No Wrong Doing On Part Of This Week’s Shopping News!

Jan 29th 2015

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Dec 23rd 2014

Response to the complaint against The Shopping News ( added: Tue, Dec 23rd 2014 )

There was a suit brought against This Week’s Shopping News by the city of Fergus Falls Election Administrator Ms. Lynne Olson alleging we broke election-advertising rules. This will plainly show that their assumptions are incorrect. I realize 75% of you don’t subscribe to the Fergus Falls Daily Journal in Fergus Falls so please bear with me.

I will try to be brief and to the point on what this nonsense is all about.

Lynne Olson, the Fergus Falls Election Administrator has filed a complaint against Friends for a Progressive Fergus Falls and This Week’s Shopping News.

The complaint against the Shopping News alleges that it violated Minnesota Statutes section 211B.05 subd. 2 because it allegedly gave free advertising to Friends for a Progressive Fergus Falls while at the same time making other city council candidates pay for their advertising.

Olson also alleges that the Shopping News did not follow the campaign finance filing procedures listed in Minnesota Statutes section 211A.02 subd. 1 because it did not disclose an in-kind donation of advertising to the Friends for a Progressive Fergus Falls.

“If one credits the submissions of Ms. Olson as true, the complaint states a prima facie violation of Minn. Stat. 211A.02 subd. 1 and 211B.05 subd. 2.,” the office determined in its ruling.

There is a $50 charge to file a complaint and the person filing it is responsible for providing the evidence showing that a violation of election law did occur.

It is now up to Olson with the help of Nycklemoe and her boss Fergus Falls City Administrator Mark Sievert to provide evidence that a violation occurred. I received by mail a copy of the complaint and between the three of them they provided the Election authorities with the wrong address, addressed to 821 E. Vasa Ave. and our address is 831 E. Vasa Ave.

The complaint was addressed to Today’s Shopping News aka “The Midweek” as opposed to The Midweek Inc. or This Week’s Shopping News.

Also made it attention to Jon Olson instead of myself, Richard Anderson, the owner and publisher. We don’t have a Jon Olson in our company.

Now here is a person who is supposed to certify the results of elections which needs to be held to the highest standards of accuracy. Ms. Olson doesn’t take the time to make one phone call to clear this up and doesn’t take the time to be accurate on whom the complaint should be filed. Correct company name, person of responsibility at the company, and the correct address to send the complaint to.

At issue is advertising placed by Friends for Progressive Fergus Falls/Laurie Mullen and how they filed their campaign expenditure report. Because of a mistake or confusion about the Laurie Mullen’s Friends For a Progressive Fergus Falls campaign finance report, the city feels that somehow The Midweek Inc. is involved in some nefarious activity.

She has not provided any evidence and has not bothered to call myself the owner and publisher of the paper to ask any questions, which I would have gladly answered. One minute on the phone with myself, she would realize there is nothing to substantiate their suspicions of wrongdoing.

Ms. Olson has come to this conclusion because of confusion on Friends For a Progressive campaign finance report about whether or not using her personal funds to pay for advertising is an “in-kind” contribution or not. Laurie Mullen told me she was advised by an attorney that she did not receive any contributions from outside sources, and in fact, was paying for the advertising personally she checked the box “in-kind” contribution. Based on this confusion Ms. Olson assumes The Midweek Inc. must have provided the Friends with “Free or Discounted advertising.”

The Midweek Inc., This Week’s Shopping News did not contribute to any political group or individual.

We did not discount advertising to any group or candidate.

 Laurie Mullen who is The Friends for a Progressive Fergus Falls did not request, nor was it offered any discounts for their advertising. They paid the exact same rate as the other candidates.

Ms. Olson indicated that she called my office to get information about the Friends. She asked if they paid for their advertising and Jon Anderson answered that she had not yet paid at that time. This was on October 26 according to Ms. Olson and our bills do not get sent until the end of month so she didn’t even have the statement at that time.

Ms. Mullen paid her bill in “full” with a personal check the week of November 10, 2014.

This Weeks Shopping News or The Midweek Inc. is not obligated or required to report or file any campaign expenditure reports. To be clear, we did not make any contributions to any group or candidates.

Mr. Nycklemoe says

“It takes a lot of courage to proceed with a complaint of this nature and Lynne needs the support of the entire Council as this is one of her important duties as our election administrator,” Nycklemoe wrote. “She is required to report potential election and campaign violations to the Office of Administrative Hearings.”

As indicated, Nycklemoe helped file this complaint, and maybe as city attorney when providing guidance to proceed with something this important you would make sure they do a little due diligence and get the facts straight.

As a Fergus Falls Election Administrator, I believe her conduct prior, during and after, an election should be professional and beyond reproach. I believe Ms. Olson’s comments prior to the election making allegations of election wrong doing by the 4 candidates hurt them in the election. Ms. Olson in concert with her immediate supervisor, City Administrator Mark Sievert allegedly tried to influence the city council election with their negative comments specifically leveled at the four new candidates.

This whole thing started with Ms. Olson accusing the four candidates of campaign wrongdoing literally days before the election. Then after the election she discovers that “Oh My” the candidates didn’t have anything to do with the advertising but yet doesn’t publically acknowledge or apologize that the candidates didn’t engage in breaking campaign rules. So now she is going after the Friends for a Progressive Fergus Falls, which is one person Ms. Mullen. Then on an assumption the paper, This Week’s Shopping News, must have done something wrong. Accusing us of donating advertising to Ms. Mullen or even charging different advertising rates to different candidates. No proof whatsoever of this wrong doing, and no attempt to call me, the owner, to ask if this indeed happened?

We did not donate to anybody or reduce rates to any candidate.

Richard Anderson

Publisher

The Midweek Inc. Publications

 

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