Transparency in spending crucial

A Minnesota House subcommittee rejected a bill on Thursday that would have increased transparency in campaign funding, according to the Star Tribune.

The final vote was 8-6 against the bill, with representatives voting on party lines. However, Gov. Mark Dayton supported the bill, and he could attempt to restore it with the help of certain senators during the upcoming end-of-session negotiations.

Additionally, the House’s Republican majority has introduced separate legislation designed to enhance the transparency of campaign funding.

During the 2014 election, certain independent groups mailed advocacy pieces to constituents in swing districts. Because the pieces did not explicitly tell voters to support any particular candidate, they were not subject to current campaign spending disclosure laws. The defeated bill was written to compel advertisers to share the identities of their donors if the advertisements reach voters within 30 days of a primary election or 60 days of a general election.

We are disappointed by the bill’s defeat, as we feel that maintaining electoral transparency is critical to a representative political system. Since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling prohibited restrictions on corporations’ campaign spending, commercial enterprises have played a growing role in elections, and the issue of campaign funding has become more urgent than ever.

We hope the upcoming Republican bill will propose substantial expansions of extant disclosure laws and spark meaningful bipartisan discussion about the transparency of campaign spending.