Ex-Senator's Wife Enters Plea in Campaign E-Mail Fraud

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The wife of former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams of Minnesota has pleaded no contest to a charge that she sent e-mails during the 2000 campaign that were fraudulent and meant to discredit an opposing candidate.


Christine Gunhus admitted responsibility for four e-mails distributed to members of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party during the campaign last year. The DFL is Minnesota's version of the Democratic Party.


She was charged with violating a Minnesota law that requires all campaign literature to be clearly labeled with the name and address of the candidate or the committee circulating the material. The law applies to anyone who distributes or helps prepare campaign literature.


The e-mails Gunhus sent, in her capacity as Grams' political director, were labeled with the fictitious name Katie Stevens and were sent between May and July 2000. Gunhus married Grams shortly after the Republican senator lost his bid for re-election.


Gunhus entered a plea that guarantees she will serve no jail time. However, she can be fined up to $700.


The e-mails accused Grams' potential rival, Mike Ciresi, a trial lawyer, of being too moderate and having polluters and anti-union activists as clients. Ciresi was unsuccessful in his bid to become the Democratic challenger to Grams, who was defeated in the November election.


Grams was not implicated in the e-mail fraud.


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