The Potluck

Minnesota DFL files campaign finance board complaint against Shakopee GOP lawmaker, nonprofit organization

By: - March 30, 2021 11:11 am

State Rep. Erik Mortensen, R-Shakopee

The Minnesota Democratric-Farmer-Labor Party has filed a campaign finance board complaint against state Rep. Erik Mortensen, R-Shakopee, alleging he is illegally coordinating with a nonprofit political group to attack his opponents. 

According to the complaint, the North Star Liberty Alliance has failed to register as a political committee with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, shielding from view its political contributions and other activities it is required to report. Moreover, the Minnesota DFL alleges that Mortensen has been illegally coordinating the group’s activities, which includes attacks on both Democratic and Republican opponents. 

On its website, the North Star Liberty Alliance describes itself as a nonprofit organization, but it does not appear to have registered with the state’s campaign finance board. 

Recent mailers have targeted Republicans like state Rep. Eric Lucero, R-Dayton, who North Star Liberty Alliance calls a “conservative faker.” One of the group’s top priorities has been leading an impeachment effort against DFL Gov. Tim Walz, accusing him of a political power grab for his use of emergency powers to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A series of court decisions have so far upheld Walz’s use of the emergency powers, and the Legislature has also held several votes on his monthly extensions of the peacetime emergency declaration. 

Mortensen, a first-term lawmaker, issued a video response to the complaint, calling it “completely false and meritless.” He also accuses Republicans of coordinating with Democrats to file the complaint, offering no specific evidence. 

In a statement, DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said: “Representative Mortensen’s violation of campaign finance law is just the latest example of the pattern of dishonest, unethical, and sleazy behavior he’s been engaged in since before he was even elected to the State House. By exercising control over an unregistered political committee, Mortensen is seeking to continue his unfounded attacks on his political opponents from the shadows, hidden from the light of the campaign finance disclosures required by law.”

An email seeking comment from Mortensen was not immediately returned Tuesday. 

The Shakopee lawmaker has attracted controversy since even before he was elected. He previously made headlines before he took office when he invited the attorney general and governor to a pandemic-defying party. He narrowly won his seat over DFL Rep. Brad Tabke. A pot party candidate with ties to local Republicans may have played spoiler.

The Minnesota House human resources department has already received complaints about Mortensen, he’s said.  

He also doxxed a DFL colleague.

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Ricardo Lopez
Ricardo Lopez

Ricardo Lopez is the senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.

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