In January, Common Cause Minnesota filed a complaint with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board accusing the state Republican Party of repeatedly failing to properly report expenses and contributions.
Last week the state watchdog agency sent a letter to Common Cause indicating that it expects to consider the findings of an investigation of part of the complaint at its next meeting on July 3. “The Board voted to separate its work on this complaint into two separate investigations,” wrote Gary Goldsmith, executive director of the campaign finance board. “The first will include allegations related to the false certification of reports and violations, if any, that result from the relationship of the RPM and the corporation Count Them All Properly, Inc. It is anticipated that this portion of the investigation will also include findings regarding the legal obligation for the attorneys’ fees related to the 2010 gubernatorial recount.”
At issue is more than $700,000 in legal fees that Count Them All Properly accrued stemming from the recount. Attorney Tony Trimble told PIM in December that then-state GOP chair Tony Sutton signed a contract indicating that the party would be responsible for paying the legal bills. Other top GOP officials, including then-party treasurer David Sturrock, insisted that they were not told of the arrangement. In recent weeks, investigators from the campaign finance agency have deposed several Republicans involved in the recount, including gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer.
The campaign finance agency did not indicate when it would rule on the other issues in the Common Cause complaint, most notably the purported failure to properly report other debts. “The Board does not intend to make findings in this
portion of the investigation until it is satisfied that the RPM reports for 2009 through 2011 are accurate,” Goldsmith wrote.