The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure board is cash-strapped and looking for ways out, according to a memo from its executive director.
Later this week, the board will discuss whether it should ask lawmakers and the governor for $1 million for each of the next fiscal years or whether to ask for a smaller amount but institute registration fees on lobbyists, candidates or political committees to make up the gap. While other states use fees, executive director Gary Goldsmith told board members in a memo that fees could result in a lawsuit no matter how they are set.
The board currently has a budget of $689,000, which Goldsmith said is the lowest level it has been since 2003.
With the current budget levels, “we have been able to carry on, but never to excel or improve,” Goldsmith said.
At the same time, the board has seen a “soaring number of complaints,” which it has a tough time investigating; received questionable campaign finance reports that it cannot investigate or audit; has no staff time to analyze the data it accumulates and offer treasurers less support and training than they need.
Amid reports that Donald Trump was in danger of not getting on Minnesota's presidential ballot, the Trump campaign says everything is in order and voters will have a chance to cast their ballot for him in November.
Interest groups spent less slightly money lobbying state government in 2015 than in the previous year, according to a report released Wednesday by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.