Reporting Esme Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Three Minnesota campaigns are expressing outrage Wednesday after their campaign Facebook sites were hacked.
Minnesota for Marriage and the Minnesota Catholic Conference — two of the biggest supporters of the Marriage amendment — were targeted.
The third campaign was that of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills.
In each case, the hackers made posts that the campaigns say they strongly disagree with or never would have posted.
Campaign dirty tricks have been around for as long as campaigns. But, in the era of social media, hacking into Facebook is the new weapon of choice.
Andy Parrish is the deputy campaign manager for Minnesota for Marriage. He said the hacker broke into his personal email, Twitter and Facebook accounts — and then used his administrative privileges to post a biblical passage on the Minnesota For Marriage site, which says gays should be killed.
“If we can find out who this person is I personally will press charges to the fullest extent of the law,” Parrish said.
The biblical passage was from Leviticus 20:13, which reads:
“If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”
Also hacked was a Facebook site maintained by the Minnesota Catholic Conference, which has also worked hard for the passage of the marriage amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
Republican Kurt Bills, who is running against U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, said his Facebook account was hacked, as well. The hacker posted that Bills was about to announce his opposition to the marriage amendment, he said.
Bills has, in fact, said he plans to vote for the amendment.
“We have reported it to Facebook and we will be reporting it to the Attorney General and we hope somebody does something about it,” said Mike Oskopp, Bills’ campaign manager.
The victims of the hacking suspect their political opponents.
“The other side will do anything it can to change the message,” Parrish said.
But the leading group working against the amendment denounced the hackings.
“Whoever is responsible for this kind of hacking should be ashamed of themselves,” said Pastor Grant Stevensen of Minnesotans United For All Families.
All three groups have reported the hackings to Facebook — we reached out to Facebook but they declined to comment.
It’s not clear what, if any, laws were broken here. But some of the victims are saying they want to press charges if they can find out who is responsible.
The controversial Bible passage remained up on the Minnesota for Marriage Facebook page for most of the day. Minnesota for Marriage says they left it up at the request of the Facebook forensics team.
Facebook has told the three campaigns they are working to identify the hacker.