Eleven Republican state senators fined for distributing campaign fliers

A panel of three administrative law judges has fined 11 Republican state Senators for distributing partisan brochures printed with taxpayer money at precinct caucuses.

The 11 were ordered to pay a $75 fine under the findings of the  Office of Administrative Hearings.

The flyers were prepared by state Senate Communications Director Steve Sviggum, who was ordered to pay a $200 fine.

Cost of printing the flyers was less than $50, but that doesn’t include staff time, the ruling said.

The Minnesota DFL had filed the complaint leading to the ruling.

The 11 GOP state senators are:

  • Majority Leader David Senjem,
  • Al DeKruif
  • Chris Gerlach
  • Gretchen Hoffman
  • Benjamin Kruse
  • Ted Lillie
  • Clair Robling
  • Ray Vandeveer
  • Pam Wolf
  • Michelle Fischbach
  • John Pederson

In the ruling, the judges said “a preponderance of the evidence” shows that the 11 and Sviggum “violated Minn. Stat. § 211B.04 by preparing or disseminating campaign material that did not substantially comply with the disclaimer requirement.”

Sviggum disputed the ruling, telling Stillwater Patch that the flyer was reviewed and approved by the nonpartisan Senate legal counsel.

“It was not campaign material,” Sviggum said. “The complaint was wrong — and the ruling was wrong and inappropriate. It changes the standard of what constituent material and campaign material is … this will put a chill on delivery of information to communicate with constituents.”

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Tom Rees on 09/06/2012 - 02:33 pm.

    Is a Misdemeanor Charge Coming?

    I believe the statute allows that the charge may now forwarded to the appropriate county attorney(ies) for misdemeanor prosecution now that the Office of Administrative Hearings has ruled.

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