Saturday, July 25, 2009

Suit seeks to restore political donors' refunds

Gov. Tim Pawlenty used his "unallotment" authority to cut the refund program, which focused on small donations.

Star Tribune: Newspaper of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis, MN) - Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Republican political activist filed suit Friday in an attempt to block Gov. Tim Pawlenty's "unallotment" of refunds for small donations to political campaigns.

Bob Carney Jr., of Minneapolis, filed the suit in Ramsey County District Court.

Pawlenty eliminated the refund program as part of his wide-ranging, unilateral spending cuts designed to close Minnesota's $2.7 billion budget gap.

The somewhat-obscure Political Contribution Refund program was expected to cost $10 million during the two-year budget cycle that began July 1.

Under the program, candidates who agree to abide by state campaign spending limits were allowed to seek contributions of up to $50 from individuals and $100 from married couples with the state reimbursing the full amount to the contributor.

Although some DFLers and nonpartisan groups have howled about Pawlenty's targeting of the refund program, none has filed suit to overturn it.

So it fell to Carney, who has filed to run for mayor of Minneapolis, to do so.

In his suit, Carney says he contributed $50 to the Fifth Congressional District Green Party on or after July 1, the day the budget unallotments kicked in.

His suit argues that the state revenue commissioner, acting on Pawlenty's behalf, violated state law by failing to give him his refund.

Pawlenty, he argues, has no statutory authority to eliminate the refund.

Carney also argues that his lawsuit should be considered a class action because of the potentially large number of political contributors who could be affected by the elimination of the refund.

Using the estimated $10 million in savings, his lawyers state that more than 100,000 Minnesotans could be affected.

Edition: METRO
Section: NEWS
Page: 2B
Index Terms: campaign ; finance ; lawsuit ; government
Record Number: 090725unallot0725
Copyright 2009 Star Tribune: Newspaper of the Twin Cities
Locations of visitors to this page