STATE OF MINNESOTA

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

. . . . . . . . .

Monday, March 18, 2002

. . . . . . . . .

Whitaker Conference Room

First Floor, Centennial Office Building

. . . . . . . . .

 

 

MINUTES

Meeting was called to order by Chair Kelley

Members present: Chambers, Fluegel, Kelley, Miller, Spear

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

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

 

 

MINUTES (January 25, 2002)

Mr. Fluegel’s MOTION: To approve the January 25, 2002, minutes as drafted.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

 

CHAIR'S REPORT

Board Appointments

Chair Kelley welcomed Susan Chambers and Clyde Miller. The Governor appointed Ms. Chambers to Ms. Chase’s former position and Mr. Miller to Mr. Roggenbauer’s former position. Both appointments were effective February 6, 2002.

The Rules and Administration Committee held a confirmation hearing for Ms. Chambers and Mr. Miller prior to today’s Board meeting. The committee approved the appointments and referred them to the full Senate for floor action. The House Governmental Operations and Veterans Affair Policy Committee has not set a date for a confirmation hearing.

Board Meeting Schedule

Next meeting is scheduled for April 23, 2002, at 2 p.m.

Nomination Committee Report

Mr. Fluegel, chair of the nominating committee, reported that the committee recommends the appointment of Allan Spear as Vice Chair replacing Donald Roggenbauer.

Mr. Fluegel’s MOTION: To accept the report of the Nominating Committee and declare the election of Mr. Spear as Vice Chair.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

Mr. Fluegel remembered former Board member Carolyn Rodriguez who passed away March 7, 2002. Ms. Rodriguez was on the Board from 1992 to 1999 and served as Board chair from May 1996 through June 1997.

Resolutions

Mr. Fluegel‘s MOTION: Resolved, that the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board recognizes Donald Roggenbauer for his service from 1999 to 2002 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.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

Mr. Fluegel‘s MOTION: Resolved, that Jeanne Olson, the executive director for the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board and Jeffrey Sigurdson, the assistant executive director for the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, are hereby granted the authority and directed to appear on behalf of the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board in all Conciliation Court proceedings. All previous delegations of this authority are rescinded.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT

Ms. Olson submitted the following written report:

Legislative Audit

The Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) issued their report on Board and staff activities for the period July 1, 1999, through June 30, 2001. The OLA found that the Board’s activities met statutory requirements.

Staff Activities

February 27 – Ms. Olson served as a guest lecturer for a legislative issues class at the University of Minnesota’s Graduate School of Public Health. Topics discussed included lobbyist registration, reporting, and the gift ban.

Campaign finance compliance, report filing, and software training sessions continue to be well attended. About 130 individuals have attended the sessions to date.

Work continues on adding features to and enhancing the functionality of Finance 2002. Staff and the consultant have been working with treasurers of larger party units and gubernatorial candidates in an effort to increase the number of electronically filed reports, especially those committees that have many donors in excess of $100.

The Lobbyist Registration Form is redesigned to facilitate compliance with the Board’s new administrative rules. The lobbyist reporting form will be redesigned prior to the July 15th filing date.

The Board’s website will soon be searchable for contribution information. Work continues on adding more options to the website.

Staff met with the consultant from the Department of Administration to follow-up on staffs previous ‘Action Plans’. Many of the plans are finished and staff continues to work toward completing the remaining projects.

Personnel

Billie Errico resigned from her position as the Board’s Compliance Officer effective March 12th. Based on the deficit reduction bill, there is a hiring freeze until July 1, 2003, except for essential government services. Because the Program’s Assistant position has not been filled, there are two vacancies, 22% of staff. Since this is the largest election in 20 years, a case may be made to fill Ms. Errico’s position. The Governor’s office has been contacted for guidelines for exceptions to the freeze. The guidelines will be available in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, Patty Klingner will work more hours in her part-time capacity and the rest of staff will offer training and compliance assistance to campaign finance clients.

Jeff Sigurdson reviewed the performance of John Nesbitt. Mr. Nesbitt’s performance is satisfactory and he will receive a step increase, retroactive to September 2001.

Legislation

Based on the deficit reduction bill, the Board’s budget is permanently cut by 5% beginning in FY 2003, July 1, 2002. Staff is reviewing options to deal with this cut.

During meetings with house members, the following items were suggested for the Board to offer as recommendations to the legislature:

1. Allow contributions between principal campaign committees,

2. Increase the spending limit for all offices, and

3. Define a contested primary as one where the winning candidate wins by less than a three-to-one margin.

Board members may wish to consider these items the next time legislative recommendations are offered.

Another recommendation to allow contributions from terminating principal campaign committees to be added to the aggregate political party limit instead of to the special source aggregate limit was added to the bill as an amendment in the House hearing. There is not a similar provision in the Senate language. The bill is waiting floor action in the Senate. The House referred the bill to State Government Finance and rereferred it to Civil Law. That committee has not scheduled a hearing to date. The Board’s more controversial bill was not heard in the House and was defeated in a Senate Committee.

Miscellaneous

Board members reviewed a draft copy of the Board’s working rules with two changes suggested by staff: 1) make terms for Board Officers based on calendar years instead of fiscal years to prevent the problem that currently exists when an officer’s term on the Board is over but they are in the middle of their term as an officer; and 2) accommodate the change made in the 1999 Recodification of Chapter 10A, naming the Executive Director as the Board Secretary.

Mr. Fluegel’s MOTION: To approve the changes to the Board’s working rules as drafted.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

Correspondence

Board members reviewed an inquiry from Steven Clift, Minnesota Democracy Project, requesting that the Board provide e-mail and website addresses for registered candidates.

Mr. Fluegel’s MOTION: To: 1) approve Mr. Clift’s request 2) direct staff to revise the Registration and Statement of Organization forms to request e-mail and website addresses from candidates; and 3) direct staff to include this information on the Board’s website as time permits.

Mr. Spear suggested that the website information be displayed as information only and prohibit the use of hyperlinks.

Mr. Fluegel’s AMENDED MOTION: To: 1) approve Mr. Clift’s request 2) direct staff to revise the Registration and Statement of Organization forms to request e-mail and website addresses from candidates; 3) list the candidate’s website as information only, not as a hyperlink; and 4) direct staff to include this information on the Board’s website as time permits.

Vote on AMENDED MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Enforcement Report

Discussion Items

Request to Administratively Terminate Lobbyist Registration

Teri Halpin, Minneapolis Municipal Retirement Association - On December 26, 2001, staff received a letter from John Lindahl, treasurer for the Minneapolis Municipal Retirement Association, stating that Teri Halpin is no longer employed by the Association in any capacity, and requesting that her registration for the Association be terminated. The last report filed by Ms. Halpin covered the period of April 1 through June 30, 2001, and disclosed no lobbying disbursements. The only address available for Ms. Halpin is the Association’s address. Staff attempts to locate Ms. Halpin have been unsuccessful.

Mr. Fluegel’s MOTION: To direct staff to: 1) administratively terminate the lobbyist registration for Teri Halpin for the Minneapolis Municipal Retirement Association; 2) place all correspondence in Ms. Halpins file; and 3) retain the file in the Board office should Ms. Halpin register as a lobbyist in the future.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

Informational Items

Return of Public Subsidy for Election 2000 (payment arrangement)

Jeffrey Erickson, candidate, (Jeffrey) Erickson Election Committee: $79.05, final payment

Payment of Late Filing Fee

Report of Receipts and Expenditures due January 31, 2001

Thomas Weisbecker, candidate, Friends for (Thomas) Weisbecker Committee: $30

Gift to the State

David Goodwin, candidate, (David) Goodwin Volunteer Committee: $36 - In January, 2001, the Goodwin Volunteer Committee returned a $36 contribution it had received in late December, 2000, from the (Jack) Downer for Senate Committee. The Downer for Senate Committee never cashed the check. Mr. Goodwin stopped payment on the check and reissued it to the State of Minnesota.

Financial statement and agency deposits - Mr. Sigurdson submitted reports covering July 1, 2001, through February 28, 2002.

Heartland Conference

A tentative agenda for the Heartland Conference to be held at the Crowne Plaza Northstar in Minneapolis April 28 – 30, 2002, was available for Board members. Chair Kelley will be welcoming the attendees at breakfast on Monday, April 29th. Ms. Olson extended an invitation to all Board members to attend the conference.

Proposed Rules

Mr. Sigurdson reported that five comments were received on the Board’s proposed rules. No request for an administrative hearing was received. The rules have been approved by the Governor’s office and are currently at the Office of Administrative Hearings for review and approval.

Request for Board Approval to Accept Installment Payments

Sheri Breedlove, Sheri Breedlove Volunteer Committee – In election year 2000, the Sheri Breedlove Volunteer Committee received a public subsidy payment of $9,063.02. The public subsidy payment exceeded by $2,263.72 the campaign expenditures reported by the committee. The amount that a public subsidy payment exceeds the campaign expenditures must be returned to the state general fund. By letter dated March 14th, Ms. Breedlove requests that she be allowed to pay back the $2,263.72 using installment payments of $400 a month beginning on April 4, 2002.

Ms. Chamber’s MOTION: To: 1) approve Ms. Breedlove’s request for a payment schedule of $400 per month; and 2) notify Ms. Breedlove that if the payments are not timely made, the remainder of the public subsidy funds will be due immediately.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

 

ADVISORY OPINION REQUEST

The following advisory opinion requests are public data.

Advisory Opinion Request #338 - Definition of the term agent in relation to independent expenditures.

The Board reviewed and discussed the request for an advisory opinion from Alan W. Weinblatt, legal representative of several campaign consultants, who asked if: 1) a political committee may make an independent expenditure in support of a candidate for an office covered by Chapter 10A even though one of its consultants is also a fee for service paid consultant to the candidate who benefits from the independent expenditure, and using that scenario is the expenditure considered an independent expenditure if: (a) the political committee does not compensate the consultant for their services; (b) the candidate or the candidates principal campaign committee does not compensate the consultant for their services; or (c) the consultant does or does not receive a fee from both the political fund and one or more candidates or principal campaign committees, which may be the beneficiaries of a political committees independent expenditures; (2) a political party unit make independent expenditures that benefit one or more candidates if the party unit receives services from a consultant that also provides services to at least one of the candidates that would benefit from the independent expenditure; (3) a consultant or a member of the principal campaign committee does not have actual oral or written authority to make or authorize the making of expenditures on behalf of the candidate or the candidate’s principal campaign committee, may they participate with a political committee or party unit in making an independent expenditure that benefits the principal campaign committee; and (4) a consultant or a member of the principal campaign committee is not placed in a position in which they may authorize expenditures on behalf of the candidate or the principal campaign committee, may they participate with a political committee or party unit in making an independent expenditure that benefits the principal campaign committee.

Chair Kelley welcomed Mr. Weinblatt to the meeting. Mr. Weinblatt expressed concern that the draft opinion did not provide enough guidance to consultants, and that the opinion as drafted could be seen as a prohibition against a consultant working for a candidate and a political party unit or political committee simultaneously.

Mr. Fluegel’s MOTION: To lay the discussion of advisory opinion #338 over to the next Board meeting.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

Advisory Opinion Request #339 - Valuation of Internet based communications

The Board reviewed the request for an advisory opinion from Phil Madsen, treasurer, Jesse Ventura Volunteer Committee who asks several questions related to the use of the Internet and the valuation of services provided by volunteers. Mr. Madsen has been advised that the request would be considered at the April 23rd Board meeting. Mr. Sigurdson invited Board members to provide direction in writing the draft opinion.

 

 

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