ICYMI: Hagedorn Hasn’t Paid Rent on Campaign Office For Almost a Decade
Another instance of Congressman Hagedorn’s blatant corruption was revealed this morning when Politico broke the news that Congressman Hagedorn has not paid rent for a Mankato office for almost a decade, a clear violation of federal election law that could trigger further investigations into Hagedorn’s corrupt and unethical behavior.
This bombshell report from Politico comes at a time when Hagedorn is already facing intense criticism and a Congressional ethics complaint for:
- Spending large amounts of tax dollars on campaign-style mailers
- Lying about his involvement in those mailers
- Directing tax dollars into the pockets of his employees
- Hiring a news radio host as a campaign vendor and failing to disclose it
- Lying about why he fired his chief of staff.
- Using his Congressional office to secure perks for his wife
- Being “Minnesota’s Least Productive Congressman”, a title he earned at the end of 2019 and retained in 2020
DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin released the following statement:
It’s disgraceful that Congressman Jim Hagedorn spent the better part of a decade breaking election law by campaigning rent-free out of an office owned by a big donor, but it is hardly surprising. Since taking office, Congressman Hagedorn has produced far more corruption scandals than laws to benefit the people of Minnesota.
Folks across Southern Minnesota are struggling right now under the twin crises of COVID-19 and an economic recession, and it’s clear that Congressman Hagedorn is too consumed by corruption scandals to actually fight for his constituents. Luckily, the people of Southern Minnesota have a better choice: Dan Feehan. Feehan is a teacher, an army veteran, and a leader with the integrity needed to bring folks together and move our state forward.
By Daniel Newhauser
“For at least seven years, GOP Rep. Jim Hagedorn appears to have enjoyed rent-free use of a campaign office supplied by a political donor — which would be a clear violation of federal election law that comes amid mounting scrutiny of his finances.
In dozens of filings with the Federal Election Commission, as early as October 2013 and as recently as last month, Hagedorn has listed a basement suite in a downtown Mankato, Minn., building as his campaign’s headquarters: Suite 7 of the Brett’s Building at 11 Civic Center Plaza. But election spending records show Hagedorn has reported no payments for the use of that space over the course of the last four elections he’s run to represent Minnesota’s 1st District in Congress, including his current race.
Hagedorn’s campaign and the former owner of the building struggled to explain the situation. In recent interviews, they insisted there had been no impropriety but gave conflicting accounts of why no payments have been disclosed. It all adds up to a portrait of, at best, highly irregular or sloppy spending practices; at worst, it’s a breach of campaign finance law. Nonpartisan ethics experts, meanwhile, expressed deep skepticism with Hagedorn’s actions.
“It sounds like something that could potentially be a fairly serious violation of campaign finance law and the ethics rules,” said Bryson Morgan, a former investigative counsel at the Office of Congressional Ethics, who now practices political law at Caplin & Drysdale. “They need to pay fair-market value for any space that the campaign uses.”
The news follows other recent revelations from the Minnesota Reformer that portray a congressman frequently skirting the line on congressional ethics. Hagedorn is facing scrutiny for having paid more than $100,000 in taxpayer money to a printing company owned by a staff member; a different company, owned by the brother of his former chief of staff, took in another roughly $340,000 in public funds. Hagedorn also drew criticism for appearing on a local radio show hosted by a campaign vendor without disclosing their financial ties.
The allegations of unethical behavior could cost Hagedorn in November. His opponent, Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate Dan Feehan, has made Hagedorn’s “personal corruption” a central theme in his campaign, and polls show a tight race. Feehan lost to Hagedorn by less than half of a percentage point in 2018, even as President Donald Trump carried the district by almost 15 points in 2016. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is now spending heavily on the airwaves to snatch the seat.
And if he does win reelection, Hagedorn may be looking at multiple ethics investigations: A Minneapolis lawyer has filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics over Hagedorn’s congressional office spending, while Hagedorn himself financed an internal review of the spending, fired his former chief of staff and self-reported it to the House Ethics Committee. Neither entity comments on whether probes are ongoing.”