Friday, March 02, 2012

Not even Bradlee Dean II

Ern the Fibber

[The post is updated below.]

Ern the Fibber
I noted yesterday the story about Rep. Ernie Leidiger paying a speeding ticket out of campaign funds and how he justified it by saying that he had loaned his campaign money so paying the fine out of campaign funds should be no problemo!

But there is an, um, problemo! You see, Ern got paid back for his loans. He loaned the campaign $3000 in the summer of 2010 when he was starting his campaign. He got about a $6,000 public subsidy from the State of Minnesota, and the campaign paid about half of the loan back at the end of 2010.

If you want to check it out, you can go to the CFB filing by the campaign for the calendar year 2010.

In 2011, when he got ticketed for speeding and was reimbursed by the campaign for the "transportation" expense, as recited in my earlier post and at the Brick City Blog, he was also repaid the rest of his loan to the campaign.

You can read about these items in the CFB filing for calendar year 2011.

You do see the problemo, don't you, Ern?

Even if he was still owed money by the campaign, this was not the way to report the repayment. Ern and his treasurer obviously knew that.

But it does get even better. After the linked Brick City Blog post went up, and the matter had become public, Steve Nielsen, the campaign treasurer, wrote a letter to the CFB, which was faxed this morning, and you can read here. But here's a paragraph from the letter:

Mr. Nielsen does not mention the source of his hindsight. And apparently it was Ern himself who decided that getting nicked for speeding was just one of the "costs of serving." Mr. Nielsen, "rationalizing" is not a synonym for "lying."

And you're entirely correct, it didn't seem right to call it a "speeding ticket," because you obviously knew that wouldn't be a legitimate campaign expense.

Bullshit on top of bullshit.

And now gentlemen, here's a little friendly advice. Keep your mouths shut, and turn this over to your lawyer, or get one if you don't have one.

Update: Here is the language on the report for to the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board's, just below where the campaign treasurer, someone like, say, Steve Nielsen, signs:

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