STATE OF MINNESOTA

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004

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Room G 31

Judicial Center

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MINUTES

 

Meeting was called to order by Chair Fluegel.

 

Members present: Ashmore, Boyd (by conference call), Fluegel, Milbert, Miller

Others present: Olson, Sigurdson, Swanson, Drilias, staff

 

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

 

MINUTES (May 26, 2004)

 

Ms. Ashmore's MOTION: To approve the May 26, 2004, minutes as drafted.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

CHAIR'S REPORT

 

            Board Meeting Schedule

 

Next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 22, 2004.

 

            Council on Governmental Ethics Law (COGEL) Conference

 

Ms. Boyd, Mr. Miller, Ms. Olson, and Mr. Sigurdson will attend the annual COGEL conference, scheduled for December 5th through 8th in San Francisco, CA.

 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT

 

Ms. Olson submitted the following written report:

 

            Staff Activities

 

On June 7th Mr. Sigurdson and Ms. Olson were on the faculty of a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar at the Hamline Law School. This CLE seminar is held each election year for individuals interested in campaign finance and lobbying.

On June 9th Ms. Olson was on a panel to discuss campaign finance laws with the Minnesota Government Relations Council.

 

The Department of Revenue would like to allow contributors to apply for the Political Contribution Refund electronically. Mr. Sigurdson and Ms. Olson met with representatives from the Department of Revenue to discuss the issue. Another meeting will be scheduled to include candidates and individuals from political party caucuses to discuss potential problems and pitfalls of electronic filing of the refund applications.

 

Staff prepared and delivered packets to the Dakota County Auditor for use in the Special Election in Senate District 37. The Special Election was called to fill the seat formerly held by David Knutson who resigned when he was appointed by Governor Pawlenty to fill a judicial vacancy.

 

            Legislation

 

Staff is working with the Department of Finance to determine how to provide $65,000 from the State Elections Campaign Fund each fiscal year to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) to cover OAH costs to resolve complaints about legislative, constitutional officer, and judicial candidate violations under 211B.

 

If a special session is called, Ms. Olson will work with Representative Rhodes and Senator Higgins to try to get the Board's 2003 recommendations in a special session bill. The special session bill would include only those issues that both the House and Senate found acceptable during the 2003 session.

 

            Personnel

 

Ms. Olson introduced Jon Peterson. Mr. Peterson began work in the Information Technology II position on June 2nd.

 

Enforcement Report

 

Discussion Items

 

Request to vacate judgments for failure to file the Report of Receipts and Expenditures due October 28, 2002, January 31, 2003, and a request to waive the late filing fee and civil penalty for failure to timely file the Report of Receipts and Expenditures due February 2, 2004

 

Tom Porter, candidate, Tom Porter for State Legislature Committee, $2,600 in civil penalties, $700 in late filing fees and $150.50 in service of process fees - On April 12, 2004, the Board received a Report of Receipts and Expenditures from the Tom Porter for State Legislature Committee covering the period January 1 through December 31, 2002, and a request from Mr. Porter to vacate the judgments for his failure to file the 2002 Pre-General and Year-End Reports of Receipts and Expenditures. The Board obtained one judgment of $1,530 for failure to file the Report of Receipts and Expenditures due October 28, 2002, and one judgment of $1,220.50 for failure to file the Report of Receipts and Expenditures due January 31, 2003. The Committee's Report of Receipts and Expenditures covering the period January 1 through December 31, 2003, was received in the Board office on April 22, 2004, resulting in a $100 late filing fee and $600 civil penalty.

 

Prior to receipt of his waiver request, Mr. Porter failed to respond to multiple telephone calls, letters, and subpoenas from the Board and the Attorney General's Office. No motion was made.

 

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

 

Melissa Herrig, treasurer, Green Party of Minnesota The Report of Receipts and Expenditures for the Green Party of Minnesota covering the period January 1 through December 31, 2003, failed to disclose employment information for seven contributors. Ms. Herrig is requesting an extension until June 30, 2004, to obtain the employment information from the seven contributors.

 

Mr. Milbert's MOTION: To approve Ms. Herrig's request to extend the deadline for amending the Report of Receipts and Expenditures to June 30, 2004.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Request to waive late fees and civil penalties

 

            Original Statement of Economic Interest

 

Freddie Davis-English, Minnesota Behavioral Health and Therapy Board, $100 - The Original Statement of Economic Interest due February 9, 2004, was received in the Board office on March 24, 2004. In her request, Ms. Davis stated that she used a fax machine she was not familiar with to fax the report to the Board and that she was not aware that the report was not received until she received further notices from the Board. The Board sent Ms. Davis-English two certified notices regarding this report, one on February 10, 2004, one on March 18, 2004. No motion was made.

 

            Annual Report of Lobbyist Principal and the Principal Fee due March 15, 2004

 

Lisa Kugler, Lyndale West Partners, LLC, $1,800 in civil penalties, $200 in late filing fees - The Annual Report of Lobbyist Principal and the principal fee were received in the Board office on June 11, 2004. In her request, Ms. Kugler stated that the association only engaged a lobbyist to fill a one-time need during the 2002 legislative session. That lobbyist failed to terminate until June 30, 2003, resulting in the association's need to file the report and pay the fee.

 

Mr. Milbert's MOTION: To approve Ms. Kugler's request to waive the $1,800 in civil penalties and to impose the $200 late filing fees.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Informational Items

Payment of Civil Penalties

 

            Failure to Timely Amend

 

Tom Workman, candidate, Tom Workman Volunteer Committee: $100

 

            Late Filing of Lobbyist Fee due January 15, 2004

 

Sandra Hofstetter: $200

John Smullen: $200

 

Payment of Late Filing Fees

 

            Lobbyist Fee Due January 15, 2004

 

Sandra Hofstetter: $100

John Smullen: $100

Michael Yang: $100

 

            Lobbyist Principal Fee due March 15, 2004

 

Midwifery Now!: $80

 

            Report of Receipts and Expenditures due February 2, 2004

Tom Kelly, candidate, Tom Kelly for Attorney General: $75

 

Conciliation Agreements

 

Anthony Cornish, (Anthony) Cornish for State Representative, $2,000 - During calendar year 2003, the Cornish for State Representative committee accepted a $3,000 contribution from the House Republican Campaign Committee. The total amount of the contribution facially exceeded by $2,000 the applicable nonelection year contribution limit from a political party. Representative Cornish entered into a conciliation agreement on June 5, 2004, returned $2,000 to the House Republican Campaign Committee and paid a civil penalty of $2,000.

 

David Dill, candidate, David Dill for Minnesota District 6A, $6,439.55 During calendar year 2002, the David Dill for Minnesota District 6A reported campaign expenditures of $34,144.78. The total amount of these expenditures exceeded the by $6,439.55 the applicable 2002 campaign expenditure limit. Representative Dill entered into a conciliation agreement on June 4, 2004, and paid civil penalty of $6,439.55.

 

Dave Knutson, candidate, Dave Knutson Volunteer Committee, $100 - During calendar year 2003, the Dave Knutson Volunteer Committee accepted two $100 contributions from the Minnesota Funeral Services PAC, a registered political committee. The total amount of these contributions exceeded by $100 the applicable nonelection year contribution limit from a political committee. Senator Knutson entered into a conciliation agreement on June 8, 2004, provided the Board with a copy of the check returning $100 to the Minnesota Funeral Services PAC, and paid a civil penalty of $100.

 

Joseph Opatz, candidate, (Joseph) Opatz Volunteer Committee, $100 During calendar year 2003, the Opatz Volunteer Committee accepted two $100 contributions from the Minnesota Funeral Services PAC, a registered political committee. The total amount of these contributions exceeded by $100 the applicable nonelection year contribution limit from a political committee. Representative Opatz entered into a conciliation agreement on May 29, 2004, provided the Board with a copy of a check returning $100 to the Minnesota Funeral Services PAC, and paid a civil penalty of $100.

 

Alice Seagren, candidate, (Alice) Seagren Volunteer Committee, $100 - During calendar year 2003, the Seagren Volunteer Committee accepted two $100 contributions from the Minneapolis Retired Police Association Political Fund. The total amount of these contributions exceeded by $100 the applicable nonelection year contribution limit from a political committee. Representative Seagren entered into a conciliation agreement on June 3, 2004, provided the Board with a copy of a check returning $100 to the Minneapolis Retired Police Association Political Fund, and paid a civil penalty of $100.

 

Loren Solberg, candidate, Loren Solberg Volunteer Committee, $100 - During calendar year 2003, the Loren Solberg Volunteer Committee accepted a $250 joint contribution from two individuals. The total amount of the contributions exceeded by $50 the applicable nonelection year contribution limit from two individuals. Representative Solberg entered into a conciliation agreement on June 2, 2004, provided the Board with copies of the checks returning the excess contributions, and paid a civil penalty of $100.

 

Gwen Besnett, Crow Wing County DFL, $250 - During calendar year 2002, the Crow Wing County DFL accepted a $2,500 contribution from the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe , an unregistered association. At the time the contribution was given, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, failed to provide the disclosure required by Minn. Stat. 10A.27, subd. 13. Ms. Besnett, on behalf of the Crow Wing County DFL, entered into a conciliation agreement on June 2, 2004, provided the Board with a copy of the check returning the contribution to the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians, and paid a civil penalty of $250.

 

James Haugen, treasurer, Minneapolis Retired Police Association Political Fund, $100 -

During calendar year 2003, the Minneapolis Retired Police Association Political Fund made two $100 contributions to the (Alice) Seagren Volunteer Committee. The total amount of these contributions exceeded by $100 the applicable nonelection year contribution limit to a principal campaign committee. Mr. Haugen, on behalf of the Minneapolis Retired Police Association Political Fund, entered into a conciliation agreement on June 2, 2004, provided the Board with evidence of the contribution being returned by the (Alice) Seagren Volunteer Committee, and paid a civil penalty of $100.

 

Financial statement and agency deposits - Mr. Sigurdson submitted a report covering July 1, 2003, through May 31, 2004.

Revised Spending Plan Fiscal Year 2005

 

Board members reviewed a draft of a revised spending plan for fiscal year 2005 based on an appropriation of $712,000.

 

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

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

ADVISORY OPINION REQUEST

 

The following advisory opinion request is nonpublic data.

 

Advisory Opinion Request #358 Determination and Reporting of Lobbying Disbursements

 

Board members reviewed a letter from a member of a professional association (the Firm), which employs lobbyists registered with the Board who asked if the association and the designated lobbyist: 1) should report the cost of administering a web site used only for informational purposes unrelated to influencing the actions of public or local officials as a lobbying disbursement; 2) should report the cost of maintaining a computer model as a lobbying disbursement if the computer model was used for both lobbying and non-lobbying purposes; 3) may amend their 2003 reports to include the maintenance costs of the computer model allocated to lobbying; and 4) will meet the applicable reporting requirements of Chapter 10A by reporting the total amount the Firm is paid by the association (including payment for services unrelated to lobbying) as a lobbying disbursement.

 

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

 

Mr. Miller's MOTION: To approve advisory opinion #358 as amended in discussion.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #358 signed by Chair Wil Fluegel, June 15, 2004: Lobbyists and lobbyist principals must reasonably allocate and report expenditures for items and services that have both a lobbying and a nonlobbying purpose.

 

LEGAL COUNSEL'S REPORT

 

Board members reviewed the legal counsel report provided by Counsel Huwe outlining the status of cases that have been turned over to the Attorney General's office

 

Ms. Olson noted that Counsel Huwe has filed a petition for review with the Minnesota Supreme Court in the case of Mayor Randy Kelly v. the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

 

REPORT FROM EXECUTIVE SESSION

 

Findings in the Matter of the Complaint Regarding Bill McLaughlin - The Board issued findings to show that there is probable cause to believe that the Bill McLaughlin Senate 3 Campaign Committee violated Minn. Stat. 10A.273, when it by accepted a contribution from a registered lobbyist during the regular session of the legislature in 2003. 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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