Emmer sends checks from campaign fund to reimburse counties for recount expenses

Tom Emmer
MinnPost/Terry Gydesen
Tom Emmer

Thanks to recent Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, the check really is in the mail for Minnesota counties waiting to get repaid for their recount expenses.

When Emmer heard that around 20 counties were still waiting for the state Republican Party to reimburse them, he contacted the county auditors directly and sent them checks from the balance in the Tom Emmer for Governor campaign fund – about $20,000 to $25,000, he estimated.

“This is not my responsibility, but I feel it’s my obligation,” he said.

Emmer said he was startled to learn that the counties were still waiting for reimbursements almost six months after the recount was finalized. The invoices for such services as copying costs and requests for information had gone to the Republican Party which, like the DFL, is stretched financially after the 2010 election expenses.

‘It allowed me to help the party’
“It caught me a little off guard and so I started calling some of them,” he said. “It allowed me to help the party. It allowed me to call these folks to say thank you.”

Minnesota GOP Chair Tony Sutton said he had not heard directly from Emmer about this move but said, “I’m going to call him right now and we can compare notes” about which, if any, counties still have unpaid bills.

The county auditors did seem a little surprised to have Emmer on the other end of the line, he acknowledged (“I would just call and ask if they had an outstanding bill”), but they were grateful for the thanks and the money.

“Some of them said they truly appreciated the phone call,” he said. “If nothing else, regardless of whether you’re Democratic or Republican, these people make the system work and I don’t think they ever get a call that says thanks.”

Now just a few dollars on hand
Emmer said the campaign surplus came from contributions that arrived after the November election and that repayment to the counties leaves the campaign with just a few dollars on hand.

It also leaves the campaign with some explaining to do to the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board. Usually, once all vendors are paid, campaign surpluses are designated to another campaign or political unit, like the Minnesota GOP, but Sutton believes such payments are a legitimate campaign expense.

There will be some kind of supplemental reporting, Emmer says.

“Whatever needs to be filed will be filed, and the folks over at the campaign board will know every nickel,” he said. But when it came to reimbursement, Emmer was inclined to act right away. “For all I know they will tell me I wasn’t supposed to do it this way but, sorry, these people need to get paid,” he said.

Emmer said he would be contacting the campaign finance board before the end of the week to let them know of the disbursement. And if Emmer’s action closes the books on this part of the GOP recount expenses, “that would be great, that would take a load off my mind,” said Sutton.

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Comments (15)

  1. Submitted by Jeff Wilfahrt on 06/15/2011 - 04:50 pm.

    Good on ya’ Emmer. About time we see someone stand up from the GOP and be decent about this after the urgency to produce didn’t translate to an urgency to pay.

    This Sutton is a man of questionable repute.

    Jeff Wilfahrt, Rosemount, MN

  2. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 06/15/2011 - 04:51 pm.

    Wow! I give Emmer the thumbs-up for this one. Not so for oily Sutton (whose comments suggested that he believe that some counties were getting double payments). And I hope that, in the end, this is considered an appropriate expense for his campaign fund. It’s unfortunate that, in light of the failure of the MNGOP to pay the bills in a reasonable amount of time, Emmer still believes he ought to help the party. Or listen to Sutton.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 06/15/2011 - 05:07 pm.

    Kudos to Mr. Emmer. Boos and hisses to Tony Sutton. Emmer is correct, it’s NOT his responsibility to pay the Republican Party’s campaign expenses. That’s Mr. Sutton’s job, and his responsibility. Too bad for party members that he’s shirking it.

  4. Submitted by Wayne Van Cleve on 06/15/2011 - 05:08 pm.

    I saw another story regarding Emmer on MinnPost.
    Tom Emmer ‘open’ to running in 6th District if Bachmann doesn’t.
    Do you suppose there’s any connection to this selfless act of “obligation”.

  5. Submitted by John Eidel on 06/15/2011 - 05:54 pm.

    I didn’t vote for Tom Emmer, but this was a class move.

  6. Submitted by John Olson on 06/15/2011 - 06:29 pm.

    A tip of the hat to Mr. Emmer is in order. Someone finally took care of the mess since it was apparent Sutton and Brodkorb were not in any hurry to pay.

  7. Submitted by will lynott on 06/15/2011 - 07:40 pm.

    A classy move by Emmer. I’ve heard he’s a decent man.

    He still would have been a disaster as governor, of course.

  8. Submitted by Scott Barnard on 06/15/2011 - 08:39 pm.

    I say give Mr. Emmer credit for doing the right thing. Don’t be fooled, the Republican Party, to its shame, is far better represented by Minnesota GOP Chair Tony Sutton. Nevertheless, give Mr. Emmer some credit.

  9. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 06/16/2011 - 11:18 am.

    This was a decent move of cleaning up your mess, or the mess left behind by main messers of GOP.

  10. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/16/2011 - 12:13 pm.

    I just want to point out that I wrote a comment that was critical of Emmer two hours ago and it was not posted don’t know why.

    I find it hard to believe that Emmer just found that the county’s haven’t been paid, and he couldn’t keep the $25,000 anyways. Emmer has either been in a cave since the election or he’s not being honest about having just discovered the debt. It’s also interesting that he appears to have deliberately embarrassed Sutton. And Sutton obviously can’t be trusted with budgets in any event so I don’t why anyone would take economic or budget advise from the guy.

  11. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/16/2011 - 12:18 pm.

    I owe Minnpost an apology. I claimed a post had been censored when in fact I had posted it elswhere, not here, and it has in fact been published. In other words my critical post was made on the Daily Glean, not here. Sorry my confusion is the culprit, not Minnpost censors, I should a know better.

  12. Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 06/16/2011 - 01:47 pm.

    I have to agree with Paul- Mr Emmer could not possibly have been in the dark about these bills up until now. And while I agree that it was a good thing of him to do, lets not get too carried away about what a swell guy he is for picking up the slack- he’s doing this after months have lapsed, and he’s not dipping into his pockets- what else was he going to spend this money on? Since this debt was the last vestige of the Emmer for Governor campaign, makes sense to spend the last of the campaign funds on it.

    To me, the bigger issue is that the party of personal responsibility seems to be getting someone else to pay their bills.

  13. Submitted by Charlie Quimby on 06/16/2011 - 09:24 pm.

    Emmer did the right thing. His party hacks didn’t.

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/18/2011 - 08:54 am.

    The more I think about it, the more I see this as an Emmer PR stunt. Why didn’t he coordinate this payment with party? Couldn’t he have given the money to the party to pay off the bills? Yes it’s great that he paid the bills, but the more you think about this the goofier it looks.

  15. Submitted by Quin Huntley on 06/30/2011 - 10:03 am.

    How wonderful of all of you posters to freely offer so many back-handed compliments. typical.

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