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Minnesota: checking metadata on political websites

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports: A GOP legislator's official news release finds its way to her congressional campaign website. DFL websites are found to contain material from computers at public schools and a private law firm.

Do such revelations, and others like them, represent an outbreak of political lawlessness in a state noted for aboveboard campaigning? Or are they a series of minor slipups by busy volunteer activists who are being outed in Minnesota's hottest new partisan blood sport?

A flurry of allegations have been exchanged in recent weeks, generally via e-mail or web logs, accusing political activists in both major parties of preparing political materials on computers where they work.

It is illegal under Minnesota law to use public resources for partisan purposes, and political work on corporate computers could, if officially sanctioned, constitute an illegal contribution.

The accusations typically follow a search of the "properties" field of Microsoft Word documents that is supposed to show where they were created. -- Latest political bickering focuses on who typed what, and where

Hint: download the "Remove Hidden Data Tool" from the Microsoft Support Site and use it before sharing your document with others.