Minnesota GOP chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan has posted a message to her fellow party members, in which she claims she's the victim of a coup attempt as calls for her resignation grow in the wake of Anton Lazzaro's indictment for child sex trafficking.
Carnahan posted a lengthy message on her Facebook page in which she claims she is being targeted by party members using "guilt by association" in order to remove her.
His arrest on federal charges has sparked huge controversy within the GOP, with subsequent claims made about the alleged use of non-disclosure agreements by Carnahan and her team, sparking calls for an independent audit of party finances and operations.
But in a defiant message, Carnahan claims the party has reacted appropriately to the arrest of Lazzaro and Gisela Medina, the chair of the University of St. Thomas College Republicans, pledging to return the hefty sums they had received in donations from Lazzaro.
She said "the party and its leaders cannot be held responsible for the actions of donors and unofficial persons (such as campaign managers) associated with Republican candidates, and we cannot be expected to know more than law enforcement when heinous charges such as this are brought to light."
Lazzaro was involved in Carnahan's campaign to become state party chair, and they have remained close friends since, even hosting a handful of podcasts together in 2019 and 2020, with Lazzaro a guest at Carnahan's wedding to 1st District Rep. Jim Hagedorn in 2018.
Despite Carnahan's assertion that party members cannot know more than law enforcement regarding the charges, there have been claims that Lazzaro's alleged activities were somewhat of an open secret among some activists, with one message tweeted at Carnahan months ago resurfacing this weekend, suggesting some knew of questionable activities at Lazzaro's residence.
Nonetheless, Carnahan argues that the in-fighting risks undermining the party's efforts in 2022, saying her tenure as chair of the state party is being sullied by "false accusations and misrepresentation."
"The coup taking place right now to re-litigate the chair's race, smear my reputation, and defame me is not right."
She notes that the party's executive committee will meet on Sunday – the second consecutive night – where they will "work through all these issues together.
The whole post can be seen below.