Minnesota Republicans will pay a $170,000 fine for campaign finance violations for failing to properly report campaign debt in 2006 through 2008, under an agreement with the Federal Elections Election, the Star Tribune reports this morning.
In a statement, state Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton said: “We learned a very hard lesson. I could say something here about excessive government regulation but we’re taking our lumps and moving forward.”
Sutton was the party’s treasurer during some of the time that the violations occurred.
The FEC agreement report says:
RPM [Republican Party of Minnesota] contends that the errors and omissions in its 2006-2008 reports were not intentional and in 2007-2008 RPM acted proactively to address the issues involved by retaining an accounting firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of its financial records.
In 2008, RPM further acted proactively to address the issues involved by filing more than 50 amendments to its reports. However, these amendments did not disclose all previously undisclosed debt. RPM has taken affirmative steps to ensure that such errors and omissions do not occur again by retaining a compliance company to prepare its reports, as well as federal campaign finance counsel that serves as counsel to a number of Republican state party committees.
And the agreement says:
Respondents will pay a civil penalty to the Federal Election Commission in the amount of One Hundred and Seventy Thousand Dollars ($170,000) pursuant to 2 U.S.C.§ 437g(a)(5)(A).
The civil penalty will be paid as follows:
1. A payment of Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000) is due no more than thirty days from the date this Agreement becomes effective;
2. Thereafter, ten consecutive monthly installment payments of Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000) each.