Campaign finance board dismisses GOP senators’ complaint against SOS Mark Ritchie
by Briana Bierschbach
Published: October 29,2012
Time posted: 12:51 pm
Tags: Mark Ritchie, Mike Parry, Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings, Scott Newman
The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board has dismissed a complaint brought by Republican state senators Mike Parry and Scott Newman against DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.
GOP attorney Fritz Knaak was notified of the dismissal in a letter from the board dated Oct. 23, according to documents obtained by rural DFL blogger Sally Jo Sorensen. The senators have accused Ritchie of using his office to speak out against the voter ID constitutional amendment on this fall’s ballot.
But the campaign finance board found that Ritchie did not use “express advocacy” language such as “vote for” or “vote against” in the instances pointed out in the complaint, and that Ritchie appeared to be acting as an individual.
“There is nothing in your complaint or in Chapter 10A that would permit the Board to conclude that the Secretary’s actions were anything other than the actions of an individual,” the board wrote.
This doesn’t end the two senators’ actions against Ritchie. The complaint is one of four legal challenges Parry said he and Newman were considering. A separate action, a complaint the senators filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings alleging that Ritchie violated the state Fair Campaign Practices Act, remains open, with final reply briefs from both sides due to administrative law judge Bruce Johnson on Tuesday.