Rep. Dale Walz, R-Brainerd, said Thursday he had no knowledge of any fund-raising activities on his behalf by the Jetsporters Association of Minnesota, adding the accusations of wrongdoing took him by complete surprise.
"It about knocked me out of my chair," he said by phone from his Brainerd area home Thursday. "I feel like somebody punched me in the stomach."
He attributed the complaints of illegal fund-raising filed Thursday by Rep. Matt Entenza, DFL-St. Paul, to partisan politics. He said the only person he knows in the group is association President Carl Bullen of Pequot Lakes, who was a volunteer in his 2000 campaign.
"I had no idea what they did or didn't do," he said of the Jetsporters group.
In 2000, Walz defeated then-Rep. Kris Hasskamp, DFL-Crosby, who had authored legislation to restrict jet-skis.
The Jetsporters Association said in its house publication that it mailed 30,000 pieces of fund-raising literature on Walz's behalf and claimed credit for helping elect him last year. The association, a non-profit organization, is not registered as a political fund and does not have a lobbying arm.
Walz said he discussed jetsporting issues, which are important to District 12A residents, with Bullen during the campaign.
"Though Mr. Bullen was a volunteer in my campaign, we never discussed any specific fund-raising activities by the Jetsporters Association and this accusation is the first I have ever heard of the alleged 30,000-piece mailing.
"As a legislator and during my campaign, my goal has been to listen and respond to the concerns of all my constituents --including Carl Bullen. I ran for office so the people of my district would have a voice in St. Paul."
Bullen could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.
Entenza said the association's mailings would have been legal had it organized and registered as a political action committee.
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