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Barb Johnson faces campaign expense hearing

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Minneapolis Council President Barb Johnson was before a three-judge panel in St. Paul today, defending her use of campaign funds for expenditures such as dry-cleaning and haircuts.

Johnson's attorney, Corey Ayling, led her through a series of questions about expenses that were called into question after a City Pages story last fall. Also called to the stand were Sarah Janecek, publisher of Politics in Minnesota, and former city council president Louis DeMars. Both said appearance was of the utmost importance and a legitimate campaign cost.

"One bad public appearance--one bad hair day--and it gets on the Internet," Ayling said.

Ayling argued that state campaign law is not as stringent as federal, and that under it Johnson's expenses are allowed. The three-judge panel must rule on the campaign expenses 30 days after final briefs are filed. A decision is expected by mid-March.