Main | Tuesday, February 07, 2012

MN Group Dodges Campaign Laws

The anti-gay Minnesota For Marriage appears to have dodged state campaign finance laws in accepting shielded donations from NOM and the Catholic Church.

Rosie Gray reports at Buzzfeed:
Minnesota for Marriage Chairman John Helmberger sent a series of emails soliciting contributions not to its own political action committee – which must disclose its donors – but to a non-profit group that backs it, and which he also heads, the Minnesota Family Council. The maneuver, described in campaign finance circles as a “Russian doll” arrangement, appears to run afoul of Minnesota’s unusually tight campaign finance laws, a top state official suggested in an interview. [snip]

Minnesota campaign finance law appears to forbid just this kind of indirect fundraising. Disclosures that must be reported include money “given in response to a solicitation,” like the one above. According to the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board: “Money given in response to a solicitation that requests money for the express purpose of supporting the association's campaign to promote or defeat the ballot question is a contribution. An express request is a request that asks for money and states that the money is sought to support the ballot question campaign.”

Minnesota campaign finance board chairman Gary Goldsmith told BuzzFeed that “If they specifically solicited money for the ballot measure and didn’t disclose that, it would be against the rules.”
As we well know, NOM always thumbs its nose at court rulings about financial wrongdoings and just files appeal after appeal, knowing that the clock will run out on the election in question before they are ever forced to comply. We'll see if Minnesota's "unusually tight" rules prove to be an exception. For once.

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