MN Campaign Finance Board hits Rybak and Coleman

The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board issued two rulings today saying St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak should have filed campaign committees for governor.

Update: The board ruled that Rybak should have created a committee in May. The board found that Coleman used personal funds for his campaign so didn’t have to form a committee but will have to report those funds, like any self-funded candidate, at the end of the year.

Coleman announced last month that he isn’t running for governor but the board ruled that he needs to report the travel expenses from any governor campaigning to the board.

The board also said Rybak should have filed a campaign committee in May when he conducted a poll. The board ruled that Rybak’s campaign committee for governor (which he filed yesterday) has to reimburse Rybak’s campaign for mayor $26,500 for the cost of the survey it conducted back in May. The board ruled that the survey was designed to benefit a gubernatorial bid not the reelection campaign.

The MNGOP, which filed the complaint, will hold a news conference later this afternoon.

Here’s the Rybak ruling.

Here’s the Coleman ruling.

UPDATE: Rybak’s campaign released this statement:

“Mayor R.T. Rybak has been honest and forthcoming regarding his consideration of a run for Governor, and our campaign has been careful to not raise contributions or make expenditures for the purpose of influencing a campaign for Governor until a formal decision was made. The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board has found that certain expenses incurred by the Mayor’s campaign should be counted as expenses related to a Governor’s campaign. Although we disagree with the basis, we will accept the Board’s finding and take action to account for these expenses and reimburse the Mayor’s campaign for them. Mayor Rybak filed the paperwork to create a Rybak for Governor Committee yesterday.”


Officials with the Republican Party of Minnesota applauded the ruling.

During an afternoon news conference, GOP chairman Tony Sutton, said Rybak deliberately tried to skirt the law.

“Rybak campaigned for governor across Minnesota for months, without lawfully establishing a campaign committee and recording his expenditures,” Sutton said. “This pattern of deception shows Rybak does not have the judgement to lead our great state.”

  • I am confused by the sentence : “Coleman announced last month that he isn’t running for reelection but the board ruled that he needs to report his travel expenses to the board.”

    Wasn’t he just reelected ?

    Reading the ruling, my first thought was : Is there a fine ?

    Did they just decide that based on the board ruling that four findings were not a problem and only that “There is probable cause to believe that Mayor Coleman spent personal funds in support of his candidacy for Governor, and that the amount of those funds exceeded $100.” was deemed to be a problem; thus they waived the fine ? Or isn’t there a fine ?

    My second thought is : Who pays for this investigation ? Do the complaints have any responsibility to bring forward only complaints that are worthy of an expenditure of investigative time ? I know that we want clean elections, but this seems to me to more “whining” by one political party about the other political party.