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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Erik's Bribes

Lately, Erik Hjelle and his pals have taken to referring to campaign contributions as "bribes." Never mind the courts that regard campaign donations as a form of constitutionally protected political expression. Apparently only people who have money of their own to spend on running for office should be allowed to do so. Erik & Co. also like to talk about how many of my campaign donors were outside of Maplewood. As I wrote back in 2007, I am proud of how well I did at fundraising, and I am pleased that I was supported by so many friends and family across the country who don't care particularly about Maplewood but just believe in me.

What's ironic about Erik's self-righteous chest thumping is that there is only one sitting member of the Maplewood City Council who has actually been fined for violating campaign finance laws. You guessed it: Erik Hjelle, who was found to have accepted campaign contributions ("bribes," I guess he would call them) over the legal limit, and to have illegally used corporate funds to pay campaign expenses, in 2005. Erik was caught up in campaign law violations again in 2007, when his "Maplewood Firefighters Association" (which was spending money to influence the election) was fined $1000 for false claims.

What are the odds that Erik will go three for three and find a way to run afoul of campaign laws again this year? Stay tuned...


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