The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board on Tuesday approved definitions and guidance on rules affecting campaign disclosure for ballot initiatives, and immediately drew criticism from anti-gay marriage groups because of implications the new rules have on the campaign seeking to ban same-sex marriage.
In June, the CFB voted that disclosure rules do apply to groups that make large donations to ballot campaigns, and requires groups that give at least $5,000 to a ballot measure to name those people who contributed $1,000 or more.
Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, the National Organization for Marriage distributed a press release that said the CFB was “acting illegally in attempting to force NOM and other pro-family nonprofit organizations to disclose the names of donors.”
The National Organization for Marriage, which is a part of Minnesota for Marriage, has opposed regulations of its campaign activity in almost every state it has operated in. And in many of those states, the organization has lost its case, reported the Minnesota Independent.
“[I]t is apparent that NOM is a singular target of the Board’s proposed new reporting and disclosure regime,” NOM wrote. “The deliberate targeting by the government of a particular citizens organization such as NOM is a violation of NOM’s First Amendment rights protecting it from such government assault.”
Tom Prichard of the Minnesota Family Council, another member of Minnesota for Marriage, recently told the campaign finance board that he thinks Minnesota for Marriage should not have to disclose any of the contributions it takes in or the people or entities that donate.
The Minnesota legislature this year approved a constitutional amendment that would restrict marriage to the union of a man and a woman. Voters will consider the amendment in 2012.
“The Supreme Court has made it clear that the public has a right to know who is behind political spending during an election,” said Mike Dean, Executive Director of Common Cause Minnesota. “This attack on Minnesota’s disclosure law is [an] attack on Minnesota’s desire for fair and open elections.”