Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer's campaign made calls to the state campaign finance board about a possible error by his House campaign, according to an Emmer spokesman. The possible problem, whether or not it is a violation, connects Emmer to a controversial non-profit.
At issue, a November 2008 $250 contribution Emmer's House campaign made to You Can Run International, a non-profit ministry. State law allows active campaigns to donate no more than $100 to non-profit organizations, Van Guilder said.
"The campaign found the error this morning," Emmer press secretary Chris Van Guilder said via email Tuesday evening. "We noticed that Tom’s House campaign made a donation to a non-profit that exceeded the limit and we are working with the [campaign finance board] to fix the error."
Van Guilder later said that the $250 may not be a violation after all.
"It was not a donation," he said. The money was to pay for a dinner event, which may mean it is not a violation of the limit, he said. "Now we have to go back to the board ... The assumption is that is not a violation."
He said the campaign is trying to self-report to make things square. (Emmer's campaign committees have twice fixed other campaign finance errors this month and filed amendments.)
But the connection between Emmer and You Can Run has long been an attention-getter, particularly at the liberal-leaning Minnesota Independent.
On Tuesday morning the Web site wrote that Emmer had accepted an invitation to visit with Bradlee Dean, the non-profit's founder.
The same post said that Dean recently said: “Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America...This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws.”
In response to the Minnesota Independent's request for comment, Van Guilder said: "[Emmer] is a supporter of traditional marriage, and he strongly opposes any kind of violence or unfair discrimination against any group."
Earlier this year, before Dean's comment about executions, Emmer praised the work of You Can't Run but said he wasn't going to be held responsible for all of the views of those involved.
"My understanding is that it’s a Christian-based ministry that’s about family, that is about respect for yourself….I know that they’re a pro-marriage, pro-traditional marriage group," he said.
He said he had attended a fundraiser for them and was on their radio show a few times.
"These are nice people. Are we going to agree on everything? No....I really appreciate their passion and you know what I respect their point of view," he said. "I respect their right to have whatever view. That’s what makes it a great country. You don’t have to agree with it."