Minn. bill would follow money in campaigns

A Democratic state lawmaker is pushing to make corporations and other independent groups disclose what they spend to influence elections.

Rep. Ryan Winkler of Golden Valley says he is trying to give voters access to information about this year's election. But he says business groups oppose parts of his proposal.

Winkler said he wants corporations to report contributions and political expenditures with 48 hours. He also wants businesses to disclose how much they paid for the campaign materials and notify shareholders of any political spending above $10,000.

"This bill is what we should be doing at a minimum," Winkler said. "If we have to take something less at some point along the line here before the end of session in order to provide some disclosure, some transparency, some sunlight into these disclosures, it would probably be better than doing nothing."

Mike Franklin, with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, said the proposal goes too far and he would rather see corporate rules coincide with rules for other independent groups.

"All of these are definitely good things to discuss going forward. I just think in the context of the 2010 elections, undertaking major changes on April 28th is not necessarily the way we're comfortable going forward."

Minnesota law currently bans corporations from spending on Minnesota campaigns but a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling put that law into doubt.

The court ruled corporations can spend an unlimited amount of money on issue advocacy. The court upheld a ban on direct corporate contributions to candidates.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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