Mayoral Candidate’s Bribery Unclear

BCA completes investigation into allegations that St. Paul Mayoral Candidate Attempted Bribery

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ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has handed its findings on bribery allegations against St. Paul mayoral candidate, Dai Thao, to a prosecutor for review. The BCA has not stated whether or not it has found reasonable evidence that bribery indeed took place.

The allegations, which were brought to the public via a FOX 9 investigation claim that Thao’s campaign manager, Angela Marlow, attempted to pressure a lobbyist, Sarah Clarke, to support Thao’s campaign. Marlow is also the President of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO Union of Local 8. Reportedly, Marlow asked Clarke via text message:

“Hi, Sarah! It’s Marlow. Dai’s campaign manager. Dai asked me to see if I could get a donation from your clients or yourself for his mayor campaign? My understanding is that they are leaving tomorrow. We will certainly rethink this issue. We are also happy to support Jacob in his mayor’s run as well.”

‘Jacob’, refers to Minneapolis mayoral candidate Jacob Frey, who is also the husband of Clarke.

Clarke responded, “Thank you for the note and thank you for setting up the meeting….

Because this is an issue that is coming before the council, want to make sure we are not in violation of campaign finance laws. Let me check on that and get back to you.”

Marlow followed up with, “No problem.! Thanks for the quick response. Life of the campaign manager (sic). I get the icky work! As a union leader for all the Ramsey workers we can endorse so keep me in mind if Jacob needs it. I’ve watched his work and am supportive!”

Clarke responded to this, “Thanks for the kind words? And of course, for the work you are doing.”

A few days later Clarke said, “Following on your contribution request, I think that the timing of the issue coming before the council along with a campaign contribution could be misperceived as a bribe under Minnesota Statute 609.42. I believe this is neither your intent, nor CM Thao’s intent. To keep everything above board, both my client and I will refrain from making a contribution at this time.”

After a quick response, “Thank you for the info,” Marlow stated a few weeks later, “Sorry about any confusion. There obviously no link intended. Dai was happy to meet with you. To avoid any confusion in the future, please direct any meeting about policy matters to Dai’s city council office. I am not abreast of that information.”

Clarke gave a final response, “I understand, I reached out to him on this as a campaign issue because it is but it’s also something he will vote on. I just wanted to be clear we were on the same page.”

It is most likely that, Clarke was referring to stipulations one and two which outline bribery as, “offers, gives, or promises to give, directly or indirectly, to any person who is a public officer or employee any benefit, reward or consideration to which the person is not legally entitled with intent thereby to influence the person’s performance of the powers or duties as such officer or employee” and “being a public officer or employee, requests, receives or agrees to receive, directly or indirectly, any such benefit, reward or consideration upon the understanding that it will have such an influence,” respectively.

The investigation of the alleged bribery was originally taken up by the St. Paul Police Department, however, was later handed over to the BCA. According to the Pioneer Press, Marlow handed over “her phone, IPAD, and work computer,” to the BCA for their investigation. Thao fired Marlow from the campaign following the FOX 9 report on the alleged bribery.

Both Thao and Marlow have maintained that there has been no wrongdoing.

Henry Carras