The House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC), a registered political party unit in Minnesota, was fined and ordered to hire a third party auditor yesterday by the Campaign Finance Board (CFB). The penalties come from years of improper recordkeeping by the committee dating back to 2010. A CFB investigation was originally launched when the HRCC asked for a balance adjustment in 2013. The Board found receipts and expenditure discrepancies for each year between 2012-17.
According to the report, the HRCC employed Anne Neu as a staff member in charge of the committee’s finances. Neu eventually went on to become a state legislator and also took on the role of Treasurer for the HRCC. Minority Leader Kurt Daudt has served as the chair since 2013.
The report states that the Board did not receive “prompt responses” from the HRCC when investigating the matter and that the committee could not account for expenditures in 2012 and 2017, or discrepancies in receipts for the years 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017.
The HRCC did not provide an explanation for the discrepancies to the Board, other than transactions were “simply omitted or reported inaccurately”. In November 2014, the HRCC enacted protocols to resolve recordkeeping issues, but those were not followed according to the report’s findings.
Minnesota statute states: “To help ensure that the public knows where money collected for political purposes has come from and how that money has been spent, party units must disclose all of their financial transactions on reports that are filed with the Board.”
The order requires that the HRCC file amended annual reports for the previously mentioned years within 60 days. They also fined the HRCC $15,000 and required the committee to hire an outside auditing firm to review the amended reports and do a monthly reconciliation between the committee’s bank account and reports to the Board.