I have been hearing much about campaign finance problems and what is really being done to fix the issue.
From the sidelines we can see not much has been done. Most of us know of the Citizens United ruling, which changed the landscape of campaign finance, but many don't understand the whole picture. So I will give my proposal, and again look forward to your input and ideas. I believe we as a state can and should do more.
Steps we can take to fix the issues in Minnesota
- Publicly fund all state elections. Every candidate gets a specified amount of money from the state to run their campaign. Each candidate would receive an equal amount, say $50.00 per resident in the district being contested. So 24,000 residents would allow funding of $12,000 per candidate. This funding amount should be tied to inflation.
- Increase the budget of campaign finance office to hire the appropriate staff to do their jobs effectively.
- Mandate that all spending for or against a campaign is reported, and go after those groups not listing required information on flyers and campaign materials.
- Every piece of lit must include name and address of person or group putting out the information.
- All information has to factual and is subject to fact checking. If found to be inaccurate, the campaign or advocacy group will be required to correct any misinformation, spending at least the same amount of money spent on distributing the misinformation. This must be done in a timely manner.
- Any advocacy group (like a PAC) must make a complete donor list available to the public. Freedom of speech also includes the right to know the person doing the speaking.
- At the state level, I would like to require that any entity donating to a specific political campaign be a person. Let's call it the "Heartbeat rule." This eliminates corporations from donating to campaigns.