STATE OF MINNESOTA

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

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Wednesday, August 27, 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  (June 25, 2003)

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION:       To approve the June 25, 2003, minutes as drafted.

 

Vote on MOTION:       Unanimously passed.

 

CHAIR'S REPORT

 

Board Meeting Schedule

 

Next meeting is scheduled for September 17, 2003, 9:00 a.m.

 

Chair Miller welcomed Hilary Caligiuri from the Attorney General's Office to the meeting.   

 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT

 

Ms. Olson submitted the following written report:

 

Staff Activities

 

In June, letters were sent to 38 Principal Campaign Committees and 11 political committees and funds informing them of their ‘inactive' status and the requirement for them to pay debts, dispose of assets, and terminate their registration with the Board within 60 days of the letter.  As of today, eight principal campaign committees and five political committees have terminated.  Two candidate committees and two political committees and funds have requested a termination extension.  A certified letter will be sent to the non-responding entities.

 

Twenty-three principal campaign committees were reminded that they are required to terminate their registration because they made contributions to other principal campaign committees during 2002.  As of today, six of these candidates have terminated their registration.  Staff will review the dates of the 2002 contributions and send certified notices when required.

 

On, August 7th, Ms. Olson was a guest on a local access cable program hosted by Bob Cardinal, the mayor of Maplewood.  They discussed the Board and its responsibilities. 

 

Fee Structure Process

 

On June 27th letters were sent to over 4,550 Board clients asking for comments about the proposed fee structure.   About 100 responses were received.  Board members were provided a copy of the pertinent responses. 

 

Public meetings have been scheduled for September 9th in the evening in Minneapolis and September 10th in the morning in St. Paul.  To date, three individuals have requested to speak at the St. Paul meeting and no one has requested to speak at the Minneapolis meeting. 

 

As of yesterday, lobbyists paid total fees of $132,350 and lobbyist principals paid fees totaling $51,200.  Certified letters were mailed on August 14th to 250 lobbyists and 444 lobbyist principals that have not paid the fee.  A late payment fee of $5 a day will begin on August 25th if the payment is not made or postmarked by that date.  The statute requires a second notice to be sent 14 days after the first notice.  If the payment is not made within seven days of the second notice, the $1,000 civil penalty may be assessed.  

 

Personnel

 

Staff reviewed resumes and interviewed several candidates for the receptionist position.  The position was offered to and accepted by Christine Eliasson.  Ms. Eliasson, who was laid off from the Department of Employee Relations, will begin her work with the Board on September 2nd.  As is the practice, Ms. Eliasson will attend the September Board meeting as part of her orientation.  The programs assistant position remains open.   

 

The Department of Employee Relations has informed staff about procedures to be followed in the event that AFSCME and/or MAPE employees authorize a strike.

 

Budget

 

Because of the hiring freeze, $49,114 from fiscal year 2003 was carried forward to fiscal year 2004 and will be reflected in the July financial statement.

 

The Board's biennial appropriation was cut by $12,000.  Staff proposes taking the full cut in fiscal year 2004, a non-election year to ensure available funds for the 2004 election year.

 

Miscellaneous

 

The Secretary of State's office notified staff that following the 2002 election, the four major parties continued their major party status and that no party qualified for minor party status.  The four major parties are the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, the Republican Party of Minnesota, the Green Party of Minnesota, and the Independence Party of Minnesota.

 

The legislation establishing the Board, The Ethics in Government Act, passed in 1974.  The Board will be 30 years old next year. 

 

Enforcement Report

 

Consent Items

 

Authorization for inactive committees to retain active status.

 

Steve Preble, deputy treasurer, Council 65 Political Action Committee - Mr. Preble stated that he recently became the director and that he intends on restoring the committee to active status.

 

Paul Cassidy, treasurer, the Minnesota New Democrat Political Action Committee - Mr. Cassidy stated that the committee intends on accepting contributions in 2003 and making contributions in 2004.

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION:            To approve Mr. Preble's and Mr. Cassidy's requests to allow Council 65 Political Action Committee and the Minnesota New Democrat Political Action Committee to retain active status.

 

Vote on MOTION:       Unanimously passed.

 

 

 

Discussion Items

 

Request to accept a cash balance discrepancy

 

Judy Gilbert, treasurer, 57th Senate District DFL (see May 28, 2003, minutes) - The Board waived $2,000 in civil penalties and $600 in late filing fees with the understanding that Ms. Gilbert make every reasonable effort to reconcile a $1,606.98 cash balance discrepancy.  On August 4, 2003, Board staff received correspondence from Ms. Gilbert indicating that a cash balance discrepancy of $338.97 continues to exist.  Ms. Gilbert stated that she cannot account for the difference, and requested that the Board accept the discrepancy.

 

Ms. Pauly's MOTION:            To accept Ms. Gilbert's amended report with a cash balance discrepancy of $338.97.

 

Vote on MOTION:            Unanimously passed.

 

Reconsideration of a Waiver Request

 

·            Reports of Receipts and Expenditures due October 28, 2002, and January 31, 2003

 

LaVerne Turner, candidate, (LaVerne) Turner for Senate (see May 28, 2003, minutes) - Mr. Turner requested that the Board consider an additional reduction of the civil penalty and late filing fee. 

 

Ms. Pauly's MOTION:            To: 1) accept Mr. Turner's request and reduce the civil penalty to $500 and the late filing fee to $300; and 2) direct staff to offer the option of a payment schedule for the payment of the late fee and civil penalty.

 

Vote on MOTION:            Unanimously passed.

 

Waiver Requests

 

·            Lobbyist Disbursement Report due April 15, 2003

 

Kathleen Maher, lobbyist, Lutheran Social Services, $1,100 ($100 late filing fee, $1,000 civil penalty) – The Lobbyist Disbursement Report was received in the Board office on June 20, 2003.  In her request, Ms. Maher stated that she did not receive the report until April 25, 2003, because her office was without an administrative assistant at that time.  Ms. Maher stated that she faxed the Lobbyist Disbursement Report on May 21, 2003.  Ms. Maher provided a copy of a fax transmission record from May 21, 2003, showing that the fax did not go through because the line was busy.  She further stated that she was not informed that the transmission was unsuccessful. 

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION:            To: 1) deny Ms. Maher's request to waive the $100 late filing fee; and 2) approve Ms. Maher's request to waive the $1,000 civil penalty.

 

Vote on MOTION:            Unanimously passed.

 

·            Annual Report of Lobbyist Principal due March 17, 2003

 

Todd Vlatkovich, lobbyist, on behalf of Bob Erickson, principal, $1,100 ($100 late filing fee, $1,000 civil penalty) – The Annual Report of Lobbyist Principal was received in the Board office on June 12, 2003.  The late filing fee has been paid, however Mr. Vlatkovich is requesting that the $1,000 civil penalty be waived.  Mr. Vlatkovich stated that he failed to timely file the report because of a fire at his home.  Board staff notes that the report, and the certified letters were sent to and received at Mr. Erickson's office, and that historically Mr. Erickson has signed the report. 

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION:            To: 1) deny Mr. Vlatkovich's request to waive the $1,000 civil penalty; and 2) reduce the civil penalty to $100.

 

Vote on MOTION:         Unanimously passed.

 

Board members directed staff to provide time at a future Board meeting for a discussion on standards for assessing civil penalties.

 

Request to administratively terminate

 

·            Lobbyist Registration

 

Sharon (Qui'Tam) Anderson, registered on behalf of herself and Anderson & Advocates, Inc. - Ms. Anderson does not respond to Board mailings, and has never filed a Lobbyist Disbursement Report.

 

Ms. Pauly's MOTION:            To direct staff to administratively terminate the lobbyist registration of Sharon (Qui'Tam) Anderson.

 

Vote on MOTION:            Unanimously passed.

 

 

 

·            Principal campaign committee

 

Sharon Anderson, Sharon Anderson Volunteer Committee (House 64B) - In June 2003 Board staff notified the committee that it was required to terminate.  No response was received.   

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION:            To direct staff to administratively terminate the registration of the Sharon Anderson Volunteer Committee (House 64B).

 

Vote on MOTION:            Unanimously passed.

 

Informational Items

 

Payment of late filing fee

 

·            Lobbyist Disbursement Report due January 15, 2003

 

Erin Jordahl, lobbyist, Minnesota Humane Society:  $30

 

·            Annual Report of Lobbyist Principal due March 17, 2003

 

Libertarian Party of Minnesota:  $100

 

·            Failure to timely amend the Report of Receipts and Expenditures due January 31, 2003

 

Brian Wood, treasurer, (Geoff) Michel for Senate:  $30

 

Return of Excess Public Subsidy

 

Mark Babcock, treasurer, Elect Bonnie Jean Smith:  $1,538.96

 

Payment of Civil Fines

 

·            Greg Blaine, candidate, (Greg) Blaine Campaign Committee – In calendar year 2002, the (Greg) Blaine Campaign Committee accepted aggregate contributions in excess of the special source contribution limit.  The total amount of these contributions exceeded by $199 the special source contribution limit.  Representative Blaine

entered into a conciliation agreement on June 12, 2003, which required him to return an amount sufficient to bring his committee into compliance, and pay a civil fine of $199.

 

 

·            James Metzen, candidate, Senator James Metzen Re-Election Committee – In calendar year 2002, the Senator James Metzen Reelection Committee accepted aggregate contributions in excess of the special source contribution limit.  The total amount of these contributions exceeded by $352 the applicable contribution limit.  This was the committee's second violation of this statute.  Senator Metzen entered into a conciliation agreement on June 30, 2003, which required him to return an amount sufficient to bring his committee into compliance and pay a civil fine of $704.

 

Financial statement and agency deposits - Mr. Sigurdson submitted a final report for fiscal year 2003 covering July 1, 2002 through June 30, 2003; and a report for fiscal year 2004 covering July 2003. 

 

Affirmative Action Plan – Board members reviewed a draft Affirmative Action Plan for the period August 1, 2002 through July 31, 2004. 

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION:            To approve the Affirmative Action Plan as drafted.

 

Vote on MOTION:            Unanimously passed.

 

ADVISORY OPINION REQUESTS

 

The following advisory opinion requests are nonpublic data

 

Advisory Opinion Request #349 – Communications for the purpose of obtaining a contract with the State of Minnesota  

 

Board members reviewed a letter from the member of a firm that may communicate with state employees and elected officials who asked if services described constitute lobbying under Minnesota Statutes or Administrative Rules and if the firm may be compensated for the services described on a contingency basis.

 

Mr. Sigurdson noted a language change made to the original draft opinion.

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION:            To approve Advisory Opinion 349 as amended.           

 

Vote on MOTION:       Unanimously passed.

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #349 signed by Chair Clyde Miler, August 27, 2003:

An individual who communicates with state employees, public officials, and elected officials, to sell goods or services is not required to register as a lobbyist.

 

 

Advisory Opinion Request #350 – Lobbying on a contingency fee basis

 

Board members reviewed a letter from a member of a law firm that represents registered lobbyists who asked if Minnesota Statutes Chapter 10A prohibits a lobbyist from accepting compensation dependent in the clients being awarded a state procurement contract to sell goods and services to the state and if lobbyists may accept a contingent fee under certain circumstances.  

 

Mr. Kelley's MOTION:                        To approve Advisory Opinion 350 as drafted.           

 

Vote on MOTION:       Unanimously passed.

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #350 signed by Chair Clyde Miller, August 27, 2003:

Lobbyists may not provide services on a contingency fee basis to a client for which they are registered to lobby.  

 

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). 

 

FEE SCHEDULE

 

Ms. Olson introduced Mark Scipioni to Board members.  Mr. Scipioni is the Management Consultant with the Department of Administration, Management Analysis Division who has contracted with the Board to assist in preparing a fee schedule to present to the Legislature by January 15, 2004. 

 

Mr. Scipioni outlined the process used to set an equitable fee based on the cost of administering the lobbyist and campaign finance programs.  Chair Miller, Ms. Ashmore, Mr. Fluegel, and Ms. Pauly will attend the September 9th meeting in Minneapolis and Ms. Ashmore, Mr. Fluegel, Mr. Milbert, and Ms. Pauly will attend the September 10th meeting in St. Paul (see Executive Director's Report above).  Following the public meetings, written and oral comments from the meetings will be made available to clients for further input. 

 

REPORT FROM EXECUTIVE SESSION

 

Fee Schedule Internal Guidelines – Board members reviewed and made certain language changes to a working draft of the guidelines for the development of a fee schedule as presented by Mark Scipioni, Management Consultant with the Department of Administration, Management Analysis Division (see copy of approved scheduled attached).

Executive Session Board Meeting – As of the September 17, 2003, meeting the executive session will no longer be taped recorded.

 

Findings in the Matter of the Complaint Regarding Tim Pawlenty - The Board issued findings showing that there is probable cause to believe that candidate Tim Pawlenty: 1) was required to disclose the compensation received from BAMCO, and thus no probable cause to believe that any reporting violation ever existed; 2) knowingly filed a false report with the Board; and that 3) no payments from Elam Baer and Access Anywhere to BAMCO were used to make contributions to the Pawlenty Committee.  Because the Board does not have the authority to make a determination if a violation of Minn. Stat. §211B.15 occurred, the Board directs the Executive Director to refer this matter to the Dakota County Attorney for review.  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 Ellen Anderson – The Board issued findings showing that there is: 1) no probable cause to believe that Ellen Anderson has, or was required to disclose, any interest in the property located at 767 University Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota;  2) probable cause to believe that Senator Anderson inadvertently violated Minn. Stat. §10A.09, subd. 5, when she failed to disclose securities purchased in September, 2000, on her supplementary statements of economic interest filed in April 2001 and April 2002 and her original statement of economic interest filed in July 2002; 3) insufficient evidence to determine whether Senator Anderson violated Minn. Stat. §10A.025, subd. 2, by knowingly omitting required information.  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 the Corporate Commission of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians and H. Theodore Grindal  - The Board issued findings showing that there is no probable cause to believe that the reporting violations alleged in the complaint continue to exist.  Mr. Grindal amended his Lobbyist Disbursement Reports for the periods covering January 1, 2003, through March 31, 2003, and April 1, 2003, through June 30, 2003, within ten days of receiving the Board's inquiry regarding the complaint.  The Board directs that in the future the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians Corporate Commission provide information on all lobbying disbursements to their designated lobbyist at least five days prior to the prescribed filing date of a Lobbyist Disbursement Report.  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 Investigation of the Working Families Coalition - The Board issued findings showing that there is probable cause to believe that the Working Families Coalition violated Minn. Stat. §10A.27, subd. 13, when it accepted excess contributions from three unregistered associations in calendar year 2002.  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 Investigation of the People for (Mari) Pokornowski Committee – The Board issued findings showing that there is probable cause to believe that the People for (Mari) Pokornowski Committee violated Minn. Stat. §10A.27, subd. 11, when it accepted $744.27 in excess contributions from special sources.  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).

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Mr. Kelley's MOTION:            To direct staff to add the possibility of revising the definitions in Minn. Stat. Chapter 10A.01, sub. 6, to the Board's legislative recommendations for 2004.

 

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

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

Meeting adjourned.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Jeanne Olson

Executive Director

 

 

 

 

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