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DFL, Minnesota GOP illegal-activity complaints rejected

A state board determined neither illegal activity charge by the DFL and Republican parties in 2012 was worthy of sanction.

The state Campaign Finance and Disclosure Board has closed the book on charges of illegal activity by the DFL and Republican parties in 2012.  The verdict is — not guilty.

Each party had filed complaints against the other on independent expenditures that require outside groups supporting a candidate to report how much money they spent, and forbid any coordination with the candidate’s campaign.

The Republican party claimed that the DFL had coordinated with four candidates by staging photos of them that later appeared in DFL-paid literature.

The board ruled: “Where the DFL was unable to obtain the desired images, they obtained images at public events held by the candidates. In the cases of those candidates where images were obtained at public events, the candidate had no prior knowledge of the DFL’s planned attendance or that the pictures would ultimately be used for the subject independent expenditures.”

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The DFL’s complaint alleged that the Republican Party, which had distributed similar literature on behalf of its candidates, had fudged reporting by not including the cost of mailing.

Here, the board determined that the Republican party had erred — “the report did not clearly indicate that the cost included postage” — but the omissions  “were inadvertent and were not done to avoid disclosure of the independent expenditures identified in the complaint.”