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Campaign finance reform

Published (6/1/2010)
By Patty Ostberg
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Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed administrative changes to laws governing the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

Provisions in the law, sponsored by Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park) and Sen. Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope), include: removing election laws that have since been ruled unconstitutional; no longer requiring necessary food utensils and supplies or an individual’s personal use of an automobile owned by the individual and to be used while volunteering personal time to be reported as campaign expenditures; setting a value of $5 or less on informational material given to an official in connection to legislation; requiring lobbyists to provide an e-mail address and, if applicable, the website of any entity the lobbyist represents when registering; and setting contribution limits for judicial candidates.

The law allows a first-time candidate for judicial office 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.

Secretary of state and state auditor candidates can accept up to $1,000 in an election year and $200 in others. Previously the amounts were $500 and $100, respectively.

Technical changes are made to how the board handles late filing fees by lobbyists. The law eliminates the sending of a certified letter before the $100 late fee is imposed.

An eligible candidate for public subsidy payments who has not filed the report of receipts and expenditures will have their subsidy withheld until they have provided the information, withstanding the board having sufficient time to review or audit the report.

Under the law, certain financial reports by the two major state party political units will not be released until the reports of each party unit have been filed with the finance board.

The law has various effective dates.

HF1206/ SF80*/CH327

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