Little did representative Tony Cornish's colleagues and House staff know that this year, when they savored the delicious Rapidan Dam Store pies that the Vernon Center Republican shares on his birthday, they were participating in a campaign event.
At the very least, that's how representative Cornish's 2016 pre-primary campaign finance report treats the expense of treating lawmakers and House staff to those amazing pies (second item below):
Bluestem suspects that this tasty tradition is best listed as a non-campaign expense that reflects the cost of serving in the legislature. While Cornish didn't use campaign committee funds to buy those amazing, out-of-this-world pies in 2015, he did spend $240 for pies as a non-campaign expenditure in 2014 (page 10, year-end report).
That was the first and only other time the pie expense for his birthday pie was paid by campaign coffers.
While it's not clear from the House rules whether members can use the House floor for campaigning, the rule is clear for staff members. They can't use House equipment or working hours for campaigning. Let's hope no one employed by the House cut the pie, served it or cleaned up after the birthday treats--or if they did, the Cornish campaign amends its report, shifting this expense into the non-campaign expenditure category.
Here's a photo of House members and staff enjoying those pies in a past year:
Bluestem encourages readers to try the pie (and buy it with their own funds) at the Dam Store next time they're down south of Mankato, at the Rapidan Dam on the Blue Earth River.
Now, about that 2015 hotel room for the Prison Taskforce meeting that's listed as a campaign expense. . .
Photos: Various pieces of the pie. Cornish in 2013 or 2014 (top); the dam store expense (middle); colleagues and staff having a little pie (bottom).
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