According to Minnesota Law I can't run a "petition" website so by signing this you are not signing a "petition" that would lobby the Governor to keep his hands of your family. You will simply say I want "updates" about your bill that would stop the Governor from forcefully unionizing moms and also unionize families. To satisfy Minnesota Public Radio and the bureaucracy in St. Paul the sign to the right will be removed this evening. [bold in original]
We're not surprised she was asked to clean up her committee's act.
When Bluestem first saw the website for Mary Franson's anti-union organizing legislation--symbolic language at best, given her caucus's incredibly shrunken size after November's election--we asked a labor friend well-versed in campaign finance law whether or not a legislator's campaign committee could push a petition or particular issue.
The friend didn't think that it violated state campaign finance law but suggested the effort might be a particularly lame way to spend money, especially after the close call Franson experienced in her squeaker of a relection.
As readers recall, she initially won the seat by one vote, then climbed to a margin of a dozen votes.
Turns out Bluestem's suspicions were accurate. Minnesota Public Radio's Catherine Richert reports in Franson's union bill site may violate campaign finance law:
A new website set up by Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, to promote her bill to block unionization and paid for by her campaign committee may violate state campaign finance laws. . . .
"Under chapter 10A, it's my opinion that there's nothing that would permit that kind of use of campaign money," Goldsmith said, citing state law that outlines what campaign funds can and cannot be used for.
In response to MPR's inquiry, Franson said it was a "simple oversight." And though she's not convinced that her site violates campaign finance law, she's having her web developer change the website's language.
"It's going to say something to the effect of 'If you support my legislation, sign the petition,'" she said.
Go check out the screenshots in Richert's post. The site has morphed into a sign-up for updates thingamabob, as Bluestem's own screenshot indicates.
Photo: Screenshot of the website as it stands.
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