Democrats in the Minnesota Senate must pay a $100,000 fine to settle campaign finance complaints filed against them by Republicans in 2012.
The state Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board imposed the penalty today for violations of the limit on contributions allowable to individual candidates. The board ordered the DFL Senate Caucus campaign committee to pay half of the civil penalty within 30 days, and the rest within 90 days. There were no penalties assessed against candidates.
The Republican Party of Minnesota filed complaints last October alleging the DFL Party, the DFL Senate Caucus and
13 state Senate candidates violated the law by coordinating photography and spending on campaign mailings. They said the photos of the candidates used in mailings were not publicly available on the internet. The DFL candidates named in the initial complaint were Melisa Franzen, Jim Carlson, Julie Bunn, Alice Johnson and Vicki Jensen. All but Bunn were elected. Democrats won control of the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said in a written statement that he was pleased the matter was resolved.
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“We continue to maintain that our candidates and the caucus campaign committee complied with all campaign finance laws,” Bakk said. “Although we respectfully disagree with the Board’s position, we believe it is better to put this matter behind us.”
Keith Downey, chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota, issued a statement criticizing Senate Democrats and raising questions about the 2012 election results.
“Many of the Democratic Senators on this list won their elections by narrow margins,” Downey said. “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.”