Donor Disclosure Law to Get an En Banc Hearing

     (CN) – A Minnesota law requiring corporations to disclose their political contributions will face another round before the 8th Circuit after the federal appeals court agreed to rehear the case en banc.

     In May, a split panel of the St. Louis-based court said Minnesota’s election law imposes no greater burden on corporate free speech than disclosure laws already upheld by the Supreme Court.
     The Minnesota Legislature passed the law after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, allowing unlimited corporate funding of independent political commercials in candidate elections. Another finding of the divided high court upheld disclaimer and disclosure requirements by ad sponsors.
     Minnesota’s law requires corporations making political contributions in excess of $100 to form a separate political fund with an appointed treasurer. They must also disclose their name, address and the amount of their contributions. Though corporations spending for or against candidates must file two reports before the primary and or general election, they can subvert the disclosure requirements by sending money to an existing independent expenditure committee or fund.
     Three organizations – Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, The Taxpayers League of Minnesota and Coastal Travel Enterprises – had argued that these requirements were tantamount to an outright ban on direct corporate independent expenditures.
     Last week, the 8th Circuit vacated the three-judge panel’s May decision and scheduled an en banc hearing for Sept. 21. The three plaintiff groups sought leave on July 13 to file a supplemental brief.

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