Minnesota’s Future, a conservative political organization, violated Minnesota’s campaign finance rules by failing to properly disclose the names of its donors, according to a complaint filed by Common Cause Minnesota.
At issue is a $429,000 contribution that the Republican Governors Association funneled to the group, which has been running television commercials bashing DFL gubernatorial nominee Mark Dayton. Common Cause argues in the complaint that Minnesota’s Future was required to disclose the names of donors who contributed to the Republican Governors Association.
Mike Dean, executive director of the watchdog organization, suggested at a Capitol press conference that Minnesota’s Future could be fined more than $5 million for the violation and even face criminal prosecution. “This could be one of the largest fines ever brought down by the campaign finance and public disclosure board if they’re found guilty,” he said.
But Common Cause did not file a similar complaint against WIN Minnesota, a DFL-aligned organization that has been helping pay for attack ads against GOP nominee Tom Emmer. The group received a similar $250,000 contribution from the Democratic Governors Association (DGA).
Dean said WIN Minnesota is in compliance with the law because it’s organized under a different section of the tax code and has a broader mandate then simply influencing electoral politics. But he conceded that WIN Minnesota is no more transparent in revealing the source of the DGA money then its conservative counterpart. “The issue is one organization followed the law and the other organization did not,” Dean said.
Chris Tiedeman, chair of Minnesota’s Future, dismissed Common Cause as a “DFL front group.” “Frankly it’s a joke,” he said. “We’re confident the complaint will be dismissed.”