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New push to disclose political spending

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators Updated: January 13, 2014 - 4:38 PM

Minnesota lawmakers this year will again tackle the thorny issue of uncovering undisclosed campaign spending.

Minnesota law currently allows organizations to broadcast and send political messages without disclosing their source of cash if the spending comes from political non-profit organizations or other groups that currently don't disclose. But Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, plans on pushing a measure that would require transparency about the messages no matter who is sending them.

"We've got big loopholes that allow people to big money on campaigns without saying who is paying for it," Winkler said. Essentially, if the bill becomes law, any group that sends out messages shortly before a primary or general election that look clearly political would have to reveal their spending and their sources of cash.

The push follows a similar but failed effort last year.

Last week, Minnesota’s Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board moved to ask the Legislature to require groups that sponsor political ads, email or text messages about a "clearly identified candidate" shortly before a primary or general election to disclose their spending and donors.

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce said it is among those,"scrupulous in following, disclosing and reporting required information concerning campaign activities."

"We do not support further restrictions on our abilities to advocate on behalf of candidates or issues,” Laura Bordelon, the Chamber's senior vice president for advocacy.

The legislative session starts on Feb. 25.

The WInkler proposal:

14-4109 by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

This post was updated with the statement from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

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