In southern Minnesota (Paul Wellstone country), a new revolt against money in politics has started. Should this revolt spread, it would provide a far quicker and more effective grassroots strategy to get big and corporate money out of more elections than the popular but misguided campaign to pass municipal resolutions in favor of a constitutional amendment against corporate personhood.
On February 7, eight Minnesota precinct caucuses adopted one version or another of a resolution that calls for a 100 percent tax on all money used to influence an election that comes from outside the state, and, with varied options, for a $0-500 deductible from outside any local electoral district, too.
One proponent of the resolution reported that at her caucus: “I read the tax contribution resolution … and it got a hearty laugh, but then people were really taken with its simplicity and effectiveness at solving the current problem. The resolution passed as it was read by a 14-0 vote.”
The power to tax is included in the power to prohibit. The Minnesota approach therefore benefits from two separate grounds for claiming that it is constitutionally valid, which increases the chances of withstanding review. First, a tax on special interest electioneering expenditures has not been prohibited by the court, either expressly or impliedly. Second, imposing the tax only on those not resident in the district is consistent with the court’s Bluman decision endorsing the federal prohibition of foreign electioneering expenditures.