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DC watchdog says 3M illegally donated to super PAC

WASHINGTON — A Washington-based election watchdog has filed a complaint against 3M Co., accusing the Minnesota-based company of violating a campaign finance rule that bars government contractors from donating to political groups.

In a complaint to the Federal Election Commission, the Campaign Legal Center says a 3M donation of $50,000 to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a national political action committee that supports Republicans for the U.S. House of Representatives, was in violation of an election rule that prohibits government contractors from giving to “political committees while negotiating or performing federal contracts.”

3M’s website lists at least eight federal contracts supplying the government with everything from cleaning solvents to dental supplies. The Campaign Legal Center’s complaint notes 3M began a contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Oct. 23, 2018.

The complaint also says the Congressional Leadership Fund website includes a disclaimer that donors have to confirm they are not a federal contractor. The organization received the 3M donation on Nov. 1, 2018. The complaint seeks civil penalties against 3M.

Lori Anderson, a 3M spokeswoman, said the Maplewood-based industrial giant had just learned of the complaint and was reviewing it.

“3M is committed to abiding by campaign finance laws,” Anderson said.