- Associated Press - Thursday, August 3, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A longtime Minnesota lawmaker has been fined $20,000 for using campaign cash for personal expenses.

The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board determined that that Democratic Rep. John Lesch of St. Paul transferred campaign money into his personal account at times when his personal account would’ve otherwise had insufficient funds, the Pioneer Press reported .

Rep. Lesch’s immediate need for resources in his personal accounts at or close to the time of the unexplained transfers further supports the Board’s conclusion that the transfers were for personal use,” the board’s report said.

The state investigation, which lasted more than three years, found transfers, errors or discrepancies in Lesch’s reports from 2010 to 2014. The board said he moved nearly $9,000 into his personal account over three years.

Lesch was fined $15,000 for personally using political funds, while his campaign committee was fined $5,000 for false or inadequate reports. The fines must be paid within a month.

Lesch said he didn’t use campaign money for personal gain. He said he’s disappointed in the conclusion but happy that the matter has been resolved.

“I acknowledge that the campaign did not maintain adequate records of its expenses. The record keeping, passage of time, and changes in campaign treasurers made it difficult to reproduce the details of transactions that occurred between four and seven years ago,” he said in a statement. “The Board’s conclusion that funds were converted to personal use is unfounded.”

Lesch has been a state representative since 2002.


Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, https://www.twincities.com

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