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Kelliher, DFL Party fined for 'illegal collaboration'

ST. PAUL - Minnesota governor candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher was fined $9,000 and the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party $15,000 for what the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board said was an illegal collaboration.

The scheme board members said was improper involved the Kelliher campaign soliciting donations and then giving the money to the party to pay for the campaign's use of voter lists. That allowed Kelliher to circumvent campaign donation limits, the board ruled Wednesday.

Kelliher, who lives in Minneapolis, is a DFL governor candidate and state House speaker.

Kelliher's campaign and DFL officials admitted talking about the plan, but said that at the time they did not think they violated the law. They said they did not intend to violate the law.

"Our campaign accepts the board's findings, and we have paid the fine," Kelliher said. "I have made certain that our campaign has systems in place that make sure no mistake like this will happen again."

The state Republican Party filed a complaint with the board.

"Today's ruling vindicates our belief that Margaret Anderson Kelliher deliberately circumvented Minnesota's campaign finance laws to benefit her campaign for governor," GOP Chairman Tony Sutton said. "Along with R.T. Rybak, Kelliher is now the second DFL gubernatorial candidate to have been involved in a scheme to get around Minnesota's campaign finance laws. Kelliher and other Democrats are wrong to think they don't have to play by the rules."