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Apparent illegal campaign contribution was case of mistaken checkbook, legislator says

A state lawmaker from Lake Shore said a campaign contribution that appears to violate state campaign finance law happened because he confused his campaign checkbook with his personal checkbook.

A state lawmaker from Lake Shore said a campaign contribution that appears to violate state campaign finance law happened because he confused his campaign checkbook with his personal checkbook.

A $500 contribution from the campaign committee of state Rep. Mark Anderson, R-Lake Shore, was listed by the campaign of Jason Lewis, a GOP candidate for U.S. Congress in the Minnesota's 2nd District, on its April first-quarter filings to the Federal Election Commission.

A state-level campaign committee donating to a federal campaign for president, U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives is a violation of Minnesota state campaign finance law.

Contacted through a House Republican Caucus spokesperson Monday, Anderson said the incident was simply a case of using the wrong checkbook.

"It was just a simple mistake," Anderson said in a written statement. "I have four checkbooks, all with the same design. The check I wrote to Lewis was never cashed, only reported to the (FEC). The check was returned to me a week ago and I resubmitted a correct personal check. It's all been taken care of."

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Minnesota Campaign Finance Board Compliance Officer Joyce Larson said Monday there was no penalty for breaking the law against state campaign committees donating to federal candidates. The finance board would simply ask the money be returned.

Anderson announced in February he would not run for re-election.

Lewis' campaign treasurer Rita Olson did not immediately return a call to confirm the check had been given back.

ZACH KAYSER may be reached at 218-855-5860 or Zach.Kayser@brainerddispatch.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ZWKayser .

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