Gov. Mark Dayton said Monday that he would veto a budget bill funding various state agencies if it includes several provisions he and DFL state lawmakers see as undermining the disclosure of special interest spending to influence elections.
"It'd be a terrible direction for Minnesota," Dayton said at a news conference. "We have a history of strong campaign finance protections."
The state government finance omnibus bill, which the GOP-controlled House passed in late April, contains several measures that drew fire from Dayton and DFL lawmakers.
The legislation would effectively end campaign spending limits for statewide candidates including in governor's races, as well as for other statewide offices and in state legislative races. It would remove limits on the number of total donations that could be received by lobbyists and political action committees, and end public subsidies for campaigns.
"Do the citizens of Minnesota really want to see their tax dollars going to politicians' campaigns?" Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth, the sponsor of the state government bill, said last month. She also noted that Democrats in Minnesota as a group have been the recipient of more political donations than Republicans in recent election cycles.
House Democrats have pushed legislation they say would go in the opposite direction, to force greater disclosure of spending by political groups on issue-based mailers that still mention specific candidates but stop short of calling for votes for or against them. A companion bill in the DFL-controlled Senate has seen some progress this year, but Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Newport, said it was unlikely to advance if it does not move in the House.