Thursday, July 24, 2014

Research Q of the Week: Eek! Campaign Finance Reports on the Web (7/24)

Question: I heard something about a new requirement that we post campaign finance reports on our city website. Is that right?

Answer: Both spiders and cities have websites, but only one of them may have to post all campaign finance reports they receive on their respective web locality. Studies have shown spiders receive too few campaign finance reports for it to be practical, so it’s not the spider.

Now, before you break out in a cold sweat, does your city even maintain a website? If not, you’re done, and instead of posting the campaign finance reports on a website, you and the spider can use that time for other pursuits.

But if your city does maintain a website, there’s one more creepy-crawly question to ask. Does your city have 400 or more registered voters as of last Jan. 1? If not, you need not post any campaign finance reports—regardless of whether your city maintains a website or not.

However, if your city has a website and at least 400 registered voters (as of Jan. 1), the reports must be posted online “as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days after receipt of the report.” The link to the section of the website where the reports are available must be provided to the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, and reports must remain available on the website for four years from the date of posting.

Once the four years are up, the reports may be removed from the website. Now, give that furry little spider a high-five. (Or not.)

Written by Edward Cadman, special counsel with the League of Minnesota Cities. Contact: ecadman@lmc.org or (651) 281-1229.


This blog post conveys general information. It’s not legal advice. Please check with your city attorney before acting on this information. 

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