Tony Sutton, 46, former chairman of the Minnesota GOP has filed for
Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Along with his wife Bridget, the couple claims to have outstanding
liabilities totaling over $2 million. During his political career as state
Republican Party chairman, Sutton pushed aggressively for republican legislators
to stay in line with spending based on state revenue. In other words,
he was against any tax increases that would cause state legislators to
go over budget. Yet, finances under his watch politically were no better
than his finances personally.
Sutton’s wife is a former Republican operative and currently is a school
board member at a local high school. When the couple filed
bankruptcy they claimed they didn’t have health or life insurance. Their debt
liabilities include a wide range of creditors including unpaid federal
student loans and federal and state taxes. They owe hundreds of thousands
of dollars toward personal unsecured loans they took out to help cover
expenses related to their business.
Sutton has a significant history as a Republican Party member having held
practically every position you can think of over the last 20 years including
executive director and treasurer. Later, it was learned that Sutton had
outspent the party’s funds. This affected a ballot recount of a political
official during a 2010 election and it caused Sutton to stop making payments
on the rental space for the party’s headquarters which totaled over $100,000.
By 2011, there was more evidence Sutton mismanaged funds, which accumulated
more debt for the party. He then resigned his position abruptly. As more
debt accumulated the party lost big donors. The party has had to cut staffers
and spending in order to deal with the debt. The Suttons owe more than
$70,000 in credit card debt, $20,000 in federal student loans and $80,000
on a second mortgage. They have over 15 businesses registered at their
home address. The couple is currently in the middle of divorce proceedings.