DFL chair seeks ethics probe of alleged GOP Capitol campaigning - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

DFL chair seeks ethics probe of alleged GOP campaigning at Capitol

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

How does a simple sack lunch in the office turn into calls for an ethics investigation? When that office happens to be inside the state Capitol, it does.

The DFL is calling for an investigation after the FOX 9 Investigators showed Senate staffers going into Room 208 at the Capitol to pick up their sack lunches before going out for campaign literature drops and phone calling on the day of the primary election.

Staffers were summoned to the room by Maureen Watson, a staffer for the Senate Republican Caucus and legislative assistant to Senate Majority Leader David Senjem, to retrieve their lunches via e-mail sent to their personal e-mail addresses.

"That room is paid for with taxpayer dollars," said DFL Party Chair Ken Martin. "It's not like other public spaces of the Capitol. That is a private office for the Senate caucus, paid for with taxpayer resources and it shouldn't be a staging area for campaigning."

Martin said the video even shows a Senate staffer wearing a campaign T-shirt for Sen. Ted Daley, a lawmaker the group was doing a lit drop for.

Watson denied any campaign activity was going on, but Martin doesn't buy it.

"I don't know how many lunch meetings you'd have where you'd change into your campaign uniform and T-shirt like this woman here," he said.

Martin acknowledged that Senate Democrats got into trouble 15 years ago for this kind of activity because state law says you can't use state resources or property for campaign purposes.

On Thursday, Senjem told MPR there was no campaign activity going on in that room that he was aware of.

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