Whether the announcement was intended or not, news that 3M has hired former Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe as a lobbyist didn’t particularly help its reputation rebuilding effort. It inadvertently leaves an impression that 3M is more concerned about spinning and coercing it’s a way out of the east metro chemical spill controversy than doing right by affected neighbors. I have no reason to believe that’s the case and generally sense 3M has been a solid corporate citizen, but that may be how it is taken by east metro families.
Playing it cute on the question about Moe’s duties didn’t help. Everyone knows he will be working on the spill issue, so own up to it. What else would the assignment be, tax exemptions for Post-its and O-Cel-Os?
While Moe served Minnesota with distinction in the Legislature and is known as one of the all-time great legislative strategists, using a lower profile lobbyist made more sense from a PR standpoint. In the midst of this controversy, 3M didn’t need headlines about hiring an uber-arm twister. Choosing to hire a political icon like Moe on the very same day a bill was introduced to protect Minnesotans from perfluorochemical contamination virtually guaranteed such headlines would happen. A curious call from a company in danger of being labeled Minnesota Mining Manufacturing and Mopping Up.