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An internal review of the Republican Party of Minnesota's finances has determined that the amount of debt is about $2 million, according to two sources familiar with the findings. That's nearly double the level of unpaid bills previously believed.

Sources: State GOP debt is about $2 million

Former GOP Party Chair Tony Sutton (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

An internal review of the Republican Party of Minnesota’s finances has determined that the party is responsible for about $2 million in debts, according to two sources familiar with the findings. That’s nearly twice as much as previously thought.

According to these sources, party officials will report about $1.3 million in debt when they announce the findings of the probe at a press conference on Friday. But that figure does not include a number of debts that the party reportedly plans to contest, including roughly $450,000 in legal bills stemming from the 2010 gubernatorial recount.

Earlier this month former party chair Tony Sutton acknowledged signing an agreement indicating that the party would be financially responsible for the recount bills even though they were officially incurred by a separate corporation, Count Them All Properly Inc.

The party’s most recent federal campaign finance report shows slightly more than $500,000 in unpaid bills.  The state GOP also owes more than $100,000  stemming from  a Federal Election Commission fine owing to reporting violations. When the recount bills are added to the equation, the party’s previously known debt came to roughly $1.1 million. A recent influx of invoices to the party, sources say, has swelled the party’s total debt figure.

The internal financial review was initially conducted by a six-member team led by Republican National Committeeman Jeff Johnson. Since businessman Mike Vekich agreed to help turnaround the party’s finances earlier this month, he has been leading the probe.

Acting GOP party chair Kelly Fenton has scheduled a press conference for Friday morning to discuss the findings of the internal financial review. GOP activists will gather in St. Cloud on Saturday to elect a new party chair. They will also be tasked with passing a budget for the coming year.

GOP officials released a proposed five-month budget on Thursday. It includes $1.4 million in revenues and $1.2 million in expenses.  The budget does not detail any plans to begin paying off debt in the next five months.

The budget sets aside about $100,000 annually for salaries for the party’s four executive jobs: party chair, deputy chair, treasurer and executive director. While the figure is only a placeholder, it’s a considerable drop from previous years. Sutton alone was slated to make $100,000 per year when he accepted a salary this summer. That figured was eventually bumped down to $90,000 annually.

About Paul Demko and Briana Bierschbach


  1. Do I understand this correctly, that they set up a separate entity to pay for the recount, ran up a bill in that entity’s behalf, but didn’t actually fund it? So now they are trying to slough off the bill onto this entity? Is this Count Them All Properly Inc. anything more than a mailbox? Maybe they can fight the bill on the grounds it’s ridiculous for such a short recount.

    Good thing these people aren’t in charge of the government. Oh wait…

  2. So they plan to raise revenue? Why not all cuts?

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