Secretary of State Shantel Krebs says she’s seeking public input and convening a committee to discuss campaign finance reform:
Secretary Krebs says she wants campaign finance to be “more transparent and straightforward,” to “ensure that the public and candidates have access to the information that clearly identifies who the money is coming from and where that money is going and when it’s most relevant.”
We could save Secretary Krebs and the Legislature some work by passing Initiated Measure 22, the Anti-Corruption Act, which offers reforms right up the Secretary’s alley:
- IM 22 gets rid of loopholes that allow individuals and groups to skirt campaign finance limits by creating multiple committees (Section 10).
- IM 22 requires political donors of more than $500 to provide their occupation and current employer for recipients to report (Section 12, Section 22.14).
- IM 22 requires four new campaign finance reports, before and after the primary and general elections, to provide more timely information (Section 21).
- IM 22 requires electronic submission and posting of campaign finance reports in “retrievable, downloadable, indexable, and electronically searchable” form free of charge to the public (Sections 28–30).
The Koch brothers’ paid screamers don’t mention those positive reforms in their deceptive campaign to defeat IM 22. They just cry about the dreadful prospect of letting voters choose to allocate $100, $50, or $0 of the state taxes they pay to support candidates of their choice who agree to obey strict new small-donor campaign finance rules (i.e., candidates who agree not to play ball with the Koch’s big-money influence buyers). But Minnesota has a voluntary public campaign financing system akin to IM 22’s, and the People’s Republic hasn’t fallen. Far from it: that system is helping candidates compete… including Republicans:
A Minnesota program has given voters a $50 tax refund if they contribute to candidates or political parties that adhere to spending caps. The state also offers direct public payments to qualifying candidates.
That program provided more than $500,000 in public subsidies for then-GOP governor candidate Tom Emmer in 2010. Emmer — now a congressman — narrowly lost that race to Democrat Mark Dayton, who relied heavily on his own fortune. But the subsidy was critical for Emmer’s bid, former campaign manager Cullen Sheehan said.
“I think it is an added value for candidates, certainly, that don’t have the personal resources to write their own checks,” Sheehan said [James Nord, “Put Public Money into Political Campaigns? Foes Say No Way,” AP via Mitchell Daily Republic, 2016.07.31].
Want campaign finance reform? Want more candidates to be able to compete without having to wear rich donors’ leash? Support Initiated Measure 22.