St. Paul, Minn. A federal judge refused on Monday to interfere with a new Minnesota law that revealed political donations from Target Corp. and other companies, saying the public has an interest in knowing who speaks and who pays for those messages as the election approaches.
U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank denied a temporary injunction in a lawsuit brought by supporters of Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, including an anti-abortion group and an anti-tax organization. They sued to overturn the law on free speech grounds and had asked Frank to suspend the disclosure requirements immediately.
Frank answered with a firm no.
"Invalidating the election laws at issue here would likely result in corporations making independent expenditures without any reporting or disclosure on the eve of the upcoming general election on Nov. 2," his ruling said. "This result so close to the election would clearly harm the state, Minnesota voters, and the general public interest."
Target's donation to Emmer attracted national attention because it seemed to conflict with the company's gay-friendly reputation. The Minneapolis-based retailer donated $150,000 to MN Forward, a business-oriented political fund supporting Emmer, an outspoken opponent of gay marriage, in the governor's race.