Not that he is. Oh no. Of course not.
In Minnesota Republican Party to pay $170K fine for federal campaign finance violations, Rachel Stassen-Berger reports:
“I could say something here about excessive government regulation but we’re taking our lumps and moving forward," Sutton said.
Sutton's got the Minnesota Nice passive-aggressive voice down pat these days. It wasn't his and Cupcake's fault the Baja Sol chain shrank until it was yanked away from them by TCB and former party boss Bill Cooper. Nope, that was the business climate. And if he wasn't the big man that he is, he'd blame the government for this fine stemming from his own violation of the rules.
Stassen-Berger has posted the party's agreement with the FEC here. Read it.
Minnesota Public Radio reports in Minn. GOP pays $170K penalty for illegal fund transfers:
The FEC found the Republican party of Minnesota failed to disclose nearly $100,000 in debt in 2006. The same year, the party withheld retirement contributions totaling nearly $8,000 dollars to four employees. Also that year, state Republican party made illegal excessive transfers totaling more than $560,000 from its non-federal account to its federal account.
In an agreement with the FEC released by Minnesota Republicans, the party says the errors and omissions were not intentional. GOP chair Tony Sutton said in a statement the party has taken steps to correct problems, including hiring an outside firm to produce financial reports.
Kudos to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and local attorney and watchdog, Diane Gerth, for calling the mischief to the commission's attention.
Under the terms of the agreement, Sutton does get to pay the fine off on the installment plan. The first payment of $20,000 is due within 30 days of when the agreement becomes effective, with 10 monthly payments of $15,000.
On August 1, Bluestem reported in State party federal accounts: MNGOP reports negative cash-on-hand; HRCC federal fund that the MNGOP's federal account showed a negative balance of -8354.96 as well as $608,147.51 in outstanding debts.
Under a new agreement with the party's executive board, Sutton started to receive an annual salary of $100,000 in July. It's good to see that one corner of the American Dream remains, and a young man from Hibbing can grow up, shift money around, run a business into the ground, head a party that can't live within its means, and still rise to the top like sweet cream. A regular Horatio Alger.
Given the way Sutton and Deputy Chair/Senate Majority Leader Mike Brodkorb keep a tight, disciplining hand on the majority legislative caucuses, it shouldn't come as any surprise that those legislators brought forth the sort of state budget agreement that relies on shifting money from school payments to the general fund and borrowing with tobacco bonds.
Bluestem has one favor to ask Republican leaders. In the future when they speak of how government has to balance its budget, just like a family, they should really share the fact that it's the Sutton family that they're using as their mental model.
llustrations: Sutton bucks, by Tild; Minnesota Republican chair and failed burrito baron Tony Sutton frowns for the camera at a Tax Cut Rally St. Paul, Minnesota May 7, 2011. Photo by Fibonacci Blue; used with permission.