STATE OF MINNESOTA
CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD
FINDINGS IN THE MATTER OF A COMPLAINT REGARDING PROGRESSIVE MINNESOTA
On January 8, 2003, Thomas Swift (“Complainant”) filed a complaint with the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board (“Board”) alleging that Progressive Minnesota violated Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 10A.
The Complainant alleged that Progressive Minnesota failed to properly itemize two receipts on its amended Report of Receipts and Expenditures for calendar year 2001. Specifically, the Complainant alleged that on its original Report of Receipts and Expenditures for calendar year 2001 filed on February 4, 2002, Progressive Minnesota reported two contributions (one for $3,000 and one for $180) from the Saint Paul Public School District on Schedule A1-Contributions Received. However, by letter dated June 13, 2002, Progressive Minnesota amended their Report of Receipts and Expenditures for calendar year 2001 to show a single entry for $3,180 on Schedule A2-Miscellaneous Income. The complainant included copies of receipts that reflect that there were two separate receipts; one for $3,000 and one for $180.
By letter dated January 9, 2003, Martha Easton, treasurer, Progressive Minnesota, was notified of the complaint and afforded an opportunity to respond. Alan Weinblatt, attorney, responded on behalf of Progressive Minnesota.
Mr. Weinblatt stated that “Progressive Minnesota will file a second amended Report for the calendar year 2001 clarifying that the fee received from the Saint Paul Schools on or about September 12, 2001, in the amount of $3,000 was solely a fee for services performed by Progressive Minnesota and not a contribution.” Mr. Weinblatt further stated that Progressive Minnesota would refund the $180 paid by the St. Paul Public School District.
On February 10, 2003, Ms. Easton amended the committee’s 2001 report to disclose receipt of $3,000 from the Saint Paul School District on Schedule A2-Miscellaneous Income. Ms. Easton also provided a copy of a check returning $180 to the St. Paul School District.
The matter was considered by the Board in executive sessions on January 15, 2003, and February 24, 2003. The Board’s decision was based upon the complaint, the response, and Board records.
Based on the record before it, the Board issues the following:
1. Minn. Stat. §10A.20, subd. 3 (e), requires that each receipt over $100 be itemized.
2. Minn. Stat. §10A.20, subd. 3 (b), requires that each contribution that in aggregate exceeds $100, including the purchase of tickets for a fund-raising effort, be itemized.
3. Upon notification that its amended report did not correctly list two receipts from the Saint Paul School District, Progressive Minnesota amended its Report of Receipts and Expenditures for calendar year 2001, to disclose receipt of $3,000 from the Saint Paul School District as miscellaneous income.
4. Minn. Stat. §10A.27, subd. 13 (a), prohibits the treasurer of a political committee from accepting a contribution in excess of $100 from an association not registered with the Board.
5. Upon notification from the Board that tickets for a fundraiser are considered a contribution, Progressive Minnesota refunded $180 to the Saint Paul School District.
Based on the above Statement of the Evidence, the Board makes the following:
1. There is no probable cause to believe that the reporting violations alleged in the complaint continue to exist. The committee amended its report after receiving notice from the Board about the reporting requirement.
2. There is probable cause to believe that Progressive Minnesota accepted a contribution in excess of $100 from an unregistered association. At the time that the contribution was accepted, Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 10A, provided no civil penalty against the recipient committee. Progressive Minnesota provided the Board with a copy of the check returning this contribution to the unregistered association.
Based on the above Findings, the Board issues the following:
The reporting violation alleged in the complaint having been resolved, and the prohibited contribution having been returned, this matter is concluded.
The record in this matter and all correspondence is hereby entered into public record in accordance with Minn. Stat. §10A.02, subd. 11.
Board staff shall provide copies of these Findings to Martha Easton and Thomas Swift.
Dated: 2/24/03 _________________________________________
Clyde Miller, Chair
Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board