U.S. court nixes Minnesota campaign finance law

A divided U.S. Court of Appeals ruled a Minnesota law requiring corporations to report their "independent expenditures" has a chilling effect on political free speech. Those contributions are made to support or oppose a particular cause but not controlled by a candidate. The court says the reporting requirements set up burdens that are "most likely unconstitutional."
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The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected parts of a Minnesota law that set reporting requirements for companies that contribute money to influence elections. The Wall Street Journal reports the court ruled the law's requirements had a chilling effect on the companies exercising political free speech.

Reuters reports Minnesota's law and Wednesday's appeals court ruling are part of the shakeout in the wake of 2010's landmark Supreme Court ruling removing limits on political spending by companies and unions.

The Star Tribune report includes reaction from the attorney who challenged the law and from its chief author in the Legislature. One sees it as a victory for free speech. The other as eliminating sunlight for the political spending of the powerful.

The case was brought by Minnesota Citizens Concerned For Life and other groups against state Attorney General Lori Swanson. You can find the opinion here.

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