HRC Blog

Minnesota Has Become the Wild, Wild West of Campaign Disclosure this Cycle

Post submitted by Kevin Nix, Former HRC Campaign Media Director

HRC today welcomed the formal complaint launched by Common Cause Minnesota charging anti-gay groups have run afoul of Minnesota campaign finance laws. According to the complaint, Minnesota for Marriage - the umbrella group that opposes marriage equality - filed a false and "sufficiently suspicious" financial report to the state elections board. Just because the group may disagree with Minnesota’s disclosure laws, the complaint noted, "disagreement is no excuse for noncompliance." Common Cause calls for the board to open an investigation and levy the maximum penalty, including criminal and civil penalties.

“No individual or organization is above the law,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “But Minnesota has become the Wild, Wild West where anti-gay groups think they can get away with thumbing their nose at state laws governing financial disclosure. The arrogance boggles the mind but fits the national trend established by the National Organization for Marriage of picking and choosing which laws it likes and which it doesn’t.”

Earlier this month, HRC released an analysis of campaign disclosure reports that reveal the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a leading member of Minnesota for Marriage, and its allied groups launched an unprecedented effort to avoid disclosing individual donors as required by Minnesota law. Such secrecy once again reveals NOM is not a grassroots organization but serves the interest of a handful of wealthy anti-gay donors. HRC urged the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Disclosure Board to investigate NOM’s financial activity around the Minnesota ballot measure.
The basis of Common Cause’s complaint is that anti-gay groups have not been properly reporting their donors to the ballot initiative campaign. Reporting only seven individual donors in 2011 is highly suspect.  Common Cause  filed a separate complaint against the Minnesota Family Council, which allegedly failed to register as a political committee The complaint against Minnesota for Marriage can be viewed here and against Minnesota Family Council here.

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