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Schmit’s campaign discovers violation, agree to pay fine

DFL Sen. Matt Schmit has agreed to pay a fine of $856.25 following the discovery of a fundraising error during the 2013-14 campaign funding cycle.

The state Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure board posted the conciliation agreement on its website earlier this week, though the terms were agreed upon in October.

“The issue stems from a 2014 error on the part of our campaign,” Schmit wrote in an email to the RE between meetings Friday. “We alerted the campaign finance board of the error over a year ago, returned the $3,425 in contributions, and subsequently agreed to a $856.25 fine. While avoidable and unfortunate, it was an inadvertent error our campaign noticed and proactively took action to rectify. I was reassured this sort of error is not at all uncommon.”

The limit for state senate campaign contributions from special sources is $6,000 and Schmit’s campaign accepted $2,975 from registered lobbyists, according to campaign finance board, and $6,500 from political committees or political funds.

The document states that this is the first instance in which Schmit’s campaign committee “accepted excessive contributions from special sources.”

If Schmit’s campaign committee has no further infractions before Jan. 1, 2017, the remaining $2,568.75 penalty will be waived.

Party infraction

Schmit’s campaign was also part of an investigation stemming from a series of complaints filed by the Republican Party of Minnesota alleging the DFL State Central Committee, the DFL Senate Caucus party unit and various DFL candidates violated Minnesota statute in regards to photo shoots which were classified as independent expenditures, according to documents filed by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board on Dec. 17, 2013.

The document states the aggregate amount of all candidates involved exceeded campaign expenditure limits by $133,557. According to the documents, the Schmit campaign’s share in the excess spending was $23,737.91.

No civil penalty was assessed against the candidates.

The Senate Caucus Party Unit was assessed a penalty of $100,000.

John R. Russett

John Russett is a regional reporter for RiverTown Multimedia, covering a variety of issues facing RiverTown communities. Previously, he worked at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, where he reported on education as well as crime and courts. 

You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnRyanRussett


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