The Republican Party of Olmsted County sent out a press release this morning blasting Rochester Community and Technical College President Don Suppala and other college leaders for hosting a House DFL Caucus fundraiser tonight. They cite a flier sent out by the Minnesota House DFL Caucus that lists Supalla, RCTC Vice President Michael Bequette and RCTC Faculty President Chad Israelson as hosts for the fundraiser. The event will be at Bequette's Rochester home.
Republican Party of Olmsted County Chair Bruce Kaskubar issued the following statement: “I am extremely disappointed that the RCTC leaders — whose institution and individual jobs are supported by state taxpayers whether Democratic, Republican, or independent — are lending their names and titles to assist partisan fund-raising.”
He adds that by using their official positions to raise money for a political party, these individuals are violating MnSCU policies. You can see the full press release here.
Republicans are calling on the three RCTC employees to cancel their participation in the event and move it to a different venue. I have a call into RCTC President Don Suppala to get his side of the story, but have not heard back yet. I'll update the blog after I talk to him.
Carrie Lucking, director of public affairs for the House DFL Caucus, said this amounts to a mistake by a young DFL campaign employee who included the college officials' titles in the flier without their permission. This employee also did not ask their permission to list them as co-hosts for the event. She issued the following statement:
"This is the House DFL Caucus' flier and was not endorsed or approved by any MnSCU employees including President Supalla in any way.
The DFL campaign employees who created the flier did not know about MnSCU policy nor did they intend to include titles. Apparently there were working drafts of the flier and the one with titles was accidentally given to someone to distribute. It was an honest, young employee mistake on their part to put titles on the flier and to allow the flier to be handed out without approval from President Supalla or the other hosts."
Lucking said the first she had heard about the problem was when I contacted her. She said no corrected flier was sent out.