by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium
Too late to affect the outcome of local state campaigns, the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board has fined the Minnesota DFL $100,000 for illegal campaign coordination, one of the largest civil penalty levied in state history.
On Tuesday the Board levied the fine against the DFL after it was discovered that 13 DFL candidates coordinated their campaigns illegally, since properly reclassifying the expenditures means that the candidates illegally exceeded their campaign contribution and/or spending limits. A total of over $300,000 in illegal contributions were not reported by the campaigns.. The board also plans to fine each individual campaign directly, according to a press release from the Minnesota Republican Party.
State Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey demonstrated his frustration at the DFL’s actions in the last campaign, as well as satisfaction with the boards’ ruling.
“Senate Democrats were so intent on winning at any cost and throwing huge money into the 2012 campaign that they played fast and loose in a big way,” said Downey. “Even though it is over a year too late for the voters in these thirteen districts, and the ruling says nothing about the truthfulness of their ads, today’s ruling does at least provide a much needed check on their campaign financing tactics.”
“Many of the Democratic Senators on this list won their elections by narrow margins. We will never know how this illegal coordination would have impacted the results in these races and ultimately control of the legislature. They cheated, they won, but at least they are being held accountable now.” Downey continued.
“They cheated, they won, but at least they are being held accountable now.” -Republican State Chairman Keith Downey.
“We look forward to the Campaign Finance Board’s continued investigation and expect them to thoroughly examine each of the thirteen campaigns to determine the full extent of this wrongdoing,” Downey concluded.
DFL lawmakers disagreed with the board’s ruling said that they are glad to put the matter to rest.
“Ultimately, it is best to set this distraction aside and allow our members to focus on governing,” DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the board has levied only two fines of equal or greater size in the past 11 years: former gubernatorial candidate Tim Pawlenty was fined $100,000 for coordinating a 2002 television ad with the Republican Party, and the board also fined the national 21st Century Democrats a whopping $190K for failing to disclose the its spending to influence Minnesota’s 2004 election.
Read the full report from the Star Tribune here.