By a 2-1 vote, the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Monday sided with a federal judge in allowing a state campaign finance law to require corporations to disclose when they spend money to support or defeat a candidate.
“Minnesota did not ban corporate independent expenditures,” the Appeals Court wrote. “Instead, based upon the lower court’s findings, as strongly supported by the record, we find that Minnesota created a statutory scheme designed to require corporations to disclose certain information when making independent expenditures.”
The decision affirms a ruling by U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank in September 2010, in which he refused to strike down the law. In his ruling, Frank said that voters have “an interest in knowing who is speaking about a candidate on the eve of an election.”
One of those reports before the primary elections last year showed that Target, Best Buy and other corporations gave to MN Forward, a pro-business group that is buying ads to support GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. The disclosures riled groups at odds with Emmer’s opposition to same-sex marriage, and they launched a blistering attack on the companies.