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Minnesota companies should be held accountable for PAC attack ads


In “Minnesota lawyers, companies, help fund super PACs running attack ads in attorney general’s race,” readers learn that two of the state’s largest corporations, 3M and a Wells Fargo subsidiary, contributed $80,000 and $25,000 respectively to two shameful, racially tinged, dog-whistle ads attacking Attorney General Keith Ellison.

As was the case more than 30 years ago, these Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) ads are reminiscent of the notorious 1988 Republican “Wille Horton ad.” Like their predecessor, the RAGA ads are designed to stoke fear, sow division, and distract Minnesotans from the real conversations on how to keep our communities safe and thriving. These egregious ads in support of Jim Schultz falsely project Ellison as the champion of a fictional body of prison inmates and an opponent of police. And to heighten the scariness of these fake messages, their words overlay questionable scenes of incarcerated riots, young people fighting, and carjackings – some scenes already proven to not be in Minnesota.

Even after making a smaller donation to RAGA’s opponent, it’s impossible to excuse this harm with a false “both sides” argument. When Minnesota’s premier corporation, 3M, touts its commitment to social justice and is recognized as one of the “world’s most ethical companies,” Minnesotans expect nothing less from this corporation, especially when its “voice” is heard in an oversized way. But while 3M claims its contributions are for helping “to advance (its) mission of improving every life,” Minnesotans must ask: How do false, dog-whistle ads improve our lives? Are not ethics and integrity just as important in how you engage and communicate in our nation’s elections? We must wonder, as the article suggests, that 3M’s true motivation for funding these deceitful RAGA ads is based on supporting an AG who has a track record of suing corporations for practices that harm Minnesotans or a challenger who is a hedge fund lawyer whose corporate investors place investment decisions over the greater needs of society. Especially to 3M, your $80,000 behind these disgusting, dog whistle ads negate all the so-called good will you claim you want for Minnesotans.

Sanna Nimtz Towns is a resident of Inver Grove Heights


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