Campaign finance legislation that’s proposing to increase fundraising limits for candidates has passed to the House and Senate floors. The House and Senate bills allow spending and contribution increases to give candidates a chance to compete with big-spending outside groups.
If you didn't go to any fundraisers on Monday, then you probably don’t lobby the state Capitol. A torrent of fundraisers marked the last day before the start of the 2013 legislative session, which by law was the last day lobbyists could give money to legislators’ and legislative caucuses’ campaigns.
Here’s a guide to key policy matters that are likely to be addressed and heavily lobbied in the 2013 legislative session.
A glance through the Legislature’s official 2012 Election Directory offers few details on what, exactly, a large number of lawmakers do for a living. Of the legislators who will take a seat in the upcoming session, a dozen list their occupation as “consulting,” and 19 more describe their profession as a “small-business owner,” or, in some cases, simply, “business.”
The path through any budget session leads to a negotiating table at which the governor and legislative leaders work out the most politically palatable taxing and spending deal they can muster. But the budget is never the only game in town. Before the session endgame gets played out, a network of committees will play host to various and sundry dramas involving policy issues before state government.[...]
During the 1992 election cycle, individuals could contribute a total of $2,000 to state House and Senate campaigns. But during the next legislative session, those campaign contribution limits were dramatically reduced. The new caps on individual contributions to state legislative campaigns: $100 in non-election years and $500 in election years.
Minnesota’s 2012 Democratic legislative campaigns started about two years ago. The exact date depends on who you ask.
State GOP chair Pat Shortridge sent out an email to donors last week imploring them to contribute additional money to the cash-strapped party. In the memo Shortridge details plans for roughly $380,000 in campaign spending, but notes that the party only has financial commitments for $115,000.
The campaign finance reports released last week show that political action committees large and small have been funneling lots of money into legislative races.
No fewer than half a dozen major players have emerged among the ranks of pro-Republican business PACs in this election cycle. But while their 42-day pre-general election campaign finance reports are now available for all to see, they continue to play it close with respect to their big-picture plans.
Republican Senate candidate Brandon Anderson needed $800, and quick, in order to qualify for the public subsidy for legislative candidates. So he proposed that he and fellow GOP candidates swap donations to each other to help them all qualify -- a move that has attracted the attention of the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
Political watchers waiting for a firm ruling on the months-long debate over whether the Republican Party of Minnesota is responsible for 2010 gubernatorial recount debt might still be seeking answers after a key campaign finance board meeting next week.
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