To: Interested Parties
November 1, 2022
GOP SUPERPAC KNOWN NATIONALLY FOR DISINFORMATION LAUNCHES AD CAMPAIGN ENCOURAGING CANNABIS VOTERS TO VOTE FOR DECEASED LEGALIZE MARIJUANA NOW CANDIDATE PAULA OVERBY
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2022: A day late for Halloween, Republican SuperPAC Right Now USA is masquerading as the Legalize Marijuana Now (LMN) Party in a new digital ad campaign that encourages voters in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District to cast their ballots “in loving memory” of recently deceased LMN candidate Paula Overby. This is the latest instance of the GOP’s well-documented strategy of co-opting Minnesota’s cannabis legalization parties to divert pro-legalization voters away from DFL candidates.
Right Now USA is a conservative SuperPAC with a long public history of misinformation and fake news campaigns. The deceptive digital ads are paid for by Right Now USA, a conservative SuperPAC based in Minneapolis that launched in 2017.
In December 2021, Right Now USA received national press attention after it promoted a fake New York Times opinion piece calling for teachers to allow bullying of students who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19. In 2018, the group was called out by MPRNews for using “misleading and fake information to influence the outcome of the election.” In 2020, the Minnesota Reformer published an in-depth piece about the Right Now USA’s donors, operations, and lengthy record of disinformation campaigns, noting that Facebook has repeatedly flagged the group’s ads as violating political advertising rules or for being misleading or false.
Right Now USA’s last FEC report listed no independent expenditures but its Minnesota arm, Right Now MN’s pre-general report to the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board showed over $40,000 in independent expenditures paid to 1854, Inc., a company created by the group specifically for trafficking their digital advertising. Right Now MN’s pre-general report shows that the group has over $56,000 in cash on hand.
Minnesota’s cannabis legalization advocates condemn Right Now USA’s ads as not only deceptive but also repugnant.
Minnesota’s leading cannabis legalization advocacy organizations, who have formed the MNisReady Coalition to educate voters about candidates’ stances on the issue of legalization, strongly condemns Right Now USA’s ads for seeking to mislead and manipulate pro-legalization voters and for invoking Paula Overby’s name and memory to do so. While it has been and remains the position of the Coalition (which does not endorse candidates but identifies them for voters as pro- and anti-legalization based on their public records or questionnaire responses), that Overby and other LMN candidates decrease the election chances of pro-legalization candidates like Angie Craig against anti-legalization candidates like Tyler Kistner, the Coalition recognizes, respects, and appreciates Paula Overby as a true, long-time advocate for cannabis legalization whose memory deserves better than to be weaponized by Right Now USA to trick voters into helping an anti-legalization candidate.
The MNisReady Coalition was founded by Minnesota’s three leading cannabis advocacy groups – Sensible Change Minnesota, Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Regulation, and Minnesota NORML. Its membership consists of non-profit organizations, private industry members, and others who support the full legalization of cannabis in Minnesota.