Monday, December 14, 2009

Silent no more

It's amazing what an expert Tony Sutton, Chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota, has become on election law in the last week. Commenting on the brouhaha about Margaret Anderson-Kelliher's misstep with sending donations to the party when she reached her limit, Mr. Sutton stated,
"This is basic. This is not a gray area. She knows. These are the rules."

I think we should take a moment, boys and girls, to refresh our memories at exactly how well Mr. Sutton knows the rules about campaign finance. We here at the Cucking Stool have gazed on with awe at his expertise many times in the past. Here's one post extolling his genius at following the rules:
I suspect this all might have something to do with Sutton being the former treasurer of the Republican Party of Minnesota. He’s had plenty of experience wallowing in the mess of sloppy bookkeeping and developing close personal relationships with the auditors at the Federal Elections Commission.

Let’s just look at one of the many letters that the Federal Elections Commission’s auditors have sent to Mr. Sutton. The letter can be viewed in its entirety here and it covers the period of April 2007. Among the problems the FEC auditor has with Mr. Sutton’s bookkeeping? Let’s look at the problems identified. There’s a failure to account for aggregated receipts that may have to be reported (#1), over $24,000 of unitemized transactions (#2), disbursements for which no purpose is given (#3), a failure to account for payments to those who may be engaged in “federal election activity” (#4, 5), a failure to properly account for federal versus non-federal expenses (#6, 7), the misidentification of GOTV efforts (#8), failure to properly document reimbursements to individuals (#9), improper accounting of federal versus non-federal funds (#10), and the misuse of non-federal monies for federal activities (#11).

And that’s just one month’s auditing questions from the FEC auditor to Mr. Sutton. There are many months' worth of such questions directed to former Treasurer Sutton.

More on Mr. Sutton's intimate grasp of the rules of election finance can be found here, here, here, and here. A few more of the Federal Election Commission's letters to this virtuoso of election accounting can be found here, here, and here.

Now I know what you're thinking. That's Federal stuff, way more complicated than the state-level problems of Candidate Kelliher. She should be able to account for the money at the state level, just like the Republican Party of Minnesota, right? Except that the RPM can't seem to get it right in their state accounting, either. Taking their year end 2008 state report (big .pdf) at face value, and you'd assume the RPM had $218,631.88 cash on hand, with miscellaneous income of $101,057.90. But no, in reality (another big .pdf) they only had $63,316.85 in cash and their miscellaneous income was actually $510,655.25.

Like I said, freakin' election law geniuses, they are.

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