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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Campaign Finanace Reform Minnesota Style

I was cleaning out an old folder of saved emails when I came across this.

"On January 21, Hamline University political science and law professor David Schultz met with House Minority Leader Matt Entenza. The reason for their meeting was to discuss possible changes to Minnesota's campaign finance laws. At Entenza's behest, Schultz had drafted a series of suggestions for tightening contribution limits and broadening disclosure requirements.
At the time, Entenza was facing intense scrutiny for pouring money into DFL-affiliated organizations in the final weeks of the 2004 election campaign. The St. Paul lawmaker and his wife, Lois Quam, an executive with UnitedHealth Group, donated some $600,000 to DFL causes during the election cycle. The scope of the couple's political benevolence, however, was not disclosed until after the election--when the Democrats picked up 13 seats in the House and came within one victory of toppling the Republican majority.
Schultz laid out eight suggested changes to Minnesota's campaign finance laws. Under his proposal, all political donations--whether to so-called 527 groups such as 21st Century Democrats (the organization that received much of Entenza's support last year) or directly to campaigns--would have to be disclosed within 48 hours. In addition, all contributions would be limited to $1,000. There were also measures designed to curb attack ads in the final weeks of campaigns. Many of the changes mimic those implemented in 2002 at the federal level through the McCain-Feingold bill. "

Now many of you know that I am not a huge fan of the McCain-Feingold bill. I am also not a huge fan of Common Cause, which is the organization that Mr. Schultz is affiliated with. However, I am also not a fan of some of the tactics that take place in an election. Unlimited donations to 527s by groups like Move On are indeed ruining the process. However, McCain Feingold gave rise to the 527s and other "issue oriented" groups. Restricting donations (from individual donors) is not the way to go. Rather we should allow more donations from individuals and restrict donations from 527's. People like George Soros are going to find a way to attempt to buy the election, let's make it more open. That way the voters know just who is funding a candidates campaign. Shadow organizations like Move On are simply money laundering vehicles designed to deceive the average voter.

Given that a lot of the players mentioned in the article are either up for re-election or for an even higher office, I thought it would be worth our time to revisit it.


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