City council member faces campaign fund hearing

Minneapolis City Council President Barbara Johnson will face an administrative hearing Tuesday.

James Nord

Minneapolis City Council President Barbara Johnson will face an administrative hearing Tuesday in relation to allegations of inappropriate use of campaign funds. Minneapolis resident Warren Kaari filed a complaint in November 2009 accusing Johnson, the council president from the 4th ward, of using campaign funds for personal expenditures. Johnson admitted in a November 2009 City Pages article to using her funds for dry cleaning, hair appointments, cable and cell phone service, among other expenditures. In Minnesota, accepted campaign expenditures include salaries, communications, advertising, printing, office space and furnishings and small charitable contributions, among select others. After Kaari raised the issue, Manuel Cervantes, an administrative law judge, ruled the case had merit and a hearing was scheduled on the subject, according to a Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings document. A panel of three administrative law judges will hear the complaint. Due to constraints in the Minnesota statutes chapter 211B, the panel will only review expenditures within one year of the complaint, which was filed in November 2009. Depending on the outcome, Johnson could face a civil penalty of up to $5,000 and could be prosecuted criminally by the appropriate county attorney. -James Nord