2014 campaign numbers show Minnesota GOP added to debt

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Minnesota's Republican Party regained control of the House of Representative in 2014. In 2015 the party will try to get a better grip on its budget.

That's what party chairman Keith Downey told the Pioneer Press, who reports the state GOP has $1.5 million in debt and $4,000 in the bank.

A new batch of Minnesota campaign finance numbers was released Tuesday. The $1.5 million debt figure for the Minnesota Republican Party combines state and federal debts.

The GOP's financial straits date back several years. At this time last year, party leaders said monthly debt payments had been reduced from $80,000 or more down to about $25,000.

MPR News notes Tuesday's numbers show total spending by the parties, political groups, and candidates for governor comes to at least $28 million.

MPR offers its own analysis of which groups seemed to invest that money wisely – and which did not.

There was a time when political parties and candidates were the biggest campaign spenders. But now they are surpassed by the various outside groups who work to influence voters with "independent expenditures," which totaled $15.6 million in Minnesota's 2014 races.

The biggest single amount came from a DFL-aligned group, the Alliance for a Better Minnesota. Its Action Fund spent $5.3 million on 2014 campaigns and MinnPost considers it a model for other outside spending groups.

But not all political spending shows up in the finance reports.

The Star Tribune notes that the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizens United case allows non-profit groups to spend unlimited amounts that are concealed from public view, in a category that's come to be called "dark money."

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