STATE OF MINNESOTA

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

. . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

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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 Fluegel.

 

Members present:  Ashmore, Bettermann, Fluegel, Milbert, Miller

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

 

Ms. Boyd informed Board members she would be unable to attend the meeting.

 

MINUTES  (April 28, 2004)

 

Ms. Bettermann's MOTION:   To approve the April 28, 2004, minutes as drafted.

 

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

 

CHAIR'S REPORT

 

·            Board Appointments

 

Chair Fluegel reported that the Senate approved the appointments of Ms. Bettermann and Ms. Boyd on May 15th.

 

·            Legislation

 

Legislation changing the enforcement provisions of 211A, 211B, and 383B no longer has an impact on the Board.  The Office of Administrative Hearings is charged with the work required under the new legislation.    

 

·            Board Meeting Schedule

 

Next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 15, 2004, 8:30 a.m.

      

 

 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT

 

Ms. Olson submitted the following written report:

 

·            Staff Activities

 

On May 18th Ms. Olson spoke at a conference of the International Association of Business Communicators – Minnesota Chapter, about lobbyist registration and reporting as well as campaign finance activities and the gift ban.

 

Staff is offering monthly compliance and software training in the Capitol Complex.  Out-state training will begin in June.

 

The 2003 Campaign Finance Summary was available for members.

 

Based on a 2003 law change, Lobbyist Disbursement Reports will be due June 15th for the period January 1 through May 31st.  Therefore, staff anticipates that the Lobbyist Disbursement Summary will be issued in August instead of September.

 

Staff is preparing documents for the 2004 election.  Candidate packets will be mailed or delivered to filing officers prior to July 6th for distribution to candidates who file an Affidavit of Candidacy.  Separate packets will be available for judicial candidates.

 

·            Legislation

 

Funds to pay the Office of Administrative Hearings for complaints relating to 211A, 211B, and 383B for constitutional office and legislative candidates and state ballot questions will be generated from additional filing fees on candidates who file for office and appropriated from the general account of the state elections campaign fund.  If the appropriation of $65,000 per fiscal year from the state elections campaign fund isn't used, remaining funds will be returned to the general account.  All partisan candidates will receive less in direct public subsidy payments under this provision.  

 

Senate File 931, which contained most of the Board's 2003 legislative recommendations, was not heard on the House floor.  Ms. Olson will combine the Board's 2003 and 2004 legislative recommendations for possible inclusion in recommendations to the 2005 legislature. 

 

The Board's Fee Study was not included in any legislation during the 2004 legislative session.

 

 

 

 

·            Personnel

 

Ms. Olson introduced Marcia Waller.  Ms. Waller began work as the Board's receptionist on May 3rd. 

 

Jon Peterson will begin work in the Board's Information Technology II position on June 2nd.  

 

·            Miscellaneous

 

No legislation limiting travel was passed, however the governor's travel policy remains in effect.  Members may wish to authorize funds for members or staff to attend the annual Council on Governmental Ethics Laws conference, scheduled for December 5th through 8th in San Francisco.  In past years, two Board members and two staff members have attended. 

 

Enforcement Report

 

Consent Item

 

The Schwan Political Action Committee - By letter received in the Board office on May 5, 2004, Gordon Crow, treasurer, Schwan Political Action Committee, requested that the committee be allowed to terminate its registration with an ending cash balance of more than $100.  The committee will remain active on the Federal level.

 

Mr. Miller's MOTION:   To approve Mr. Crow's request and direct staff to terminate the Schwan Political Committee registration with the Board with an ending cash balance of more than $100.

 

Vote on MOTION:        Unanimously passed.

 

Discussion Items

 

Request for waiver of late filing fees, civil penalties, and fees

 

·            Report of Receipts and Expenditures due February 2, 2004

 

Elizabeth Wielinsk, Treasurer, 59th Senate District DFL, $100 late filing fee, $700 in civil penalties - Report of Receipts and Expenditures was received in the Board office on May 17, 2004.  In her letter accompanying the report Ms. Wielinsk explains that the treasurer of the committee at the time that report was due told the central committee that the report had been filed in January.  The committee members only became aware of the fact that the report had not been filed by visiting the Board's web site.  After a protracted effort to get the committee records from the former treasurer failed the committee obtained the records for 2003 directly from the bank. 

 

Ms. Ashmore's MOTION:        To deny Ms. Wielinsk's request to waive the $100 late filing fee and reduce the civil penalty to $100.

 

Vote on MOTION:        Unanimously passed.

 

·            Lobbyist fee due January 15, 2004

 

Sandra Hofstetter, AT&T Corporation,  $100 late fee, $200 in civil penalties (laid over from the April 28th meeting) - The $50 lobbyist fee was received in the Board office on March 26, 2004.  At its meeting on April 28th the Board requested that Ms. Hofstetter provide additional information regarding the nature of her work for the AT&T Corporation.   Ms. Hofstetter sent a letter stating that her “contract work for AT&T includes lobbying activities."  No motion was made.

 

Michael Yang, Urban Coalition, $100 late fee (laid over from the April 28th meeting) - At its meeting on April 28th the Board reviewed a request from Mr. Yang to waive the $50 lobbyist fee and the $100 late fee for the late filing of the Lobbyist Disbursement Report both due January 15, 2004.  No motion was made.  On May 6, 2004, Mr. Yang paid the $50 lobbyist fee and again requested that the Board waive the late fee.  No motion was made.

 

·            Principal fee due March 15, 2004

 

Midwifery NOW, $80 late fee - The $50 principal fee was received in the Board office on April 27, 2004.  Amy Miller, treasurer for Midwifery NOW, requested by letter that the Board waive the late fee because she is a new treasurer for the organization and was unaware of the $50 fee.  No motion was made. 

 

·            Annual Report of Lobbyist Principal and principal fee due March 15, 2004

 

        Let Minnesota Vote, $200 late fees, $400 in civil penalties – Report of Lobbyist Principal and the $50 principal fee were received in the Board office on May 14, 2004.  Steve Arlowe, Chair for Let Minnesota Vote, requested by letter that the Board waive the late fees and civil penalties because “the report was received by someone who didn't realize what to do with it and did not immediately give it to me or others who were responsible for filing it."   

 

Mr. Miller's MOTION:               To deny Mr. Arlowe's request to waive the $200 late filing fee and reduce the civil penalty to $200.

 

Vote on MOTION:        Unanimously passed.

 

Request for an extension to amend the Report of Receipts and Expenditures

 

Ray Sandborgh, treasurer, Anita Sandborgh for You - The Report of Receipts and Expenditures for the Anita Sandborgh for You committee covering the period January 1 through December 31, 2003, disclosed a cash balance discrepancy.  Board staff requested that Mr. Sandborgh provide an explanation for the discrepancy.  Mr. Sandborgh is requesting an extension to respond until June 17, 2004.

 

Ms. Ashmore's MOTION:        To approve Mr. Sandborgh's request to extend the deadline for amending the Report of Receipts and Expenditures to June 17, 2004.

 

Vote on MOTION:        Unanimously passed.

 

Informational Items

 

Payment of late filing fees

 

·            Report of Receipts and Expenditures due February 2, 2004

 

       LeAnn Hertzog, treasurer, Will Donovan for State Senate:  $20

 

·            Annual Report of Lobbyist Principal due March 15, 2004

 

AIG, Inc.:   $50

Lutheran Social Services:  $50

       NGP MN Biomass:  $65

 

·            Lobbyist principal fee due March 15, 2004

 

NGP MN Biomass, LLC:  $5

National Solid Waste Management:  $115

DSG Strategies, Inc.:  $80

 

Anonymous Contribution for deposit in General Fund of State Elections Campaign Fund

      

Justin Krych, Minnesotans for (Justin) Krych:  $36.49

 

 

Conciliation Agreement

 

Roger Moe, candidate, (Roger) Moe for Minnesota, $150 - In calendar year 2002, the Moe for Minnesota committee accepted a $50 contribution from the campaign committee of a candidate for local office.  In addition, the committee accepted three contributions from an individual totaling $2,100.  The total amount of the three contributions exceeded by $100 the applicable election year limit.  Mr. Moe returned $150 to contributors, entered into a conciliation agreement on May 3, 2004, and paid a civil fine of $150.

 

Financial statement and agency deposits - Mr. Sigurdson submitted a report covering July 1, 2003, through April 30, 2004.

 

Proposed Spending Plan Fiscal Year 2005

 

Board members reviewed a draft spending plan for fiscal year 2005.

 

Ms. Ashmore's MOTION:        To approve the spending plan for fiscal year 2005 as drafted.

 

Vote on MOTION:        Unanimously passed.

 

ADVISORY OPINION REQUESTS

 

The following advisory opinion request is nonpublic data (laid over from the April 28th meeting)

 

Advisory Opinion Request #357 Compensation for Staff Services, In-kind Donation to Pay for Living Expenses of Staff

 

Board members reviewed and made certain language changes to a draft opinion.

 

Ms. Bettermann's MOTION:   To approve advisory opinion #357 as amended in discussion.

 

Vote on MOTION:        Unanimously passed.

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #357 signed by Chair Wil Fluegel, May 26, 2004:  Political party units and candidates may jointly hire and compensate staff to work on campaigns and develop assets.  The staff's time must be closely tracked and projects between the party units and candidates segregated in order to prevent unauthorized in-kind donations.  An association that provides compensation to campaign staff is making an in-kind donation to the principal campaign committee that benefits from the staff's work. 

 

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 David Dill - The Board issued findings to show that there is probable cause to believe that the David Dill for Minnesota District 6A committee: 1) underreported the fair market value of the use of the Mr. Dill's personal aircraft and did not properly disclose the expense on the 2002 pre-primary Report of Receipts and Expenditures; 2) improperly and inadvertently classified a campaign expenditure as a noncampaign disbursement; 3) improperly allocated a pre-primary expenditure as a post-primary expense; 4) exceeded the expenditure limits for first time candidate and for a first time candidate in a contested primary; and 5) made an inappropriate expenditure when he used campaign funds to purchase his own food while campaigning.  The finding also found that there was no probable cause to believe that: 1) an inappropriate in-kind contribution was made to the committee; 2) the committee benefited from an employee discount for aviation fuel; and 3) the committee paid two individuals for web site services.  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 Minnesota DFL State Central Committee, the DFL House Caucus and the DFL House Caucus Federal PAC - The Board issued findings to show that there is no probable cause to believe that the

DFL House Caucus Federal PAC, the DFL House Caucus or the Minnesota DFL State Central Committee attempted to circumvent any of the provisions in Minn. Stat. §§10A.14, 10A.27, or 10A.20 by redirecting a contribution through, or making a contribution to a Chapter 10A candidate on behalf of another individual or association, by failing to file a Statement of Organization, by transferring funds from one committee to another, or by failing to provide the necessary disclosure for the source of the funds used to support Chapter 10A candidates.  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 Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians  - The Board issued findings to show that there is probable cause to believe that the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe inadvertently violated Minn. Stat. §10A.27, subd. 13, when it made a contribution to the Crow Wing County DFL and did not provide the required

disclosure.  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 Regarding the Duluth Building Trades Volunteer Party Fund - The Board issued findings to show that there is probable cause to believe that the Duluth Building Trades Council: 1) ran a radio advertisement on behalf of a candidate without the required independent expenditure disclaimer; and 2) deposited a contribution intended for the Association's political fund into the account of the general fund of the Association.  The finding also found that there is no probable cause to believe that the treasurer of the fund knowingly omitted the independent expenditure disclaimer.  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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