DOCTORED CAMPAIGN REPORTS AT CITY HALL? By now most have read about the alleged campaign finance violations by Minnetrista’s mayor, some past & present council members and “Our Minnetrista” officials (buried on page 12 of Friday’s Laker-Pioneer newspaper, with a tiny heading smaller than the guest column on yoga). The accused respond saying there is no basis to the complaints and everything was accounted for in their campaign finance reports on file at city hall.
First, “Our Minnetrista” who openly spent thousands of dollars supporting these candidates never filed a disclosure report at city hall (or anywhere else) as required by state law. Mr. Kolb, an officer of “Our Minnetrista” stated “All that information is filed with the city clerk.” Well, it’s not. Mr. Kolb cannot produce it and neither can the city clerk.
Second, all of the candidates’ campaign finance reports in 2014 show all three “Our Minnetrista” supported candidates (Whalen, Mortenson & Thoele) listed virtually identical donors giving identical amounts, as well as virtually identical expenditures. Contribution amounts of $333.33, $166.66, $83.33 appear multiple times on all three reports from the same donors. Hmmm…($1,000÷3=333.33), ($500÷3=166.66), ($250÷3=83.33). Are we expected to believe all these individuals wrote those checks in these unusual amounts, or is it plausible the money came from “Our Minnetrista” and was distributed among the candidates? The later, if proven after examining subpoenaed bank records, would make the 2014 candidates guilty of violating the contribution limits law. Willfully and intentionally doing so could be a criminal charge.
Some might say the above is not enough to charge someone. Actually the respondents are saying exactly that. But if one examines the 2018 campaign finance reports filed by “Our Minnetrista” candidates Pam Mortenson and John Tschumperlin, the exact same pattern appears: virtually identical donor list, contribution amounts, and expenditures with unusual amounts indicating contributions came from one source (“Our Minnetrista”) and were earmarked and disbursed between them.
Before www.ourminnetrista.com was so timely deleted (after this screen capture was submitted to the Office of Administrative Hearings) it had a donation page set up with PayPal that showed “Our Minnetrista” as the account holder. This is where earmarked donations were collected for their candidates.
To answer Ms. Thoele’s question of why these complaints, going back to 2014, are only being filed now, the answer to that is they did such a great job of concealing what they were doing it took me this long to figure it out.