Senators File Complaint Against Secretary of State 05 Oct 12

Senator Mike Parry (R-Waseca), Chair of the Senate State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee and Senator Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson) announced that they have filed a complaint against Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.

They say the complaint is filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings and is the first step in questioning Ritchie’s partisan involvement surrounding the Voter ID Constitutional Ballot Question.

“Secretary Ritchie once wrote that he has a duty ‘not to take a side’ on ballot questions proposed by the Legislature. Earlier this year, we held an informal hearing to look into this matter and unfortunately, Mr. Ritchie chose not to appear. During the 2012 legislative session, there were five Senate hearings and two floor debates where Mr. Ritchie was a vocal opponent of the amendment. His adamant opposition continues today in trips across the state to dissuade popular support for the amendment question,” said Senator Parry.

The allegations raised in the complaint involve the following concerns:

  • Is the information he is providing to the public accurate and unbiased?
  • How much has his office billed taxpayers for his travel, meals, motel and related expenses?
  • Is Secretary Ritchie operating in violation of campaign practices or improperly using public funds?

Unfortunately, the Senators say, neither the State Government Committee nor the public currently have answers to these questions because Secretary Ritchie refused to attend the hearing and continues to refuse to adhere to Minnesota’s Data Practices Act.

“In an undisguised attempt to deter Minnesotans from voting for the proposed Voter ID amendment, Mr. Ritchie used his office to promote his personal political agenda at taxpayer expense. His willingness to manipulate facts and misuse his power calls into question his ability to fairly handle the election process, a core function of his office,” said Senator Scott Newman.