The Office of Administrative Hearings has ordered a hearing be held next week on the complaint filed against Michelle MacDonald, which alleges she violated the Minnesota Fair Campaign Practices Act by falsely claiming her current campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court had received the endorsement of the Republican Party of Minnesota.
The complaint against MacDonald was filed earlier this week by Barbara Linert of Eagan and Steve Timmer of Edina, who claim MacDonald provided false information to the Star Tribune for publication in their “Voter Guide.”
In an order issued earlier today, Judge Jessica A. Palmer-Denig said the complaint filed against MacDonald “alleges sufficient facts” to “support finding a prima facie violation”:
The Administrative Law Judge concludes that the complaint alleges sufficient facts regarding Respondent’s claimed endorsements to support finding a prima facie violation of Minn. Stat. § 211B.02.
Judge Palmer-Denig ordered a probable cause hearing to be held next Tuesday. According to the order from court:
At the conclusion of the probable cause hearing, the Administrative Law Judge will either: (1) dismiss the complaint based on a determination that the complaint is frivolous, or that there is no probable cause to believe that the violation of law alleged in the complaint has occurred; or (2) determine that there is probable cause to believe that the violation of law alleged in the complaint has occurred and refer the case to the Chief Administrative Law Judge for the scheduling of an evidentiary hearing. Evidentiary hearings are conducted pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 211B.35 (2016).
The complaint alleges MacDonald’s false claim of endorsement was a “knowing and intentional violation” of campaign laws.
In 2014, MacDonald was the Republican endorsed candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court against Justice David Lillehaug. MacDonald lost to Lillehaug by just 7 points — 53 percent to 46 percent in November 2014.
Earlier this year, MacDonald announced she would run again for the Minnesota Supreme Court, but she was not endorsed by the Republican Party of Minnesota after Republicans decided not to endorse judicial candidates.