There’s a new campaign finance lawsuit challenging the State of Minnesota’s various restrictions on corporations engaging in political speech. The case, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, et al. v. Swanson, et al., 10-cv-2938, was filed yesterday in the U.S. District of Minnesota. Judge Donovan Frank is the judge.
According to the complaint (not publically available online yet), the plaintiffs argue that Minnesota’s new law, although recently amended in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, nevertheless violates the First Amendment. This is because, among other things, it requires corporations to spend their money advocating the election or defeat of a candidate through a political fund and not directly from their treasuries. This argument relies upon the Court’s statements in Citizens United that forming separate entities, such as political action committees (“PACs”) “are burdensome alternatives; they are expensive to administer and subject to extensive regulations.” It’s similar to the argument IJ made, in the non-corporate context, in SpeechNow.org v. FEC.
Interestingly, the complaint also challenges Minnesota’s ban on corporations directly contributing money to candidates.
Jim Bopp of the James Madison Center is an attorney on the case, as is the Minnesota firm of Mohrman & Kaardal.