Campaign Finance Error

I received this note today.

To City of Rochester Ward Candidates –

I am writing to inform you of misinformation that I had previously received and conveyed to you as to the amount of contributions that you could receive from an individual toward your campaign.  When you applied for office, I told you that the contribution limit was $500.00 per person because we were a city over 100,000 people.  That information is not correct.  You may only receive no greater than $300.00 per person.  And remember that any contribution over $100 has to have the name of the individual reported on your Campaign Financial Report.

My previous information had come from the Secretary of State’s Office.  I have checked with my City Attorney as to the correct information.  On the back of the “Campaign Finance Report”  under Contribution Limits it states “candidates seeking election from districts in excess of 100,000 may not…”.  The 2010 Campaign Manual that I provided for each of you, under MS211A.12  says “an office whose territory has a population over 100,000 may not…”.

No candidate running for a ward seat has a territory over 100,000 population.  This only applies to the Councilmember-At-Large position.

For any city candidate who has accepted an individual amount over $300.00, you must repay the additional amount back to the contributor and make note of the payment as an expenditure on your next Campaign Financial Report.

I am extremely sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you but I am glad it was caught at this time.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.  Good luck with your campaigns.

Judy

Judy Scherr, City Clerk

201 4th Street S.E., Room 135

Rochester, Minnesota 55904

(507) 328-2911

(507) 328-2901 fax

jscherr@rochestermn.gov

2010 US Census Population – 106,769

While I have followed guidance from the MN Secretary of State’s Office, I am in the process of correcting an campaign finance error.  I will immediately refund all amounts over $300.00.  I will also self report this violation to the Minnesota Secretary of States office along with verification of refunds issued.  I feel that Judy is not to blame, but rather the staff at the State level.  What is especially frustrating is that after being told that the campaign limits are $500.00, I specifically read the materials and questioned whether it should be $300.00.  After I raised the question I was given specific assurance that the limits were $500.00.

I have always turned my reports in on time, with accurate and complete information.  I also turn in all the required reports.  Believe it or not not all people can say that…

I continue to believe that everyone must play by the same set of rules and will follow them at all times.

On a personal note (I really hate fundraising like every other elected official) and look forward to the day that we can have publicly financed clean elections.

In case you are wondering the questions on this came; it was from Cindy Maves (Rochester Tea Party Patriots).  As you would expect from such a group; rather than contacting me they contacted local media outlets.  Cindy Maves and the Tea Party Patriots are actively working for my opponent and we fully expected dirty campaign and gotcha tactics.  As you would expect in raising issues like this; my opponent is surely following all campaign finance laws, right…  🙂

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