STATE OF MINNESOTA

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

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Monday, February 24, 2003

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Blazing Star Conference Room

Ground Level, Centennial Office Building

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MINUTES

 

Meeting was called to order by Chair Miller.

 

Members present:  Ashmore, Fluegel, Kelley, Milbert, Miller, Pauly

Others present:  Olson, Sigurdson, Swanson, Drilias, staff; Huwe, counsel

 

MINUTES  (January 15, 2003)

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION:       To approve the January 15, 2003, minutes as drafted.

 

Vote on MOTION:       Unanimously passed by five members (Ashmore absent).

 

CHAIR'S REPORT

 

Board Meeting Schedule

 

Next meeting is scheduled for March 26, 2003.   

 

Meeting with Legislators

 

Board members and Ms. Olson met with ten legislators and representatives of the Governor's office to discuss the Board's legislative recommendations.  An amended list of recommendations based on suggestions made by legislators and legislative staff was available for Board review.  Ms. Olson will continue to work with the Revisor's office in drafting another bill to incorporate the changes (see copy of the revised list of recommendations attached).

 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT

 

Ms. Olson submitted the following written report:

 

·            Staff Activities

 

About 55 individuals attended the Informational Meeting for lobbyists on Thursday, January 16th.

On January 24th, the names of 138 lobbyists who had not filed the Lobbyist Disbursement Report due January 15th were listed on the Board's website. 

 

On January 31st, Ms. Olson was in Washington, D.C. to speak to the Campaign Finance Institute's Task Force on Financing Presidential Nominations.  She presented information about Minnesota's experience with public funding of political campaigns to ten members of the Task Force and about 100 members of the public. 

 

About 167 candidates and 60 political party units and political committees and funds filed year-end reports electronically.  This represents a 135% increase from election year 2000 when a total of 96 committees and funds filed electronically.

 

On February 10th, the names of candidates, political committees, political funds, and political party units that had not filed the Report of Receipts and Expenditures due January 31st were listed on the Board's website.  The names of 163 candidate committees and 49 political party units and political committees and funds were listed. 

 

On February 13th, Ms. Olson was a guest speaker at a University of Minnesota, Graduate School of Public Health class, Legislative Advocacy Skills.  She discussed lobbying registration and reporting requirements as well as the gift ban and campaign finance with ten students.

 

On February 20th, Ms. Pauly spoke at a College of St. Catherine Leadership Institute seminar, Making Ethical Decisions.  Ms. Pauly talked about the Board and its responsibilities as well as her experience on the House Ethics Committee.

 

Gary Goldsmith continues to work to remedy some problems and develop new features for Finance 2002. 

 

All public subsidy agreements went out of effect on December 31, 2002.  New agreements have been signed by all but 25 legislators.   

 

·            Legislation

 

The appointments of Ms. Ashmore and Mr. Milbert were approved on the House floor on January 27th after the House Government Operations committee recommended the approval.  The Senate Rules Subcommittee on Elections will meet to act on the appointments, however no date has  been scheduled.  After that meeting, the full Rules Committee will meet to act on the Subcommittee recommendation before the recommendation goes to the Senate floor.

 

On February 4th, Ms. Olson presented information to the House State Government Finance Committee about the Board, staff, and the Fiscal Year 2003 and Fiscal Years 2004 and 2005 budgets.

 

 

·            Personnel

 

Ms. Olson reviewed the performance of Jeff Sigurdson and awarded him an achievement award in recognition of his work in the distribution of 2002 public subsidy and additional time spent during Board activities in October.

 

·            Miscellaneous

 

Governor Pawlenty unallotted $25,000 of the Board's Fiscal Year 2003 budget.  The unallotted amount must be absorbed before June 30th. 

 

The Governor's proposed budget for Fiscal Years 2004 and 2005 recommends user's fees for clients to offset the Board's general fund appropriation.  To assist the administration and the Department of Finance, staff contracted with the Department of Administration's Management Analysis Division to conduct a survey about other states' experience with charging fees.  The results will be available for Board review at the next meeting.

 

Alan Weinblatt, legal counsel for the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party (“DFL"), is requesting payment of attorney's fees of $33,000 in the Campaign Finance Board v. DFL case.  Counsel Huwe sent a letter to Judge Lindman requesting that the issue of fees be delayed pending the Board's discussion about appealing the decision.

 

Enforcement Report

 

Consent Items

 

Board Action:     Authorization for inactive committees to retain active status.

 

                        Duane Johnson, treasurer, Dick Rainville Volunteer Committee - Mr. Johnson requested that the committee be allowed to retain active status until the adjournment of the current legislative session, so that the committee may contribute their remaining funds to another principal campaign committee. 

 

                                    Steven Johnson, treasurer, (Matthew) Swenson Volunteer Committee - Mr. Johnson requested that the committee be allowed to retain active status until the adjournment of the current legislative session.

 

                                    Richard Peterson, candidate, (Richard) Peterson Campaign Committee - Mr. Peterson requested an extension of his active status until December 31, 2008.  Board staff contacted Mr. Peterson by telephone and advised him that extensions were generally only given for one election cycle.  Mr. Peterson verbally requested an extension until January 1, 2005, because he may run for election in 2004.

Ms. Pauly's MOTION:                To authorize the actions specified in the consent matters.

 

Vote on MOTION:       Unanimously passed.

 

Discussion Items

 

Request for authorization to terminate with a cash balance discrepancy

Garry M. Johanson, treasurer, (Anthony) Kinkel for Senate Campaign - In his letter dated January 28, 2003, Mr. Johanson stated that since he became treasurer of the committee in 1998, the committee's reports have reflected $238.09 more than the committee's actual cash balance.  Mr. Johanson stated that the committee's actual cash balance is $0.

 

Mr. Kelley's MOTION:                        To approve Mr. Johanson's request to adjust the cash balance by $238.09 and terminate the Kinkel for Senate Campaign committee.   

 

Vote on MOTION:            Unanimously passed.

 

Request for authorization of a certified letter to compel filing of the Report of Receipts and Expenditures due October 28, 2002, and subsequent legal action to compel the return of public subsidy funds received if expenditures are not reported

 

Mark Borsheim, candidate, (Mark) Borsheim for Representative, House District 1A, DFL, public subsidy paid in 2002:  $3,258.69

 

Sheree Breedlove, candidate, Sheree Breedlove Volunteer Committee, Senate District 58, public subsidy paid in 2002:  IPM, $3,998.64

 

Phil Ratté, candidate, (Phil) Ratté for State Representative, House District 50A, IPM, public subsidy paid in 2002:  $542.22

 

Ray Egan, candidate, (Ray) Egan for Senate, Senate District 47, RPM, public subsidy paid in 2002:  $10,364.40

 

Ms. Pauly's MOTION:                To authorize the actions specified in the staff request.

 

Vote on MOTION:       Unanimously passed.

 

Waiver requests

 

·            Reports of Receipts and Expenditures due January 31, 2002, August 19, 2002, and October 28, 2002

 

Marianne Stebbins Beck, treasurer, 43rd Senate District RPM, $3,100 – The Reports of Receipts and Expenditures for 2001 and 2002 were received on January 31, 2003, resulting in $1,100 in late filing fees, and $2,000 in civil penalties.  Alec Beck, husband of the treasurer, stated in his waiver request that Ms. Beck did not have check signing authority, and was “originally appointed as a ‘lame duck' treasurer, with the understanding that her term would last only three months, and that new treasurer would take over once redistricting took place."   Board records reflect that Ms. Beck became treasurer on September 5, 2001.  The committee submitted a termination statement with an ending cash balance of $0.36.

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION:            To: 1) approve Ms. Beck's request to waive the $2,000 in civil penalties; and 2) deny Ms. Beck's request to waive the $1,100 late filing fees and reduce the late filing fees to $100.

 

Vote on MOTION:            Unanimously passed.

 

·            Report of Receipts and Expenditures due October 28, 2002

 

Welbec (Bill) Hamm, candidate, (Bill) Hamm for Senate, $1,500 – The Report of Receipts and Expenditures was received in the Board office on January 31, 2003, resulting in a $500 late filing fee and a $1,000 civil penalty.  Mr. Hamm stated that his treasurer resigned on October 12, 2002, and he was unable to retain another treasurer until November.  Mr. Hamm enumerated a number of other issues that resulted in the late filing of the report, such as the inability to obtain the checkbook and financial records from the previous treasurer.   

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION:            To: 1) approve Mr. Hamm's request to waive the $1,000 civil penalty; and 2) deny Mr. Hamm's request to waive the $500 late filing fee and reduce the late filing fee to $250.

 

Vote on MOTION:            Unanimously passed.

 

Dick Senese, treasurer, Minnesota Progressive Voters Alliance, $1,500 – The Report of Receipts and Expenditures was received in the Board office on January 8, 2003, resulting in a $500 late filing fee and a $1,000 civil penalty.  Mr. Senese indicated that the committee had very limited activity and that committee intends to terminate.  Mr. Senese also stated that he has had extenuating personal circumstances that prevented him from attending to this report.  Mr. Senese resigned as treasurer on February 3, 2003. 

 

Ms. Pauly's MOTION:            To: 1) approve Mr. Senese's request to waive the $1,000 civil penalty; and 2) deny Mr. Senese's request to waive the $500 late filing fee and reduce the late filing fee to $50 pending termination.

 

Vote on MOTION:            Unanimously passed.

 

·            Reconsideration of a waiver request for the Report of Receipts and Expenditures due October 28, 2002 (see January 15th minutes)

 

Susan Rosenberg, treasurer, Richfield DFL, $500 – The Report of Receipts and Expenditures was received in the Board office on November 27, 2002.  In her second waiver request Ms. Rosenberg stated that the committee only has $200 in its account. 

 

Mr. Milbert's MOTION:            To deny Ms. Rosenberg's request to waive the $500 late filing fee and reduce the late fee to $100.

 

Vote on MOTION:            Unanimously passed.

 

Request for authorization to administratively terminate a lobbyist

 

Kenneth L. Michaelson, lobbyist, Kenneth L. Michaelson - Mr. Michaelson registered with the Board in 1992 as a lobbyist representing himself.  The last Lobbyist Disbursement Report he filed was on January 15, 2002.  Mr. Michaelson owes reports due in April 15 and July 15, 2002, and January 15, 2003.  All mail sent to Mr. Michaelson has been returned, and staff has been unable to locate a new address for him.

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION:            Direct staff to: 1) administratively terminate the lobbyist registration of Kenneth L. Michaelson; 2) place all correspondence in the lobbyist files; and 3) retain the files in the active file should Mr. Michaelson become an active lobbyist in the future.

 

Vote on MOTION:       Unanimously passed.

 

Informational Items

 

Payment of Late Filing Fees

 

·            48 Hour Notice

 

Laurie Hilty, treasurer, (Bill) Hilty Volunteer Committee:  $100

Steve Billings, treasurer, Novak for Senate Volunteer Committee:  $100

 

·            Report of Receipts and Expenditures due October 28, 2002

 

Daniel Przybylski, treasurer, Friends of Paul Kess:  $250

Benjamin Hedberg, chair, 6th Congressional District RPM:  $200

Roxanne Kirk, treasurer, Bemidji Central Labor Party:  $100

Joan Molenaar, treasurer, Champlain DFLers:  $50

C. Thomas Keegel, treasurer, Democrat, Republican, Independent, Voter Education, $150

Jennifer O'Rourke, treasurer, Minnesotans for a Democratic Majority:  $35 (balance $315)

Grant Lebens, treasurer, Minnesotans for a Republican Majority:  $500

Bruce Anderson, treasurer, Minnesota Retail Political Advocacy Fund:  $50

 

·            Lobbyist Disbursement Report due January 15, 2003

 

Richard Nelson, Red River Water Shed:  $5

 

Gifts to State Elections Campaign Fund

 

·            Terminating principal campaign committee

 

Robert Conner, treasurer, Connor (David) Volunteer Committee:  $667.36

 

·            Anonymous Contribution

 

Richard Christianson, Russ Elmer Volunteer Committee:  $135.14

 

Financial statement and agency deposits - Mr. Sigurdson submitted reports covering July 2002 through January 2003. 

 

ADVISORY OPINION REQUEST

 

The following advisory opinion request is nonpublic data

 

Advisory Opinion Request #347 – Reporting the Cost of Producing and Disseminating Information Related to Legislative Action as a Lobbying Disbursement 

 

The Board reviewed the request for an advisory opinion from a legal representative for an association who asked if a specific video produced by the association constitutes lobbying expenditures based on its content and purpose.  The association also asked how to report the cost of producing and distributing the video if the Board considers the video lobbying.

 

Board members viewed a copy of the video provided by the requester.

 

Mr. Kelley's MOTION:                        To approve Advisory Opinion 347 as drafted.           

 

Vote on MOTION:            Unanimously passed

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #347 signed by Chair Clyde Miller, February 24, 2003:  The cost of producing and distributing a video that provides information about an issue before the legislature is a lobbying disbursement that must be disclosed on the Annual Report of Lobbyist Principal and on a periodic Lobbyist Disbursement Report.

 

LEGAL COUNSEL'S REPORT

 

Counsel Huwe presented the legal counsel report outlining the status of cases that have been turned over to the Attorney General's office (see copy of memo attached).  

 

REPORT FROM EXECUTIVE SESSION

 

Findings in the Matter of the Complaint Regarding Progressive Minnesota – The Board issued findings showing that: 1) there is no probable cause to believe that the reporting violations alleged in the complaint continue to exist because the committee amended its Report of Receipts and Expenditures for calendar year 2001 to show the required itemization of contributions received; and 2) there is probable cause to believe that the committee accepted a contribution in excess of $100 from an unregistered association.  The contribution was returned to the association.  The Board ordered that the findings and the record of the investigation be made a part of the public records of the Board (see copy of findings attached).

 

Findings in the Matter of the Complaint Regarding Mah Mah Wi No Min-I - The Board issued findings showing that there is no probable cause to believe that the reporting violations alleged in the complaint continue to exist.  The committee amended its Report of Receipts and Expenditures for calendar year 2002 and provided an Affidavit of Independent Expenditures within ten days of receiving the Board's inquiry regarding the complaint.  The Board ordered that the findings and the record of the investigation be made a part of the public records of the Board (see copy of findings attached).

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

Meeting adjourned.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Jeanne Olson

Executive Director

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