SOUTHERN MINNESOTA - The DFL party is wading into Minnesota's 1st Congressional District race by targeting Republican candidate Allen Quist on Wednesday over his failure to file Financial Disclosure Statement, which was due May 15.
The Financial Disclosure Statement is an annual report required of Congressional lawmakers, certain top government officials and candidates for Congressional offices. The reports are used by watchdog organization to track members of Congress and seek out conflict-of-interests.
U.S. House of Representatives candidates are required to file their form when they exceed $5,000 in campaign funds raised or spent during the race. The rules require the report be filed within 30 days of passing that threshold to become a "qualified" candidate or by May 15, which ever one is the later date. Additionally, "qualified" candidates must file no later than 30 days before any election the candidates will participate in, such as a primary. If candidates pass the threshold within the 30 days until an election, they are required to file immediately.
Quist announced his congressional bid in December of 2011. Between Jan. 1 and March 31, Quist raised $37,710 for his campaign, according to his FEC quarterly filings. The Office of the Clerk for the U.S. House of Representatives does not have a filing list for Quist in its data base for 2011 and 2012.
According to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Rules under Rule XXVI, the Attorney General may bring civil action against any willful falsification of report information or willful failure to file the report. The court may assess a civil penalty in any amount that does not exceed $10,000. The incident may be referred to the Attorney General through several sources including each congressional ethics committee.
The Quist campaign did not return requests for comment on the state DFL's allegations. According to Minnesota DFL Deputy Communication Director Carlie Waibel, Quist was sent an e-mail about the allegations last Monday and has sent a response. She said that the state party is moving on the information now due to increased campaign activity before election day on Nov. 6. She said the party plans to continue to push its point until Quist responds.
In a somewhat ironic twist, Waibel said the state DFL's ability to track these forms online instead of having the visit the Capitol is due to a provision of the STOCK Act, which was championed by Quist's DFL incumbent opponent Rep. Tim Walz. The filing for Walz was submitted last year.
The DFL is also targeting Lee Byberg in the 7th Congressional District. In the e-mail, the DFL claims Quist and Byberg are the only Minnesota candidates to fail to file the form.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)