No requirement to say who's in charge
Dear Answer Man, what's the disclosure requirement for local campaigns? If I want to find out who the campaign chairman is for a Rochester city council candidate, where do I go?
Great question, and here's a tentative answer: Go to the campaign, because as far as I can tell, local candidates are under no obligation to report who's in charge of their campaigns.
This question came up recently when a Post-Bulletin reader complained about a story we ran about Council Member Michael Wojcik's campaign contributions. The email said, "Noticed that when you quoted Cindy Maves, you cited her as the chairwoman for the Rochester Tea Party Patriots . For full disclosure, it should have also been noted that she is the campaign chair for Mike Pruett, who is Mr. Wojcik's opponent in the election."
So we checked with the Pruett campaign and they say that's not true. They say Maves' husband, Alan, is the campaign treasurer, but Cindy Maves isn't the chairwoman. In fact, Mike told me this morning that he doesn't have a campaign manager, chairman or whoever. He also said, "I don't have the Tea Party helping me."
As far as I can tell, there's no requirement for local candidates to disclose who's in charge of the campaign. The Minnesota secretary of state's office referred us to the state Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board . The board said it appears there's no requirement for local election candidates to register or identify official campaign officers.
The board's executive director, Gary Goldsmith, told P-B reporter Edie Grossfield that there appears to be an assumption that there's a campaign treasurer, but there's no explicit requirement. I'll link online to the statute , and you be the judge if there's something in there that we've missed.
I'd vote for more transparency in local elections, as in full disclosure of who's running the campaign. Local elections used to be fairly quiet, cheap and nonpartisan affairs. Despite what you hear, that's often not true anymore.
Incidentally, the Rochester Tea Party Patriots website helpfully posts the campaign finance reports for council candidates. When I was looking elsewhere on the site, I thought it was interesting that the organization says, "The Rochester Tea Party Patriots does NOT endorse political candidates," but they then provide links only to their preferred, conservative candidates. Isn't that an endorsement?