STATE OF MINNESOTA
CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD
FINDINGS IN THE MATTER OF A COMPLAINT REGARDING
REPRESENTATIVE JIM ABELER
On May 11, 2001, Michael Nelson ("Complainant") filed a complaint with the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board ("Board") alleging that Representative Jim Abeler ("Respondent") violated Minn. Stat. 10A.09 by failing to disclose all required financial interest information on his Statement of Economic Interest ("Statement").
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent neglected to disclose rental property, the identity of the tenants, and the amount of rental income received from those properties. The Complainant further alleges that the Respondent either knowingly omitted the rental information or willfully failed to correct his Statement once he discovered that not all of his financial investments were disclosed.
By letter dated May 14, 2001, staff notified the Respondent of the complaint and afforded him an opportunity to respond.
The Respondent replied by letter dated May 30, 2001, and stated that he had disclosed all information required according to instructions provided. He further stated that the instructions specifically exclude income from rental property as a source of compensation.
The Board considered this matter in executive session on June 26, 2001.
Based on the record before it, the Board issues the following:
STATEMENT OF THE EVIDENCE
1. As a member of the Minnesota State Legislature, the Respondent is a public official defined under Minn. Stat. 10A.01, subd. 35 (1), and is required to file Statements of Economic Interest with the Board disclosing certain financial information.
2. A Statement of Economic Interest requires disclosure of sources of compensation earned in excess of $50. However, dollar amounts of compensation and income from rental property are not included in the disclosure requirements.
3. The disclosure of ownership of real property (other than homestead property) is required. Disclosure must include the county in which the property is located, street address and city name or, if there is not a street address, the section, township, and other legal description. Instructions specifically exclude stating the type of property. There are no provisions for disclosing names of tenants (if any), or the amount of rental income received from any property.
4. The Respondent filed an Original Statement of Economic Interest with the Board on August 12, 1998, disclosing ownership of four properties.
5. Public officials are required to file a Supplementary Statement of Economic Interest on April 15th of each year, only if previously reported information has changed.
6. The Respondent filed several Supplementary Statements of Economic Interest with the Board. The latest Statement was filed on April 4, 2001, and discloses ownership of five properties.
Based on the above Statement of the Evidence, the Board makes the following:
FINDINGS CONCERNING PROBABLE CAUSE
1. The Respondent has disclosed all required information regarding sources of compensation, securities, and real property on his Statements of Economic Interest.
2. There is no probable cause to believe that the Respondent violated Minn. Stat. 10A.09 by failing to disclose all financial interests and sources of compensation required under Minnesota Statutes 10A.
3. There is no probable cause to believe the Respondent was required to amend his Statement of Economic Interest.
Based on the above Findings Concerning Probable Cause, the Board issues the following:
The complaint regarding Representative Jim Abeler is dismissed and the record in this matter is entered into the public record in accordance with Minn. Stat. 10A.02, subd. 11.
Dated: June 26, 2001
Will Fluegel, chair
Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board