Some Minneapolis elected officials have adopted a higher standard on political contributions than what the law requires.
Council Member Cam Gordon said he wouldn't take a contribution from developer Bianca Fine, if offered, because her firm is seeking financial assistance for a housing development in the Cedar-Riverside area of Gordon's ward.
Last year, Fine gave Mayor R.T. Rybak the maximum contribution of $100.
And this month, Gordon returned a $300 contribution to Stadium Village-area bar owner Tony Patterson, who stood to benefit from an ordinance change, proposed by Gordon, that the council adopted Oct. 2. The change allowed bars near the University of Minnesota football stadium to open extra space for special events, making it easier to capture Gophers game business. The amendment passed through a committee on which Gordon sits.
Gordon's September campaign disclosure report included the $300 contribution, but Gordon said he didn't notice it until this month, when he had his campaign treasurer return it. He said he has since arranged to get real-time updates on campaign checks so that he can return them more quickly if warranted.
"I don't take money from people with business before the city," Gordon said. He said that goes for contributions that come in from 90 days before a person's issue comes before the council until one year afterward.
The first-term Gordon is Green Party-endorsed and the only non-DFLer on the council. He said city attorneys advised him and other council members interested in more disclosure of contributions that they'd need explicit permission from the Legislature to mandate that locally.