Will Governor Goofy be criminally charged? Doubtful. Will he continue to steal your tax dollars? Of course!


Auditor finds more times Dayton did not pay for political trips
By Don Davis on Oct 16, 2015 at 9:02 p.m.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton made two 2013 trips to political events without paying for the state airplane, an auditor’s report released Friday claims.

Earlier in his tenure, he was accused of taking the state airplane three times without his campaign repaying the state.

Friday’s report said Dayton flew a state plane to Duluth on Oct. 5, 2013, and to Grand Rapids on Oct. 11 of that year to speak to state employee union meetings. The legislative auditor said the trips appeared to be political, although Dayton’s office said he has talked to the unions annually, even when it was not an election year.

The auditor said the Dayton campaign should have paid $484 for the Duluth part of the Oct. 5 trip, which also included an official function in Brainerd.

The Grand Rapids stop should have brought a $1,204 reimbursement, the auditor said. Dayton went from Grand Rapids in Northeastern Minnesota to Mankato in the south for an official event.

Dayton’s office disagreed with the auditor’s conclusion, but agreed to have the governor’s campaign committee pay the expenses.

“We have protocols in place to ensure that the state does not incur costs for political travel, and we reimburse the state for all additional travel costs incurred as a result of political travel,” Dayton Chief of Staff Jaime Tincher wrote to the auditor.

She said that the governor’s office does not think that fact that the visit came early in election season should make it a political event. However, Legislative Auditor James Nobles’ office said the two events appeared political.

The auditor earlier told Dayton that he took political plane trips without reimbursing the state. The campaign paid for the trips after the audit was released.

On one of those trips three years ago, Dayton took a campaign aide on the flight, which the auditor said violated state law and Minnesota Department of Transportation (operator of the plane) policy.

The state pays for security officials and ground transportation for all governor events, official and political.

Also in the Friday audit report was a complaint that Dayton’s office received too much money to provide services for 21 other state agencies. In July of each year, the governor’s office bills the agencies for services it expects to provide, but the office has overbilled anywhere from $373,000 to $541,000 a year.

While state law does not address the issue, Nobles’ office recommends that the governor collect only what is needed, and to outline how the amount is calculated. If the governor thinks money should be carried forward, the auditor’s office said, it should seek specific authorization in a state law.

Tincher said the governor’s office sees no problems with how it and previous governors charge state agencies to provide services ranging from lobbying to working with the public. She gave no indication the current practice will change.

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