Legislation calls out the conflict of interest from campaign contributions and increases transparency in Minnesota politics
St Paul, MN – Putting the everyday concerns of Minnesotans above high-powered, big-money special interests is the focus of a sweeping package of government ethics and campaign finance reform bills introduced this week by Senator John Marty (DFL-Roseville), the author of Minnesota’s longstanding lobbyist Gift Ban. The package of legislation would close loopholes in existing law, introduce stronger requirements for transparency, and push to reduce the influence of big money in politics.
“While we pride ourselves on good government in Minnesota, the truth is we have a long way to go in living up to the ideals of a political process that works for everyday Minnesotans,” said Senator Marty. “We need to push for action at the federal level to overturn Citizens United and take the lead on state-level reforms that will give power back to people who can’t afford teams of lobbyists.”
The package of legislation includes:
- S.F. No. 2035 – Calls out the conflict of interest that occurs when voting on legislation after receiving large contributions from PACs or lobbyists who would benefit. Encourages candidates to reject all contributions from PACs and lobbyists in exchange for an increase in public financing.
- S.F. No. 2036 – Ends closed door budget and conference committee negotiations. Public business should be conducted in the public eye.
- S.F. No. 2037 and S.F. No. 2038 – The Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v FEC (2010) opened the floodgates to outside spending in elections by corporations and super PACs. This legislation petitions Congress to amend the Constitution, overturning this ruling, and stopping the flow of special interest money.
- S.F. No. 2039 – Stops the revolving door between public office and lobbying with a 7-year waiting period. 34 states and the federal government already have such a restriction.
- S.F. No. 2040 – Increases the transparency of political spending, requiring committees paying for campaign advertisements to disclose their biggest contributors in the ads. This is modeled after California’s 2017 DISCLOSE Act, which made political spending more transparent and easier to understand.
- S.F. No. 2041 – Closes loopholes in Minnesota government ethics law to ensure transparency and increased disclosure by public officials, lobbyists, and interest groups.
- S.F. No. 2042 – Prohibits political parties (which recruit, nominate, endorse and support candidates) from turning around and making so-called “independent” expenditures. Parties that make independent expenditures would no longer be eligible for public financing.