Big Banks Behind Voter ID Push In Minnesota


Minnesota is just one of sixteen states facing restrictive Voter ID proposals and a new report sheds some light on just who is financing the battle to restrict voting rights in the state.

Turns out, it’s big banking money.

The report released by the group TakeAction Minnesota unwinds the financial contributions behind the push for Voter ID and connects them to the CEO’s of Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and TCF, Minnesota’s three largest banks.

Dan McGrath, Executive Director of TakeAction Minnesota told reporters that “over the past week, we’ve learned a lot about who would lose if photo ID becomes law — over 700,000 eligible Minnesota voters, including seniors, low-income persons, students, people of color, disabled and rural Minnesotans.  What hasn’t been discussed is who WINS when people can’t vote. That’s what this report outlines.”

The report’s key findings were reduced to two large charts that shows how banking executives put members of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) in the House leadership with marching orders to push Voter ID legislation. ALEC member Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer dutifully agreed and introduced a measure as soon as the new majority took office.

The first chart showcased an extensive network of money flowing from banks down to bank-led political entities including Minnesota Forward, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota Business Partnership, the Bankers’ Association, and the Coalition of Minnesota Businesses, who then financed independent expenditure campaigns instrumental in electing the new Republican majorities. Jon Campbell, Wells Fargo Executive Vice-President, chairs the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.  Richard Davis, President of U.S. Bank, serves as President of the Minnesota Business Partnership.

The second chart detailed banking contributions to individual House and Senate candidates, all of whom are backing or leading photo ID legislative efforts, including House Speaker Kurt Zellers and House Majority Leader Matt Dean.

•    The independent expenditures from the Coalition of Minnesota Businesses and Chamber of Commerce helped elect twelve new Republican legislators in 2010.
•    The Coalition and Chamber spent an average of $28,300 per campaign, an average of 34% of the total money in each race.
•    On average, the amount of independent expenditures from the Coalition and Chamber were almost twice as much as the total contributions raised by the candidates themselves.

The battle for voting rights is key in all states, but especially in states like Minnesota with a rich tradition of high voter turnout and a politically engaged citizenry. If Voter ID is successful in a state like Minnesota then voting rights across the country are at real risk.

With this much support from the Big Finance, McGrath’s question is one that demands an answer: why will big banks benefit so much from restricting voter rights? Just what do they have planned?


Related Stories:

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Who’s Really Committing Voter Fraud? [Video]


Photo from hjl via flickr.


Ebba J.
Ebba J.2 years ago

In today's society, voter ID is essential. There are just too many dishonest people and politicians sad to say.

Charlene Rush
Charlene Rush4 years ago

Aren't we SHOCKED?

Michele P.
Michele P.4 years ago

This is NO surprise. Just keep the capitalist banking institutions initiative WEST of the Mississippi River!

Sue T.
Susan T.4 years ago

@ Mercedes L. OMG I am sure the state of MN would give you a grant to get a valid ID which is $18 or if you are over 65 $11 and you need PROOF either expired drivers license or state ID. birth certificate or some other identifying document.

This state and this whole country has the easiest way to get ID and VOTING should be taken seriously and done HONESTLY. and I know for a fact that there were people who voted in the 2008 election that were not citizens of this state/nation, so if I know of a few how many others where there? BTW they voted for Obama/Franken

Sue T.
Susan T.4 years ago

@ Mike B. you will eat your words in 9 months.

you are so full of icky hate filled nastiness.

have a great life.

Sue T.
Susan T.4 years ago

WTF!!!??? Does this bullshit have to do with showing a valid ID when you vote?

I live in MN and I am for voter ID 100%. and I don't understand how this would (OMG Whitney Houston died) stop old, disabled, rural and "people of color" from voting. I have to show ID to buy gas, alcohol, go to the bank...and I need a drivers license to please explain to my how this would be bad and I will tell you how "vouching" for people is a lie. like I know people who have lied for other people to vote Democrat in 2008.

Michael A.
Michael Anda4 years ago

Okay, next question. What are we going to do about illegal thumbprints?

Michael A.
Michael Anda4 years ago

One thumbprint, ONE vote. Brilliant!!

Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas4 years ago

craig you don't need an id to have your power and electricty turned on in ohio, i don't know where you live, when i bought my house all i did was call and have my service turned on. in ohio a drivers license costs costs 25 dollars which to a poor person is a nice chunk of change. i didn't have to have an id to get my credit card, it was sent to me in the mail all i had to do was call and have it activated, i don't have to show id when i use it either. i don't have to show my id at the bank when i cash my check, if i cash it at the bank where my employer has his account i have to give them a thumb print but i don't have to show an id. elections have went smoothly for all of these years without the added burden to vote, it is just a ploy to keep as many people from voting as possible. it's the principle of the matter. what might not be an inconvenience to you can be an inconvenience to others.

Mercedes Lackey
Mercedes Lackey4 years ago

As for Jeff W, I think that anyone who makes his money by videotaping women beating up homeless men should not be allowed to vote. How about the rest of you?