STATE OF MINNESOTA

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

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Tuesday, April 11, 2000

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Whitaker Conference Room, Legislative Auditor’s Office

First Floor, Centennial Office Building

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MINUTES

Meeting was called to order by Chair Pauly.

Members present: Chase, Fluegel, Pauly, Roggenbauer.

Others present: Olson, Goldsmith, Sigurdson, Swanson, Klingner, staff; Huwe, counsel.

MINUTES (December 14, 1999)

Mr. Fluegel’s MOTION: To approve the December 14, 1999, minutes as drafted.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

CHAIR'S REPORT

Board Meeting Schedule

Next meeting will be May 16, 2000.

Board Appointment

Ms. Olson reported that staff received Notices of Appointment for two of the Board’s three vacancies. Chair Pauly has been reappointed and Doug Kelley has been appointed to replace Tom Heffelfinger. Both appointments are effective April 18, 2000. Mr. Penny’s position remains open.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT

Ms. Olson submitted the following written report:

Campaign Finance Reform (see December 14, 1999, minutes)

Board members discussed the possibility of naming a Blue Ribbon commission to review Minnesota’s campaign finance system. Ms. Olson reported that Governor Ventura is also looking at campaign finance reform provisions during the interim to offer to the 2001 legislature. She suggested that the Board may wish to work with the Governor on this matter.

Chair Pauly welcomed Alan Weinblatt who spoke in support of a campaign finance reform initiative. Staff was directed to draft a letter to the Governor informing him that the Board would welcome the opportunity to be a part of any campaign finance reform initiative he may take. Staff will circulate the letter to Board members for a five working day review. The chair will approve any nonsubstantive changes and sign the letter.

Staff Activities

December 16 – Public officials disclosure from filed economic interest statements were made available on the Board’s website. Following the posting on the web, staff was notified of personnel changes in various agencies and a more accurate list of public officials is now available.

January 14 – Ms. Olson was on the faculty of a Minnesota State Bar Association Continuing Legal Education program on the Legislative Process.

January 27 - Mr. Goldsmith led a discussion about Lobbyist registration and reporting. About 12 people attended the session.

January 27 to 31 – Ms. Olson attended a Council on Governmental Ethics Laws strategic planning session and 2000 conference planning meeting in Tampa, Florida.

January 29 – Mr. Goldsmith led two sessions at the State Capitol about lobbyist registration and reporting requirements as part of a League of Women Voters legislative process seminar. About 15 people attended the sessions.

February 5 – Ms. Olson spoke to a Hamline University Graduate School Public Administration class about lobbyist registration, reporting, and the prohibition on gifts from lobbyists to public officials. About 15 students attended the class.

Mr. Goldsmith made video tapes for software training. The quality of the tapes is less than staff expectations. Staff is exploring the possibility of using special software to provide software training on CD-Rom. Staff will make the tapes and CD-Rom available to those clients wishing alternate forms of training.

Campaign finance training classes for the 2000 election year have begun. Software training was held March 21 for six clients and two staff. Compliance training was held on March 30 for approximately 27 people. Compliance training will be held again on April 27 and June 1. Staff will schedule additional training in St. Paul and greater Minnesota to be held this summer.

Personnel

Ms. Olson reviewed the performance of Gary Goldsmith. Based on the Manager’s Plan, Mr. Goldsmith will receive a salary increase.

Mr. Goldsmith requested and was granted leave without pay for approximately 14 days in December and January.

January 24 - Mr. Goldsmith submitted a letter of resignation. Mr. Goldsmith worked about 16 hours a week in February, one day a week in March, and will terminate his employment on April 11, 2000.

Ms. Olson introduced Jeff Sigurdson, Assistant Executive Director, replacing Mr. Goldsmith. About 50 applications were received for the position. Staff interviewed six applicants. Mr. Sigurdson, was formerly the Senior Elections Officer with the Secretary of State’s Office, and began work in the Board office on March 13.

Ms. Olson reviewed the performance of LuAnn Swanson. Based on the Middle Management Contract, Ms. Swanson will receive a step increase and an Achievement Award.

Mr. Goldsmith and Ms. Olson reviewed the performance of Billie Errico. Based on the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees Contract, Ms. Errico is not eligible for a step increase this year.

Miscellaneous

Staff continues the process of setting up client use computers in the public area.

2000 Legislation

The Board’s request for $38,000 to pay legal fees is funded in both the House and Senate versions of the supplemental appropriation bill.

The House version of the bill includes amendments to the definition of "administrative action" and "lobbyist" and prohibits legislators and executive branch employees in the unclassified service from lobbying for one year after leaving office or employment.

The Senate version of the bill removes elected Indian members of the Indian Affairs Council from the definition of "public official".

Legislation to allow the treasurer as well as the chair of a political party unit to sign Political Contribution Refund forms has been signed by the Governor. The provision is effective August 1. The Department of Revenue hopes to get an earlier effective date passed in the Tax Bill.

Enforcement Report

Ms. Klingner presented the following enforcement matters for Board action:

 

Consent Items

Board Action Authorization of certified letter to compel the filing of an amendment to the Registration and Statement of Organization and subsequent legal enforcement action if the amended registration is not filed. A reminder notice was sent to each person and staff attempted to contact them by telephone.

Lisa Tarasar, candidate, Friends of Lisa Tarasar

Marcel Bujarski, candidate, (Marcel) Bujarski for State Representative

Chuck Rudolph, candidate, Chuck Rudolph for Senate Committee

Board Action Authorization of certified letter to compel the filing of a Lobbyist Disbursement Report due January 18, 2000, and collection of any accrued late filing fee and subsequent legal enforcement action if the report is not filed and the late filing fee not paid. A reminder notice was sent to each person and staff attempted to contact them by telephone.

Sherry Munyon, lobbyist, Minnesota Auto Dealers Association

Jeanne M Raffesberger, lobbyist, Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women

Francis X Viggiano, lobbyist, Minnesota State University Student Association

Board Action Authorization of certified letter for late filing fees, which accrued because of the late filing of a Lobbyist Disbursement Report due January 18, 2000, and subsequent legal enforcement action if the fees are not paid. A reminder notice was sent to each person and staff attempted to contact them by telephone.

John Clawson, lobbyist, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota: $30

Christopher Morton, lobbyist, Minnesota FoodShare: $20

Board Action Authorization of letter to compel the filing of a Report of Receipts and Expenditures due January 31, 2000, and collection of any accrued late filing fee and subsequent legal enforcement action if the report is not filed and the late filing fee not paid. A reminder notice was sent to each person and staff attempted to contact them by telephone.

Kevin Correy, candidate, (Kevin) Correy for Senate

Beverly Deutsch, candidate, Bev Deutsch for Senate Committee

William Kain, treasurer, Elect (John) Ellenbecker Committee

Kim Ellison, treasurer, Committee to Elect Keith Ellison

Bernard Harmon, treasurer, (Denise) Harmon for House

Phil Heir, candidate, (Phil) Heir Volunteer Committee, Senate District 50

Amy Engren, treasurer, (Loyal) Hyatt Campaign Committee

Connie Janssen, candidate, (Connie) Janssen Volunteer Committee

Peter Kauffner, candidate, (Peter) Kauffner for Senate

Don Koenig, candidate, Elect Don (Dr. Freedom-532 Million) Koenig

David Meier, candidate, (David) Meier Volunteer Committee

James Forsythe, treasurer, Senator (Steven) Morse Volunteer Committee

Ann Peterson, candidate, (Ann) Peterson Volunteer Committee

Lawrence Schultz, candidate, East Side for (Lawrence) Schultz

Mike Schultz, candidate, (Mike) Schultz Volunteer Committee

Laura Spillane, treasurer, Mike Spillane Volunteer Committee

Jill Henderson, treasurer, Marianne Stebbins for State Senate

Jill Henderson, treasurer, Marianne Stebbins for State Representative

Marie Zellar, treasurer, Clean Water Action Voter Education Project

Jerome Miranowski, treasurer, Oppenheimer State Political Fund

Harold Anderson, treasurer, Tenth Ward and Rural Ramsey DFL Donut Booth

Board Action Authorization of certified letter to compel the filing of an amendment to the Report of Receipts and Expenditures due January 31, 2000, and subsequent legal enforcement action if the amended report is not filed. A reminder notice was sent to each person and staff attempted to contact them by telephone.

Skip Wolverton, treasurer, 4th Congressional District RPM

Warren Arendt, treasurer, (David) Arndt Volunteer Committee

James Farrell, treasurer, Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association PAC

Janie Hudson, treasurer, Wadena County DFL

Patrick McCarthy, treasurer, Republican Victory Club

Darrell McKigney, treasurer, Taxpayers League State PAC

Board Action Authorization of certified letter to compel the filing of an Original Statement of Economic Interest Statement and subsequent legal enforcement action if the statement is not filed. A reminder notice was sent to the individual and staff attempted to contact them by telephone.

Lani Kawamura, Perpich Center for Arts Education Board

Ms. Chase’s MOTION: To authorize the actions specified in the consent matters.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

Discussion Items

Request for Board Direction

Further action for removal of Steve Baretz from the revenue recapture program (see August 24, and December 14, 1999, minutes)

Steve Baretz, candidate, Steve Baretz Volunteer committee - At the December 14, 1999, meeting, Board directed the Attorney General’s Office to continue their efforts to obtain information regarding Mr. Baretz assets. On December 16, 1999, staff received notice from the Attorney General’s Office that the search was completed. An information service conducted a nationwide, computerized search looking for assets owned by either Mr. or Mrs. Baretz. A condominium in Maple Grove and Chevrolet and Saturn vehicles are all in Mrs. Baretz' name. Mr. Baretz owns a 1997 Hyundai Sonata. The lien holder on that vehicle is Park National Bank in Crystal Minnesota. Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Baretz owns any other real estate, boat, trailer or aircraft.

Ms. Chase's MOTION: To direct staff to remove Mr. Baretz from the revenue recapture program and cease all collection efforts.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

Request for acceptance of a beginning cash balance discrepancy on a Report of Receipts and Expenditures for calendar 1999.

Wilbert Harri, deputy treasurer, Inter faculty Organization Lobby Fund - On January 25, 2000, staff received a letter from Wilbert Harri, deputy treasurer of Inter Faculty Organization Lobby Fund, requesting the Board accept a beginning cash balance on the Report of Receipts and Expenditures for the calendar year 1999, of $528.85. The previous reported ending cash balance for 1998 is $1,6669.12. Mr. Harri states that their bank records have been examined back to 1994 and he is unable to identify the cause of this discrepancy. He also states that the reports are correct for the last five years and believes the cash balance error occurred prior to 1995 and has simply been carried forward.

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: To: 1) direct staff to request the committee and bank records; 2) conduct an audit to verify the accuracy of the records; and 3) lay the matter over to the next Board meeting.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

For further action regarding Sharon Anderson (see April 9, 1999, minutes)

Sharon Anderson, lobbyist, Anderson Advocates, Inc and Sharon Anderson - Pursuant to Board direction at its April 9, 1999, meeting, staff advised the Board that Sharon Anderson failed to file two Lobbyist Disbursement Reports, due July 15, 1999. Staff sent the required certified letters and the late filing fees were referred to the Minnesota Collections Enterprise (MCE). On December 27, 1999, Billie Errico, Compliance Officer, received a letter from MCE stating that the cases are being returned for Board for review. Ms. Anderson has also failed to file two Lobbyist Disbursement Reports, due January 18, 2000, and two Reports of Receipts and Expenditures, due January 31, 2000.

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: To direct staff to continue sending Ms. Anderson the required compliance letters, but to discontinue efforts to collect late filing fees with the Minnesota Collections Enterprise.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

Lobbyist noncompliance

Board members reviewed a policy adopted January 27, 1994, stating that lobbyists who do not comply with the reporting requirements of Minnesota Statutes, chapter 10A or owe a late filing fee will be notified that their continuing noncompliance or nonpayment will be reported to the legislative leadership, including the chairs of the Senate and House committees, with responsibility for laws governing disclosure programs administered by the Ethical Practices Board. Ms. Olson reported that due to staff efforts, noncompliance of lobbyists and lobbyist principals has significantly decreased and the Board may wish to rescind the policy.

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: To rescind the Board policy of January 27, 1994, requiring a list of noncompliant lobbyists and lobbyist principals be sent to the legislative leadership.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

For further action regarding employment disclosure

Charles Weaver, treasurer, (Charles) Weaver for Attorney General - Staff review of the Weaver for Attorney General principal campaign committee found that complete employment information was not provided for the 1998 year end Report of Receipts and Expenditures. Mr. Weaver has worked diligently at obtaining the needed information, however, he is unable to determine the occupations of five individuals. Mr. Weaver is requesting the Boards direction as to the next course of action.

Ms. Chase's MOTION: To direct staff to write a letter to Mr. Weaver and offer him the options of: 1) returning the contributions for which the committee has not obtained complete employment or occupational information to the original donor; or 2) if unable to return the contributions to the contributors, to forward the contribution to the Board for deposit in the State General Fund.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

Informational Items

Payment of Late Filing Fees

Report of Receipts and Expenditures due February 1, 1998

John Lever, treasurer, Committee to Elect Jeff Aakhus: $100

Report of Receipts and Expenditures due September 21, 1999 (Special Election)

Donna Colberg, treasurer, Holt (Nora) for Senate Committee: $50

Report of Receipts and Expenditures due November 16, 1999 (Special Election)

Donald Stefan, candidate, Grassroots Campaign to Elect Don Stefan: $350

Report of Receipts and Expenditures due January 31, 2000

James Berg, candidate, (James) Berg Volunteer Committee: $45

Lobbyist Disbursement Report due January 15, 1999

David Peaslee, lobbyist, AFSCME #14: $100

Kent Ragsdale, lobbyist, Alliant Energy Corporation: $90

Lobbyist Disbursement Report due July 15, 1999

John Thorson, lobbyist, AFSCME #14: $100

Lobbyist Disbursement Report due January 18, 2000

Richard Thomas, lobbyist, Ames Construction, Inc: $5

Richard Thomas, lobbyist, Association General Contractors Minn.: $5

David Ross, lobbyist, Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce: $30

Albert Garcia Jr, lobbyist, (18 associations) $85

Brian Elliott, lobbyist, Clean Water Action Alliance: $25

Diana S McKeown, lobbyist, Clean Water Action Alliance: $25

Suzanne McIntosh, lobbyist, Clean Water Action Alliance: $25

James Dunlop, lobbyist, Clean Water Action Alliance: $25

Marie Zellar, lobbyist, Clean Water Action Alliance: $25

Anonymous Contribution

Philip Madsen, treasurer, Jesse Ventura Volunteer Committee: $124

Revenue Reconciliation

Andrew Lindberg, candidate, (Andy) Lindberg Volunteer Committee - A routine reconciliation of contributions reported received by candidates in 1998, with the Minnesota Department of Revenue’s report of political contribution refunds made for 1998, disclosed a discrepancy with information reported by the (Andy) Lindberg Volunteer Committee. (See letter from Department of Revenue attached).

Payment of Civil Fines

Steve Brake, candidate, Elect Steve Brake Committee – During calendar year 1998, the Elect Steve Brake Committee accepted aggregate contributions totaling $5,520 from committees of the Republican Party of Minnesota. These contributions exceeded by $520 the applicable $5,000 election year contribution limit. Steve Brake entered into a conciliation agreement on January 2, 2000, and paid a civil fine of $520.

Edwina Garcia, candidate, (Edwina) Garcia for Secretary of State Committee - During calendar year 1998, the Campaign Fund of Edwina Garcia accepted aggregate contributions totaling $5,099.18 from committees of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor party. These contributions exceeded by $99.18 the applicable $5,000 election year contribution limit. Edwina Garcia entered into a conciliation agreement on December 22, 1999, and paid a civil fine of $99.18.

Hubert Humphrey, candidate, Humphrey for Governor Committee - During calendar year 1998, the Humphrey for Governor Committee accepted two contributions totaling $2,100 from a registered political fund. These contributions exceeded by $100 the applicable $2,000 election year contribution limit. Hubert Humphrey entered into a conciliation agreement on January 3, 2000, and paid a civil fine of $150.

James Peppe, candidate, People to Elect (James) Peppe Committee - During calendar year

1998, the Campaign Fund of James Peppe accepted aggregate contributions totaling $5,250 from special sources. These contributions exceeded by $250 the applicable $5,000 election year contribution limit from special sources. James Peppe entered into a conciliation agreement on October 26, 1999, and paid a civil fine of $250.

Jim Seifert, candidate, Volunteers for Jim Seifert - During calendar year 1998, the Volunteers for Jim Seifert accepted aggregate contributions totaling $5,040 from special sources. These contributions exceeded by $40 the applicable $5,000 election year contribution limit from special sources. Jim Seifert entered into a conciliation agreement on December 20, 1999, and paid a civil fine of $80.

Financial statement and agency deposits - Mr. Sigurdson and Ms. Errico submitted reports covering July 1, 1999, through February 29, 2000.

Authorizing Resolutions

Mr. Fluegel’s MOTION: Move adoption of the following resolutions:

Resolved, that the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board recognizes Thomas Heffelfinger for his service from 1998 to 2000 as a member of the Board and offers this resolution in appreciation for his investment of time and energy in support of the mission and objectives of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board; and

Resolved, that the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board recognizes Tim Penny for his service from 1999 to 2000 as a member of the Board and offers this resolution in appreciation for his investment of time and energy in support of the mission and objectives of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board; and

Resolved, that the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board recognizes Gary Goldsmith for his service from 1995 to 2000 as the Assistant Executive Director of the Board and offers this resolution in appreciation for his investment of time and energy in support of the mission and objectives of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

ADVISORY OPINION REQUEST

The following request and advisory opinion are nonpublic data.

Advisory Opinion Request #320 - Reporting of political expenditures

The Board reviewed a draft response to an advisory opinion request from the representative of a corporation, who asks: 1) if the corporation may bundle various services into packages and charge a flat fee for the comprehensive services; 2) what level of detail must be disclosed in reporting the purpose of an expenditure; and 3) what measure should be taken by the Corporation and its clients to ensure that no inadvertent contributions are made between entities involved in a project.

Mr. Fluegel’s MOTION: To approve advisory opinion #320 as drafted.

Ms. Chase suggested amending the opinion to require the Corporation to provide clients with a breakdown of dollar amounts for each component of service rather than using percentages. Mr. Fluegel accepted Ms. Chase’s amendment.

Mr. Fluegel’s AMENDED MOTION: To approve advisory opinion #320 as amended in discussion.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #320 signed by Chair Sidney Pauly, April 11, 2000: A corporation may bundle services provided to entities registered with the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, however for reporting purposes, the recipients must allocate the costs among the actual types of underlying services provided. When engaging in joint development projects, or the reselling of data developed for other clients, a corporation and its clients must ensure that each client pays the reasonable value for the goods or services provided so that neither the corporation nor any client subsidizes the benefit received by another client.

LEGAL COUNSEL’S REPORT

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

WEB SITE PROPOSALS

Campaign Finance Data Posted on Board Web Site

Ms. Olson reported that staff will post the 1999 Campaign Finance Summary soon. Staff continues to work on updating the web site.

 

REPORT FROM EXECUTIVE SESSION

In the matter of the investigation of the Tim Finseth for State Representative Committee - The Board issued findings showing that there is a probable cause to believe that the Tim Finseth for State Representative Committee violated Minn. Stat. 10A.273 by accepting a contribution from a registered political committee, during the regular session of the Legislature in 1999. In lieu of forwarding the public finding of probable cause to the county attorney in Ramsey County to pursue a judgment in district court, the Board imposes a civil fine of $250. 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).

In the matter of the investigation of the (Hubert) Humphrey Volunteer Committee - The Board issued findings showing that there is probable cause to believe that the Humphrey Volunteer Committee violated Minn. Stat. 10A.27, subd. 9(a) when it made contributions to another principal campaign committee. In lieu of forwarding the public finding of probable cause to the county attorney in Ramsey County to pursue a judgment in district court, the Board imposes a civil fine of $150. Minnesota Statutes, chapter 10A provides no penalty for this violation. 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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