New fees could fall on Minn. lobbyists, candidates - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

New fees could fall on Minn. lobbyists, candidates

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- A Minnesota campaign finance oversight board is weighing whether to impose new fees on lobbyists, candidates and political parties to address budget strains within the regulatory agency.

The fees discussed Monday are a backup plan if lawmakers balk a request for increased funding from the state's general treasury. Campaign board members and staff freely acknowledged that required annual fees could face free-speech court challenges or discourage political participation.

The six-member board gravitated toward a recommendation urging Governor Mark Dayton and legislators to use general tax dollars for a $1 million a year operating budget. The board also authorized staff members to devise a fee structure to present to the Legislature as an alternative.

Preliminary proposals suggest fees that could generate $250,000 to $350,000 a year.

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