Group says new law lays groundwork for campaign reformby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A government watchdog group is generally praising a new state law that's designed to shed light on corporations and unions trying to influence elections.
Mike Dean of Common Cause Minnesota says the legislation signed by Gov. Pawlenty this week is a necessary first step that lays the groundwork for further reform. But Dean said he's concerned that the law allows special interest groups to avoid disclosure if they do not specifically advocate for or against a candidate. He wants to see the so-called "sham issue ad" loophole closed.
"If you see the ad that was recently run by the National Organization of Marriage, they're clearly trying to influence the election and push people in a certain way," Dean said. "But because they don't call for the election or defeat of a certain candidate, they don't have to do any sort of disclosure."
Dean said Common Cause will ask state lawmakers to close the loophole during the 2011 session. He said the organization will also push for more timely disclosure requirements for campaign contributions and expenditures.