“The mystery of a GOP congressman’s seemingly rent-free campaign office”


For at least seven years,GOP Rep. Jim Hagedorn appears to have enjoyed rent-free use of a campaign office supplied by a political donor — which would be a clear violation of federal election law that comes amid mounting scrutiny of his finances.

In dozens of filings with the Federal Election Commission, as early as October 2013 and as recently as last month, Hagedorn has listed a basement suite in a downtown Mankato, Minn., building as his campaign’s headquarters: Suite 7 of the Brett’s Building at11 Civic Center Plaza. But election spending records show Hagedorn has reported no payments for the use of that space over the course of the past four elections he’s run to represent Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District, including his current race.

Hagedorn’s campaign and the former owner of the building struggled to explain the situation.In recent interviews, they insisted there had been no impropriety but gave conflicting accounts of why no payments have been disclosed. It all adds up to a portrait of, at best, highly irregular or sloppy spending practices; at worst, it’s a breach of campaign finance law. Nonpartisan ethics experts, meanwhile, expressed deep skepticism with Hagedorn’s actions.

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