DFL Party files complaint against state senator

Minnesota DFL Party Chair Ken Martin has filed a complaint with the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board against Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, for failing to disclose money he received from the state Republican Party.

MPR News reported last week that the Republican Party paid Thompson $70,000 over the last two years. Martin said Thompson should have disclosed the income, which is required by law. He also said he finds it questionable that the Republican Party paid Thompson while he was running for office.

“I don’t think political parties should be putting candidates for office on their payroll,” Martin said. “I don’t know what the illegalities of that are but clearly I think there are some ethical questions that need to be answered there.”

The Republican Party of Minnesota started paying Thompson before he announced he was running for the Senate.

Thompson said today he was reviewing the complaint, but told MPR News last week that he was paid to do media consulting and write opinion pieces for the party. He said he did not view it as a conflict of interest.

Update: Thompson released this statement:

“On Monday, January 23, 2012 Chairman Ken Martin filed a complaint against me with the Campaign finance and Public Disclosure Board, alleging failure to properly disclose income earned from The Republican Party of Minnesota.

“I started work as an independent contractor on October 1, 2009. Of course the fees paid to me were fully disclosed by the Party as required by law, and therefore were public knowledge. However, independent contractor income is not to be disclosed by candidates. The form specifically states, ‘do not include payments for services as an independent contractor, social security payments, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, pension benefits, income from rental property, or insurance benefits.'”

Senate staff say non-partisan Senate Counsel confirmed for Senator Thompson that payment for independent contractor services was not to be disclosed.

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