UPDATED: Rice County candidate for House 20B fined for violating campaign law - Northfield MN: Local

  • Welcome!
    |
    ||
    Logout|My Dashboard

UPDATED: Rice County candidate for House 20B fined for violating campaign law

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2012 11:30 am | Updated: 11:47 am, Mon Oct 29, 2012.

This story has been updated with details of a findings of fact, conclusions and order filed in the case on Oct. 24.

A panel of three administrative law judges found that David Bly, a Democrat running for District 20B, violated state law by using the word "re-elect" when he isn't the incumbent. In an order announcing their decision, the judges fined Bly $600.

Bly was elected to serve as representative for District 25B in 2006 and served in that capacity from 2007 to 2010, when he was defeated by Rep. Kelby Woodard. Now Bly is campaigning for the newly created District 20B, but is allegedly using the same signs as he did in 2010.

Those signs say “Re-elect David Bly,” and have been placed in lawns across the district for months now, according to a complaint filed in September with the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings.

The judges, however, found the signs were posted in early September, making the time frame as little as two weeks that the signs were in the public eye.

The problem? Bly isn’t the incumbent in the race and state law restricts candidates from using the term “re-elect” in a campaign unless they are the sitting official.

The administrative law judges held an evidentiary hearing on Oct. 19, at which time they learned that most of Bly's "re-elect" signs had either been replaced or modified. But Kevin Budig, the man who filed the complaint against Bly back in September, told the judges that he found three or four signs within the district that still used the word "re-elect."

Bly said he didn't intentionally or knowingly violate the law, but that he has no plans to appeal the judges' decision.

James LaFave, a judge with the state Office of Administrative Hearings, issued the findings on Wednesday. In an attached memorandum, the judges called Bly's violation negligent and said it may have had some impact on voters.

Rice County Republicans Chairperson Bron Scherer agreed.

"While a decision and penalty has been handed down, the damage has already been done and even acknowledged by the panel, that this violation may have had impact on voters," Scherer said in a release.

--------

This story has been updated with details of a probable cause order filed in the case on Oct. 2.

An administrative law judge has found probable cause in the complaint accusing David Bly, a Democrat running for District 20B, of violating state law by using the word "re-elect" when he isn't the incumbent.

James LaFave, a judge with the state Office of Administrative Hearings, issued the order on Tuesday, less than a week after a probable cause hearing was held by telephone.

The complaint will now be referred to the chief administrative law judge for assignment to a panel of three administrative law judges for an evidentiary hearing.

According to the order, Bly admitted at the hearing that campaign signs using the term "re-elect" were posted in the district, adding that he did not know the use of the term was improper.

Bly reportedly asked LaFave to dismiss the complaint as the violation, he said, was unintentional and therefore not a violation of law.

Bly was elected to serve as representative for District 25B in 2006 and served in that capacity from 2007 to 2010, when he was defeated by Rep. Kelby Woodard. Now Bly is campaigning for the newly created District 20B, but is allegedly using the same signs as he did in 2010.

Those signs say “Re-elect David Bly,” and have been placed in lawns across the district for months now, according to a complaint filed Monday with the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings.

The problem? Bly isn’t the incumbent in the race and state law restricts candidates from using the term “re-elect” in a campaign unless they are the sitting official.

Bly declined to comment as the case is awaiting a decision by the OAH.

Kevin Budig, who is associated with the Rice County Republicans, filed the complaint alleging Bly and his committee violated state law by using the signs. Budig notes that new “20B” stickers have been placed over the old “25B” notation on the signs.

Budig also alleges Bly sent out fundraising letter using his “presumably old letterhead” — stating David Bly, Our State Representative — to area teachers in March.

Bron Scherer, chair of the Rice County Republicans, said the signs were misleading.

“Most voters ... will think he is their representative,” he said.

Administrative Law Judge James LeFave filed an order the next day saying the complaint did allege sufficient facts to support the violation.

A probable cause hearing was held Thursday morning and, according to OAH court executive Susan Schleisman, an order is expected within the next week. If the order finds probable cause, the case will then be assigned for an evidentiary hearing before a panel of three administrative law judges.

Schleisman said the assignment process would then take place within the next couple of weeks — meaning the case could last up until the general election, Nov. 6.

Depending on the gravity of the violation, according to the OAH website, Bly could face a penalty of up to $5,000.

Schleisman did not know whether Bly would be allowed to keep his campaign signs up in the meantime.

Bly was previously accused by another Rice County Republican Party officer of violating a different state law by serving pie and ice cream at events while campaigning in 2004 for State Representative in District 25B, but the complaint was dismissed because it was not made within one year of the alleged events, according to OAH documents.

© 2014 Southernminn.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.

15 comments:

  • Sparo73 posted at 10:32 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Sparo73 Posts: 1134

    Hopeful - My apologies if it upset you.

     
  • Hopeful posted at 5:18 pm on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Hopeful Posts: 150

    Well, I guess my original comment that politics is ugly reaches far beyond the candidates themselves. Sparo73, why did you feel the need to make fun of Brian Wermerskirchen's last name? Is it a failed attempt at being funny? Is it your way of standing up on your bully pulpit? Or perhaps you are just that juvenille?

    I guess there is no point in expecting candidates to be civil each other when others won't be civil towards the candidates.


     
  • Sparo73 posted at 11:25 am on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    Sparo73 Posts: 1134

    I believe Mr. Bly when he said the complainants were asking for a fine of $465,000. This gets more laughable when you really think about it. It shows that those that filed this lawsuit only had one thing in mind - to embarass Mr. Bly and try to drum up support for their weak Republican candidate. After all their candidate has such qualified experience as "After-prom organizaton skills" and 12 years selling DVD's and computers at one of the local tech stores. His debate skills are so weak he can't even hold a position on how to balance the budget. When pressed in his Lonsdale debate on how the state would pay for funding if the Voter ID bill passed, he said since the state may have a small surplus in 2013, he would take that funding and pay for the Voter ID amendment. The estimates suggest this could take upwards of $60 million to implement. So returning the money to the schools takes a back seat now to this pathetic amendment that will essentially eliminate a problem that doesn't even exist. This shows you the committment the Republican candidate has toward repaying the schools the $2..4 billion that is owed after the current republican legislature withheld it.

    What I found really interesting in the Lonsdale debate was the fact that both Dudley and Wermerskircheneenenerr both agreed that the state doesn't create jobs and they will do nothing to create jobs. But ten minutes into the debate a question came up about a new round-a-bout that was built and paid for by state funding. Guess who built it? The mayor of Lonsdale, Tim Rud, whose construction company got the contract. So if Tim Rud wants anymore state contracts (and you know he does) I believe his vote will be cast toward David Bly because he knows David believes that government does create jobs (and the proof is in the pudding or in round-a-bouts).

    Now I also believe that Mr. Bly offered a complete response to this silly lawsuit and the reporter, Rebecca Rodenborg, either chose to ignore it or decided to run the story first rather than include the response. Why she chose to do what she did is rather unsettling. To run with a story that doesn't represent both sides seem particularly biased and presents a lack of journalistic integrity. I really don't care what her excuse or reasoning was.

    The truth behind this story will most likely be held by the Northfield news until after the election. It is a shame that honesty and integrity will be trumped by political motives.

     
  • whitecollar posted at 9:11 am on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    whitecollar Posts: 620

    Yawn. Molehills into mountains. Bipartisan screw ups.
    People ted to have a good grasp of their candidate's positions long before they hit the polls and I think this was handled and an appropriate penalty issued.
    With pedophiles running loose, a national deficit capable of crippling our national security, school levies that are mostly for wage and benefit increases... there are more important things for my consideration these days.

     
  • dapa2 posted at 2:09 am on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    dapa2 Posts: 87

    The evidence was overwhelming how could he not? The panel in my opinion incorrectly assessed that Bly was only negligent in using these old signs and perhaps some voters could have been influenced during the 3 to 4 weeks the signs were up because the Bly campaign used these signs in parades throughout the district all summer long. So it was not 3-4 weeks it was 3-4 months of ILLEGAL activity if not more!

     
  • dapa2 posted at 2:05 am on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    dapa2 Posts: 87

    "No one told the judges anything, as this story erroneously claims." - Is that your claim you are sticking to Mr. Bly? Remember all this is a matter of public record. Everything filed with OAH is part of the file that the judges took under advisement in your guilt. Your seemingly unwillingness to admit what you did is wrong is laughable and very unfitting for a candidate for public office.

     
  • dapa2 posted at 1:59 am on Sun, Oct 28, 2012.

    dapa2 Posts: 87

    You mean harassment is now defined as making someone comply with the law? Really? You really are full of yourself arent you? How about apologizing to the citizens of the district for violating the law? That would be a great start. Let's not forget that the Democrats have filed campaign complaints in the past on Republican candidates without any courtesy to the other candidate... a little hypocrisy going on here? Problem is that Mr. Bly hear appears to think he didnt do anything wrong... that he is the victim in all this.

     
  • northfieldjack posted at 1:28 pm on Sat, Oct 27, 2012.

    northfieldjack Posts: 53

    I meant Dudley. It was Republican who filed the complaint against Dudley.

     
  • David Bly posted at 1:22 pm on Sat, Oct 27, 2012.

    David Bly Posts: 2

    The complainant against Mr. Dudley was also a Republican. I don't mean to imply that Democrats have not done this. Democrats have filed complaints in past local elections. In my opinion they are a distraction from the real issues and we are better of without them. But unfortunately, when the stakes are high, people will resort to this kind of behavior. I hope voters can see it for what it is.

     
  • Hopeful posted at 11:56 am on Sat, Oct 27, 2012.

    Hopeful Posts: 150

    NJ,

    You are correct. The article (and my reply) clearly say is was Repubs who filed the complaint. My point is, the Rebuds could have called David and pointed out the problem vs. filing the complaint.

    No one seems to know what civility is these days. They just want to drag the opponents through the mud at every turn.

     
  • northfieldjack posted at 10:20 am on Sat, Oct 27, 2012.

    northfieldjack Posts: 53

    It wasn't a Democrat who filed a complaint against David. It was a Republican.

     
  • Hopeful posted at 9:44 am on Sat, Oct 27, 2012.

    Hopeful Posts: 150

    POLITICS IS AN UGLY BUSINESS and here is an exmaple where "arm chair quarterbacks" (Kevin Budig & Bron Scherer and others) aren't helping matters.

    Before running to the politic police did either of these men bother to pick up the phone and call Mr. Bly directly and say, "hey David, we are concerned you might be breaking state law with your re-elect signs and we thought we should bring it to your attention so we all look better this election season." But it appears they weren't adult enough to do so and instead wanted to do what they could to try & smear Mr. Bly's name. Now don't get me wrong, the "arm chair quarterbacks" on the Dem's side aren't any better with their filing against Mr. Dudley in which he was fined for not disclosing who paid for an advertisement.

    Don't these folks know that they are as responsible for making politics an ugly business and that if we all work together we might just find more common ground and actually make things better for all Minnesotans?

     
  • David Bly posted at 8:05 am on Sat, Oct 27, 2012.

    David Bly Posts: 2

    This reporter chose not to talk to me and instead printed half-truths offered by a small group of Republican operatives, allowing them to use the News to harass me and attempt to influence voters. I sent a press release directly to her as well as the news, which apparently she chose to ignore. I invited her to call me, she has not yet done so.

    My campaign made a mistake we will pay the fine and not contest the decision. We waived our right to a hearing not wanting anyone to spend more time and money on this distraction. No one told the judges anything, as this story erroneously claims. Documents were submitted by attorneys for both sides the panel made their decision on the penalty based on those documents. The complainants were asking for a fine of $465,000. The panel correctly assessed that we were negligent in using these old signs and perhaps some voters could have been influenced during the 3 to 4 weeks the signs were up. But they recognized that the use of the signs was inadvertent and quickly corrected and the expansive claims of the complainants were not well founded, resulting in a much smaller fine of $600.

     
  • Reality 101 posted at 10:36 am on Wed, Oct 24, 2012.

    Reality 101 Posts: 13

    It does not appear to me that David admitted he was in violation of the law only that he did not know he was wrong, and since he did not know he was breaking the law it should not count. As we were taught by our teacher’s ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking the law. It appears that David Bly wants to wright the laws but not comply with them unless it’s a law he’s in favor of. Shame, shame, shame.

     
  • whatever posted at 12:40 pm on Fri, Oct 5, 2012.

    whatever Posts: 185

    At least Mr. Bly admitted that he made a mistake. The republican candidate for senate in this area is trying to step around the fact he possibly violated the law.

     

Online poll

Loading…