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Pioneer Editorial: Let state campaign law stand

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Abortion opponents and supporters of Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Emmer this week asked a federal judge to block a state law that requires corporations to disclose their spending on political candidates or causes.

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U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank, who will rule by Sept. 20, should dismiss the case and let the law stand.

The uproar comes after it was disclosed Target Corp. contributed $150,000 to MN Forward, a political action committee formed to support business in election campaigns, It, in turn, donated to the Emmer campaign, an abortion opponent and a non-believer of same-sex marriages.

The disclosure created quite a stir, even having the liberal MoveOn.org calling for a boycott of Target.

Those filing the lawsuit claim the law is unconstitutional, that it is too burdensome on businesses and that may infringe on the First Amendment in making it so burdensome it stifles free speech.

How bad can it be? Large corporations that have a host of CPAs to keep track of revenues and inventory can't fill out a form that says they donated $150,000 to some cause? How burdensome is that?

And it only makes the process more transparent, it doesn't block the contribution so it doesn't in any way infringe on free speech. The Supreme Court's decision in January made it legal for such contributions, but did not restrict on how they should be accounted.

Shareholders who own the corporation should also know where corporate money is going and what causes the board of directors is supporting. Secondly, the public that shops at large publicly traded corporations should also know.

The January court ruling gave corporations -- and unions -- the ability to spend unlimited amounts of money independent of candidate campaigns. Giving money to MN Forward to give to specific campaigns smells of bundling and a way to donate virtually anonymously, if it weren't for the new state law.

Corporate and union donations should be transparent, allowing voters to be informed when they go to the polls Nov. 2. For that reason, the law should stand.

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