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The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board has released a much anticipated set of rules that tells ballot initiative campaigns if they need to disclose the original sources of their financial donors.

The Paper Trail: Campaign finance panel guidance on ballot initiative contributions

Gary Goldsmith

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board has released a draft of a much-anticipated set of rules to spell out to ballot initiative campaigns the circumstances under which they need to disclose the original sources of their financial donors.

Conservative groups have contended that non-profit corporations that give money to ballot initiative efforts shouldn’t have to disclose their donors. Earlier this year, the CFPD Board overturned one of its rules that allowed for so-called underlying source contributions to remain undisclosed.

Next year’s ballot proposal to amend Minnesota’s Constitution to ban gay marriage  makes the issue a pressing matter. But no legal action has been taken yet as interested groups have awaited the CFPD’s guidance. The board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, October 4, to discuss the guidelines.

Gary Goldsmith, the CFPD’s executive director, wrote in a memo to the CFPD members the guidance takes a “conservative” approach to the definition of a contribution.

“This proposed narrow definition favors free speech at the expense of not obtaining the maximum possible disclosure that might be constitutionally permitted,” Goldsmith wrote.


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