Credit to the Bluestem Prairie blog for shining some light on one of the more, um, interesting advertisements for a home-improvement business that I've seen in awhile.
Or is it an interesting campaign ad that weaves in an advertisement for a home-improvement business?
Or is it an obvious attempt to skirt campaign rules?
As Bluestem Prairie reports, an Elk River, Minn., based business called Integrity Exteriors and Remodelers Inc. is using a gentleman named Tom Emmer as its pitchman in TV ads being shown in the Twin Cities. Funny thing is, Emmer is a declared candidate for Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District (the seat currently held by Michele Bachmann).
And, even funnier, Emmer and Integrity make no bones about Emmer's candidacy. To the candidate/pitchman's (or is it pitchman/candidate's) left is a massive campaign sign that takes up two-thirds of the screen and reads "Emmer for Congress."
The text of the commerical also leaves no doubt as to what Emmer is. The pitchman/candidate begins his spiel by saying:
"Hi, my name is Tom Emmer and I'm running for Congress in Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District. If you're looking for somebody to do remodeling ...." Blah, blah blah.
This is interesting. Because, as the Bluestem blog points out it appears Integrity CEO Andrew Dahlberg hasn't made any campaign contributions:
A quick check with the Federal Election Commission and the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board individual contributor databases reveals that Dahlberg does not appear to have made any federal or state campaign contributions large enough to require disclosure by either agency.
The ad may raise eyebrows--if not legal questions--because Emmer introduces the testimonial ad as a candidate running for congress, while standing before a yard sign.
So the question is, is it allowable for a political candidate to be hired as a spokesman for a business and then use the advertising time to not only pitch the business, but the candidacy as well?
I'll leave that up the lawyers and election commissions. And I'm sure the other Republican candidates for the seat also might have some questions/objections to the ad.
The other question, as raised by The Glean at MinnPost is: How desperate is Emmer for money if he is doing TV pitches for a general contractor?
Here is the ad, via YouTube. Just sit back and enjoy the blatant campaigning that's happening in this general contracting advertisement:
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(Mike McFeely is a talk-show host on KFGO-AM in Fargo, N.D. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcFeelyKFGO.)