A probable cause hearing took place Wednesday over accusations that Minnesota House candidate Bob Loonan violated the state’s Fair Campaign Practices law.
Loonan, a former state representative looking to recapture his old seat, is alleged to have broken that law by falsely claiming an endorsement from the Republican Party of Minnesota and referring to his “re-election” on ostensibly reused campaign literature.
According to a press release, Scott County GOP at-large director Jim Krause filed a formal complaint against Loonan last week. The complaint led to the scheduling of a June 29 probable cause hearing, after a judge assumed the truth of the complaint’s allegations and found that they “set forth prima facie violations” of the law.
“We’re happy that the judge views the law to be on our side up to this point and we expect that trend to continue as we move through this process. Bob’s violations are very clear,” Scott County GOP spokesman Dale Even wrote in a statement.
“As stated in our earlier press release citing these major violations by Bob, Republicans were preparing the necessary documents to hold Bob accountable for fraudulently claiming our endorsement,” he continued. “This is now a reality and we intend to hold Bob accountable for his damaging and illegal behavior of deceiving Republicans.”
The Minnesota Statutes prohibit a “person” or “candidate” from “knowingly [making], 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.”
Similarly, one “may not, in the event of redistricting, use the term ‘reelect’ in a campaign for elective office unless the candidate is the incumbent of that office and the office represents any part of the new district.”
Following the accusations against Loonan, his campaign website removed purported endorsements from the NRA and Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. MCCL told Alpha News that it had not released its endorsements for this election cycle, but acknowledged that it had endorsed Loonan in a previous race.
Loonan is running against incumbent Erik Mortensen in District 54A. Mortensen primaried Loonan in 2018 but went on to lose the general election to Democrat Brad Tabke. In 2020, Mortensen unseated Tabke after defeating Loonan in the GOP primary a second time.
Even told Alpha News that a judge is still considering Loonan’s case and will determine if it should proceed to an evidentiary hearing.
Loonan did not respond to Alpha News’ previous requests for comment. He released a statement on Facebook Friday to “clear up some things” but did not address the alleged legal violations.