Common Cause to ask for investigation of GOP recount fund

Later this week, Common Cause Minnesota will ask the Ramsey County Attorney to work with the St. Paul Police Department to investigate Count Them All Properly, Inc, a corporation set up to cover costs associated with the 2010 gubernatorial recount.

On the advice of lawyers for the Republican Party of Minnesota, Count Them All Properly was set up in early December 2010 to help former Republican candidate Tom Emmer win the recount, according to former party Chairman Tony Sutton.

“We believe that there is evidence to begin an investigation of this group for forgery and making an illegal in-kind contribution to a candidate and political party,” Common Cause Minnesota director Mike Dean wrote in a letter to Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.

Common Cause’s basic argument is that because Count Them All Properly is organized as a business, not a political fund, any recount expenses it paid on behalf of the Republican Party and Tom Emmer for Governor are in-kind contributions, which would be a violation of state law.

The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board is investigating a similar complaint filed by Common Cause.

Count Them All Properly has been in the news recently, after the Star Tribune reported that two men listed as CEOs of the company never knew they were involved. In its letter, Common Cause points out that providing false information to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office, which registers businesses, is a felony under state law.

Lawyers that helped the party during the recount say that they billed Count Them All Properly, but that Sutton signed a contract legally obligating the party to pay the legal fees.

Here’s a copy of Common Cause’s letter.

CountyAttorny Ltr FINAL

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