2323 E.

Franklin Ave Minneapolis, MN 55406

May 10, 2012

John Choi Ramsey County Attorney 50 Kellogg Blvd W St Paul, MN 55102

Dear Mr. Choi, Over the last several months, Common Cause Minnesota has been looking into the financial activities of a Minnesota corporation that was created to pay for the recount costs of the Minnesota Republican Party called Count Them All Properly, Incorporated. We believe that there is evidence to begin an investigation of this group for forgery and making an illegal in-kind contribution to a candidate and political party. That is why we are urging you to work with the Saint Paul Police Department to begin an investigation into these potential violations. Common Cause Minnesota is non-partisan, nonprofit government watchdog group that focuses on campaign finance issues and government reform. Since the 2010 United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, there has been increased concern about how corporate entities can be used to conceal campaign financial activities or even circumvent state campaign finance disclosure laws. For that reason, Common Cause Minnesota has been paying close attention to the campaign finance reports and activities of a variety of groups as they attempt to push the limits of the Citizens United decision and Minnesota campaign finance law. That is why the April 29 Star Tribune article (“GOP firm’s ‘CEO’ in the dark”) is so concerning. It appears that Count Them All Properly, Inc. is engaged in a pattern of illegal activities. The article lays out how the two past CEO’s of Count Them All Properly, Incorporated never agreed to be the CEO of the corporation. In fact, they had never heard of the corporation or the other agents of the group. It may be possible that one person was accidently registered as CEO, but twice in a 12 month period raises serious questions that warrant an investigation. Providing false information to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office on an annual renewal is a felony under Minnesota Statutes §§ 609.625 and 609.63. The Minnesota Secretary of State’s office has the Internet Protocol address for the individual that is responsible for making the false filing. However, they did not provide that information to Common Cause Minnesota in a data practices request because they consider it private data. That information may be available to any investigation conducted your office or the Saint Paul Police department. There is also evidence that another crime may have occurred when Count Them All Properly, Incorporated provided an in-kind contribution to the Minnesota Republican Party and the Tom

2323 E. Franklin Ave Minneapolis, MN 55406

Emmer for governor campaign. During the 2010 recount, the Minnesota Republican Party and Tom Emmer for Governor Campaign accrued $719,000 in legal expenses associated with the recount. Those legal expenses included lawsuits against:  Saint Louis and Pine county for not providing data1  Filed a lawsuit2 on November 17 with the Minnesota Supreme Court over ballot reconciliation. Those expenses were never reported to the Minnesota Campaign Finance 2010 Reports and Expenditures Report for Tom Emmer for Governor and Minnesota Republican Party. It was reported by Tom Scheck of Minnesota Public radio on February 1, 2011 that Count Them All Properly, Inc. was in fact the group that paid legal expenses. The Republican Party of Minnesota and Republican Tom Emmer's campaign for governor will not disclose the money it raised to help with the recount. Republican Party of Minnesota Chair Tony Sutton said today that the group created a separate corporate account, Count Them All Properly Inc., for their recount efforts. He said they won't disclose the amount of money raised or by whom -- and state and federal laws don't require them to release it. That's counter to Sutton's past comments where he said they would run their recount funds through The Minnesota Republican Party. Those funds would have been disclosed if Sutton and others accepted the funds through the Republican Party's main account. When asked about the discrepancy between his past statement and the decision to not disclose the funds, Sutton said "We changed our minds."3

This is an in-kind contribution because Count Them All Properly paid for the legal expenses of the Tom Emmer for Governor campaign and the Republican Party of Minnesota. Such a contribution is in violation of Minn. Stat. §§ 211B.15 subd. 2. Currently, the Republican Party of Minnesota and Count Them All Properly, Inc. are being investigated by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board for circumventing state campaign finance laws. Regardless of the outcome of that investigation, the CFDB does not have the jurisdiction to investigate a 211B violation. Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes section 211B.16, “a county attorney may prosecute any violation of this chapter.” Further, pursuant to
1

Republican Party of Minnesota Press Release, “Emmer for Governor, Republican Party of Minnesota file suit against St. Louis and Pine Counties” November 12, 2010. http://www.mngop.com/news.asp?artid=503
2

“Tom Emmer and the Republican Party of Minnesota are asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to delay a recount in Minnesota's contested race for governor.” Scheck, Tom. “GOP sues over ballots in Minn. Gov race” MPR News November 17, 2010 http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/11/17/gop-lawsuit/
3

Scheck, Tom. “MNGOP won't disclose recount fundraising” MPR News February 1, 2011 http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/polinaut/archive/2011/02/mngop_wont_disc.shtml

2323 E. Franklin Ave Minneapolis, MN 55406

Minnesota Statutes section 211B.15, subd. 14, violations regarding corporate political contributions may be prosecuted “in the county where the payment or contribution was made, where services were rendered, or where money was paid or distributed.” Common Cause Minnesota believes that Ramsey County is therefore an appropriate jurisdiction to file this complaint. Please advise us if you believe the matter should be venued elsewhere. For the above reasons, we urge you to proceed with an investigation of the activities of Count Them All Properly, Inc. for making a $719,0004 corporate contribution to Tom Emmer for Governor campaign and the Republican Party of Minnesota.

Sincerely, Common Cause Minnesota

4

Scheck, Tom. “Republican official: MN GOP debt load ‘some ugly stuff’” MPR News December 30, 2011 http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/12/30/mn-gop-debt-load/