Stauber emails: Congressional candidate used county resources to advance candidacy
DULUTH -- The Pete Stauber campaign emails with the National Republican Congressional Committee include political strategizing, arrangements for an interview with the national Fox News Channel, and, ultimately, insight from Stauber telling his contacts with a Washington, D.C. political group to begin using Stauber’s private email.
The array of emails, from June-December 2017, show a county commissioner’s clerk helped to arrange a television interview related to Stauber’s Congressional candidacy.The emails were released by St. Louis County Tuesday following a judge’s order in District Court in Duluth from earlier in the day. The county had fought to keep the emails private, citing a strict reading of state data practices statute.
“Our priority has always been to follow the law,” County Administrator Kevin Gray said. “Although we interpreted the language of the statute differently; we will comply with the Court’s order.”
The 22 emails arrived shortly after noon, per Judge Stoney Hiljus’ order saying the emails were public data and the county could no longer refuse requests to see the emails.
“Pete respects the court’s decision and the process just as he did when the county looked into this matter and found no wrongdoing,” said Stauber campaign spokesperson Caroline Tarwid.
In one email, Stauber took an official correspondence from retiring 8th District Rep. Rick Nolan and forwarded it to the NRCC for strategizing purposes. The email, dated August 2017, said: “Look at this. I need Nolan’s anti‐Veteran votes to get people there.”
The email was a response to an official Congressional email from Rep. Rick Nolan, DFL-Crosby, inviting Stauber as a county commissioner to a town hall of veterans’ health issues.
By December, Stauber was telling his contacts “From here on please use the following email,” then providing a personal email address.
Stauber, a county commissioner, is the Republican candidate in an expensive and high-profile 8th Congressional District race which also features Democrat Joe Radinovich and Independence Party candidate Ray “Skip” Sandman.
The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party sued the county last week for the release of correspondence between Stauber and the NRCC found in the commissioner’s county email account during a public records request by the Minneapolis Star Tribune last spring.
Neither Stauber nor the county were immediately available for comment.