ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Common Cause Minnesota is moving forward with its complaint against the former chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota. They are now asking a state office to find enough evidence to pass the case surrounding to the 2010 Governor's recount to a county prosecutor for felony charges.
"This is a serious allegation. At a time when public trust in government is at an all time low, it's critical that we hold our state's politicians accountable when they break that trust," Mike Dean of Common Cause said during a capitol press conference.
State campaign finance regulators have fined then-Republican County Chair Tony Sutton, the state's Republican Party, and a corporation known as "Count Them All Properly, Inc." for trying to go around law that requires the disclosure of campaign contributions. Count Them All Properly was formed to pay the costs of the recount election. Dean says it was a shell corporation. "The brazen actions by Mr. Sutton were not accidental but were a deliberate intent to circumvent the law," Dean added.
Sutton declined to comment on the matter but has gone on record disagreeing with the findings of campaign finance regulators.
The state's Office of Administrative Hearing will look into this current matter and determine whether there is enough evidence to merit passing it along to a county prosecutor for possible criminal charges. There is no timeline as to when the office will take up the case but the Republican Party of Minnesota is named on the complaint. Also named are Dan Puhl, Ron Huettl, Mary Igo, Fred Meyer, Tom Datwyler, and Count Them All Properly, Inc.
Igo, who is the CEO of Count Them All, is represented by attorney John Gilmore, who was quick to note that his client was exonerated by campaign finance regulators. "Facts don't matter to a far left group like Common Cause Minnesota that has shamefully dragged her (Mary Igo) into what it calls a criminal complaint," Gilmore wrote to KARE 11.
We wondered what all this meant to the voters, who will take to the polls in what could be historic fall elections for state lawmakers. "This is background noise, this is inside baseball. To the average voter, especially when they're worried about things like the economy, real estate prices and jobs, again, this is not a major issue," Hamline University Political Science Professor David Schultz said.
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