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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Associated Press on the Internal Financial Problems in the Minnesota GOP Under Ron Carey

The strib story was abridged for the AP:


The Minnesota Republican Party is dealing with the loss of at least two employees in the wake of complaints that the party misused employee retirement money, improperly reported its finances and retaliated against staff who reported the problems.

One of those employees, former finance director Dwight Tostenson, claims in a confidential memo that state GOP chairman Ron Carey fired him after Tostenson urged Carey to address the state office's financial troubles.

"Since I started reporting these suspected violations, I have felt increasing harassment and other types of retaliation," Tostenson wrote in the memo to the party's executive committee obtained by the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.

Carey denies that the move was retaliatory and claims the financial problems have been solved.

"We've looked at all the issues that he raised, and where there was corrective action required, we took corrective action," Carey said. "Dwight and I came to a mutual, amicable agreement for our separation."

It's troubling timing for the party, which will host the 2008 Republican National Convention as it looks to reclaim seats lost in 2006.

In his memo, Tostenson accuses the party of violating federal law by repeatedly delaying the deposit of employee payroll contributions into their retirement accounts beyond the 30-day limit.

Carey had no explanation.

"There seemed to be some gray areas as to what was the requirement," Carey said.

Carey cited a March 13 letter from Tostenson to the executive committee that said he was confident Carey and a party lawyer "are addressing all matters raised within my memorandum."

After Tostenson made his complaints known, and the November election was completed, his pay was cut by 40 percent, which Tostenson believes was retaliation.

Carey did not directly answer questions about the move.