A defamation lawsuit filed against Representative Mary Franson (R-Alexandria) by a litigious old boyfriend (served up the week of the endorsing convention but so not intended to damage her political career) and an assault on a frail Franson supporter by a local Republican supporting challenger Sue Nelson aren't the only hijinks in the West Central Minnesota conservative contest.
Now there's an endorsement mailing on Nelson's behalf by Americans for Marriage and Life, urging delegates to select Nelson at Saturday's endorsing convention (image right).
Mary Franson first tweeted that the group was formed last week, along with a copy of the mailing, but then deleted the tweet and retweeted the image (locked account), asking if the organization were registered with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
However, Twin Cities radio preacher Gary Borgendale did register the organization as a "527" committee with the Internal Revenue Service in 2008. The 8871 form is viewable here via the IRS's database.
The purpose of the organization is to:
Promote federal, state and local candidates that share the view that marriage is between one man and one woman and promote candiates that are pro life
According to Open Secrets:
527 Group — A tax-exempt group organized under section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code to raise money for political activities including voter mobilization efforts, issue advocacy and the like. Currently, the FEC only requires a 527 group to file regular disclosure reports if it is a political party or political action committee (PAC) that engages in either activities expressly advocating the election or defeat of a federal candidate, or in electioneering communications. Otherwise, it must file either with the government of the state in which it is located or the Internal Revenue Service. Many 527s run by special interest groups raise unlimited "soft money," which they use for voter mobilization and certain types of issue advocacy, but not for efforts that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a federal candidate or amount to electioneering communications.
Since the stated propose of AML is to "promote federal, state and local candidates," we're surprised that there isn't more paperwork anywhere.
Bluestem has called the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board to see if the mailing falls within the boundaries set by Minnesota campaign and election lae.
We're also curious how the organization obtained the mailing addresses for delegates to this weekend's endorsing convention. Is it a common practice of Republican BPOUs to share this information with 527s? Or did the committee obtain the list from a candidate? Is this an example of coordination?
The Manhattan Declaration
The mailer endorses Nelson because of her signature on the Manhattan Declaration, a project Chuck Colson and other conservative Christians established in 2009. Right Wing Watch writes in The Right's New Manhattan Project:
It seems that Chuck Colson has gathered together a group of right-wing activists and clergy for something called the "Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience" in order to create a unified front in fighting the culture war:
The manifesto, to be released on Friday at the National Press Club in Washington, is an effort to rejuvenate the political alliance of conservative Catholics and evangelicals that dominated the religious debate during the administration of President George W. Bush. The signers include nine Roman Catholic archbishops and the primate of the Orthodox Church in America.
They want to signal to the Obama administration and to Congress that they are still a formidable force that will not compromise on abortion, stem-cell research or gay marriage. They hope to influence current debates over health care reform, the same-sex marriage bill in Washington, D.C., and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
They say they also want to speak to younger Christians who have become engaged in issues like climate change and global poverty, and who are more accepting of homosexuality than their elders. They say they want to remind them that abortion, homosexuality and religious freedom are still paramount issues.
For some reason, the headline of the New York Times article is "Christian Leaders Unite on Political Issues" instead of "Right Wing Activists Unite On Political Issues" . . .
In light of Franson's perjorative remarks about "fascism" during the Safe Schools bill debate before the Easter-Passover recess, it's ironic to read at Right Wing Watch in Can The Religious Right Please Stop With The Nazi Comparisons?:
Ever since the Religious Right drafted and released The Manhattan Declaration in 2009, the authors and supporters of the document has made no bones about the fact that they believe themselves to be courageous heroes in the mold of those who resisted the Nazis in Germany.
And just in case the analogy had not yet been made crystal clear, co-author Timothy George has an essay in the Spring edition of Beeson magazine [PDF] in which he explicitly links the Manhattan Declaration to the Barmen Declaration, the 1934 statement by the Confessing Church standing in opposition to the Nazi take over of the German church.
George admits that "the plight of the church in North America today, serious as it is, is not analogous to the repression Jews, Christians and many others experienced in Hitler’s Germany," but then proceeds to explain how the Manhattan Declaration and the Barmen Declaration are two sides of the same coin . . .
Read the rest at RWW.
Given that Nelson is down with this bunch, we tried to wonder what Nelson's speech on the floor might have been like if Franson has been judged insufficiently hating on the cute boys and found ourselves unable to wrap our heads around that possibility.
Perhaps as disturbing: so far, Franson and Nelson are the only two candidates to put their candidacies forward. Is there no DFLer who will think of the children?
Photo: the image of the letter that Franson tweeted.
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