STATE OF MINNESOTA

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

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Friday, January 25, 2002

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Northwoods Conference Room

Fourth Floor, Centennial Office Building

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MINUTES

Meeting was called to order by Chair Kelley

Members present: Fluegel, Kelley, Roggenbauer, Spear

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

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

 

 

MINUTES (December 11, 2001)

Mr. Fluegel’s MOTION: To approve the December 11, 2001, minutes as drafted.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

 

CHAIR'S REPORT

Board Meeting Schedule

Next meeting will be scheduled for March. Ms. Olson will work with Chair Kelley and Board members to establish a date when a quorum is available.

Meetings with Legislators

Chair Kelley, Mr. Fluegel, Ms. Pauly, Mr. Spear, and Ms. Olson had meetings with the legislative leadership in both houses, the Governor’s office, and with Robert Hentges, lobbyist for the Minnesota Council on Government Relations, to discuss the Board’s legislative recommendations. Chair Kelley, Mr. Spear, and Mr. Fluegel reported on their meetings. Based on discussions during the meetings, Board members decided to divide the Board recommendations into two bills; one bill containing less controversial recommendations, the other carrying provisions that leadership saw as more problematic. Board members reported that the recommendation to decriminalize Chapter 10A was met with broad approval. Mr. Spear cautioned members that the less controversial bill should not be referred to as a "technical change bill" as legislators might find that term misleading.

Mr. Hentges is concerned with the dollar increments for reporting expenditures, and the annual reporting of subjects lobbyied. Ms. Olson and Board members have additional meetings scheduled with legislators and legislative staff.

 

 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT

Ms. Olson submitted the following written report:

Staff Activities

January 11 - Ms. Olson served on the faculty for a Continuing Legal Education program titled, The Minnesota Legislative Process. She spoke about the legal requirements for lobbying and the prohibition on gifts to public officials. Mr. Sigurdson attended as a faculty guest.

January 16 - Ms. Olson served on a panel hosted by the Department of Employee Relations designed to assist Executive Branch agency personnel in testifying before the Legislature. About 90 individuals attended the session.

Approximately 114 individuals attended the campaign finance compliance, report filing, and software training sessions in December and January. Additional report filing training is scheduled for this month and out state compliance and software sessions begin again in March.

The User’s Manual for treasurers who use the Finance 2002 software is complete. Work continues on adding features to and enhancing the functionality of Finance 2002.

Staff updated the Report of Receipts and Expenditures forms. Several pages were eliminated. The schedules for ballot question disbursements, independent expenditures, and contributions to other candidates upon termination were removed and put on separate forms with direction to those who need the schedules to call the Board office or download the form from our website. We will monitor the feedback to determine if the this version of the reporting form should be used for the 2002 election year.

The Lobbyist Principal’s Report has been redesigned. The new form will be used for the report due March 15th covering calendar year 2001.

The Lobbyist Registration and Lobbyist Disbursement forms will be redesigned to accommodate the rules changes.

Personnel

Patricia Klinger, former Programs Assistant, will begin work in that position on a part-time basis until the legislature has acted on the deficit. Ms. Klinger will assist staff in entering data in the campaign finance and lobbying programs.

 

Enforcement Report

Discussion Items

Waiver Requests

Original Statement of Economic Interest

Bonita Baskin, Minnesota Technology, Inc. (see December 11th minutes) - On December 12, 2001, staff notified Ms. Baskin of her obligation to file the required disclosure and pay the $100 late filing fee. Staff informed her that because she had resigned her position, the information disclosed would not be included on the Board’s web site. By letter dated December 17, 2001, Ms. Baskin stated that she only attended one introductory meeting and that she did not vote on any issues. She requests that since her tenure was so short, the requirement to file an Original Statement of Economic Interest and the $100 late filing fee be waived.

Mr. Fluegel’s MOTION: To approve Ms. Baskin’s request to waive the requirement to file an Original Statement of Economic Interest and the $100 late filing fee due to extenuating circumstances.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

Lobbyist Disclosure Report due July 16, 2001

Mark Andrews, Patti Diamond, Jodi (Peine) Husting, Julie Peterson, and Susan Swanson, lobbyists, United Teachers of South Washington County, $100 each – In a letter received in the Board office on January 7, 2002, Julie Peterson requested a waiver of the $100 late filing fees imposed on Mr. Andrews, Ms. Diamond, Ms. Husting, Ms. Swanson, and Ms. Peterson (total $500), stating that the Lobbyist Disbursement Report filed by Dave Nitti, another lobbyist for the United Teachers of South Washington County, disclosed disbursements for all of the lobbyists for the organization. Ms. Peterson further stated that the group was unfamiliar with the reporting process and did not realize that they also needed to file reports.

Mr. Roggenbauer’s MOTION: To approve Ms. Peterson’s request to waive the $100 late filing fees of Mark Andrews, Patti Diamond, Jodi Husting, Susan Swanson, and Julie Peterson.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

Request for Board Direction

Joseph Lawrence Lownie, candidate/treasurer, Friends of Larry Lownie Committee - Correspondence sent to Mr. Lownie has been returned by the post office marked "Forwarding Order Expired" and "Addressee not known". Attempts by staff to call the candidate and committee chair were unsuccessful, because the telephone numbers listed on Board records were no longer valid numbers. A web search disclosed a different address for Mr. Lownie. However, staff was unsuccessful in contacting him. The telephone number listed was disconnected and mail was returned.

Mr. Fluegel’s MOTION: To direct staff to refer the matter to the Office of the Attorney General.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

Informational Items

Payment of Late Filing Fees

Lobbyist Disbursement Report due January 16, 2001

Francis X. Viggiano, lobbyist, Minnesota State University Student Association: $100

Report of Receipts and Expenditures due January 31, 2001

Marianne Beck, candidate, Marianne Stebbins Beck Committee: $100

Lobbyist Disbursement Report due July 16, 2001

David Nitti, lobbyist, United Teachers of South Washington County: $100

Francis X. Viggiano, lobbyist, Minnesota State University Student Association: $40

Original Statement of Economic Interest

John Haley, Jr., General Manager Metropolitan Transit, Metropolitan Council: $100

Return of Public Subsidy for Election 2000

Jeffrey Erickson, candidate, Erickson Election Committee, $100 (current balance owed is $79.04)

Process Service Fees Recovered

Joel Holstad, Committee to Elect (Joel) Holstad, $49 - A Summons and Complaint was issued when Joel Holstad failed to amend the Report of Receipts and Expenditures due January 31, 2001. Mr. Holstad amended his report on December 28, 2001, and paid the fee on December 31, 2001.

Marianne Beck, candidate, Marianne Stebbins Beck Committee, $143 - Marianne Beck failed to file her Report of Receipts and Expenditures, due January 31, 2000. During attempts to secure the disclosure, process service fees totaling $143 accrued. The report was filed December 1, 2001. The fees were paid on January 17, 2002.

Gifs to the State

Roland Swanson, treasurer, Elect Kevin Goodno Committee, $600 - In January 2001, the Elect Kevin Goodno Committee returned excess contributions from special sources that had been received late in election year 2000. The checks were never cashed and Mr. Swanson was unable to contact the donating committees. In order for the committee to remain in compliance with the special source contribution limits, the excess amount was donated as a gift to the state.

Catherine McLynn, candidate, McLynn (Catherine) Win 2002, $163.55 - In January 2001, the McLynn Win 2002 committee returned excess contributions received from two committees. The checks were never cashed and Catherine McLynn was unable to contact the donating committees. The checks returning the excess amounts have been voided and the funds donated as a gift to the state.

 

Financial statement and agency deposits - Mr. Sigurdson submitted reports covering July 1, 2001, through December 31, 2002.

 

Proposed Rules

Board members reviewed the proposed administrative rules approved by the Revisor of Statutes, a calendar outlining the remainder of the rule making process, and an authorizing resolution.

Mr. Fluegel’s MOTION: To approve the authorizing resolution as drafted.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed (see copy of resolution attached).

 

 

ADVISORY OPINION REQUEST

The following advisory opinions are nonpublic data.

Advisory Opinion Request #336 Use of specific words or phrases in campaign expenditures, independent expenditures, or lobbying communications and disclosure of funds used for lobbying purposes

The Board reviewed the request for an advisory opinion from a legal representative for an association who asked if: 1) organizations whose major purpose is to engage in communications to "influence the nomination or election of a candidate or to promote or defeat a ballot question", but whose communications do not include express words of advocacy are subject to regulation as a political committee, 2) communications by an association which do not contain express words of advocacy but which are designed to "influence the nomination or election of a candidate or to promote or defeat a ballot question" would be subject to regulation under the political fund requirements, 3) an individual who is paid and spends more than $250 or more than five hours in a month "for the purpose of attempting to influence legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit, by communicating or urging others to communicate with public or local officials" if the communications lacked express words of advocacy is a lobbyist under Chapter 10A, 4) an association either spends more than $500 in a calendar year to engage a lobbyist, compensate a lobbyist, or authorize the expenditure of money by a lobbyist, or if it spends more than $50,000 to influence legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit, even though such communications would lack express words of advocacy is a lobbyist principal under Chapter 10A, and 5) a lobbyist principal must supply to it’s lobbyist a list of those individuals and associations who contributed more that $500 specifically for lobbying, or should the lobbyist principal provide a list of all contributors over $500.

Staff was directed to make certain nonsubstantive corrections to the draft opinion.

Mr. Roggenbauer’s MOTION: To approve advisory opinion #336 as amended.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #336 signed by Chair Douglas A. Kelley, January 25, 2002: Campaign expenditures, independent expenditures, and lobbying communications are defined by their purpose, and do not require the presence of specific words or phrases in order to come under the provisions of Minnesota Statutes Chapter 10A. A lobbyist principal must disclose to the Board the name of an individual or entity who provides, either directly or as a percentage of their total dues or contributions, over $500 for lobbying efforts.

 

Advisory Opinion Request #337 - Gift of coffee mug to officials

The Board reviewed the request for an advisory opinion from a registered lobbyist, who asked if a lobbyist principal may provide a legislator or legislative staff with a coffee mug that has a retail value of approximately $4 to $6.

Mr. Fluegel’s MOTION: To approve advisory opinion #337 as drafted.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #337 signed by Chair Douglas A. Kelley, January 25, 2002: The gift of a coffee mug to members of the legislature and legislative staff meets the exemption in Minn. Stat. 10A.071, subd. 3 (a) (5), because it is an item of insignificant value.

 

 

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).

 

 

REPORT FROM EXECUTIVE SESSION

In the matter of the complaint regarding Jetsporters Association of Minnesota – The Board issued a finding showing that there is no probable cause to believe that the Jetsporters Association of Minnesota: 1) conducted fundraising activities on behalf of, or made contributions to, Dale Walz during election year 2000, 2) was required to register a political committee or political fund with the Board because of its activities associated with a mailing conducted in the spring of election year 2000, and 3) that there is insufficient evidence to determine if the independent expenditure disclaimer was included in the solicitation letter sent by Carl and Patti Bullen. The complaint regarding the Jetsporters Association of Minnesota is dismissed. The Board ordered that the finding and the record of the investigation be made a part of the public records of the Board (see copy of finding attached).

In the matter of the investigation of Jeff Gargaro, former treasurer, 42nd Senate District RPM – The Board issued a finding showing that there is probable cause to believe that Jeff Gargaro violated Minn. Stat. 10A.025 when he signed and certified as true Reports of Receipts and Expenditures knowing the disclosed information was false. Probable cause having been found, the Board’s Executive Director shall refer this matter to the Hennepin County Attorney and/or the Edina City Attorney for civil enforcement for the violation of Minn. Stat. 10A.025, subd. 2. The Board ordered that the finding and the record of the investigation be made a part of the public records of the Board (see copy of finding attached).

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Jeanne Olson
Executive Director

 

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