The Dec. 29 article on Minnesota political spending (“Campaign bankrolls come from a tight circle,”) was a much-needed analysis of the impact of big money in our elections. It is important to note, however, that at present an accurate review of independent campaign contributions cannot be made because not all such contributions are required to be reported. Using media buys, such as TV and radio ads or billboards, contributors can avoid reporting the money spent to support or attack a candidate as long as the ad does not use explicit words such as “Vote for Jones” but only states “Thank you, Jones, for your position on highways.” The contributor, whether an individual, corporation or union, cannot therefore be identified.
Minnesotans need to know who is supporting the candidates they vote for in order to know where the candidate really stands and to be able to determine whether an elected official later defers to a contributor. Eliminating this loophole in the coming session would permit an accurate assessment of independent spending.
GEORGE BECK, St. Louis Park