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.
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?