The Minnesota Jobs Coalition is tweaking Mark Dayton’s campaign operation for use of the state plane on political trips.
The independent expenditure group has filed a complaint with the state Campaign Finance and Disclosure Board alleging that Dayton’s use of a state plane for political purposes was improperly reported.
The Dayton campaign has acknowledged that trips to Bemidji and International Falls last October were part of a campaign swing for DFL legislative candidates. The campaign has paid the state $2,800 for use of the plane.
But, according to the complaint the Dayton campaign failed to report the expense in its year-end report. The plane use was reported on a voluntary report in early January of this year.
“This complaint is frivolous and a cheap attempt to gain publicity,” said Dayton’s campaign director, Julie Hottinger. “The governor has been scrupulously honest in his use of state resources, and even GOP leaders have commented on his honesty in these matters.”
“The bottom line is that campaign finance laws require that you book expenses when you get them,” said Kevin Magnuson, attorney for the Minnesota Jobs Coalition.
Ben Golnik, the executive director of the Jobs Coalition who served as executive director of the Republican Party of Minnesota in 2006, notes that Republicans have also been caught in the web of campaign finance reporting requirements.
Part of the investigation of the finances of the Minnesota Republican Party in 2010 centered on the party’s failure to report debt when it was incurred.
The complaint also alleges that Dayton used the state plane for two other trips that included campaign appearances and asks the Campaign Finance Board to determine if the Dayton campaign must repay the state for those trips as well.