February 4, 2013- Minnesota’s law prohibiting lying in political campaigns has been upheld by a federal judge.
The Minnesota Fair Campaign Practices Act made it a gross misdemeanor for someone to intentionally prepare, disseminate, or broadcast political advertising or campaign material “that is designed or tends to elect, injure, promote, or defeat a candidate for nomination or election to a public office or to promote or defeat a ballot question, that is false, and that the person knows is false.”
The statute was challenged five years ago by the 281 CARE Committee and the Citizens for Quality Education, which campaign against ballot initiatives that raise taxes or fees for school district funding.
The plaintiffs claimed the law violated their free-speech rights and restricted their ability to participate in political debate. They lost their first trial before a federal judge in Minneapolis. But the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling in May 2011.
That sent the matter to U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery, who ruled in favor of the defendants, two county attorneys and the state attorney general.