB.