Senate GOP doesn’t plan campaign brochure hearing

Published 7:35 am Sunday, February 19, 2012

ST. PAUL — Senate Majority Leader David Senjem said he probably will not hold a Rules and Administration Committee hearing about the GOP use of taxpayer money in creating what were perceived as campaign materials.

Senate Republican spokesman Steve Sviggum has taken responsibility for including a political fundraising link in brochures distributed at the Republican precinct caucuses. Senjem called the incident “inadvertent.”

Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk sent Senjem a letter late Thursday urging a hearing to investigate the full costs of the incident. Bakk also asked that all funds used be returned to the public.

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Senjem said the cost of printing the materials came to less than $50. Bakk indicated in his letter than more money might have been used in the design planning and transport of the brochures.

Senjem said he’s open to discussing the issue outside a hearing.

Bakk said Friday that he would also request that any funds raised as a result of the link in the brochure be turned over to the state general fund.

“Of those thousands of people who got that piece of literature, many of them might of went home that night, clicked on that website just to see what that was about, and many of them may have made a contribution,” Bakk said.

The State Democratic Party has filed a complaint pending with the Office of Administrative Hearings.

“I think we’re just going to get more advice from the hearing judge or …a lawyer on it and see where it goes,” Senjem said.