Minn. GOP At Least $1.3M In Debt

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s been a rough few weeks for Minnesota Republicans with the Senator Amy Koch sex scandal, resignations and a big debt.

We found out Friday just how serious their money problems are. A financial review committee found the party is nearly $1.3 million in the red.

And there’s another $719,000 under review, from the recount in the governor’s race.

At the beginning of the news conference, the chairman of the finance committee acknowledged there have been rumors and questions about the party’s finances for quite a while.

The members of this review committee appointed in October wouldn’t say how it got this bad, but they did break down the numbers for us, and the chairman said it’s ugly.

“We really believe our Republican activists and donors deserve to know exactly where the party stands, warts and all and there are some warts in here,” said Jeff Johnson.

We’re told some of the nearly $1.3 million of debt comes from $415,000 in financial statements that went unreported, $18,000 in credit card debt, $200, 000 owed to the bank, $68,000 to unpaid vendors, along with a $120,000 fine from the Federal Election Commission.

The party is also disputing $719,000 in legal fees from the Tom Emmer/Mark Dayton recount.

Earlier this month Republican Party Chairman Tony Sutton stepped down as a committee was about to review the party’s finances.  Members of the committee refused to comment on who is responsible.

“I can’t give you a specific answer, it does happen,” said Mike Vekich, who headed up the financial review committee who examined the funds. “But the more important part is the fact they have a handle on it now, and going forward you have leadership committed to making sure this does not occur again.”

Interim Chair Kelly Fenton talked about their responsibility to their activists and donors.

“This is one of the first steps in being accountable and being more transparent. I promised when I was elected I promised the delegation honesty and transparency and this is the first step in moving forward,” said Fenton.

The Republican party will get new leadership this weekend when it meets in St. Cloud to elect a new chair person. Whoever they pick, they will have their hands full with the party’s debt and with 2012 being an election year.

University of Minnesota political analyst Larry Jacobs calls it a “mess.” He said the financial mismanagement so massive, activists and donors have already lost confidence in a critical election year. Jacobs also says the party will not only contend with a presidential election, but the re-election of Congressman Chip Cravaack.

It must also try to maintain the majorities in the legislature as well as find a challenger for Senator Amy Klobuchar.

“The Minnesota Republican party is going to have to make some tough choices,” said Jacobs. “They need to select a leader who is pragmatic and who can rebuild the reputation of the party and do some fast fundraising. They are also going to have to pick their battles. They cannot be the full service party they have been in the past.”

  • Fiscal Responsibility

    Brought to you by the Party of Family Values.

    • Jake

      It’s good to have some sort of values, I reckon.

      • MARK

        Maybe financial values would be a smarter course of action for the GOP? The party of fiscal responsibility? LOL

  • The Pool Is Open

    We’re now taking bets on when the first “buh, buh, buh the Dems do it too!!” post will be made.

  • G Dog

    The GOP can’t use accounting voodoo, revenue shifts, one time credits or steal from school districts to put a smiley face on their $$ situation this time.

    Or can they???????

    • lol

      Sounds like the Dayton budget.

  • Chuck

    Hey, maybe they need to find new revenue. How about a surcharge to those who are members. Oh wait, no new taxes or as TPAW said, how about a FEE!!!

  • Balanced Beam

    There is no question this was terrible management by the party leaders. As soon as the management problem was revealed, they were shown the door, albeit voluntarily. The party appears to be accepting accountability and will undoubtedly take its lumps, which is consistent with its espoused beliefs. Without the mandatory contributions of public and private sector employee unions, the GOP will have its work cut out for it to be effective at all in the next election cycle. It will be interesting to see if they can mend fences with the well-funded moderate Republicans who backed Horner in the last election and were “kicked out” of the GOP.

    • Frankie

      Nice try unbalanced, but the reports of unpaid bills surface d last June. That would not be shown the door as soon as it was discovered. Secondly please prove there are mandatory contributions from unions. Third thing would be go to your republican caucus and utter these words “I am pro-choice” and see how well you are received. The GOP narrowly defines itself and shuns the least dissent. They chastise dissent and call people RINOS. With that exclusionary philosophy in place why would anyone want to give to the party unless there is a return on investment?

  • American

    Oh maybe we should tax them more to take care of you liberal pukes and your entitlement programs.

    • Vote For Sale

      Tax them more? They don’t pay any now!

    • No problem

      Bring back the Poor Farm. And let’s put the “work” back in Workhouse. And those Debtors’ Prisons? You betcha!! Can’t pay your bills? Go to jail, directly to jail.

      No one should get anything from the government. Unless it’s me.

    • frankie

      Hateful person, very un-American

    • Beatme


  • fb

    So much for morality and fiscal responsibility! Easier to call the pot black than be the pot!

  • Bubba

    Some Daddy Warbuck CE0’s will probably bail their butts out.

  • johfun

    The easy way to fill the hole is to send all the members a nice letter asking for a contribution. GIVE UNTIL IT HURTS type message. The party members are mostly well off financially so getting them to fill the hold should be no problem.

  • signofthetimes

    Sob Sob Sob–are they scheming a financial bail out–bankruptcy, someone else pay the bills like in Washington? The big corporations the GOP supports so avidly TAKE they do not give. There is a message here. Bring back Jesse.

  • Murph

    No suprise here,when there are no poor and middle class people in their ranks , what’s left won’t part with their huge stashes of money.Looks like they have to tax the most vulnerable to stay in business don’t it! The President will have no choice but to call for martial law and have them all given a whole lot of time to rue their Norquist pledges and other moves that threaten ordinary citizens to further enrich a few billionaires and big oil! Do it now !

    • Don't Tread on Me

      Wow. Do you feel nice and limber now after that big stretch?

      • frozenrunner

        The extremists here on both sides can always have a new career as contortionists for the circus.

  • Ken

    These are the folks who we are supposed follow to balance the State Anf Federal budget?

  • angus

    Ever notice that everytime they have photos of Republicans they have no minorities?

    Ever notice the women in the Republicans ranks? The liberals pushed for equality / equal rights for women in the workplace, maternityleave, etc. Now these women have these rights and they become conservatives.

    Republican Theme: I got mine and why should I worry or work for other people. Besides I have to go to church and proclaim myself a Good Christian.

  • Tony S. and Amy K.

    Do you know how much groceries, boston creme pie, donuts, bacon double cheeseburgers, etc. cost?

  • jean

    say…. cheesecake

  • Little Tin God

    “Fiscal” Conservatives? And we’re supposed to listen to them about how to cut the debt and increase employment? Yeah! Right!

    • frozenrunner

      Having as many GOP candidates for president as possible redistributes wealth and creates jobs for staffers, ad agencies, and hopefully paper recyclers.

  • James

    Tony “CHEESEBURGER” Sutton really F’ed this one up!!!!

    He ate WAY too Many Cheeseburgers on the Taxpayers Dime!

    LOL, what a joke the GOP has become!!!!!!

  • newcraft

    It’s not only about a money management issue – it speaks more to their “we gotta win at all costs” mentality. Throw money into the campaigns to try to outspend the other side even when it doesn’t make fiscal sense to do so – that’s the biggest thing I see being exposed here. They wouldn’t feel like they needed to pour money into marketing things if they knew their views were shared by more people in this state. But they’re not. So they have to reach into deep pockets again to beat the next election cycle, only they never filled the hole in from the last one. Welcome to reality. Quit espousing hypocritical views and meet people more toward the middle, and your ledgers may not have to work so hard next time.

  • http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2011/12/30/minn-gop-at-least-1-3m-in-debt/ Minn. GOP At Least $1.3M In Debt « CBS Minnesota

    […] [WCCO] Share this No comments // […]

  • Chuck

    So, there is $719000 disputed, guess the best way to do that is to cut costs—–Guess they will just not pay!!!! That will cut the budget, i guess. Responsible spending in government, but not with their party. Terrible!!!!!!

  • TomK

    Way to go, Tony Sutton!! You called the Dayton Campaign irresponsible……Sorta like the pot calling the kettle black, don’t you think? Aaaah yes, and then you ‘bail out’. You guys got class, alright.

  • Kevin

    Lets do a Jerry Lewis type fund raiser for them! Ill bartend! We can sell popcorn balls and Whiskey shots! We can bring in a petting zoo……a dozen cross dressed dancers…..and a few cotton candy machines! Oh! Oh! And we can have some Somalian Rappers and a few stands selling beef jerkey! I freakin love GOP beef jerkey!

    • A Real GOP Party

      Maybe when Walker is out of work he can stop by and serve cheese curds..deep fat fried!

  • Jason

    I make a good comment. Then it doesnt get posted. Why?

    • A Voter

      That happens frequently on this site.

  • rockfish

    Maybe cause you were the only one who thought it was “good”.

  • GrandmaJ

    Who gave them their line of credit? Gee, who does their books. And they want to have a big part of as president of the US, spouting they can control spending and money better? I forgot OUR MONEY, THEIR SPENDING. I don’t trust any of them. The older I get, the more of what we work hard for and save gets taken away by these people we elect into office. They are not taking it from the rich and giving it to the poor, as there are more people in the count of being poor. I used to be in the higher middle class back in the 70’s early 80s. Now our hard earned income comes right along the line of UPPER POOR. And I have not changed a thing.

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