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Campaign finance reform

Published (2/18/2010)
By Patty Ostberg
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Gary Goldsmith, executive director of the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, testifies Feb. 16 before the House State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections Committee in support of a bill that would change campaign finance and reporting requirements and contribution limits provided for judicial candidates. (Photo by Andrew VonBank)The House State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections Committee approved administrative changes to laws governing the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board Feb. 17.

Sponsored by Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park) and Sen. Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope), HF1206/ SF80* would: remove election laws that have since been ruled unconstitutional; no longer require necessary food utensils and supplies to be reported as campaign expenditures; set a value of $5 or less on informational material given to an official in connection to legislation; permit the board to exempt the requirement of an e-mail address being provided; and set contribution limits for judicial candidates — something that does not currently exist.

The bill would allow a candidate to accept up to $2,000 in an election year from any individual, political committee or political fund and up to $500 in other years. These limits are the same as candidates running for governor, Simon noted.

He said the changes were included in a larger election bill vetoed last year by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Gary Goldsmith, the board’s executive director, said, “This is really an administrative bill that makes it possible for the board to move further into the 21st century to leverage the technological resources that have been developing.”

The bill takes into consideration the continuing budget decreases to the board and focuses on the use of technology with fewer staff, he added.

The bill, passed 65-2 by the Senate last May, now goes to the House Finance Committee.

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