Governor Mark Dayton urged the legislature today to join him in supporting aggressive campaign finance reform by passing HF1099/SF631. The Governor was joined by the chief authors of the legislation Senator John Marty (DFL -- Roseville) and Representative Ryan Winkler (DFL -- Golden Valley), as well as co-sponsors Senator Katie Sieben (DFL -- Cottage Grove) and Representative Steve Simon (DFL -- St. Louis Park).
Governor Dayton said, "For far too long, special interests have hidden their influence on the legislative process in Minnesota, because of weak contribution reporting requirements. Current state law allows political contributions in non-election years to be hidden for thirteen months. That is disgraceful. Minnesotans have a right to know who is paying whom for influence at the Capitol."
Dayton continued, "To lead by example, I will voluntarily follow this bill's quarterly reporting mandate, while I wait for the legislature to enact it."
"It's time to put some muscle into Minnesota's campaign finance laws. Without this disclosure, powerful interests that contribute thousands of dollars to legislators and legislative caucuses the day before session begins in January can hide in anonymity while the legislation they support is voted on. I'm pleased to work with Governor Dayton with this important first step towards reform," Senator Marty said.
"Last year conservative activists on the Supreme Court eliminated all limits on corporate campaign spending. Now corporate interests are going to court to take away the public's right to follow the campaign cash," said Representative Winkler. "We need even stronger campaign disclosure laws in Minnesota to protect our rights to know who is paying for campaigns."
"This proposal brings needed sunshine and accountability into the Minnesota campaign finance reporting process," said Senator Sieben, "The legislation mirrors what is already required for federal candidates, so it is only right that state and local campaign committees are held to the same standard."
"The public has a right to know when corporations donate large sums of money to influence elections," said Representative Simon. "This is a good government change to our campaign finance disclosure laws that simply makes it easier for the public to keep track of when, and how much, corporate cash is being spent. It's in the best interest of all Minnesota voters to have more transparent and open campaign finance laws."
The campaign finance reform bill requires all political and campaign committees and political funds that have received or spent more than $5,000 in a year to file quarterly with the campaign finance board. Federal law already requires federal candidates to file similar quarterly reports with the Federal Election Commission.