STATE OF MINNESOTACAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARDFindings and Order in the Matter of the Complaint of Common Cause Minnesotaregarding the Republican Party of Minnesota and others
On January 4, 2012, the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board received a complaintfrom Common Cause Minnesota (CCM) signed by Mike Dean, its Executive Director, regardingthe Republican Party of Minnesota (RPM). Although not specifically identified as respondents,the complaint also made allegations that, if true, could result in statutory violations by Mr. DavidSturrock, RPM treasurer, Count Them All Properly, Inc., a Minnesota corporation (CTAP), Mr.Dan Puhl, incorporator of CTAP, Mr. Tony Sutton, former RPM Chairman, and others.The complaint was accepted for investigation by the Board's Executive Director under delegatedauthority. A notice of the Board's investigation was sent to the RPM, Mr. Sturrock, and Mr.Sutton on January 6, 2012. A similar notice was sent to Mr. Puhl on January 19. Notices toother individuals who were involved in the matters under investigation were sent as theiridentities became known.The complaint arises out of the 2010 gubernatorial election recount and its financing and out ofrevelations made by the RPM in 2012 that it has unpaid obligations that had not previouslybeen reported to its executive committee or to federal and state disclosure authorities.
The Complaint and the RPM responses
The complaint included four allegations, which are listed below in the order that they will beconsidered in these findings:
Allegation 1. Failure of the treasurer to maintain proper records
The complaint alleges that RPM treasurer David Sturrock failed to maintain financial records asrequired by Minnesota Statutes 10A.025, subdivision 3. CCM requests that the Boardrecommend criminal prosecution of Mr. Sturrock for this alleged failure.The allegation of failure to maintain proper records was not listed in the complaint as a separateallegation, but was included in the section alleging false certification of a report. As a result, theRPM did not specifically respond to this allegation.
Allegation 2. Failure of treasurer to approve all expenditures
The complaint alleges that the RPM failed to receive written authorization from the treasurer ofthe committee for expenditures related to the 2010 gubernatorial election recount and for otherexpenditures.The RPM argues that because no money had been actually been paid toward attorneys' fees forthe recount, no expenditure has occurred. The RPM also argues that any obligation orexpenditure for recount attorneys' fees is an obligation of CTAP and not of the RPM.The RPM also asserts that even if it is liable for recount costs, they are not "expenditures" underChapter 10A and, thus, do not require treasurer approval. For this proposition, the RPM pointsout that the definition of expenditure is limited to a purchase or payment made "for the purposeof influencing the nomination or election of a candidate or for the purpose of promoting or