2323 E. Franklin AveMinneapolis, MN 55406
July 18, 2012
The Honorable Sara GrewingSaint Paul City Attorney400 City Hall and Courthouse15 Kellogg Blvd., WestSaint Paul, MN 55102
Dear Ms. Grewing,Last Friday, the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board (Board) completed aseven month investigation of the Minnesota Republican Party and a for-profit corporation calledCount The All Properly, Incorporated. The Board made a probable cause determination in the casethat former Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton circumvented state campaign finance disclosure laws by funneling a political contribution through a corporation. Common Cause Minnesota is asking thatyour office prosecute this serious violation of Minnesota campaign finance laws.At a time when public trust in government is at an all-time low, it is critical to hold our state’s politicians accountable when they break that trust. For over forty years Common Cause has beentrying to rebuild that trust in government by exposing corruption and being an advocate for reform.Since the 2010 United States Supreme Court decision in
, there has been increasedconcern about how corporate entities can be used to conceal campaign financial activities or evencircumvent state campaign finance disclosure laws. That is why Minnesota legislators adopted strongdisclosure laws to ensure that the public knew who is funding political campaigns.Without disclosure and transparency, government is more prone to corruption and undue influence.As U.S. Supreme Court Louis Justice Brandeis said, referring to the benefits of transparency ingovernment,
“Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
Openness and transparency are also key to ensuring accountability, both in free markets and with freegovernments. Having the knowledge to make informed decisions is at the heart of our society and wecannot take it for granted.For that reason, Common Cause Minnesota has been paying close attention to the campaign financereports and activities of a variety of groups as they attempt to push the limits of the
decision and Minnesota campaign finance law. In January 2012, Common Cause Minnesota filed acomplaint with the Board after assembling evidence that former Republican Party chair Tony Suttonmay have circumvented state disclosure law. The subsequent investigation by the Board uncoveredhow Tony Sutton funneled money through a shell corporation to avoid the state’s campaign financedisclosure laws.