At least two staff members have left the Minnesota Republican Party since February after they complained that the party misused employee retirement money, improperly reported its finances and ignored and retaliated against staff who reported the problems.
The departures included former finance director and GOP stalwart Dwight Tostenson. He wrote in a Feb. 15 confidential memo that state GOP chairman Ron Carey fired him after he repeatedly pressed the chairman to address what he regarded as serious financial problems in the state GOP office.
"Since I started reporting these suspected violations, I have felt increasing harassment and other types of retaliation," Tostenson, the party's chief fundraiser, wrote in the memo to the party's executive committee.
Carey on Friday denied any retaliation and said any problems identified in the memo have been fixed.
"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."
Tostenson's four-page memo detailed his longstanding complaints and efforts to get Carey to resolve them. In it, he urged the committee to direct Carey to conduct a full investigation and audit. The Star Tribune obtained a copy of the memo.
Carey said Friday that he has asked the committee for permission to commission an external audit.
The controversies arise as the party is gearing up for the 2008 election season, when it will play host to the 2008 Republican National Convention and attempt to reverse its setbacks of last November, when the GOP suffered heavy losses in legislative contests and a drubbing in a U.S. Senate race while narrowly reelecting Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Carey, who's running for reelection this week as party chairman, blamed the leak of Tostenson's memo on political enemies within the Republican Party who are out to get him on the eve of the Republican state central committee meeting.
But he didn't accuse Tostenson of having political motives for writing his memo.
Was it after this that the Republican Party of Minnesota advertised for a controller?