A group argued that a state law hampers their free speech by chilling corporate giving. The appellate court disagreed.
May 16, 2011- By a 2-1 vote, the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Monday sided with a federal judge in allowing a state campaign finance law to require corporations to disclose when they spend money to support or defeat a candidate.
The three-judge panel also said it was unlikely that a group arguing that such requirements are unconstitutional would prevail in their lawsuit.
The result of the Appeals Court decision is that the restrictions and requirements present in state law will continue.
"Minnesota did not ban corporate independent expenditures," the Appeals Court wrote. "Instead, based upon the lower court's findings, as strongly supported by the record, we find that Minnesota created a statutory scheme designed to require corporations to disclose certain information when making independent expenditures."
Those disclosures are allowed by federal law, the court ruled.
The decision affirms a ruling by U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank in September 2010, in which he refused to strike down the law. In his ruling, Frank said that voters have "an interest in knowing who is speaking about a candidate on the eve of an election."
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the Taxpayers League of Minnesota and Coastal Travel Enterprises argue that Minnesota law hampers their right to free speech by improperly limiting corporate support for candidates and causes.