Nearly $1 million in national and local campaign funding is flooding into Minneapolis to support a ballot measure asking voters to decide in November to replace the city’s police department, sparking concerns that outside dollars are drowning out the concerns of local residents as violent crime surges. 

The group Yes 4 Minneapolis, which supports amending the city charter to allow public officials to replace the police department with a public safety agency, has gathered roughly $983,000 in donations over the past year, according to a 49-page campaign finance report filed Tuesday. 

Among the largest donors was MoveOn.Org, a campaign organization based in Washington, D.C. dedicated to "committed to an inclusive and progressive future," according to its website. The group gifted roughly $430,000 to Yes 4 Minneapolis in the form of "in-kind donations," which represent the value of staffing, access to email lists or other services that come as non-cash contributions. 


The national American Civil Liberties Union donated $75,000 in cash and nearly $4,000 in staff time. 

"We got involved because white supremacy is embedded in many of the institutions that are supposed to protect us — including police and our criminal legal system, and we are committed to rooting it out and repairing the harm still being inflicted on communities of color," the ACLU said. 

Local groups Black Visions and Reclaim the Block also donated to Yes 4 Minneapolis. 

That compares to just $109,000 in funding gathered by an opposing group, All of Mpls, over the past three weeks. Campaign manager, Leili Fatehi, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune the group supports police reform and public safety agencies but does not believe a charter amendment is necessary. 

All of Mpls is seeking to distinguish itself among other political committees as more of a "homegrown effort," arguing in a statement Tuesday that, "Those pushing to eliminate the police department are funded overwhelmingly by people and organizations outside of Minnesota who are hoping to use Minneapolis as the national experiment for abolishing the police."


In defense of the outside dollars, JaNaé Bates, a spokeswoman for Yes 4 Minneapolis, told the Tribune, "We always knew there was a handful of people who've benefited from power and resource-holding, and they're not gonna yield that power very easily." 

She argued that the donations demonstrate that people "are ready for an actual change, a real difference" and those who contributed to the campaign "have the same answer as to what their next step is, and it's removing this barrier in the city charter."