On Wednesday, Bluestem reported in Carver Co commish candidate Long & former GOP county chair set up Carver Conservative PAC:
Conservatives active in the Carver County Republican Party have registered the Carver Conservative PAC. according to a July 14, 2014 filing at the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
Bob Frey's supporter and current Carver County Commissioner Frank Long chairs the new political action committee, while former Carver County Republican Chair Steve Nielsen serves as treasurer.
A friend in Carver County, who caucuses with the DFL, reminds us that Nielsen served as treasurer for current HD 47A state representative when "Leidiger, of Mayer, tapped his campaign treasury for $178 to pay Hennepin County District Court for a speeding violation committed March 29, 2011," as the Pioneer Press reported in 2012.
In April 2012, PiPress staff reporter Megan Boldt reported in Minnesota lawmaker's treasurer fined for paying speeding ticket from campaign fund:
Rep. Ernie Leidiger's campaign treasurer was fined $300 for using campaign funds to pay for a speeding ticket the Republican lawmaker received while driving back from a late-night legislative session.
The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board's ruling was released Wednesday, April 4. The complaint was filed by Steven Timmer last month.
Leidiger, of Mayer, tapped his campaign treasury for $178 to pay Hennepin County District Court for a speeding violation committed March 29, 2011. The board found his campaign improperly reported the payment as a transportation cost under noncampaign disbursement.
"A speeding ticket is not an activity expected or required of a public official. Payment of a candidate's fine for a speeding ticket therefore is not an expense for serving in public office," according to the board's findings.
Steven Nielsen, Leidiger's campaign treasurer, corrected the error and filed an amendment to the campaign committee's year-end report March 2, just hours before the campaign finance complaint was filed.
The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board posted revised findings on May 1, 2012 that didn't change the fine against Nielsen.
The DFL filed a successful complaint against the campaign, Brick City Blog's Sean Olsen reported in Final tally for Leidiger’s speeding ticket: $978:
A three-judge panel at the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings concluded the case against Rep. Ernie Leidiger and his campaign treasurer (and Carver County GOP Chair) Steve Nielsen Monday, by unanimously finding a violation of Minnesota Statute 211.B12 (7) and assessing a civil penalty of $500 against the two gentlemen.
Instead of finally taking responsibility for their actions, however, Leidiger and Nielsen went out swinging in their responses to the charges, though, continuing to insist that paying speeding tickets out campaign funds is permissible under the cited statute because it occurred “in the line of duty” and because Rep. Leidiger is a large donor to his own campaign. Even more outrageously, Leidiger and Nielsen suggested that the Minnesota DFL Party, who raised this complaint, be required to reimburse Leidiger and Nielsen for the cost of the speeding ticket and Nielsen’s $300 fine previously paid to the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
So the final tally for the Leidiger speeding ticket fiasco: 1 speeding ticket, 2 state statutes violated, and $978 in expense ($178 for the ticket itself, $300 in fines to the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, and $500 in fines to the Office of Administrative Hearings).
Here's the order, via Brick City Blog:
The Chanhassen Villager reported in Ticket ruling goes against Rep. Leidiger:
"We thought it was allowable, we fought it and we lost," Leidiger said.
The Laker and Pioneer has more here.
Retiring from the state legislature, Leidiger is best known for being the Minnesota House member who recommended Bradlee Dean to serve as a guest chaplain and deliver the chamber's opening prayer. Dean's prayer was redacted after he questioned President Obama's faith at the devotional's close.
Anti-sodomy crusader, creationist and Norwood-Young America businessman Bob Frey and Waconia second Amendment champion and Waconia mayor Jim Nash are competing in the August 12, Republican primary after the local district convention failed to produce an endorsement. The winner will face DFL candidate Matthew Gieseke in November's general election.
Whatever the purpose of the new PAC, we do have to admit that the treasurer has experience in working with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board and other agencies cherged with authority over campaign finances in Minnesota.
Photo: Carver Conservative PAC treasurer Steve Nielsen, via Facebook.