Senate Democrats Are Fined for Illegal Campaign Financing

$100,000 fine is historic but a slap on the wrist compared to winning the Senate majority

The State Senate Democrat Caucus was fined $100,000 by The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board on Tuesday for illegal expenditures on behalf of 13 of their candidates in the 2012 election.

This is an important and welcome ruling, but it comes a year too late to impact voters’ decisions in these districts. The complaints were originally filed by the Republican Party in October of 2012 – before the election – but it took the Board over one year to complete their investigation. •With this historic penalty, more and more Minnesotans are asking: can we trust Democrats in Minnesota?

•The fine centered on illegal coordination regarding photos and flyers; what else might they have cheated on?

•Did this illegal activity, over $300,000 worth, influence the outcome of these State Senate elections? (one of the 13 Democrats won their Senate race by just 80 votes)

•As the Chair of the Senate Democrat Caucus campaign committee, what role did Majority Leader Tom Bakk play in these illegal expenditures and will there be any discipline for his employees Tom Kukielka and Vic Thorstenson, state employees who each played a role in this scandal?
Remarkably, the Board did not hold any of the thirteen Democrat candidates accountable with a fine, nor force their campaigns to pay back the money. The proper reclassifying of the illegal activity causes candidates to be over their limits by amounts ranging from $1,200 to $38,223, a significantly unfair advantage to their campaigns. By law the potential fines for candidates could have been up to four times the amount they are over. The Board chose nothing. •The fine shows the severity of the Senate Democrat Caucus’ illegal activity, but on the other hand, if they can illegally coordinate campaigns for 13 Senate seats for the price of a $100,000 fine and no cost to the candidates themselves, has the Board created a relatively-speaking low cost way to illegally influence campaigns?

The State Republican Party continues to discuss the matter with the Senate Republican Caucus and the Board, and we are evaluating our options with regard to the size of the fine, the lack of fines to the candidates themselves, and the impact of the illegal activity on the election results.

The thirteen Democrat Senate candidates involved are Oberloh, Jensen, Saxhaug, Carlson, Dahle, Eken, Franzen, McKendry, Schmit, Clausen, Johnson, Kent, and Koenen.

Click here to view the entire ruling

Prepared and Paid for by the Republican Party of Minnesota
Keith Downey, Chair
Not Authorized By Any Candidate or Candidate’s Committee

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