In Part 1, we looked at how FEC Tony Sutton’s MN GOP couldn’t (wouldn’t?) accurately report to the FEC how much they owed a vendor they hired to ensure accurate FEC reports. In Part 2, we noted there are now 2 citizen watchdog groups looking into the MN GOP’s Cooked Books — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – which nailed ‘em last time (the MN GOP got smacked with a near-record $170,000 fine), and Common Cause MN. In Part 3, we looked at how a payroll deductions “no, NO!” that got the MN GOP in trouble last time seems to be a pattern. In Part 4 we looked at the MN GOP using a strange address for one of it’s fundraisers.
Today in Part 5 of the continuing Cooked Books Series we’re going to take a look at the official FEC Complaint – filed yesterday – by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”).
CREW Files Second FEC Complaint Against Republican Party of Minnesota
January 11th, 2012
Washington, D.C. – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against the Republican Party of Minnesota (RPM) and its former chairman and treasurer, Anthony Sutton. The complaint alleges the RPM violated the Federal Election Campaign Act and a conciliation agreement the party signed less than five months ago with the FEC by deliberately hiding its debts from FEC investigators. Back in 2007, CREW had filed a similar complaint against the RPM, leading the FEC to impose a $170,000 fine last summer.
“The Republican Party of Minnesota’s FEC reports haven’t reflected the party’s actual financial condition for nearly a decade and make a mockery of the public’s right to know,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “There appears to be ample evidence Mr. Sutton, repeatedly lied to FEC investigators for years to achieve the party’s political goals. Party officials signed a conciliation agreement with the FEC pledging the party would clean up its act and – less than six months later – we discover absolutely nothing has changed.” (more, here)
OK, a little about that $170,000 fine – the MN GOP had to make a $20,000 down payment; it agreed to pay off the remaining $150,000 debt in ten equal installments. I’m just putting this paragraph in because I enjoy seeing this picture of a GOPer check to the Feds! I’ll be even happier when I can link to a picture of a MN GOPer doing a perp walk, though….
Back to CREW’s complaint:
On December 30, 2011, the RPM held a news conference to announce the party had conducted an internal review revealing $2 million in debts, including $415,211 that had never been reported to the FEC. According to party officials, they had been fighting with party treasurer Anthony Sutton over the release of party financial information, but had been unable to obtain the records until Sutton resigned. As RPM’s treasurer, Sutton appears to have filed false reports with the FEC.
Federal law requires state committees like the RPM to disclose all outstanding debts and obligations. In addition, knowingly and willfully filing false reports with the FEC is a federal crime. (more, here)
“…knowlingly and willfully filing false reports with the FEC is a federal crime.”
Bring on the Perp Walk!!!
OK, a little more from/for Part 4 of the continuing Cooked Books Series. We demonstrated how the MN GOP reported the address of a registered vendor – “Fundraising Assoicates” – as a duplex a few miles away from their actual registered address (“7705 Tanglewood Court“). We went on to point out that “Fundraising Associates” had it’s registered address appear on a FEC report filed by a Michele Bachmann related entity just around a year earlier, in 2010 (“4035 W. 65th Street“).
While perusing the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board’s 2010 report by the MN GOP, this item jumped out!
Yep! In 2010, the MN GOP reported to the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board the correct address of “Fundraising Associates” – in 2011, they put down an apparently bogus address.
How does that happen? WHY does that happen? Was it deliberate?
Let’s go back to CREW’s Melanie Sloan:
“The Republican Party of Minnesota’s FEC reports haven’t reflected the party’s actual financial condition for nearly a decade and make a mockery of the public’s right to know. There appears to be ample evidence Mr. Sutton, repeatedly lied to FEC investigators for years to achieve the party’s political goals.”
“There appears to be ample evidence Mr. Sutton repeatedly lied…”
Yep – sure is! Even on the little stuff, such as where a vendor does business.
Which reminds me of what then-RNC Chair Michael Steele once said: “You have absolutely no reason – none – to trust our words or our actions at this point.”
Stay tuned – the best is yet to come!