Is Ringling Museum Grounds Appropriate For Presidential Campaign Rally?

Ringling Museum says event for Gov. Mitt Romney was "rented" at "fair market venue."

Updated 9:59 a.m. Sept. 21

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art's place in a presidential campaign was a "fair market value" rental, according to museum staff.

Patch readers wanted to know this week whether the public museum operated by the Florida State University system was appropriate to be the site of the Gov. Mitt Romney rally on Thursday afternoon.

The Ringling Museum's spokesman Scott Gardiner told Patch the campaign event was OK within the museum's and Florida State University policies.

"As with any organization, special events require modification to our standard conditions. As an example, the recent Jackie Evancho “Dream with Me” filming, produced for PBS in April of 2010, did not fit within the standard conditions and a special rental agreement was created," Gardiner told Patch. 

The museum operated as normal Thursday and none of the buildings were closed off to the public.

"Ringling is not hosting or sponsoring the Mitt Romney event," Gardiner continued. "The Ringling Museum is being rented through a business transaction at fair market value."

The rental policy posted on the museum's website is for after-hours events and used for common events such as weddings and rentals and specifiies no revenue-generating or political events could be hosted at the museum. 

However, the definition of what hosting exactly means could be debated.

Florida State University policy restricts political activities:

However, current state laws and regulations prohibit state employees from using state resources to participate in political campaigns or activities including lobbying and political solicitation of any kind. 


FSU will neither host nor sponsor a political rally or fundraiser and under no circumstances may the university participate in generating press coverage or soliciting attendance at any such events.

As visitors came into Ringling, it wasn't just a back courtyard that was host to political activity. The entrance was littered with Vern Buchannan for Congress signs, vendors both set up booths for campaign merchandise and roamed the sidewalks and protestors crowded the sidewalks of Ringling and the streets, too.

As the conversation furthers, a Patch Facebook fan this isn't the first FSU facility to be used for a presidential campaign stop this year. Michelle Obama delivered a campaign speech Monday at the Donald L. Tucker Center, commonly known as the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center.


What do you think? Should the Ringling Museum rent out venues for certain campaign events or presidential campaigns?

Gary Price September 24, 2012 at 06:38 PM
There goes Richard supporting the people that pay his bills. Let's see if I get this right. First, Richard says I am going to blame Obama and you can't blame Bush. Second, let's do anything we can from a real comparison between the two Presidents why? Because Bush was in office a full eight years prior to the 2nd largest financial collapse in our countries history. One would have to conclude that Richard/republicans are under the illusion that financial collapses spawn prosperity or potentially he/they are completely oblivious about it's existence. How bad was the financial collapse? Get it directly from Paul Ryan himself http://youtu.be/J3U8ZrThR3M. Remember, the cause of the disease is not the cure. Vote Democratic this fall.
virginia hoffman September 25, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Clear indication on how a Romney Administration will conduct itself rule with two sets of rules one for Romney & his cronies and another set for the rest of us.
Gary Price September 25, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Great Commercial that just started airing today for Keith Fitzgerald. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKpoHdVp9hE&feature=plcp
Eleanor Sackler December 14, 2012 at 05:00 PM
i love that I'm looking at this a few months later and the President has been reelected. No amount of pomp and circumstance (or smoke and mirrors) could elect Mitt Romney!
Gary Price December 14, 2012 at 07:46 PM
It is rewarding when your on the winning and just side of the debate. Stay vigilant, there is much work to be done at the state level.


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