Several hundred people gathered on the Minnesota State Capitol steps Saturday to call for sterner oversight of political financing and conflicts of interest. Many carried signs demanding that President Donald Trump release his tax returns and divest of his business holdings.
The three-hour "Show Us the Money" Tax March Minnesota was one of about 130 such events held nationwide, including a large one in Washington, D.C. Although the event was billed as nonpartisan, it featured appearances by several DFL leaders, including U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., state Rep. Ilhan Omar, DFL-Minneapolis, and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor and former chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, also spoke.
While the Washington march focused on Trump's tax returns, economic justice and open government, organizers of the Minnesota rally said their purpose was to call for stronger laws on lobbying disclosure, political financing and ethics enforcement. But many attendees were most focused on Trump's undisclosed tax returns. The rally's timing was associated with the federal tax filing deadline, which usually is April 15 but is April 18 this year.
"We are delighted by the range of signs expressing issues that brought people here," said march organizer Jennie Ward. "We can change our system to know what elected officials' conflicts of interests are."
She said activists also hope to spark reforms in Minnesota.
"Money is in politics. That's not going to change, but what we want here in Minnesota is to know where the money comes from," Ward said. "We are here to gather as many people in this bipartisan effort to shine light on campaign finance reform, electoral transparency, PACs and Super PACs."
Participants, many carrying signs and wearing T-shirts bearing slogans and demands, came and went throughout the day. Organizers estimated that more than 500 people stood on the Capitol mall at the event's peak. Minnesota State Capitol Security did not have an official crowd estimate.