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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Is Mark Stenglein Converting Some of His Campaign Funds to Personal Use?

Keith Ellison has gotten much scrutiny over his parking tickets, campaign finance reports and taxes. County Commissioner Mark Stenglein has gotten a free ride on these issues.

If you look through Mark Stenglein's campaign finance reports, it's hard to avoid asking whether Mark Stenglein is using his campaign money as a personal piggy bank rather than legitimate campaign expenses. Mark Stenglein's wife, Lynette Witsack, is also his campaign treasurer.

Here are some of his strange campaign expenses that make me ask these questions:

6/14/2004 $103.00 for Golf

He puts lots of gas and lots of dinner expenditures on his campaign reports.

4/2/2003 $197.60 for "gas" At Holiday Station Store
6/29/2004 $167.19 for "gas" at Twins Stop and Go
7/6/04 $119.02 for "gas" at Holiday Station Store
12/8/04 $200.56 for "gas" at Exxon Mobil Columbia Heights
6/5/2004 $600.00 for a symphony charity ball
2/3/2003 $132.66 for dinner at Erte 329 13th Av NE
3/20/2003 $108.67 for dinner at the Monte Carlo
12/24/04 Tickets for $750 with F Tyler
1/1/06-8/29/06 $110.00 to Ramsey District Court for Parking Tickets
1/1/2006-8/29/2006 $435 for Dues for the NE Lions

F Clayton Tyler is former City Council Member Jackie Cherryhomes' husband.

Here's my question. Is it ok for campaigns to report expenditures in this manner? Shouldn't they be required to justify their expenses more?

Commissioner Stenglein could clear this all up if he would produce his mileage records. As I understand it, gas and oil change expenditures would be appropriate for a campaign vehicle. If you are reimbursing yourself for campaign related driving, you should be keeping mileage records and reimbursing that way, rather than the gas.