STATE OF MINNESOTA
CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD
THE DULUTH BUILDING TRADES VOLUNTEER PARTY FUND AND
THE DULUTH BUILDING TRADES COUNCIL
In October 2003 the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board (“Board”) sent a routine reconciliation inquiry to the Duluth Building Trades Volunteer Party Fund (“the Fund”) regarding the Fund’s Report of Receipts and Expenditures for calendar year 2002. The inquiry questioned a $7,500 contribution that the Minnesota DFL State Central Committee (“the DFL”), a registered political party unit, reported making to the Fund on October 31, 2002, that the Fund did not disclose on its Report of Receipts and Expenditures for calendar year 2002.
On December 18, 2003, Tim Andrew, attorney, submitted a response to the Board’s inquiry on behalf of the Fund and the Duluth Building Trades Council (“the Association”), an unincorporated association of affiliated labor unions. The Duluth Building Trades Volunteer Party Fund is the registered political fund of the Duluth Building Trades Council.
Mr. Andrew stated that in October 2002 the Association received a check for $7,500 from the DFL that the Association inadvertently deposited into the Association’s general checking account and not the checking account of the Fund.
Mr. Andrew stated that the Association used Association funds to make $3,611.60 in independent expenditure advertisements on behalf of Roger Moe. Mr. Andrew stated that these advertisements were “not made with the consent, authorization, cooperation or in concert with or at the request or suggestion of” the candidate committee or the candidate’s party. Mr. Andrew states that the radio advertisements disclosed that they were “paid for by the Duluth Buildings and Trades Council” but did not include the independent expenditure disclaimer required by Minn. Stat. §10A.17, subd. 4. On December 23, 2003, Mr. Andrew also submitted an Affidavit of Independent Expenditures on behalf of the Duluth Building and Trades Council, signed by Jim Brown, the Treasurer of both the Association and the Fund.
Mr. Andrew stated that on December 17, 2003, the Association reimbursed the Fund $7,500 and Mr. Andrew provided a copy of this check. Mr. Andrew stated “the officers of the DBCTC [the Association] did not knowingly commingle the money intended to be deposited into the Fund.”
Mr. Andrew stated “in hindsight we now recognize that the deposit should have been made into the Fund; the independent expenditures paid out of the Fund; the disclaimers modified slightly in the radio ads, and; the Affidavit filed contemporaneously with the purchase of the radio ads…throughout this process the DBCTC [the Association] and the Fund have ‘learned their lesson’ and have become aware of and will follow the various requirements of the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.” Mr. Andrew further stated “the officers of the DBCTC [the Association] and the Fund did not knowingly violate the prohibition against an association making expenditures on behalf of a candidate and further assure the Board that similar issues will not reoccur.”
At its meeting on April 28, 2004, the Board instructed Board staff to request additional information from the Duluth Building and Trades Council and the Minnesota DFL State Central Committee regarding this matter.
Mr. Andrew provided an additional response on May 14, 2003, and stated, “no agent or employee of the Minnesota DFL State Central Committee directed, suggested, urged or requested any officer or agent of the Duluth Building Trades to make specific expenditures or independent expenditures on behalf of Candidate Roger Moe or any other candidate.”
On May 19, 2004, Alan Weinblatt, attorney, responded on behalf of the Minnesota State DFL Central Committee, and stated that the contribution to the Fund was “for the purpose of assisting the DBTVPF [the Fund] in its ordinary and usual activities.
The Board considered this matter at its meetings on April 28, 2004, and May 26, 2004. The Board’s decision was based upon Mr. Andrew’s letters, Mr. Weinblatt’s letters, and Board records.
Based on the record before it, the Board issues the following:
Based on the above Statement of the Evidence, the Board makes the following:
FINDINGS CONCERNING PROBABLE CAUSE
Based on the above Findings, the Board issues the following:
Dated: May 27, 2004 _________________________________________
Wil Fluegel Chair
Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board