Campaign board dismisses complaint against Minnesota Family Council

The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board has dismissed a complaint against the Minnesota Family Council, an organization that supports a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

In its report , the Board said it found no evidence that the Minnesota Family Council (MFC) has violated state law.

The dismissal stems from a complaint filed earlier this year by Common Cause Minnesota.

The complaint alleged that MFC violated state law by working on behalf of the marriage amendment because the Family Council is a political committee and failed to register as one. Common Cause said MFC should be subject to the same reporting and disclosure requirements as other political committees.

The proof was in the nearly $347,000 MFC spent in 2011 from a special fund it set up to promote the marriage amendment, Common Cause argued.

“Surely an organization that spends an amount to influence a ballot question in seven months that nearly triples the total amount spent on all of its activities in the prior year has the ‘major purpose’ of promoting the ballot question,” the Common Cause complaint stated.

The Board defines a political committee as an organization whose major purpose is to promote or defeat a ballot initiative, among other things.

But in its ruling, the Board argued that given all the activities MFC has engaged in since it was founded, the group’s major purpose was broader than promoting the marriage amendment.

UPDATE:

The Minnesota Family Council applauds the board’s decision. John Helmberger, Minnesota Family Council CEO, wrote in a press release that, “the Common Cause complaint was nothing but a political stunt designed to harass donors to MFC. It is clear that MFC complied with Minnesota law and all of the CFB’s guidance and we anticipated that the CFB would reject the complaint upon completion of their analysis.”

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