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.”

Comments (45)
  1. Fiscal Responsibility says:

    Brought to you by the Party of Family Values.

    1. Jake says:

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

      1. MARK says:

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

  2. The Pool Is Open says:

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

  3. G Dog says:

    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???????

    1. lol says:

      Sounds like the Dayton budget.

  4. Chuck says:

    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!!!

  5. Balanced Beam says:

    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.

    1. Frankie says:

      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?

  6. American says:

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

    1. frankie says:

      Hateful person, very un-American

    2. No problem says:

      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.

    3. Vote For Sale says:

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

  7. fb says:

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

  8. Bubba says:

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

  9. johfun says:

    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.

  10. signofthetimes says:

    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.

  11. Murph says:

    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 !

    1. Don't Tread on Me says:

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

      1. frozenrunner says:

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

  12. Ken says:

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

  13. angus says:

    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.

  14. Tony S. and Amy K. says:

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

  15. jean says:

    say…. cheesecake

  16. Little Tin God says:

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

    1. frozenrunner says:

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

  17. James says:

    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!!!!!!

  18. newcraft says:

    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.

  19. Chuck says:

    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!!!!!!

  20. TomK says:

    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.

  21. Kevin says:

    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!

    1. A Real GOP Party says:

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

  22. Jason says:

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

    1. A Voter says:

      That happens frequently on this site.

  23. rockfish says:

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

  24. GrandmaJ says:

    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.

  25. God bless the market says:

    The Market has spoken, according to the GOP.

  26. throw them all out says:

    The actions of the Republicans are far from a shining example for society, but the Democrats most certainly do not hold any awards either for exemplary behavior and fiscal responsibility. When will the Democrats and Republicans quit pointing fingers, not be so quick to cut the other down, and work towards the good of the common man instead of the super wealthy, or the union and Indian bought and paid for votes?

  27. As it was in the beginning... says:

    This is certainly par for the course, many people do not know that the GOP was the party that ran up the vast majority of the debt prior to Obama, and still has that claim firmly in hand. Sometimes the truth hurts.

    What, didn’t Rush Limbaugh tell you about this. Check with the CBO.

  28. Rick says:

    I was planning of sending a contribution to the GOP, but I was forced to pay $750.00 in union dues. My union dues ended up at the DNC. There is no way with this forced theft, that the GOP can compete with unions and their monopoly.

    1. yep says:

      Your raise and healthcare the union negotiates for you more than covers the cost of the $750 dues.

  29. jon says:

    The responsible thing to do would be to report the Dem’s financial status as well. Would be interesting if the Democrats turned into the party of fiscal responsibility.

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