Sen. Bakk statement on GOP’s use of taxpayer resources for campaign activities
Senate DFL Caucus Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, released the following statement today regarding the Senate GOP’s use of taxpayer resources for campaign activities:
“I am deeply disappointed that several state senators from the Republican Caucus directed Senate staff to design, draft, and print campaign materials in-house, using state resources. The printed materials I have seen are campaign flyers that were clearly intended to be distributed at Republican precinct caucuses to persuade attendees to support Republican incumbents.
It is evident that the flyers in question have a campaign purpose to directly influence voting, as defined in Minnesota’s Fair Campaign Practices Act. I believe it is a violation of the policies of the Minnesota Senate, and the state’s criminal code.
I am calling upon those members who used taxpayer resources for their political campaigns to publicly admit they broke the law and reimburse the State Senate. While the cost is yet to be determined, these actions represent a complete disregard for the law. How can these Senate Republicans be trusted as lawmakers if they disregard the law themselves?
This year as in previous years, members of the Senate DFL Caucus paid the cost of producing similar materials—plus sales tax—to local commercial printers. Private sector printers were also available to Senate Republicans, as were funds from their campaign committees. Unfortunately, many of them chose to use taxpayer resources instead.
I cannot overstate how important it is that senators recognize the bright line separating our non-partisan staff and state resources from our political campaigns. Failure to do so provides an unfair advantage to the party that is in charge. How can challengers have a chance in elections if the incumbents have every state resource at their disposal? It’s against the law, and incumbents should know better.”