of Administrative Hearings File No. 68-0325-35511
G. Kaardal, Mohrman, Kaardal & Erickson, P.A.,
Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent Alex Lewison)
W. Weinblatt, Wienblatt & Gaylord, PLC, Inver Grove
Heights, Minnesota (for relators)
Ellison, Attorney General, Nathan James Hartshorn, Assistant
Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent Office
of Administrative Hearings)
Considered and decided by Florey, Presiding Judge; Connolly,
Judge; and Bjorkman, Judge.
disclaimer requirement in Minn. Stat. § 211B.04 (2018)
is a constitutionally permissible restraint on the speech of
political candidates and their campaigns.
a person subject to the disclaimer requirement in Minn. Stat.
§ 211B.04 places nonconforming campaign materials on
continuous public display, or distributes nonconforming
campaign materials for continuous public display, the person
commits a continuing violation for as long as the materials
are on display.
a political candidate and his campaign committee, challenge
an order of the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings
(OAH) determining that they prepared and disseminated
campaign material without the disclaimer required by Minn.
Stat. § 211B.04, subd. 1. Relators argue that (1) the
disclaimer requirement violates the right to free speech, (2)
the complaint alleging the violation was untimely, and (3)
substantial evidence does not support the determination that
relators violated the disclaimer requirement. We affirm.
March 2017, relator David Hutchinson was contemplating
running for Hennepin County Sheriff. He began collecting
campaign contributions and created a "Hutch for
Sheriff" Facebook page. He also paid a printing company
to prepare four "prototype" lawn signs that read:
"Elect HUTCH for Hennepin County Sheriff."
Hutchinson posted a picture of the signs on Facebook. He also
gave one to his father, who placed it in the front lawn of
the Medina residence he rents from Hutchinson's brother,
and one to a friend, who placed the sign in the front lawn of
his Minneapolis residence. The other two signs remained in
December 18, 2017, Hutchinson filed his candidacy and
registered his campaign committee, relator Hutch for Sheriff.
Hutchinson and his committee (collectively, Hutchinson)
thereafter ordered more than 1, 000 campaign signs bearing
substantially the same message as the original four, as well
as a disclaimer: "Paid for and prepared by the Hutch for
Sheriff volunteer committee."
following August, respondent Alex Lewison, the deputy
treasurer of then-Sheriff Rich Stanek's volunteer
campaign committee, saw the two posted signs that lacked
disclaimers. The signs remained in place through the primary
election. On August 22, 2018, Lewison filed a complaint with
the OAH alleging that Hutchinson violated Minn. Stat. §
211B.04, subd. 1, by preparing and disseminating campaign
material that lacked a disclaimer. A panel of three
administrative law judges conducted an evidentiary hearing
and determined that Hutchinson violated the disclaimer
requirement. Because the violation was inadvertent and had
"minimal impact on voters," the OAH imposed a civil
penalty of $200. Hutchinson appeals by writ of
the disclaimer requirement violate Hutchinson's