Amendment donors should stay private

  • Article by: PETER J. NELSON
  • Updated: October 10, 2011 - 6:19 PM

An Oct. 6 editorial praised the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board's recent opinion requiring the disclosure of the source of certain donations to support or defeat ballot questions ("Voters should know amendment donors").

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kd5757Oct. 10, 11 7:57 PM

So let me get this straight. The author is arguing that the 1st amendment rights of groups opposing same-sex marriage are in jeopardy of being violated as they advocate for a state amendment that most likely will be found by the US Supreme Court to violate the 14th amendment rights (equal protection under the law) of gay and lesbian folks.

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tim1310Oct. 10, 11 9:14 PM

Money can influence the outcome of a vote on an amendment just as it can influence the outcome of an election for public office. The public has a right to know who is spending that money to influence the outcome. The analogy of a a conservative professor for tenure is a singular event versus an event with an outcome that would quite possibly affect us all.

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sarahdanceOct. 10, 1110:04 PM

Knowing who donates to ballot questions would not, as the Strib suggests help me "evaluate the messages". Strib's justification for supporting disclosure is both lame and an insult to my intelligence. Preserving individual privacy is far more important than this nonsense.

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talktalkOct. 10, 1110:24 PM

Just give cash, and lots of it.

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bettyanneOct. 10, 1111:30 PM

A number of years ago I served as the treasurer for a state representative. As part of my duties I, as every other campaign treasurer, Had to list those who donated over $100 and the amount they gave. While it took awhile to make sure we listed everybody it was not burdonsome for me. Nor do I believe it was burdonsome for those who gave. Most who gave under that amount did so not to elude disclosure but because that was what they could afford to give. I also believe it burdonsome against my freedom of speech not to know who the major donors on both sides of the issues.

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JudelingOct. 11, 11 1:08 AM

If money is speech, I want to know who is talking.

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toolman28Oct. 11, 11 7:21 AM

Every one has free speach - just some have the money and influence to make sure THEY are heard above all others - Money makes the Politicians listen because they are so easily bribed by endless streams of money from those thsat want to influence our elections

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ebfauvelOct. 11, 11 7:59 AM

Mr. Nelson, the rules will apply to all parties. A supporter of marriage equality who enjoys business relations with evangelicals will be put into the same situation. And you are correct that this issue will poison relationships between neighbors, friends and business associates. Perhaps that is why this amendment should never have been allowed to come to the ballot in the first place.

Now that it's on the ballot, I want to know who's funding it. As a gay man, I want to avoid businesses who would spend my dollars to support this hateful amendment. I do not want to fund my own discrimination.

I will be donating to defeat this amendment, and my name will be displayed publically -- and proudly. If people who support this amendment feel strongly enough to donate more than $100, why are they not also proud to shout it to the world? You want to discriminate against us from the shadows. I'd prefer to see the sun shine in.

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marathongirlOct. 11, 11 8:05 AM

Why would this be any different than the information that came out about Best Buy and Target giving money to, gee, surprise surprise, a republican candidate that is seen more as pro-business than a democratic candidate (but were taken to task as being "anti-gay" when anyone that donates to support this amendment really is truly anti-gay). The names should be shared.

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danmc88Oct. 11, 1110:35 AM

While the author raises some interesting points, I think this commentary (and generally, the public) misses the main point. People who contribute to ballot question committees have always been subject to reporting requirements. The Campaign Finance board seeks to change definitions and broaden the net, however. Now, if you give money to the Catholic Church (for example) and the Catholic Church turns around and gives money to a ballot question committee, the Church will be expected to disclose the names of it's donors as contributors to the ballot question. Joe Donor may have just been thinking his contribution was going to building upkeep or charitable projects and all the sudden his name shows up as a donor to a ballot question he might not even care about. What value would such reporting even have? The only impact I can see is in suppressing giving to certain institutions while the public gains no useful information.

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