2/14/2013 10:57:00 AM Barrett campaign violation
resolved with fine, misdemeanor
BY DENISE MARTIN
The state office of administrative hearings has released its conclusion in a 2012 House race campaign practices complaint. The panel of administrative law judges levied a $1,000 fine against Rep. Bob Barrett R-Lindstrom for a misdemeanor.
Barrett was running for re-election to the Minnesota House and distributed a campaign mailer a few days prior to election day that stated his opponent “did not serve on the education committee even though our schools need help.” Barrett’s challenger Rick Olseen did sit on an education committee when he served as a state senator.
The panel of administrative law judges found that Olseen “demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that (Barrett) violated Minnesota statute 211B.06,” disseminating information “...with reckless disregard to whether it was false.” In a letter to the administrative law judges Barrett stated he did not intentionally mean to misrepresent Olseen’s prior service in the legislature.
The judges stated that if a candidate is going to bring up, “...and claim to know, the committee memberships” of another candidate then claiming later to have no knowledge of Olseen’s actual committee membership doesn’t make sense. The judges explained there is a “matrix” they rely on in determining the “willfulness of the misconduct” and in Barrett’s case the judges said the campaign law violation rises to the level of “negligent” resulting in the hefty fine.