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Common Cause wants prosecution of MNGOP and Sutton for alleged campaign finance violations

The nonpartisan, good-government group, wants a criminal investigation of allegations against the state Republican Party and its former chair, Tony Sutton.

Common Cause, the nonpartisan, good-government group, wants a criminal investigation of the Minnesota Republican Party and its former chair, Tony Sutton, over alleged illegal contributions to pay expenses for the 2010 recount in the governor’s race.

The group filed its complaint with the state Office of Administrative Hearings, looking for a declaration of probable cause so the Ramsey County attorney can file criminal charges in the matter.

Fines of $33,000 were levied last week by the the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board against the state GOP and Sutton and a corporation set up to pay the recount costs of Tom Emmer, the Republican candidate for governor.

Common Cause wants the case to go further, saying criminal charges are needed to hold the party accountable.

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The allegation is that the party and Sutton set up a shell corporation to raise money for the recount as a way to avoid disclosing the contributions.