DFLer faces $20k fine for campaign fund misuse

Minnesota’s campaign finance watchdog is hitting a Democratic lawmaker with a $15,000 personal fine, alleging he used campaign money for personal use.

The Campaign Finance Board announced the penalties against Rep. John Lesch and his campaign Tuesday. Lesch’s campaign must also pay the state another $5,000.

The investigation formally started in 2015 but goes back to campaign activity in 2010. The board found more than $8,600 in campaign payments from 2010 to 2013 made to Lesch’s personal accounts that he claimed were reimbursements. Most of those transfers were made when his personal account was running low.

Lesch is a St. Paul Democrat and is currently running for attorney general. He acknowledged shoddy bookkeeping in a statement but denied misusing campaign funds, saying he simply lost receipts.