ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Democrat Mark Dayton spent almost $750,000 in legal fees defending his narrow victory in Minnesota’s tight 2010 race for governor, according to a new disclosure report.

The legal fees paid from a special political fund to five law firms are detailed in the report quietly filed with the IRS during the weekend. The legal bills took until March to fully pay off.

Dayton beat Republican Tom Emmer by nearly 9,000 votes, a margin close enough to trigger a recount of 2.1 million ballots by hand. Emmer conceded defeat just as the recount was concluding in mid-December.

After the election, Dayton raised large sums from labor unions, including five-figure checks that came in after he was sworn in. Dayton raised the money through a federally regulated account, allowing him to bypass much tighter state contribution limits.

The Republican Party footed Emmer’s recount expenses, but routed them through a special account that isn’t subject to public disclosure laws.

Party chairman Tony Sutton reiterated Monday that details on his side’s recount spending won’t be released voluntarily. “We’re not required to, so we’re not going to,” Sutton said, declining to say if all bills have been paid.

Legal fees were Dayton’s main expense. His Dayton Transition Fund/Dayton Recount Fund reported spending roughly $1.8 million between last November and this June.

All but one of the Dayton-hired law firms are based in Minnesota. The exception was Perkins Coie, which is headquartered in Seattle. That firm, which made almost $200,000, was the legal force behind Democratic Sen. Al Franken’s narrow win in a 2008 Minnesota race that also went to recount.

Minneapolis-based firm Lockridge Grindal Nauen pulled in the most, with about $400,000 in legal fees.

A separate report listing Dayton fundraising and costs toward his inaugural celebration also was filed with the IRS. It shows almost $124,000 in spending from January to June. The biggest costs were for catering, food and venue rental for his inaugural ball.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (33)
  1. the crux of the buscuit says:

    Emmer should have known he wouldn’t win and just accepted defeat without the need for a recount…..

    1. erin says:

      What, then Dayton couldn’t have taken all those pay offs from the unions.

      1. Jim says:

        “What, then Dayton couldn’t have taken all those pay offs from the unions.”

        What payoffs? And why wouldn’t he have been able to take them if there was no recount?

    2. See BS says:

      Dayton had to buy his way around an audit of voting places that had more ballots than voters.

    3. Hello! says:

      They had to do a recount regardless. The vote was too close. It’a a rule

  2. Former Republican says:

    Just like the Republicans to sidestep disclosure.

    1. What are they hiding says:

      This is very typical in politics today – Democrats with full disclosure and Republicans with no disclosure.

  3. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    And we are so very happy with Dayton and his shutting down the government. Of course unions help fund the recount, although many union members did not vote for or support Dayton. I suppose you have no problems with that.

    1. Jim says:

      Why blame only one side for the government shutdown? That’s silly.

  4. the crux of the buscuit says:

    Thank goodness all those dead people and felons voted for Dayton!

    1. Jim says:

      Got some evidence for that absurd claim?

  5. frozenrunner says:

    Thank goodness for people who can make baseless claims. One my forget that there are petty little people out there. Partisan hatred just will not go way. Nor will simplistic thinking.

    1. the crux of the buscuit says:

      One my forget?

      1. frozenrunner says:

        One may forget there are little petty people who have nothing better to do than be hateful

        1. the crux of the buscuit says:

          Just a suggestion. If you’re going to accuse someone of simplistic thinking, try proof reading your statement first. Otherwise you come off like a complete moron. Something I’m sure you’re used to.

          1. Jim says:

            Thanks, internet grammar police! You’re providing a valuable service to society.

  6. shirley says:

    Emmer should have did the respectable & right thing and accepted it,,,but maybe denial got in the way there.We the middle class are smart enough to know when we’re being played and know it was money well spent.

    1. the crux of the buscuit says:

      I highly doubt you’re middle class.

      1. frozenrunner says:

        Again, more baseless claims by little petty people.

        1. frozenrunner says:

          I should know, I’m one of them.

    2. Dave says:

      Franken should have “did” the respectable & right thing and accepted it……anyone remember the time the vote came in and Franken lost, but then threw a fit, had a recount and official vote counts magically changed and absentee ballots came out of thin air? Yeah that wasn’t b.s. or anything. I suppose it was ok in your mind though because he was a democrat aside from being a complete moron that looks like The Joker

      1. haha says:

        he is an odd looking thing, Lens Crafters could do wonders.

  7. Off my rocker says:

    apparently those that think Emmer should have “done the right thing” apparently forgot that at first the count was much closer. But then of course as outstate areas found ballots for Dayton his lead grew considerably. I am no fan of Emmer and in this case I voted fo rthe lessor of two evils, but if evena marginal independent would have come forward, I most certainly woudl have voted independent instead of having to plug my nose again at the polls

  8. Karson says:

    I guess this explains why Dayton held out for the unions in the budget debate. No union boys layed off, no messing with union power. Typical pay off, they both do it and the people are sick of it.

  9. StraycatStrut says:

    I see Dayton is not in the liberal main stream news lately. Does anyone know if he’s still on the job? Like is he working or what?

    1. bill says:

      SSSHHHHHH, you will wake him out of his drug induced stupor and we will have another million or two wasted.



    1. Jim says:

      It’s funny that so many Republicans don’t understand the word “socialist” but still use it all the time. That’s smart?

  11. Number One Fan says:

    Nice how the article makes it seam like Dayton actually had to pay. Oh, poor Dayton had to pay all that money!!! Not, he received payoffs, now we know why we got what we got.

    1. WE says:

      They all receive payoffs dummy.

      1. number one fan says:

        Yup, and idiots like you do nothing about it and will vote for him again.

        WTG, happy to know ya…

  12. MAE says:

    These comments are embarassing to the human race and ridiculous no matter what party you align with. Elementary students could have more intelligent banter. Come on Minnesotans-lets figure this out together and stop this kind of behavior.

  13. middle of the road says:

    Mae, You are correct, but I advise you not to waste your time. I report verbal abuse on this thread and as long as it is directed at a republican, it is left to stand. When I report verbal abuse of a democrat, it tends to get pulled more often, but not always. You have to understand that WCCHOE appears to like this sort of discourse. I think it is part of their marketing sctrategy, to get people all whipped up so they can sell more add space. Sadly, this is not a reporting site so much as a blog site used to fan the flames of hatred and “dis”course.

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