Crow Wing County Board Commissioner Terry Sluss said Tuesday night sfter finding out that he won the District 3 seat that he thought the unfair campaign practices allegation he filed against his opponent, Mary Koep, had no impact on the way people voted.
Koep, on the other hand, said today the complaint could have had an impact on the election. She also said that she has not yet seen a copy of the complaint filed by Sluss.
Sluss said he didn't want his complaint to become public Monday. But he said now with the election over he said he still wants the complaint investigated.
Sluss filed a complaint with the county attorney's office late Monday. In his complaint, he objects to information contained in a Koep campaign brochure, which Sluss thought was a deliberate attempt to distort the election process.
Sluss said more people need to file election complaints when they believe a politician has violated the law to help the campaigning process stay clean.
Don Ryan, Crow Wing County attorney, may consider the allegations. If he deems there is a conflict of interest, he may ask the sheriff's department or another county attorney's office to investigate. Sluss formerly served as a campaign manager for Ryan.
"Complaint investigation can take anywhere from 48 hours to 20-30 days," Ryan said Tuesday. "I don't think this one appears to be too long."
Under state law, "a county attorney, who is notified of an alleged violation, shall investigate promptly. If there is probable cause for instituting a prosecution, the attorney shall proceed by complaint or present the charge, with whatever evidence has been found, to the grand jury."
Koep said the brochures in question were distributed two weeks ago. This second set of brochures, which included 4,000 copies, were distributed by mail. Sluss believes the statement made by Koep in regard to when the brochures were handed out is false and said that there is postal evidence to back his statement.
A first set of brochures were handed out personally over several weeks, including the week of the Crow Wing County Fair. She made 5,000 copies of this brochure and they are all gone.
Koep said all the information she used for her brochures she received from county offices, the state department and from Cass County, where she compared Crow Wing County with Cass.
Sluss, who said he became aware of this second brochure as a result of a phone call from a supporter between 1:30-2 p.m. Monday, said he was not given any time to refute any of the information on the brochure before election day.
Sluss does not plan to release a copy of his complaint to the media until an investigation is completed. He also said that the attorney's office will not release it. Ryan said the decision to release the complaint is up to Sluss.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.