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Voter ID foes target business groups’ campaign contributions

TakeAction Minnesota Executive Director Dan McGrath speaking at Wednesday's press conference.

Voter ID opponents continued their efforts Wednesday to derail the proposal, releasing a report (PDF) that claims Minnesota bankers contributed to state GOP campaigns with the intent of disenfranchising some voters.

TakeAction Minnesota, which opposes a proposed Voter ID constitutional amendment, said its review of campaign data links financial contributions from bank executives and conservative groups to candidates who support the controversial amendment.

Dan McGrath, the group’s executive director, said that the bank executives support a Voter ID amendment in order to suppress voters who don’t agree with a low-tax, pro-business environment.

But he had to backtrack when reporters pressed him to prove that the groups simply weren’t making contributions in support of the overall Republican platform.

McGrath, in response, said the groups are “moving an agenda that is, in part, aimed at restricting access to the polls.”

According to TakeAction, executives from banks — through conservative political organizations — supported Republican candidates with more than $360,000 in independent expenditures in 2010.

“Wells Fargo, TCF and U.S. Bank executives and their board members have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to members of the Minnesota Legislature, the Republican caucus, to make it harder for the rest of the 99 percent of the population to vote,” McGrath said.

The report also said that House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Majority Leader Matt Dean are part of a national organization that is pushing Voter ID.

McGrath also singled out at least three business groups for their efforts: the Minnesota Business Partnership, the Coalition of Minnesota Businesses and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

Initial calls to the communications departments of the Coalition and the Partnership, which have the same spokesman and list their offices at the same address, weren’t returned.

The Take Action report builds on opposition to the measure from DFLers, faith groups and elected officials. A rally is planned for Thursday.

It appears likely that Voter ID will move forward, and Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem has said he’s confident the amendment will pass and be put on the November ballot.

TakeAction Minnesota is a donor-funded group also supported by labor unions and foundations.

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