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Late Night FDL: Bad News – MN GOP is $500K in the Hole. Good News – Tony Sutton’s Getting Paid!

I’ve been writing for some time now about Republican Party of Minnesota Chair, former Republican Party of Minnesota Treasurer and failed Baja Sol taco baron Tony Sutton and his foibles (most recently those involving money intended for the 2010 gubernatorial recount). If you’re familiar with those pieces, then what I’m about to show you won’t be surprising in the least:

The Republican Party of Minnesota is moving into the 2012 election cycle without executive director Ryan Griffin. A look at the MNGOP’s proposed 2012 budget shows that the party is earmarking $90,000 in salaries for the executive department. An addendum to the budget plan says the budget figure “represents the State Chair only” (who is Tony Sutton).


Today’s developments come as the party tries to get itself out of debt. The most recent campaign fundraising report shows the party being more than $500,000 in debt.

Sutton, who announced earlier this year that he would start taking a salary as party chair, blamed part of the party’s fundraising problems on cuts to the state’s Political Contribution Refund. Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty unilaterally cut funding for the program in 2009.

Sutton also laid part of the blame on shrinking donations from small donors. This is somewhat hard to believe, considering that conservative groups like ALEC and high-rolling donors like Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel were dumping lavish amounts of money and effort into the campaigns of Minnesota’s Republican candidates and issues all of last year. With Sutton’s puppeteer-like influence over the newly-installed Republican legislature‘s enabling him to make a staunch defense of the 1%’s right to not have to pay a penny more in taxes, you’d think that somebody in the 1% club might feel gratitude enough to throw his party a couple of hundred grand or something. Or maybe the RPM’s high burn rate when it comes to cash — even during a non-election year, it’s still spending far more than it’s receiving in contributions — means that even big-buck contributions can’t sate the RPM’s cash hunger.

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