The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board has dismissed a complaint against state Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville. The DFL Party filed the complaint after MPR News reported that Thompson received $78,000 in consulting fees since 2009 from the Republican Party of Minnesota. Democrats said Thompson should have disclosed the income to the finance board.
But the board said it won’t investigate the complaint. In a letter, Gary Goldsmith, executive director of the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board, wrote that Thompson didn’t have to disclose the funds because he wasn’t “an employee” of the party.
“The Board has recognized that self-employed individuals operating as sole proprietors do not typically have one of the statutorily required relationships with their clients. In view of that recognition, the Statement of Economic Interest form provided by the Board indicates that disclosure of independent contractor income is not required.”
Thompson issued a statement praising the decision.
“I complied with all disclosure requirements. Therefore, I am not surprised by the Board’s decision. Still, it is gratifying to see a clear statement from Mr. Goldsmith concluding that the Complaint does not even provide a basis for an investigation.”
DFL Party Chair Ken Martin issued a statement saying Thompson used a “legal loophole” to avoid disclosure.
“Today’s ruling by the Campaign Finance Board draws attention to a legal loophole that has allowed elected leaders like Senator Thompson to sidestep disclosure requirements that are there to make campaigns and government more transparent. This loophole needs to be closed immediately.”
Martin said he wanted to see the Legislature change the law to require lawmakers to disclose all income. Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, said today that he would push for such a measure.
Here’s the letter from the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board: