Minnesota Senate passes Democracy for the People Act—prohibits foreign-influenced corporate spending in elections

The bill, which garnered 80 percent of Minnesota voters' support, according to a statewide poll conducted in November, will head to the governor's desk, who pledged to sign it.

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Image Credit: James Nord/MinnPost file photo

Minnesota becomes the first state to pass an omnibus democracy bill that will prohibit foreign-influenced corporations from spending money to influence state and local elections. Advocates of the bill said it will protect and expand democracy.

If signed into law, the Democracy for the People Act will prohibit any company that is owned five percent by multiple foreign owners, or one percent by a single foreign owner from spending money directly or giving money to a super PAC or other groups to influence Minnesota state or local elections.

“Democracy is for people, not multinational corporations,” Alexandra Flores-Quilty, campaign director at Free Speech For People, said. ”Minnesota is setting a new standard for democracy in America by ensuring that elections reflect the will of the voters, not foreign investors.”

This section of the bill that bars foreign-influenced corporations from spending money to influence elections was based off of model legislation developed by Free Speech For People—a national nonpartisan non-profit organization that works to renew democracy, according to a press release.

“Corporate executives know where their bread is buttered,”Ron Fein, legal director at Free Speech For People, said. “This bill addresses the threat to Minnesota’s democratic self-government posed by corporate political spending by foreign-influenced corporations.”

The bill, which garnered 80 percent of Minnesota voters’ support, according to a statewide poll conducted in November, will head to the governor’s desk, who pledged to sign it.

“So, it is a proud day to watch Minnesota become the first state in the country to pass this legislation that puts more of the power of our democracy in the hands of people, not foreign-influenced corporations,” Lilly Sasse, campaign director at We Choose Us, said.

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