April 29, 2013 James Nobles Office of the Legislative Auditor 658 Cedar Street Room 140 St.

Paul, MN 55155 Dear Mr. Nobles, I write to you today to request an investigation in to what could be a very troubling misuse of state property for campaign purposes by Minnesota’s governor. On April 21, 2013 the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Gov. Mark Dayton’s political campaign reimbursed the State of Minnesota $2,802 for campaign-related air travel in the weeks leading up to the November 2012 general election1. According to the Star Tribune, “[Dayton] did some state-related business in Bemidji but also attended a rally with DFLers. He also used the plane to get to a DFL fish fry in International Falls. His $2,802 payment reflects more than 80 percent of the flight’s $3,312 cost for the trip to the north central Minnesota outposts.”2 I have attached a copy of this article for your reference. Though the Governor’s campaign did reimburse the state of Minnesota for the trip, it appears that the use of aircraft owned and operated by the state for non-official business is a violation of policies outlined by the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (MnDOT) Air Transportation Division – the agency which provides air travel for the Governor and other state leaders. As stated on the “Fly or Drive” section of the MnDOT website, policies governing the use of planes by government officials state that “[elected] officials and state employees are encouraged to utilize MN/DOT's aircraft whenever it is most cost effective in conducting official business outside the metropolitan area and time is essential” (emphasis added).3 A copy of these rules is attached to this letter. We are requesting that the Office of the Legislative Auditor review the governor’s travel itinerary listed above to determine if Gov. Dayton, or MnDOT under Governor Mark Dayton’s direction, misused State of Minnesota resources by using a state plane to travel                                                                                                                
1

Rachel E. Stassen-Berger, “Hotdish Politics: Dayton campaign repays state for political use of resources,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, April 21, 2013 2 Id. 3 “Fly or Drive,” http://dotapp7.dot.state.mn.us/flyordrive/about.vm, accessed April 25, 2013

Page 2 from Bemidji to International Falls for the sole purpose of attending a political event. We believe that the trip from Bemidji to International Falls - which the Governor’s office states was political in nature – was outside the scope of “official business” and therefore a violation of MnDOT’s policies governing the use of state-owned aircraft. If the Governor can use the state’s plane to travel to campaign events, is that same courtesy extended to members of the Legislature – or to candidates for elected office in Minnesota? If the Governor or other incumbents are allowed to reimburse the state for campaign travel, what prevents them from doing the same with other state-owned resources such as computers and copy machines? It is our hope that the Office of the Legislative Auditor can shed light on this matter and provide clarity for the people of Minnesota. Thank you for your consideration of this matter. Sincerely,

Tom Erickson Executive Director Minnesota Jobs Coalition

Enclosures (2): - “Hotdish Politics: Dayton campaign repays state for political use of resources,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, April 21, 2013 - PDF of MnDOT’s “Fly or Drive” policies CC: Senator Roger J. Reinert – Chair, Legislative Audit Commission Representative Michael Beard - Vice-Chair, Legislative Audit Commission Representative Sondra Erickson – Member, Legislative Audit Commission Representative Andrew Falk – Member, Legislative Audit Commission Representative Rick Hansen – Member, Legislative Audit Commission Representative Mary Liz Holberg – Member, Legislative Audit Commission Representative Steve Simon – Member, Legislative Audit Commission Senator Michelle Benson – Member, Legislative Audit Commission Senator Mary Kiffmeyer – Member, Legislative Audit Commission Senator Warren Limmer – Member, Legislative Audit Commission Senator James Metzen – Member, Legislative Audit Commission Senator Ann H. Rest – Member, Legislative Audit Commission