Minnesota can require corporations to report political spending, court says

  • Article by: JAMES WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 16, 2011 - 11:59 PM

A group argued that a state law hampers their free speech by chilling corporate giving. The appellate court disagreed.

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kingcashioMay. 16, 1111:52 AM

Score one for the good guys!

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jrswanMay. 16, 1112:04 PM

Great news for all citizens! We can continue to vote with our pocket books against corporations that make political contributions in opposition to our principals.

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swmnguyMay. 16, 1112:07 PM

Corporations can make all the campaign contributions they want; recently they bought enough of the Supreme Court to allow the corporations to do it just that. But you do have to do it openly and honestly, just like individuals have to. Arguing that Corporations have the same rights as individual human beings is disgusting enough. To argue that Corporations have more rights than individual human beings is right out. Good for the court, making such an obvious and sensible ruling.

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RBHolbMay. 16, 1112:15 PM

Fu=irst Amendment rights have consequences. As an individual, I have a right to speak out on whatever I choose, and I am free to hold whatever opinion I choose. My decision (not my right, my decision) on when, whether, and where to speak out is balanced against the consequences I might suffer: I am free to placard my car with signs insulting my employer, but I don't do so for pretty obvious reasons. If corporations and those that run them want to speak out, why should they craft special rules to exempt themselves from the consequences of their speech?

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mnmiddleMay. 16, 1112:20 PM

While I understand why the groups listed are against transparency. I fail to see reason on how this law is an impediment to free speech. The 1st amendment does not guarantee anonymous speech. Even the conservative arm of the supreme court said that contributions are a form of speech but lawmakers need to decide how to account for this speech at both the state and federal level. The fact is that companies do not want to incur the wrath of a significant portion of customers by supporting a candidate that has a pro-business fiscal policy but a social agenda that gets peoples blood boiling. Target and Best Buy got burned in 2010 and going forward will only put fiscal support behind ‘vanilla’ candidates or none at all. While you can argue that from a financial standpoint they did not take a hit, but from a PR standpoint they got taken for a ride.

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tranqwhlMay. 16, 1112:22 PM

Do the unions have to disclose how much support they give as well? I'm just curious, I really don't know.

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gop4darkagesMay. 16, 1112:26 PM

So conservative-leaning groups -- the ones who like things kept under a rock and much prefer that their funding to finance last-minute, nefarious, low-blow shots at political candidates not see the light of day -- aren't able to wrap themselves in the flag and disingenuously claim their "free speech" rights are being infringed, is that it?

Well. Looks like yet another in the ad nauseum list for which State House and Senate majority leaders will want to call for a vote on a State Constitutional amendment -- in this case to put annoying, inconvenient (and potentially very embarrassing) public disclosures like this to death, once and for all.

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swmnguyMay. 16, 1112:29 PM

tranqwhl: Yes, unions and all other Political Action Committees (PAC's) have always disclosed their campaign contributions. It's very easily accessible information.

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KATKASMay. 16, 1112:52 PM

The opposition to Target and Best Buy's contributions to Emmer were not primarily due to his advocacy for traditional marriage, but rather Emmer's advocacy for the death penalty for gays and lesbians, support of certified hate groups such as Focus on the Family, and desire to amend the US Constitution against any and all civil rights for gays and lesbians. While Target and Best Buy may have wanted a candidate that was pro-business, they need to understand that these same candidates also have a social agenda that may be counterproductive to their actual business agenda, policies, and practices.

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danielfbooneMay. 16, 1112:57 PM

Special interest groups that like to slither under the transparency-disclosure rules are long overdue for a good dose of sun based disinfectant.

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