Thursday, September 06, 2012

Minnesota Board Exempts Catholic Organization Employee's Pro-Gay Marriage Contribution From Disclosure

Minnesota Statutes 10A.20 requires every political committee to file disclosure reports identifying anyone who has contributed over $100 to a candidate or to a campaign for a ballot issue, but allows an exemption where an individual "demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that disclosure would expose the ... contributor to economic reprisals, loss of employment, or threat of physical coercion."  In an interesting decision last month in In re Application of John Doe, (MN Campg. Fin. & Pub. Discl. Bd., Aug. 7, 2012), the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board granted an exemption to an employee of a Catholic organization who had contributed $600 to an organization that opposes the Marriage Amendment that will appear on the November ballot. That proposed amendment provides that "only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota." The contributor argued that "because his job requires him to represent the Catholic organization’s policies to others from time to time, if his opposition to the marriage amendment was known, it would cause immense strain in his working relationships." The Board concluded that "Mr. Doe has established by clear and convincing evidence that the itemized report of his contribution to Minnesotans United for All families would expose him to the loss of his employment." Dale Carpenter at Volokh Conspiracy has more on the decision.