STATE OF MINNESOTA

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

. . . . . . . . .

Thursday, July 22, 2004

. . . . . . . . .

Lady Slipper Room

Ground Level, Centennial Office Building

. . . . . . . . .

 

 

MINUTES

 

Meeting was called to order by Chair Fluegel.

 

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

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

 

MINUTES  (June 15, 2004)

 

Mr. Milbert's MOTION:            To approve the June 15, 2004, minutes as drafted.

 

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

 

CHAIR'S REPORT

 

·            Board Meeting Schedule

 

Next meeting is scheduled for Friday, August 27, 2004, in room G-31 of the Judicial Building.

 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT

 

Ms. Olson submitted the following written report:

 

·            Staff Activities

 

Staff prepared and delivered packets to the Secretary of State's Office and the 16 counties that have at least one legislative district entirely in the county for candidates who filed for House of Representative or Judicial Offices July 6th through the 20th. 

 

On July 14th Ms. Olson met with Representatives Haas, Rhodes, and Goodwin as well as representatives from the Department of Revenue (DOR) and legislative staff to discuss the electronic filing of Political Contribution Refund applications.  The representatives and caucus staff urged DOR to implement a dual system so that contributors without Internet access could still apply for the refund by mail.  On July 23rd Ms. Swanson and Ms. Olson will meet with DOR staff to develop a single form to replace the political contribution receipt form and the refund application form.  A law change will be required for any changes to forms or the application process.  The legislators would like the new system to be in place for contributions made in 2005.   

 

Training classes for compliance, reporting, and software use are scheduled throughout the summer in various locations around the state to help clients meet the requirements of Chapter 10A.

 

·            Personnel

 

Ms. Olson introduced Carly Homuth.  Ms. Homuth, a senior at Hamline University, began work as a Student Worker on July 7th to assist staff with increased administrative activities during the election year. 

 

·            Miscellaneous

 

The Board's Website Redesign and Development of Fees projects with the Management Analysis Division of the Department of Administration are featured on the Division's website.

 

·            Delinquent Lobbyists and Principal Fees due August 1, 2003

 

Board staff recommends that it is not fiscally responsible to continue to use state resources to recover the fees from the following: 

 

James M. Neilson, lobbyist, Minnesota State Bar Association – Mr. Neilson terminated his lobbyist registration on March 31, 2003, prior to enactment of the fee legislation. 

 

Concerned River Valley Citizens, Inc., lobbyist principal - Lobbyist Carol Overland terminated her registration in May, 2003, effective December 22, 2002.  Ms. Overland reported about $1,600 in expenditures for 2002.  The association probably did not meet the definition of principal. 

 

Escort Service, Inc., lobbyist principal - Lobbyist Ray Bohn terminated his registration as of December 31, 2002.  No lobbying disbursements were made, however Mr. Bohn was paid over $500.

 

Student Legislative Coalition at the U of M - SLC, lobbyist principal – Lobbyist David Boyd terminated in November, 2002.  The lobbyist reported $10 in expenditures for 2002.  Generally, student lobbyists are not paid.

 

Ms. Ashmore's MOTION:            To direct staff to cease attempts to collect the lobbyist and lobbyist principal fees due August 1, 2003, from James M. Neilson, Concerned River Valley Citizens, Inc, Escort Service, Inc, and Student Legislative Coalition at the U of M - SLC.

 

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

 

Enforcement Report

 

Consent Item

 

Board Action:                        Authorization for referral to the Office of the Attorney General for failure to file the Lobbyist Disbursement Report due June 15, 2004, and imposition of a civil penalty of $100 per week to a maximum of $1,000.  Two certified letters have been sent to each lobbyist and staff attempted to contact each lobbyist by telephone.  A late filing fee of $5 per day began to accrue on July 6, 2004, and civil penalties will begin to be assessed on a weekly basis on August 2, 2004.  Staff will refer nonfiling individuals on August 2, 2004. 

 

                                    Winston W. Borden, 180 Degrees

                                                                         Alpha Human Services, Inc

 Minnesota School Counselors Association

 Westfield Concession Management, Inc.

 

                  C. Scott Cooper, OutFront Minnesota

                  Carl W. Ebert, Apple Tree Dental

                  Ray Egan, Minnesota Motorcycle Riders Association

                  Jim Farrell, Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, Inc.

                  Carla Ferrucci, Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault

                  Terence Glommer-McClosky, Special Transportation Services Association

 

                      Sharon Hahn, Associated Contract loggers and Truckers of

                            Minnesota, Inc.

 

                  Ed McGaa, Caesars Entertainment, Inc

David Nitti, United Teachers of South Washington County

David Salene, Lake County Housing and Redevelopment Authority

 

Kristina Seppala, Citizens for Local Phone Choice

Burl Simmons, Taking A Stand Kollectively – TASK

Pam Weaver, Builders Association of Minnesota

Angela Wozniak, Edelman

                                    Minnesota Entertainment Development

                                         Corporation

                        National Rifle Association for Legislative Action

                        Safe Place for Newborns

 

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

 

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

 

Discussion Items

 

Waiver Requests for Late Filing Fees and Civil Penalties

 

·            Lobbyist Principal fee due March 15, 2004

 

John Apitz, Motorola, $100 late filing fee, $400 civil penalty - The principal fee due March 15, 2004, was paid in the Board office on May 10, 2004.  Mr. Apitz stated that there was confusion over who would pay the principal fee, and that miscommunication between Motorola and its local legislative counsel resulted in failure to timely remit payment.  

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION:            To deny Mr. Apitz's request to waive the $100 late filing fee and to reduce the civil penalty to $100.

 

Vote on MOTION:            Yes: 5, Ashmore, Bettermann, Fluegel, Milbert, Miller

No: 1, Boyd

Motion passed.

 

Andrew Bopp, Society of Glass and Ceramic Decorators, $100 late filing fee, $800 civil penalty - The principal fee due March 15, 2004, was received in the Board office on June 25, 2004.  In his waiver request Mr. Bopp stated “we are a very small organization, and we have not conducted any lobbying efforts in Minnesota for at least four years."  The association's lobbyist recently terminated his registration with the Board.

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION:            To approve Mr. Bopp's request to waive the $100 late filing fee and the $800 civil penalty for the Society of Glass and Ceramic Decorators due to the circumstances described in Mr. Bopp's letter.

 

Vote on MOTION:       Unanimously passed.

 

 

·            Annual Report of Lobbyist Principal due March 15, 2004

 

       Timothy McQueen, Virginia Firefighters IAFF Local 390, $100 late filing fee, $900 civil penalty - The Annual Report of Lobbyist Principal due March 15, 2004, was received in the Board office on July 1, 2004.  In his waiver request, Mr. McQueen stated that because he had paid the association's fee and terminated the association's lobbyist registration he believed his obligations to the Board had been met.  

 

Mr. Milbert's MOTION:                        To deny Mr. McQueen's request to waive the $100 late filing fee and to reduce the civil penalty to $100.

 

Vote on MOTION:            Unanimously passed.

 

       James Johnson, Xcel Energy, on behalf of TRANSLink Development Co., $1,000 civil penalty - The Annual Report of Lobbyist Principal due March 15, 2004, was received in the Board office on July 7, 2004.  Mr. Johnson stated “the failure to file the 2003 Annual Report was unintentional, and the result of the very rapid termination of all TRANSLink Development activities."  The two lobbyists registered for TRANSLink Development Co. terminated their registrations in October 2003.  Mr. Johnson submitted a check for the $100 late filing fee and requested that the Board waive the $1,000 civil penalty.  The association disclosed making $100,000 in lobbying expenditures on the 2003 report.  No motion was made.

 

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

 

       Living Benefits Financial Services, Paul Moe, $50 principal fee, $100 late filing fee, $1,000 civil  penalty -  The Annual Report of Lobbyist Principal due March 15, 2004, was received in the Board office on July 6, 2004.  In his waiver request Mr. Moe stated that the three lobbyists who registered, and subsequently terminated, for Living Benefits Financial Services during 2003 did so erroneously.  Mr. Moe indicated that the company has no assets. 

 

Ms. Ashmore's MOTION:            To approve Mr. Moe's request to waive the $100 late filing fee, the $1,000 civil penalty, and the $50 lobbyist principal fee for the Living Benefits Financial Services due to the circumstances described in Mr. Moe's letter.

 

Vote on MOTION:       Unanimously passed.

 

Mr. Milbert's MOTION:                        To direct staff to determine if an association meets the definition of lobbyist principal prior to beginning enforcement procedures.

 

Vote on MOTION:            Unanimously passed.

 

·            Report of Receipts and Expenditures due February 2, 2004

 

       Brian Biele, Elect Brian T. Biele Committee, $100 late filing fee, $1,000 civil penalty - The  Report of Receipts and Expenditures due February 2, 2004, was received in the Board office on July 7, 2004.  Mr. Biele submitted two waiver requests.  One request stated that the report was not timely filed due to personal and professional difficulties.  The second request stated that the committee intends on terminating its registration with the Board in the near future.  All the committee's previous reports were timely filed.

 

       Brian Biele, Working Families Coalition, $100 late filing fee, $1,000 civil penalty - The committee's Report of Receipts and Expenditures due February 2, 2004, was received in the Board office on July 7, 2004.   Mr. Biele submitted two waiver requests.  One request stated that the report was not timely filed due to personal and professional difficulties.  The second request stated that the committee intends on terminating its registration with the Board in the near future. 

 

Ms. Boyd's MOTION:                        To deny Mr. Biele's request to waive the $100 late filing fees for the Elect Brian T. Biele Committee and the Working Families Coalition and to reduce the $1,000 civil penalties for the Elect Brian T. Biele Committee and the Working Families Coalition to $100 each.

 

Vote on MOTION:     Unanimously passed.

 

       Chad Hobot, Friends of Chad Hobot, $100 late filing fee, $1,000 civil penalty - In his waiver request, Mr. Hobot stated that the committee had no receipts in 2003 and that the committee's only disbursements were for bank charges.  Mr. Hobot stated that he would like to terminate his committee, but cannot because he has an unpaid debt to a vendor that is less than 6 years old. 

 

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

 

Vote on MOTION:     Unanimously passed.

 

       Colleen Colburn, Minnesota Chiropractic Political Action Committee, $100 late filing fee, $500 civil penalty - The Report of Receipts and Expenditures due February 2, 2004, was received in the Board office on April 28, 2004.  In her waiver request Ms. Colburn stated that report was not timely filed because their computer network was attacked by a computer virus that required the committee to work with Board staff to recover lost data. 

 

Mr. Milbert's MOTION:                        To deny Ms. Colburn's request to waive the $100 late filing fee and to waive the $1,000 civil penalty.

 

Vote on MOTION:       Unanimously passed.

 

Request for an extension to amend the Report of Receipts and Expenditures for calendar year 2003 (see May 26th minutes)

 

Ray Sandborgh, Anita (Sandborgh) For You - At its meeting on May 26, 2004, the Board approved Mr. Sandborgh's request for an extension until June 17, 2004, to amend his Report of Receipts and Expenditures for calendar year 2003.  On July 15, 2004, Mr. Sandborgh visited the Board's office with committee records and requested a further extension to amend until July 29, 2004.  Mr. Sandborgh has a discrepancy with his bank balance that dates back to 2002 that he is attempting to resolve. 

 

Mr. Milbert's MOTION:                        To approve Mr. Sandborgh's request and extend the deadline for filing the amendment for the Anita (Sandborgh) For You committee to July 29, 2004.

 

Vote on MOTION:       Unanimously passed.

 

Informational Items

 

Payment of late filing fees

 

·            Annual Report of Lobbyist Principal due March 15, 2004

 

Lyndale West Partners:  $100

TRANSLink Development, Inc.:  $100

 

·            Principal Fee due March 15, 2004

 

       Lyndale West Partners:  $100

 

·            Original Statement of Economic Interest

 

       Freddie Davis-English:  $100

 

 

 

·            Lobbyist Disbursement Report due January 15, 1997

 

       Mark Nygaard:  $100

 

·            Lobbyist Disbursement Report due June 15, 2004

 

Gary Laidig, Ramsey County Sheriff's Office:  $15

Kingsley Wilson, Allied Charities of Minnesota:  $10

 

·            Report of Receipts and Expenditures due February 2, 2004

 

Elizabeth Wielinski, 59th Senate District DFL:  $100

 

Payment of civil penalty

 

·            Report of Receipts and Expenditures due February 2, 2004

 

Elizabeth Wielinski, 59th Senate District DFL:  $100

 

Payment of service of process fee

 

       Mark Nygaard:  $25

 

Conciliation Agreements

 

Ellen Anderson, Ellen Anderson for Senate Volunteer Committee, $100 - During calendar year 2003, the Ellen Anderson for Senate Volunteer Committee accepted cumulatively excessive contributions from a political committee totaling $200.  The total amount of these contributions facially exceeded by $100 the applicable non-election year limit for contributions from political committees.  Senator Anderson returned $100 to the contributor, entered into a conciliation agreement on June 23, 2004, and paid a civil fine of $100.

 

Jerry Dempsey, Volunteers for Jerry Dempsey, $400 - During calendar year 2003, the Volunteers for Jerry Dempsey committee accepted a $400 contribution from a couple, which facially exceeded by $200, the applicable non-election year limit from two individuals.  Representative Dempsey returned $200 to the contributors, entered into a conciliation agreement on June 23, 2004, and paid a civil fine of $400.

 

Dan Dorman, Volunteers for Dan Dorman, $100 - During calendar year 2003, the Volunteers for Dan Dorman committee accepted a $250 from a couple, which facially exceeded by $50, the applicable non-election year limit from two individuals.  Representative Dorman returned $50 to the contributors, entered into a conciliation agreement on June 23, 2004, and paid a civil fine of $100.

 

Bill Kuisle, Committee to Elect Bill Kuisle, $100 - During calendar year 2003, the Committee to Elect Bill Kuisle accepted cumulatively excessive contributions totaling $200 from a political committee.  The total amount of these contributions facially exceeded by $100 the applicable non-election year limit for contributions from political committees.  Representative Kuisle returned $100 to the contributor, entered into a conciliation agreement on June 23, 2004, and paid a civil fine of $100.

 

Julie Rosen, Julie Rosen for State Senate, $800 - During calendar year 2003, the Julie Rosen for State Senate committee accepted six facially excessive contributions totaling $1,000 from individuals.  The total amount of these contributions facially exceeded by $400 the applicable non-election year limit from individuals.  Senator Rosen returned $400 to contributors, entered into a conciliation agreement on July 7, 2004, and paid a civil fine of $800.

 

Steven Murphy, (Steven) Murphy for Senate, $300 - During calendar year 2003, the Murphy for Senate committee accepted two facially excessive contributions, one from an individual and one from a political committee, totaling $350.  The total amount of these contributions facially exceeded by $150 the applicable non-election year contribution limit from individuals and political committees.  Senator Murphy returned $300 to contributors, entered into a conciliation agreement on July 7, 2004, and paid a civil fine of $300.

 

Steven Murphy, (Steven) Murphy for Senate, $44.04 - During calendar year 2003, the Murphy for Senate committee accepted contributions from political party units, totaling $1,044.04.  The total amount of these contributions exceeded by $44.04 the applicable non-election year limit for aggregate party unit contributions.   Senator Murphy returned $44.04 to contributors, entered into a conciliation agreement on July 7, 2004, and paid a civil fine of $44.04.

 

Steven Strachan, Steven Strachan Volunteer Committee, $50 - During calendar year 2003, the Steven Strachan Volunteer Committee, accepted contributions from an individual totaling $150.  The total amount of these contributions cumulatively exceeded by $50 the applicable $100 non-election year limit from individuals.  Because the contributor is now deceased, Representative Strachan returned the contribution to the State Elections Fund, entered into a conciliation agreement on June 22, 2004, and paid a civil fine of $50.

 

Kelly Guncheon, Minnesota Funeral Services PAC, $400 - During calendar year 2003, the Minnesota Funeral Services PAC made four cumulatively excessive contributions to four legislative candidates.  Each contribution exceeded by $100 the applicable $100 non-election year limit for political committee contributions to a legislative candidate.  Mr. Guncheon entered into a conciliation agreement on June 15, 2004, provided the Board with copies of the checks from the four legislative candidates returning the contributions to the committee, and paid a civil fine of $400.

 

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

 

ADVISORY OPINION REQUESTS

 

The following advisory opinion requests are nonpublic data.

 

Advisory Opinion Request #359 – Registration and Reporting Requirements for Political Committees and Political Funds

 

Chair Fluegel informed Board members that he is a member of the association.  Board members reviewed a letter from a member of an association (Association), that is considering activities that may come under the provisions of Minnesota Statutes Chapter 10A who asked: 1) if anticipated endorsement activities of the Association occur, will the Association need to register with the Board; 2) if members may donate small amounts of money, postage, supplies or time to the Association to cover the costs of the endorsement process; and 3) what the registration and reporting requirements are if the Association collects or spends more than $100 on the endorsement process.   

 

 Board members reviewed a draft opinion.

 

Mr. Miller's MOTION:                        To approve advisory opinion #359 as drafted.

 

Vote on MOTION:       Unanimously passed.

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #359 signed by Chair Wil Fluegel, July 22, 2004:  An association that endorses candidates is conducting an activity to influence the nomination or election of one or more candidates.  The association must register as a political committee or political fund if it raises or spends more than $100 on the endorsement process.

 

Advisory Opinion Request #360 – Use of party unit web site to collect contributions for specific candidates.

 

Board members reviewed a letter from the Chair of a major political party unit (Party Unit), registered with the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board (Board) who asked if the Party Unit provides a method for donors to contribute a certain amount to candidates or the Party Unit on a weekly or monthly basis on their website: 1) may the Party Unit issue Political Contribution Receipts for the aggregate amount of those contributions to the Party Unit; 2) is there a specific time frame in which contributions received over the Internet must be transferred from the Party Unit's PayPal/credit card account to the Party Unit's bank account; and 3) may the Party Unit collect and forward on-line donations to candidates as described in the facts of the advisory opinion request.

 

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

 

Mr. Mibert's MOTION:                        To approve advisory opinion #360 as amended in discussion.

 

Vote on MOTION:       Unanimously passed.

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #360 signed by Chair Wil Fluegel, July 22, 2004: Political party units may provide donors with a Political Contribution Refund receipt for the aggregate amount of contributions received.  Political party units may have more than one depository for receiving funds.  Political party units may provide candidates with a web page and administrative overhead needed for a candidate to receive Internet contributions directly into the candidate's principal campaign committee's account. 

 

The following advisory opinion request is public data.

 

Advisory Opinion Request #361 - Membership in a Group as an Exception to the Gift Prohibition

 

Board members reviewed a letter from  John A. Knapp, an attorney representing a corporation that employs lobbyists who are registered with the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board who asked if the corporation, as a lobbyist principal, may provide a gift at an event to officials under the exception for members of a group.

 

Board members reviewed a draft opinion.

 

Mr. Milbert's MOTION:            To approve advisory opinion #361 as drafted.

 

Vote on MOTION:       Unanimously passed.

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #361 signed by Chair Wil Fluegel, July 22, 2004:  A lobbyist principal may partially fund an event at which a gift is provided to officials if the officials are members of a group, the majority of the members of the group are not officials, and an equivalent gift is given to all members of the group.

 

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 (see copy of memo attached.) 

 

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Board members and staff discussed a matter previously considered in executive session.  The Board directed staff to contact the client and to resolve the issue. 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

Meeting adjourned.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Jeanne Olson

Executive Director

 

 

attachments (1)