A three-judge panel at the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings concluded the case against Rep. Ernie Leidiger and his campaign treasurer (and Carver County GOP Chair) Steve Nielsen Monday, by unanimously finding a violation of Minnesota Statute 211.B12 (7) and assessing a civil penalty of $500 against the two gentlemen.
Instead of finally taking responsibility for their actions, however, Leidiger and Nielsen went out swinging in their responses to the charges, though, continuing to insist that paying speeding tickets out campaign funds is permissible under the cited statute because it occurred “in the line of duty” and because Rep. Leidiger is a large donor to his own campaign. Even more outrageously, Leidiger and Nielsen suggested that the Minnesota DFL Party, who raised this complaint, be required to reimburse Leidiger and Nielsen for the cost of the speeding ticket and Nielsen’s $300 fine previously paid to the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
So the final tally for the Leidiger speeding ticket fiasco: 1 speeding ticket, 2 state statutes violated, and $978 in expense ($178 for the ticket itself, $300 in fines to the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, and $500 in fines to the Office of Administrative Hearings).
The entire order by the Office of Administrative Hearings is below. It really is worth the read.