Common Cause files criminal complaint against Sutton, state GOP
by Briana Bierschbach
Published: July 18,2012
Time posted: 4:48 pm
Tags: Common Cause, Dan Puhl, Fred Meyer, John Gilmore, Mary Igo, Mike Dean, Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings, Ramsey County Attorney, Republican Party of Minnesota, Ron Huettl, Sara Grewing, Tom Datwyler, Tony Sutton
Common Cause Minnesota is pushing for criminal charges against the Republican Party of Minnesota, its former chairman Tony Sutton and a handful of GOP activists for their activities related to Count Them All Properly, a corporation set up to handle legal fees stemming from the 2010 gubernatorial recount.
Common Cause Executive Director Mike Dean said Wednesday that he has filed a complaint with the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) arguing that the Republican Party, Sutton and several others created for-profit corporation Count Them All Properly (CTAP) to hide contributions directed to pay off bills related to the recount. Dean is asking OAH to find probable cause for the Ramsey County attorney to prosecute criminal charges.
According to Dean, three donations made from CTAP were illegal and could constitute a felony, each one carrying a possible five year prison sentence and/or a $20,000 fine.
Dean says last week’s ruling from the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, which found the party was responsible for about $600,00 in debts accrued in Count Them All Properly, opened the door for the complaint. “This is really critical, because at a time when a public trust in government is at an all time low, its critical that we hold our state’s politicians accountable when they break that trust,” he said.
Dean is also asking St. Paul City Attorney Sara Grewing to pursue misdemeanor charges against Sutton for circumventing disclosure laws.
These are the individuals named in Dean’s complaint: Sutton, Dan Puhl, head of Cardinal Compliance, Ron Huettl, former finance director of the party, Mary Igo, longtime activist and chair of CTAP, and Tom Datwyler and Fred Meyer, also members of CTAP.
On his personal blog, Dispatches from the Trenches, Sutton said he has “done nothing wrong,” adding that he sees this as an attempt by Common Cause to “exploit this situation for political gain.”
John Gilmore, an attorney for Igo, echoed that sentiment in a statement released to the press. “Mary Igo cooperated fully with the Campaign Finance Board and was exonerated in its final report in the matter of Count Them All Properly, Inc.,” he wrote. “Facts don’t matter, though, to a far left group like Common Cause Minnesota that has shamefully dragged her into what it calls a criminal complaint before the Office of Administrative Hearings. Common Cause Minnesota is a well known and widely un-respected advocate for all things left of center.”
“I fully expect the OAH to dismiss this rancid, politically motivated complaint with respect to Mary Igo.”