The Minnesota DFL party has filed a campaign finance complaint against Rep. Erik Mortensen, R-Shakopee, and a nonprofit political organization.
The 13-page complaint, filed March 29, accuses the North Star Liberty Alliance (NSLA) of failing to register as a political committee with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, hiding from the public the contributions it has received and its expenditures. Political groups are required by law to register and report activities to the campaign finance board.
It also alleges Mortensen of coordinating the group's activities. Candidates are prohibited from having direct or indirect control of any political committee other than their own campaign committee.
The NSLA website says it is a nonprofit organization created "for the purpose of advancing the cause of liberty" in Minnesota, adding that it's "focused on educating Minnesotans on liberty issues," it conducts candidate surveys and "does not endorse any candidates for office."
The complaint alleges a different story, saying the NSLA's actions show it is a "hyper-partisan organization focused on opposing 'the radical left' and exposing 'RINOs' (Republicans in name only)" noting it focuses on attacking political opponents and is supported by Mortensen, who signed a fundraising letter on behalf of the organization.
One of the group's top priorities, according to its website, is to impeach Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, over his use of emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group has also called House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, a "poser" and Rep. Eric Lucero, R-Dayton, a "lapdog," while showing support for Mortensen and his work at the state Capitol.
“Rep. Mortensen’s violation of campaign finance law is just the latest example of the pattern of dishonest, unethical, and sleazy behavior he’s been engaged in since before he was even elected to the State House," DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said in a statement. "By exercising control over an unregistered political committee, Mortensen is seeking to continue his unfounded attacks on his political opponents from the shadows, hidden from the light of the campaign finance disclosures required by law. Mortensen’s constituents deserve better than this corrupt and crooked behavior and I hope they will act to stop it the next time they cast their votes. If Mortensen can’t be trusted to follow our laws, he should not be trusted to make them either.”
After the complaint was filed, Mortensen took to Facebook to call the complaint "false and meritless." He also accuses Rep. Daudt of gathering the information for the complaint and giving it to the DFL to file against him, without offering any specific evidence.
Mortensen is a first-term lawmaker who narrowly beat former Rep. Brad Tabke for the seat possibly thanks to Legal Marijuana Now party candidate with ties to Republicans who netted 1,706 votes in a race that was decided by just 554, the Minnesota Reformer reported.
Mortensen has proven a controversial figure since winning the election. Earlier this month, he was accused of doxxing DFL colleague Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn by posting her personal cell phone number on Facebook and encouraging his followers to call her.
He also has joked about the Minnesota House's human resources department filing a complaint against him on his first day in office, the Minnesota Reformer reported.
In November, he announced a gathering outside his house before Thanksgiving in violation of Gov. Walz's COVID-19 measures — and invited the governor and state attorney general. He also went on a statewide tour to pubs and restaurants that reopened for business in defiance of the COVID-related shutdown in November and December.
He was also one of just eight House lawmakers to vote against a resolution condemning the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and affirming President Joe Biden's win over former President Donald Trump, refuting the lie that the result was "rigged."
Bring Me The News has reached out to Rep. Mortensen, Rep. Daudt and the North Star Liberty Alliance for comment.