I’m with Ron Carey, the chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party, in calling for Mark Ritchie’s resignation. Here’s Chairman Carey’s statement:

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Ron Carey today issued the following statement calling on Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to resign following his abuse of the public trust.

“Minnesotans must have a Secretary of State whose honesty, integrity, and nonpartisanship are unassailable. Mark Ritchie, by his own admission, has failed to deliver on his promise of honesty and integrity in the office and should resign.

“By exploiting his office for partisan political purposes and then lying about it, Mark Ritchie has destroyed the public trust. Minnesotans deserve a Secretary of State who will not abuse his position and proceed to lie about having done so.”

Secretary Of State Caught In Lie:

After Claiming He Didn’t Know How Campaign Got Access To Email Addresses, Ritchie Now Admits He Personally Provided Campaign With Information

Ritchie Initially Said He “Did Not Authorize The Use Of The List For His Campaign.” “Ritchie, elected last year after campaigning on a platform of de-politicizing the Secretary of State’s office, said the list of participants in the civic engagement program is public information that can be accessed by anyone, including a political campaign. But he said he did not authorize the use of the list for his campaign.” (Mark Brunswick, “Election Official Allegedly Used List Improperly,” Star Tribune, October 30, 2007)

Ritchie Said There “Was No Crossover” Between Campaign List And Civic Engagement Lists. “Ritchie, often a target of the Minnesota Democrats Exposed blog, said he did not authorize use of the civic engagement sign-up sheet for campaign contributions but emphasized that the names of the 600 people are public information. ‘There is no crossover, but the list of civic engagement groups is public. It’s public information,’ Ritchie said.” (Mark Brunswick, “Election Official Allegedly Used List Improperly,” Star Tribune, October 30, 2007)

Ritchie Now Admits He Personally Gave His Campaign Email Addresses. “Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie now says that he personally gave his campaign a list of participants in a state-sponsored ‘civic engagement’ program so it could send them a campaign newsletter that asked for a political contribution. … Previously, Ritchie had denied knowing how the campaign got the list. He now insists that it solicited contributions only to pay for the newsletter itself. But its text invites recipients to an upcoming campaign fundraiser.” (Mark Brunswick, “Ritchie Now Says He Gave E-Mail List To Campaign,” Star Tribune, November 20, 2007)

Ritchie Said He Provided Copy Of List To Campaign And “Requested” They Get His E-Mail Newsletter. “Ritchie said Tuesday that he personally provided a copy of the directory to his campaign and requested that those on the list get a copy of his campaign’s civic engagement newsletter, which is distributed to about 12,000 individuals and groups whom he described as active in civic life in the state.” (Mark Brunswick, “Ritchie Now Says He Gave E-Mail List To Campaign,” Star Tribune, November 20, 2007)

Election Experts Weigh In

“Something Like This Crosses The Line.” “David Schultz, a professor at Hamline University and a former head of the state’s chapter of Common Cause, said recent irregularities with elections in Florida and Ohio have raised the stakes in the traditionally low-profile offices of secretaries of state. … ‘Something like this crosses that line. It looks like people who are contacting the secretary of state’s office for business are getting their names converted over to a fundraising base,’ he said.” (Mark Brunswick, “Ritchie Now Says He Gave E-Mail List To Campaign,” Star Tribune, November 20, 2007)

“There Must Be A Wall Between Constituent Information … And …Information For Use In Campaigns.” “‘There must be a wall between constituent information compiled at public expense while representing the public and the transfer of that information for use in campaigns,’ said Steven Clift, a digital democracy expert based in Minneapolis. ‘Ideally, secondary use would be prohibited. Or, if an incumbent can use it, then everyone should be able to access it, including challengers.'” (Mark Brunswick, “Ritchie Now Says He Gave E-Mail List To Campaign,” Star Tribune, November 20, 2007)

FLASHBACK: Mark Ritchie Campaigned With A Promise Of Restoring Integrity And Non-Partisanship To The Secretary Of State’s Office

Ritchie Says His Victory Came From Those Who “Wanted A Return To Non-Partisanship.” “The secretary of state race was equally contentious, featuring a frontal attack on Kiffmeyer’s basic competence and integrity as the state’s chief election judge, even though voter turnout under her has been some of the highest in the nation. … ‘What I heard everywhere was people saying they wanted a return to nonpartisanship in the office,’ Ritchie said late Tuesday.” (Mark Brunswick, “‘Lesser’ Races Shaped Up As Major Battles,” Star Tribune, November 8, 2006)

Ritchie Accused Former Secretary Kiffmeyer Of Running Office As “Arm Of Republican Party.” “Ritchie, one of the architects of a progressive get-out-the-vote effort in the 2004 elections that he said resulted in 5 million registrations nationwide and tens of thousands of poll monitors, derided Kiffmeyer, the two-term secretary of state, as ‘incompetent, lacking integrity and partisan.’ He also accused her of running her office ‘like an arm of the Republican Party.'” (Mark Brunswick, “DFLers Round Out Statewide Slate,” Star Tribune, June 12, 2006)

Ritchie Says We “Need A Secretary Of State Who Will Stop Playing Politics” And Promised A Campaign Based On “Trust, Integrity, And Respect For Constitution.” “Voter rights leader and local non-profit president Mark Ritchie began campaigning as he officially announced his candidacy for Minnesota Secretary of State today in Saint Paul and Duluth. ‘We need a Secretary of State who will stop playing politics with the office,’ said Ritchie. … ‘One of the key challenges we face in the November election is the cynicism so many citizens now feel about our election process,’ said Ritchie. ‘To overcome this, we are running a campaign based on passion and hope, passion for the democracy we’ve inherited from those who fought for our right to vote, and hope for the future based on trust, integrity, and respect for the Constitution.'” (Press Release, “Mark Ritchie Announces Challenge To Mary Kiffmeyer For Minnesota Secretary Of State,” Ritchie For Secretary of State, February 6, 2006)

I outlined Mark Ritchie’s liberal connections here. Here are some of the outside-the-mainstream organizations that Mark Ritchie was associated with during the 2004 campaign:

  • NAACP National Voter Fund
  • Southwest Voter Registration Education Project
  • People for the American Way Foundation
  • USAction Education Fund

ACORN’s activists have been convicted of election law violations. People for the American Way (PFAW) argued that Chief Justice John Roberts was far outside the mainstream, which says everything about how far outside the mainstream they are. The NAACP is a wholly owned subsidiary of the DNC.

That’s before I start talking about Mark Ritchie’s getting endorsed by Ellen Malcolm, the co-founder of EMILY’s List, the superliberal fundraising/activist organization.

As noted in Chairman Carey’s statement, Mark Ritchie campaigned on the theme of depoliticizing the SecState’s office. It’s understatement to say that he’s failed in meeting that benchmark.

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