With Michelle Bachmann’s?announcement that she is retiring, the field is filling up fast with Republican primary candidates to replace her. No other candidate has the name recognition, not to mention the deep pockets and strong fundraising, than former Minnesota State Representative Tom Emmer. Emmer is best known in Minnesota for his losing bid for Minnesota governor, losing by a razor-thin margin, nearly 8,700 votes, confirmed by a recount that lasted for?over a month after the election.
But, just as the campaign was getting on its feet, Tom Emmer appeared in an advertisement for a local construction and remodeling company. This company had just completed work on Emmer’s campaign office, and according to the Tom Emmer campaign, Emmer?had decided to do a pitch for them, due to his gratitude for a job well done.
Stephen Colbert does a perfect job pillorying the decision, as well as the quality of the ad:
The Emmer campaign defended the ad saying;
[The construction and remodeling company] asked Tom for a testimonial of the work they did, and he was more than happy to support a local business out of Elk Rive. It was not Tom’s intention for this testimonial to be used in a broadcast capacity or advertisement for the campaign, and we have asked Integrity to discontinue its use.
Only, Tom Emmer was standing in front of a large ‘Tom Emmer for Congress” campaign sign and started the pitch by saying;
“Hi, I’m Tom Emmer, and I’m running for Congress in Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District. If you’re looking for someone to do remodeling, siding or general construction ? residential or commercial ? I can tell you without qualification, you need to call the folks at [this company]. They’re the best.”
So, it would seem that, regardless of the campaign’s claim that Emmer had not intended to advertise his campaign, there is no getting around the fact that he meant his candidacy to be front and center in the ad. Also, the fact that the campaign requested that the ad be discontinued does not shield them from campaign finance law penalties. Paul Ryan, senior counsel for the Washington-based Campaign Legal Center says;
“Even if the ad was pulled quickly, and even if Emmer didn’t intend for it to air as a commercial,?the candidate and the company could face severe penalties from the Federal Election Commission. He said that in 2004 a U.S. Senate candidate in Illinois appeared in an ad for his own dairy business ? without mentioning his candidacy ? and was slapped with a $21,000 FEC fine.”
At this point, the FEC is not investigating Tom Emmer for the ad, but the mere fact that he is running to replace U.S. Representative Michelle Bachmann, herself a subject of multiple FEC violations, while already allegedly breaking campaign finance laws himself, is an omen for more of the same, should he win.
Liberal America will be tracking and reporting on Tom Emmer’s candidacy as he tries to win the Minnesota 6th Congressional District seat.
Edited by SS