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Chaska Republican Joe Hoppe spends little on campaign, plenty on booze

In Joe Hoppe's mind, one of the perks of office is getting your supporters to pay for your liquor and cell phones.

In Joe Hoppe's mind, one of the perks of office is getting your supporters to pay for your liquor and cell phones.

Rep. Joe Hoppe (R-Chaska) has a history of dubious spending.

The 51-year-old state representative, who was first elected in 2002, was originally exposed earlier this year. Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board staff said Hoppe received sizable sums from his campaign committee without explaining what he was being reimbursed for. 

A closer inspection revealed he had reimbursed himself $3,700 for meals and membership at his Rotary Club. Hoppe justified the expenses by claiming they were a cost of serving in office. In addition, the lawmaker had run up nearly $7,000 in cell phone tabs for three family members from 2011 until 2014.  

The finance board concluded this wasn't kosher. It ordered Hoppe to repay $10,500. He responded by thanking the board for catching his errors and helping him "to understand and rectify these issues."

But Hoppe clearly didn't learn his lesson.

According to his committee's most recent filing for the first seven months of this year, Hoppe's campaign expenditures ate up $60. Meanwhile, "non-campaign disbursements" consumed more than $6,100, of which $615 was spent for three purchases at Total Wine locations in Chanhassen and Burnsville.

Hoppe's filing says the booze was used for "campaign activities."   

Hoppe faces DFL candidate Jane Montemayor next month to represent the House district that includes the cities of Victoria, Chanhassen, and Chaska.   

The lawmaker did not respond to multiple messages left for him Monday.