County waiting on GOP payment

Published 10:27 am Thursday, December 23, 2010

Show me the money, honey.

At least that’s what Mower County Auditor-Treasurer Doug Groh is hoping will happen since the gubernatorial recount has been complete for more than two weeks.

Groh said the Republican Party, which ran GOP candidate Tom Emmer’s recount fight, has not reimbursed his office for the collecting and copying of voting data during the recount.

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“I don’t know if they’re going to pay or not, actually,” he said. “I’m not concerned at this point because there’s been reports stating that any and all bills would be paid by the Republican party.”

The Republican Party owes the county $2,424, according to Groh. These numbers cover copying costs of election data and other information requested by the parties for the recount.

Gov.-elect Mark Dayton’s campaign paid its bill of $1,877 on Dec. 9, Groh said.

However, Groh said neither the DFL nor the GOP ever picked up the materials that were copied for them.

The Republican Party said it plans to pay all its bills, though.

“Some have been paid, some haven’t, but everyone’s going to be paid,” said party spokesman Mark Drake.

Although the state GOP has recently had financial troubles, including being heavily outspent by the DFL in the governor’s race, Drake said that “is not related at all,” later adding in an e-mail, “We are cutting checks.”

Counties reporting non-payment by the Emmer campaign include Cass, Nicollet, Kandiyohi, Renville, LeSueur, Nobles, Stevens, Jackson and Redwood. Amounts owed range from $700 to more that $2,800, according to the Association of Minnesota Counties.

No problems have occurred in the state’s largest counties — Hennepin, Ramsey and St. Louis — because officials there required payment before they would hand over election data.

“We already got one check from the GOP and we’re fully expecting they’re going to pay the rest,” said Joe Mansky, Ramsey County’s elections director. The campaigns of Emmer and Dayton each incurred about $1,700 in recount-related costs in the county.

After conferring with the Blue Earth County attorney’s office, Blue Earth County election director Patty O’Connor said that last week she sent a letter demanding payment and threatening a lawsuit.

Groh said he received payment in the Sen. Al Franken and Norm Coleman recount, so he is expecting to receive payment for this recount, as well.

“I would assume they would want to pay and put this behind them,” he said.

Groh said he will continue to follow up with the GOP on a consistent basis until payment is received.

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services contributed to this report.