GOP owes 20 Minnesota counties for Emmer recount costs


The Republican Party of Minnesota owes nearly 20 counties payment for expenses incurred by the counties during the 2010 recount between Tom Emmer and Gov. Mark Dayton. The fact that so many counties haven’t been reimbursed in seven months led one Republican senator to offer to pay some of the bills out of his own pocket.

The Rochester Post Bulletin got a hold of a letter by Sen. John Howe, R-Red Wing, that called the GOP debt to the counties an embarrassment.

“This is embarrassing and painfully indefensible. This damages us not just on the local level, but statewide as well,” he wrote to GOP caucus leaders. “It is spreading through the political blogs, and must be a reason for much head shaking in water cooler conversations.”

Howe said he would donate money to help the debts be repaid.

GOP chair Tony Sutton told the Post Bulletin that the party paid eight counties last week and the party still had 20 more to pay off.

As Blue Stem Prairie notes, Sutton has missed his own promised deadlines to pay the counties.

The GOP and Sutton filed suit against several counties for not being swift enough in pulling together recount documents last fall.

“The unacceptable foot dragging of St. Louis and Pine Counties cannot persist,” Sutton said at the time. “The Emmer for Governor campaign and the Republican Party of Minnesota should not have to go to court to get counties to respond to data practices requests in a timely manner. We will continue to pursue any counties that do not promptly meet their legal obligations during this process. Minnesotans deserve better.”

The Minnesota Independent contacted the county auditors in St. Louis and Pine counties. Unlike two dozen other counties, they have been paid.