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DULUTH, Minn. (AP/WCCO) — St. Louis County has released a series of emails between County Commissioner Pete Stauber and the National Republican Congressional Committee after a court order.

Stauber, the GOP candidate for the 8th District congressional seat, exchanged the messages on his county government email account. The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party sued for access, arguing the emails were public data. A judge on Monday ordered them released.

Several emails outlined meetings with Republican lawmakers about an Obama administration decision to block mineral prospecting near the Boundary Waters. Stauber also requested opposition research on a political opponent.

DFL Chairman Ken Martin says the emails show Stauber used taxpayer resources as recently as April to advance his political career.

“It’s outrageous that it took a court order for Pete Stauber to do the right thing and release these unlawful emails. Beyond abusing the public trust, Stauber disregarded state law and violated St. Louis County ethics policy by using county resources to advance his political ambitions, and then lying about it,” Martin said.

The NRCC released a scathing statement after the release of the emails.

“The NRCC respects the court’s decision. We are looking forward to seeing the DFL’s crushing disappointment when they realize these emails are about as uninteresting to voters as Joe Radinovich’s failed campaign. If Joe was hoping for a silver bullet, this isn’t it. It would serve him well to begin looking for a new career path.”

Stauber faces Democrat Joe Radinovich. The race is considered a prime GOP pickup opportunity.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)