Changes to Campaign Finance Law Include:

New Penalties Applicable to School Board Election Activity

Rough Weather Potential For "Under the Radar" Flying:

Some small groups have historically operated under the assumption that unofficial political activity gives them greater freedom to operate without detailed campaign finance filings or the accompanying scrutiny.

The Legislature passed increased penalties applicable to "unregistered associations" that conduct electioneering communications or that spend or receive an aggregate of $750 in the course of the election (including in-kind donations like discounts or professional services given without cost).

The regulatory agency, the Campaign Finance Board, may be increasing enforcement against these groups of people, who need have no group name, membership, leader, or meetings in order to be potentially liable.

Potential penalties include 4X the CFB-determined value of a contribution and a per charge late fee that accumulates to $1000 after 10 days.

Only when there is a failure to report, error in reporting, or other election law foul is the hazard consequential.

Fair elections could be simpler, but ESA has experience with organizing tax-exempt entities such as committees and non-profits.

We can potentially refer you to an attorney or guide you through a process of seeking non-attorney advisement from an agency or resource.

Independent expenditures and below-threshold group, team, or unit activity are not prohibited by the law change.

Other changes of note include:

Increased late penalties for campaign financial reports--in sum the maximum civil penalty doubles from $1,000 to $2,000 (Effective July 1st, 2024).

The Legislature also passed a stay of the new lobbying requirements that would have applied to local governments smaller than Hennepin County--passed by the Legislature last year (now suspended from effect).

Follow this issue if you may spend significant amounts to influence local government or school board action--as this measure could require you to register and report as a lobbyist.

Starting in January of 2025 a broadening of Minn. Statutes. 10A requirements to include school board candidate elections and school district ballot questions (e.g property tax referenda).

Also effective as of 2025: the state definition of "electioneering communication" has changed from applying to broadcast television or radio, exclusively, to a broad applicability, including telephone, online, or other electronic means to a lower threshold number of the targeted audience (2,500 contacts).


The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board "Summary of 2024 Changes to Chapter 10A:"

See 2024 Minnesota Laws Chapter 112 (elections), signed by the Governor on May 17th, 2024 and Chapter 127, signed by the Governor on May 24th, 2024 (final miscellaneous omnibus bill).