The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board is fining "Bobby Thompson" $18,000 for making campaign contributions to Republican Marty Seifert's campaign for governor, the House Republican Campaign Committee and Patriot PAC. The board investigated the donations after Stillwater blogger Karl Bremer filed a complaint with the board that "Thompson" bundled contributions through a group known as the U.S. Navy Veterans Association Minnesota Chapter.
Apparently that group solicited funds to help Navy Veterans and then either kept those funds or distributed money to politicians across the country (Read the St. Petersburg Times investigation here).
The person claiming to be Thompson allegedly stole his identity from an individual in Washington.
The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board conducted an investigation into "Bobby Thompson's" contributions and found that he circumvented campaign finance laws by bundling contributions and then distributing them to candidates through fictitious names.
"There is sufficient evidence to find probable cause to believe that the individual making political contributions in Minnesota using the name "Bobby Thompson" was not, in fact, Bobby Thompson of Bellingham, Washington, the owner of the Social Security number used by the donor in Minnesota," The MN Campaign Finance Board reported in its findings.
The Board also noted that "Thompson" deliberately violated campaign finance laws by making a $1,000 contribution in the name of Maria D'Annuzio to Republican Marty Seifert's campaign for governor.
The Campaign Finance Board is fining Thompson $21,000. The only problem is that the board may have a difficult time tracking him down. Ohio's Attorney General has a warrant out for his arrest. Several other states are also investigating Thompson and the U.S. Navy Veterans Association. The IRS and the Department of Veterans Affairs are also looking into the case. Campaign Finance Board Chair Jon Scanlon says his organization will monitor the investigations and will act if "Thompson" is found.
"The Board's order will direct the Executive Director to monitor news reports and, with the assistance of the Office of the Attorney General, take action to collect these penalties in the event the location and true identity of the donor become known."
The Board did not fine Seifert's campaign, the HRCC or the Patriot PAC because the board said there was not probable cause to believe that the person claiming to be "Bobby Thomson" was not the person he purported himself to be. The board also found that there was no probable cause for Seifert's campaign treasure to accept the contributions because the board said accepting the illegal contribution was not intentional.