STATE OF MINNESOTA

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

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Tuesday, August 28, 2001

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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 Chase

Members present: Chase, Fluegel, Pauly, Roggenbauer, Spear

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

Mr. Kelley informed Board staff he would be unable to attend the meeting.

 

 

MINUTES (July 24, 2001)

Mr. Fluegel’s MOTION: To approve the July 24, 2001, minutes as drafted.

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

Mr. Spear thanked Board members for the flowers sent to him during his recent hospitalization.

 

 

CHAIR'S REPORT

Board Meeting Schedule

Next meeting is scheduled for September 25, 2001, Lady Slipper Conference Room, Ground Level, Centennial Office Building, 9:30 a.m.

Legislative Recommendations Subcommittee Meeting

Next meeting is scheduled for September 25, 2001, Lady Slipper Conference Room immediately following the Board meeting. A tentative meeting is scheduled for September 26, 2001.

Resolution for Proposed Rules

Board members reviewed a draft resolution to publish a request for comments and develop an additional notice plan for persons or classes of persons who might be affected by the modification or writing of the Board’s administrative rules.

Ms. Pauly’s MOTION: To approve the resolution as drafted.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously approved by four members (Roggenbauer absent) (see copy of resolution attached).

Annual Council on Governmental Ethics Laws Conference (COGEL)

Chair Chase announced that she and Mr. Spear will attend the Annual COGEL conference to be held December 2nd – 5th, in Lexington, Kentucky, with Ms. Olson and Mr. Sigurdson.

 

 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT

Ms. Olson submitted the following written report:

Staff Activities

BETA testing on Finance 2002 is scheduled to begin the week of September 3rd. Staff has identified four users who agreed to be testers.

Customer Service Planning (see July Board minutes) - Staff met twice with a consultant from the Department of Administration to delineate staff responsibilities. The consultant will facilitate a discussion with the Board to assist staff in this process.

Staff is working on the Lobbyist Disbursement Summary. A copy of the Summary should be available at the next Board meeting.

Staff attended another briefing about a potential strike by members of the AFSCME and/or MAPE unions.

The Board web site has been restructured.

Miscellaneous

Staff is reconciling public subsidy payments made with figures from the Department of Finance and Department of Revenue. Staff discovered an error in payments made. An incorrect figure was used to determine the amount of General Account funds available. Consequently, qualifying legislative candidates each received approximately $34 more in public subsidy than check-off amounts. The Office of the Legislative Auditor informally advised staff that there is nothing that should be done at this time.

 

Enforcement Report

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

 

Consent Items

Board Action Authorization of a certified letter to compel the termination of inactive committees, and subsequent legal enforcement action if the committees fail to terminate. Two reminder notices have been sent to each committee treasurer and/or candidate, and staff contacted each individual by telephone. Staff recommends that these individuals be referred to the Attorney General’s office if they fail to terminate the committee registration.

Darrell McKigney, candidate, Friends of Darrell McKigney

Janet Bossuyt, treasurer, (Paul) Sobocinski for Senate Volunteer Committee

Ronald Lattin, treasurer, Republican Majority Fund

Board Action Authorization for inactive committee to maintain active status.

Doug Pfeffer, candidate, Doug Pfeffer Volunteer Committee – In a letter to the Board Mr. Pfeffer requested that the committee be allowed to remain active because he is planning on filing for office in election year 2002.

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

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Discussion Items

Waiver Requests

Report of Receipts and Expenditures due January 31, 2001

Jack Downer, Jack Downer for Senate Committee, $100 - In a letter to the Board, Mr. Downer states that the committee has not been active since 1996. Board records show that all previous Reports of Receipts and Expenditures were filed on time by the committee treasurer, and that there was a $800 contribution to a party unit in 1998. The committee terminated its registration effective September 25, 2000.

Mr. Fluegel’s MOTION: To approve Mr. Downer’s request to waive the $100 late filing fee.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

Report of Receipts and Expenditures due October 30, 2000, and August 28, 2000 (see September 21, and December 12, 2000, minutes)

Richard Rupert, treasurer, St. Paul Supervisors Organization, $1,000 – In a letter to the Board, Mr. Rupert requested that the Board reconsider the two $500 late fees imposed because the Report of Receipts and Expenditures due August 28, and October 30, 2000, were both filed late. The late filing fees were paid on January 12, 2001.

Chair Chase welcomed Mr. Rupert and Helga Kessler, president, St. Paul Supervisors Organization, to the meeting. Ms. Kessler told Board members that the former treasurer was ill and had not picked up the mail. She referred to a letter sent to the Board office on August 28th (see copy attached).

Mr. Fluegel’s MOTION: To reduce the $1,000 late filing fee for the St. Paul Supervisors Organization to $500 due to extenuating circumstances and direct staff to refund $500 to the committee.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

Request to accept terminated Lobbyist Disbursement Report, due July 16, 2001, without signatures

David Chadwick, Citizens League – The Lobbyist Disbursement Report covering the period April 1 through June 30, 2001, was filed on behalf of Mr. Chadwick by staff at the Citizens League. Mr. Chadwick has ceased lobbying and is currently in Australia. When he returns, he will be attending school in Michigan. There has been no lobbying activity noted.

Ms. Chase’s MOTION: To accept the Lobbyist Disbursement Report filed on behalf of David Chadwick and administratively terminate his registration with the Board.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

Request to administratively terminate an inactive principal campaign committee

Michael D. Fritz, candidate, Friends of (Michael) Fritz – The Friends of Fritz committee registered with the Board on September 29, 1992, and the candidate last filed for office in July 1994. The committee has reported no activity since 1995. The last Report of Receipts and Expenditures disclosed an ending cash balance of $116 and no outstanding debts. Mail is currently being returned as addressee unknown. Staff has attempted web searches to locate Mr. Fritz.

Mr. Fluegel’s MOTION: To: 1) direct staff to administratively terminate the Friends of (Mike) Fritz committee; 2) discontinue attempts to secure the delinquent reports; and 3) place all correspondence in the committee file and maintain the file in active status should the committee become active in the future.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

Request to extend the deadline to complete an audit and file any necessary amendments (see April 17, 2001, minutes)

John Treadwell, treasurer, Tenth Ward & Rural Ramsey DFL Donut Booth - Board acceptance of the Report of Receipts and Expenditures for the period covering January 1 through December 31, 1999, from the Tenth Ward & Rural Ramsey DFL Donut Booth was contingent upon an audit and necessary amendments to correct the cash balance discrepancy filed by August 1, 2001.

Staff spoke with Mr. Treadwell on August 2, 2001, and he stated that the audit could not be completed before September 15, 2001, due to this being a very busy time for the committee. Mr. Treadwell has requested that the deadline be extended to September 15, 2001.

Ms. Pauly’s MOTION: To approve Mr. Treadwell’s request for an extension on the audit of the Tenth Ward & Rural Ramsey DFL Donut Booth committee to September 15th.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Informational Items

Civil Fines

Robert Rosch, treasurer, Citizens to Elect Doug Fuller Committee - During calendar year 2000, the Citizens to Elect Doug Fuller Committee disclosed making campaign expenditures that exceeded the applicable $25,320 expenditure limit by $172.22. Doug Fuller entered into a conciliation agreement on July 13, 2001, and paid a civil fine of $344.44.

Jim Jensen, treasurer, (John) Wertz Victory Committee - During calendar year 2000, the Wertz Victory Committee disclosed accepting $5,575 in contributions from special sources. The total amount of these contributions exceeded by $511 the applicable limit on aggregate contributions from special sources. John Wertz entered into a conciliation agreement on June 25, 2001, and paid a civil fine of $511.

Dale Walz, candidate, Dale Walz Volunteer Committee - During calendar year 2000, the Dale Walz Volunteer Committee disclosed making campaign expenditures that exceeded the applicable $25,320 expenditure limit by $155.29. Dale Walz entered into a conciliation agreement on July 10, 2001, and paid a civil fine of $155.29.

Gift to the State of Minnesota Election Campaign Fund

Sheila Colbert, treasurer, People for (Donald) Bellfield, $2,726.70 upon termination of principal campaign committee.

Return of Public Subsidy for Election 2000

Jeffrey Erickson, (Jeffrey) Erickson Election Committee, $100 (remaining balance owed is $479.04)

General Account Public Subsidy Changes

Board members reviewed a detailed report regarding general account public subsidy payments based on legislation passed during the 2001 legislative session and problems in the timing of the new provisions.

Staff questioned if a new form required to be filed in order to be able to receive public subsidy payments could be incorporated into the current Public Subsidy Agreement. Counsel Huwe said that a new form would need to be developed.

Staff was directed to work with legislative staff to correct problems in the new law before public subsidy payments are required to be made for election 2002.

Annual Report

The Board reviewed a draft of the Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2000. Staff noted that the financial report was not included, as not all payments have been settled.

Ms. Pauly’s MOTION: To approve the Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2000 as drafted.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

 

ADVISORY OPINION REQUESTS

The following requests and advisory opinions are nonpublic data.

Advisory Opinion Request #330 – A public officials presence at a party paid for by a lobbyist principal

The Board reviewed a draft response to an advisory opinion request from a public official who asks if: 1) attendance at a party hosted by a lobbyist principal is a prohibited gift under the provisions of Minn. Stat. 10A.071; 2) remarks at the party qualify as one of the exceptions to the gift prohibition; 3) a public official contributed an item of equal or greater value to the fair market value of the goods and services consumed at the party, could the official attend the party without violating the gift prohibition.

Board members made certain language changes to the draft opinion.

Ms. Chase’s MOTION: To: 1) approve the public and nonpublic versions of advisory opinion #330 as amended in discussion, 2) direct staff to invite the requestor to sign a Consent to Release form allowing the Board to identify the requestors name and other identifying information.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

[Editors note: The requestor of advisory opinion #330 signed a Consent to Release form on August 29, 2001. The following summary is from the public version of the opinion.]

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #330 signed by Chair Shirley Chase, August 28, 2001: A public official may attend a party paid for by a lobbyist principal without violating the gift law by, 1) directly reimbursing the lobbyist principal for the official's fair share of the expenses incurred by the lobbyist principal in hosting the party; or, 2) contributing to the party some item or items whose value is equal to or greater than the official's fair share of the value of the party.

 

Advisory Opinion Request #331

The Board reviewed the request for an advisory opinion from an individual interested in fund raising for a political committee. Staff requests guidance in formulating questions to ask the requester to help in determining the answer to the request.

Board members discussed the request.

Ms. Chase’s MOTION: To: 1) direct staff to draft a letter requesting further information from the requestor; 2) send the letter to the Board Chair for approval; and 3) lay the matter over to the next Board meeting.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

 

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).

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Jeanne Olson
Executive Director

 

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