Charges have been filed against right-wing extremist Bonn Clayton which could lead to state and federal criminal charges against him and his conspirators for election fraud in the name of Minnesota Republicans.
Clayton and others were accused of falsely indicating that seven judicial candidates had the backing of the Republican Party of Minnesota.
Before the election, State GOP chairman Patrick Shortridge advised party leaders that Clayton had broken into party databases, stolen an e-mail list, created a bogus title for himself and a non-existent GOP organization, and sent out notice of a phony “GOP Voter’s Guide” supporting some unendorsed candidates.
Shortridge noted that the delegates to the Republican State Convention in St. Cloud last May had voted by a large margin to not endorse judicial candidates in 2012. Shortridge also noted that several “meetings” of his bogus organization were unconstitutional in the wake of the decision by the state delegates.
After Shortridge sent out his warning about Clayton’s first abuse of the GOP’s mailing list and the bogus voters guide, the voters guide was taken off line. Then a week before the election, Clayton sent another e-mail to a broad GOP list and put back up the bogus voters guide with GOP recommendations or implied endorsements of seven judicial candidates.
Shortridge sent out a second warning. At this time, you can still see the bougus guide at judgeourjudges,com.
Last Friday, Minneapolis attorney Harry Niska filed a complaint against Clayton with the Office of Administrative Hearings of Minnesota. The case is Niska v. Clayton, docket number 0320-30147.
Niska alleged that the use of a bogus title and organization in mailings to the stolen list with false claims of GOP support were criminal violations of Minnesota Statute 211B.02 (False Claims of Support).
Niska’s complaint also alleged that the bogus guide made false statements about the records of Associate Justices G. Barry Anderson and David R. Stras which were criminal violations of Minnesota Statute 211B.02 (False Claims of Support). That law provides:
A person or candidate may not knowingly make, directly or indirectly, a false claim stating or implying that a candidate or ballot question has the support or endorsement of a major political party or party unit or of an organization.
That is a law from 1988, when the Legislature responded to several false claims of party endorsement or support by candidates or their supporters in the 1986 election cycle.
If the Office of Administrative Hearings finds that Clayton and his co-conspirators violated the law, it can recommend to Ramsey County Attorney John Choi that criminal prosecutions be pursued.
It is also possible that supporters of the judicial candidates who were attacked by the GOP extremists could as the FBI and the United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota to investigate federal charges against Clayton and the conspirators for violation of their civil rights by making false statements in an election.
No matter what, it is likely that Clayton and his extremist conspirators will each be facing legal bills that should come to at least $10,000 each.
The candidates endorsed on the bogus voters guide include Supreme Court challengers “Shifty Dan” Griffith, “Pastor Tim” Tingelstad, “Mermaid Porn Boy” Dean Barley. The voters guide also recommended “stealth conservative” candidates for trial judge seats in Hennepin County and the southwestern suburbs and exurbs, Steven Antolak, Marc Berris, and Brian Gravely. Those six candidates lost.
The Clayton voter guide also endorsed a sitting judge in northwest Minnesota, John G. Melbye of Bemidji. Melbye was first elected as a “stealth conservative” candidate in 2006, and defeated challenger Diana Sweeney this week.
Other people who may be scrutinized by OAH and state and federal prosecutors may include Dennis Holman and George Wu, who leads a group that calls itself “The Black Robe Mafia” on the fringes of the Republican Party.
There also may be an examination of bloggers claiming to represent the “St. Paul Republicans” and various BPOU organizations that offered bogus endorsements or recommendations of judicial candidates on party websites.
In his complaint, Niska notes that he was a delegate to the State GOP Convention where the delegates decided not to endorse judicial candidates in 2012. Under the state GOP’s constitution and Bylaws, that decision barred Clayton and others from
The old margarine commercial said “It is not nice to fool Mother Nature.” Bonn Clayton and the Black Robe Mafia are about to learn that it is not smart to mess with really smart lawyers.