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In favor of campaign finance legislation

Having lived in several others states, we are proud to be from Minnesota. In addition to the beautiful scenery and our strong people, Minnesota is usually the ‘leader of the pack’ on issues that count in the life of the average person. Therefore, we were surprised to learn that the state of Minnesota received a grade of “F” for its campaign finance disclosure laws recently because of limitations in the state’s disclosure laws. This vote came at the same time that independent spenders representing special interests were spending millions and millions of dollars on political campaigns. Don’t we Minnesotans deserve to know what companies, individuals and PACs are funding the official and unofficial campaigns in our state?

A bill is before the Minnesota State Legislature right now – HF 1944 that would change this and give us more information on who is spending money on campaigns. HF 1944 would improve disclosure of the independent spenders behind election ads and literature. We all know that Sunshine laws and other openness in information keep our processes honest. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly approved disclosure as a means of combating corruption in politics. HF 1944 would require political action committees and other independent spenders to identify themselves as the author of campaign ads and literature and file disclosure reports with the Campaign Finance Board. These same requirements are currently in place in twenty-five other states and for all federal elections.

Information helps all voters make informed decisions. The Park Rapids Area League of Women Voters is a strong supporter of public discourse and we work to provide activities in our area that provide all voters the chance to hear and learn about important issues. We are in favor of legislation that supports our ‘right to know.’

As citizens, we all deserve the right to know who is paying for the slick campaign ads that we see on television and hear on the radio. We all want to know who is bankrolling our election process. Disclosure improves public discourse.

LWV Park Rapids urge our representatives to vote in favor of HF 1944, because it will help us be aware of what special influence groups are trying to influence our elections. It will shine light on the millions of dollars behind Minnesota elections.