Dayton Administration: “Rules Are For Peasants!”

The State Auditor confirmed what this blog pointed out a year and change ago; Governor Dayton’s use of a state plane to haul campaign staff on junkets that either mixed official and campaign business, or involved no state business whatsoever, violated the law:

At issue were three separate trips Dayton took using a Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) airplane. During the fall of 2012, in the run-up to that year’s election, Dayton flew out of St. Paul for appearances in Willmar, Brainerd and Bemidji. On each trip, Dayton combined official state business with political events; a subsequent flight from Bemidji to International Falls was made for purely political purposes. On that flight, Dayton’s travel companions on the plane included Julie Hottinger, a campaign staffer who is not employed by the state.

Using the plane to transport Dayton and Hottinger for a political event was determined to be a violation of both state statute and MnDOT policy. According to the code of ethics for executive branch employees, state funds, resources or property cannot be deployed for “any … use not in the interest of the state.” The audit report spells out certain exceptions to that law, including security detail personnel, who will travel with the governor regardless of the nature of an event.

In this instance, Dayton’s staff argued that the use of the official plane was a matter of security, telling OLA investigators that the MnDOT aircraft gives the administration staff greater control over equipment and choice of pilots.

The report recommendations find that the state-issued plane should not be used if the governor is traveling only for a political reason, or is bringing political staffers. But, for cases when a governor plans to attend both official and political functions, the current law lacks clarity, and the OLA recommends that the Legislature take up the issue to spell out its legality.

“In the meantime,” the report states, “we recommend that Governor Dayton encourage his office staff and campaign staff to schedule his travel in ways that strictly limit the use of a state airplane to attend political events.”

In an official response penned on behalf of Dayton, chief of staff Tina Smith said the state’s paying for Hottinger’s travel resulted from “an error and will not happen again.” Smith also points out that the Dayton campaign had intended all along to split costs for the trips that combined both public and political activities, and reimbursed the state fully for the trip from Bemidji to International Falls.

As always with the DFL – with the damage long done, Governor Dayton apologized. 

How many passes will the DFL get when it comes to cheating on state campaign laws?

8 thoughts on “Dayton Administration: “Rules Are For Peasants!”

  1. I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for the Red Star to report on this gross trangression by their DFL overlords.

  2. MBerg: Do you have any impressions from the GOP gubernatorial debate you hosted this past weekend? It may be worth a post….

  3. Has Dayton condemned the 1%’rs who use blind trusts to hide their assets in low-tax states yet?

  4. I believe Governor Dayton. However, the fact that he comes from a world where grabbing dad’s plane for the weekend was likely not uncommon shows the disconnect between his worldview and the general public’s. The fact that none of his lower-class handlers didn’t pick up on the potential violation before it occurred should displease the Governor more than the offense itself.

  5. Well Joe, then he could at lease follow the usual Democrat MO of blaming someone else for his screw ups.

  6. If I break the law but get elected, I can always apologize, pay the fine, pay back the illegal contribution, etc., but I still get to vote for Obama-care.

    So why follow the law?

  7. Those who gamble and win in American business and politics need little in STEM or other advanced skills. But that is the justification for 90% of students to be under-educated. Most who gamble in politics and business will lose, and most people won’t even get in the game to gamble. Increasingly we have an elite of those who gambled and won, an upper middle class of the educated and skilled, and an ever-expanding mass of the poorly-skilled and under-educated.

    We force our children to be toilet trained, we force them to wash themselves and clean their rooms, we force them to eat their vegetables. We even force them to go to school every day. Setting minimum standards of educational progress in various areas is well within the scope of parental control. My family, like most, is a benevolent dictatorship, not a democracy. In my benevolence, I decree the taking of advanced science classes in high school, with very few second thoughts. They can thank me later.

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