Judge Rules That Minnesota Disclosure Law Will StandJudge Rules That Minnesota Disclosure Law Will Stand | The Washington Independent
It’s official: A Minnesota disclosure law, enacted in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, was upheld by a federal judge on Monday.
U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank for the District of Minnesota denied a temporary injunction in a lawsuit brought by supporters of Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, including an anti-abortion group and an anti-tax organization. They sued to overturn the law on free speech grounds and had asked Frank to suspend the disclosure requirements immediately.
Frank answered with a firm no.
“Invalidating the election laws at issue here would likely result in corporations making independent expenditures without any reporting or disclosure on the eve of the upcoming general election on November 2, 2010,” his ruling said. “This result so close to the election would clearly harm the state, Minnesota voters, and the general public interest.”
The lawsuit, brought by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life and Taxpayers League of Minnesota, argued that the disclosure law — which made possible the discovery of political donations made within the state by Target and other companies — was so burdensome that it infringed upon the groups’ first amendment rights. It’s an argument akin to what the National Organization for Marriage has been arguing in its lawsuits against the state of Maine and California — and the ruling today represents another blow to the logic of NOM’s case.
Even in its Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court upheld federal disclosure requirements as constitutional by a vote of 8-1. Some state laws are more rigorous (and therefore perhaps more burdensome), but none seem likely to be overturned wholesale on the grounds that they stifle free speech.