STATE OF MINNESOTA

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

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Friday, January 23, 1998

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Blazing Star Conference Room

Ground Floor, Centennial Office Building

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MINUTES

 

Meeting was called to order by Chair Anderson.Members present: Anderson, Owens Hayes, Rodriguez, Slocum, Wilson.Others present: Olson, Goldsmith, Swanson, staff: Gretz, counsel.

 

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

 

MINUTES (November 21, 1997)

Ms. Wilson's MOTION: To approve the November 21, 1997, minutes as drafted.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed by four members (Ms. Rodriguez abstained).

 

CHAIR'S REPORT

 

Board Meeting Schedule

 

Next Board meeting will be Friday, March 27, 1998. Board will meet February 27, 1998, if necessary.

 

Board Member Appointment

 

Ms. Olson reported that the Governor's office has not made an appointment to Ms. Owens Hayes' position.

 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT

 

Public Subsidy Agreement

 

Representative Loren Jennings learned that the Department of Revenue is denying Political Contribution Refunds to his contributors for contributions given during 1997. Rep. Jennings contacted the Board office about this matter and was told that staff has no record of a Public Subsidy Agreement on file. The most previous agreement went out of effect December 31, 1996.

 

Chair Anderson welcomed Rep. Jennings to the meeting. Rep. Jennings told the Board that he signed and filed the document soon after receiving it from staff in January, 1997. Rep. Jennings

 

provided Board members with a copy of the signed agreement from his personal file and a sworn affidavit attesting to the fact the agreement was signed and mailed in January, 1997. Rep. Jennings requests that the Board accept these documents as proof of timely filing of the agreement and asked the Board to request the Department of Revenue to process or re-process all 1997 requests for contribution refunds to his contributors.

 

Ms. Rodriguez's MOTION: To accept the copy of the signed Public Subsidy Agreement and sworn affidavit from Representative Jennings as proof that his Public Subsidy Agreement was timely filed in January, 1997.

 

Board members discussed the motion.

 

Ms. Rodriguez's AMENDED MOTION: To accept the copy of the signed Public Subsidy Agreement and sworn affidavit from Representative Jennings as proof that his Public Subsidy Agreement was timely filed in January, 1997, and suggest to the Department of Revenue that contribution refunds for 1997 be processed or reprocessed.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Ms. Olson reported the following:

 

Staff activities

The Campaign Finance Management System continues in development. Mr. Goldsmith is involved in meetings with the selected vendor and telecommutes some days with the office and vendor to have the software ready for 1998 reporting. In February or March Mr. Goldsmith will hold seminars around the state on campaign finance and the software in preparation for the 1998 election.

 

Staff outreach

 

Public Outreach:

 

October 31st - Ms. Olson and Mr. Goldsmith met with foreign visitors from Croatia, Israel, Pakistan, Peru, Tanzania, and Burma;

 

December 1st - Ms. Olson met with Augusto Coutinho from Brazil through the Minnesota International Center. Mr. Coutinho is a city councilman in the City of Recife and was interested in Minnesota's campaign finance provisions.

 

December 2nd - Ms. Olson met representatives from the League of Women Voters and MAPA. The associations are concerned about the lack of disclosure of contributions to candidates through a conduit plan (employee volunteer contribution plans).

 

December 11th - Ms. Olson met with 50 people from the Minnesota Council of Non-Profits to discuss lobbying registration and reporting.

 

Continuing Legal Education:

 

December 19th - Ms. Olson was on the faculty of a Minnesota Bar Association Continuing Legal Education seminar on the Legislative Process.

 

January 8th - Mr. Goldsmith was on the faculty of a Minnesota Law & Politics Continuing Legal Education seminar on Lobbying.

 

January 23rd - Ms. Olson will be on the faculty of a CLE class for women attorneys interested in running for office.

Personnel

 

Ms. Olson introduced Gregory Messetler, the Board's new Information Technology Specialist II.

 

Publications

 

Copies of the updated Candidate Handbook were provided to Board members.

 

Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL)

 

As COGEL representative for a grant that the Joyce Foundation has with COGEL, Ms. Olson attended an Electronic Disclosure Committee meeting in Chicago, December 13th and 14th. The committee is attempting to establish a standard for jurisdictions to use for the convenient exchange of electronically filed data.

 

Miscellaneous

 

A copy of an article about the Board's decision regarding the Governor's trip to Australia that appeared in City Pages was provided to Board members.

 

Enforcement Report

 

Mr. Goldsmith presented the following enforcement matters for Board action:

 

Consent Items

 

Board Action: Authorization of a certified letter for nonpayment of public subsidy, which must be returned based on the amount of campaign expenditures disclosed on the committee's Report of Receipts and Expenditures, and subsequent legal action in the event the payment is not received. Two notices have been previously sent to the client.

 

Jill Henderson, treasurer, Marianne Stebbins for State Senate

Board Action: Authorization of a third certified letter, as appropriate, to compel the filing of Lobbyist Disbursement Report due January 15, 1998, and subsequent

 

legal action if the report is not filed. A reminder letter and two certified letters will be sent to the clients prior to sending the third certified letter.

 

Ms. Owens Hayes' MOTION: To authorize the actions specified in the consent matters.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Discussion Items

 

Request for 90 day extension to terminate committee.

 

Jackie Stevenson, treasurer, MN Voters for Choice - At it's meeting of September 26, 1997, the Board directed staff to inform the MN Voters for Choice that if the committee's termination report was not received on or before October 15, 1997, the Board would administratively terminate the committee. On January 22, 1998, staff received a letter from Ms. Stevenson requesting a 90 day extension in which to close out the accounts of the committee. The committee has two outstanding loans totaling $4,000. Ms. Stevenson has been working with staff to attempt to settle the loans and terminate the committee. The loans will be forgiven by the individuals who made them if funds can not be raised by the committee to repay them.

 

Ms. Rodriguez's MOTION: To grant the request of the MN Voters for Choice for a 90 day extension.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Request to Withdraw Registration

 

Kinsey Robinson, treasurer, Roofers' Political Education and Legislative Fund - On January 22,1998, staff received a letter from Kinsey Robinson, requesting that their committee's registration be withdrawn. The committee, which registered with the Board on October 28, 1997, has made no contributions in Minnesota. The organization intends to work with their local union to set up an in-state PAC.

 

Mr. Slocum's MOTION: To withdraw the registration filed by the Roofers' Political Education and Legislative Fund effective October 28, 1997.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Informational Items

Payment of Late Filing Fees

 

 

Steven Wright, treasurer, Connie Janssen Volunteer Committee: $50

 

 

 

Shawn Towle, candidate, (Shawn) Towle Volunteer Committee: $77.05

(Partial payment through Revenue Recapture program)

 

 

Grant Lebens, treasurer, Rosentstiel for Legislature: $80

 

Return of Public Subsidy

 

George Bateman, treasurer, (George) Bateman for Representative - $405.70 partial payment through Chapter 13 bankruptcy. $842.81 return of public subsidy financing remains to be paid for 1990.

 

Kevin Correy, candidate, Correy for Senate Committee - $12, 933.30 return of public subsidy financing. Mr. Correy has not filed his Pre-general and year-end Report of Receipts and Expenditures and owes $ 591.77 in late filing fees.

 

All payments have been deposited in the general fund of the state pursuant to statute.

 

Financial report and agency deposits - Mr. Goldsmith submitted a report covering July through December, 1997.

 

ADVISORY OPINION REQUESTS

 

Requests for the following advisory opinions are nonpublic data.

 

Advisory Opinion #284 - Campaign finance laws applicable to nonprofit corporation

 

The Board reviewed a draft response to an advisory opinion request by the representative of a national association who asks: 1) if the association may use its treasury funds to mail communications which include sections advocating the election or defeat of a Minnesota candidate for legislative or constitutional office to its Minnesota members; 2) what the association's liability would be for reporting costs of such communications; and 3) if the association may use its pool of corporate political contributions to reimburse the Minnesota Committee for costs of overhead or fundraising.

 

Ms. Owens Hayes' MOTION: To approve Advisory Opinion #284 as drafted.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #284 signed by Chair Barry Anderson, January 23, 1998:

Minn. Stat. 211B.15 severely restricts the rights of corporations to make political contributions or independent expenditures in Minnesota. This statute may also prohibit the use for these purposes of dues paid by for-profit corporations. Minnesota political committees are not limited in their fundraising solicitations to members of their affiliated associations.

 

Advisory Opinion #285 - Application of noncampaign disbursement definitions to costs of giving a party

 

The Board reviewed a draft response to an advisory opinion request by a candidate who asks if the costs of a party at the end of a public official's term, given to thank staff and others who have assisted in the official's activities and initiatives during the official's service in office, can be paid with principal campaign committee funds as a noncampaign disbursement under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 10A.

 

Chair Anderson welcomed Secretary of State Joan Growe to the meeting. Ms. Growe addressed the issues raised in the advisory opinion.

 

The Board discussed the request.

 

Mr. Slocum's MOTION: To direct staff to prepare an Advisory Opinion approving the expenditure for a party at the end of a public official's term under Minn. Stat. 10A.01, subd. 10c ( j).

Vote on MOTION: Yes: Slocum, Wilson

No: Anderson, Owens Hayes, Rodriguez

Motion failed: 2 to 3.

 

Whereupon further discussion occurred.

 

Ms. Rodriguez's MOTION: To lay over discussion of the matter to the next Board meeting.

Vote on MOTION: Yes: Anderson, Rodriguez

No: Owens Hayes, Slocum, Wilson

Motion failed: 2 to 3.

 

Whereupon further discussion occurred.

 

Ms. Wilson's MOTION: To direct staff to prepare an Advisory Opinion approving the expenditure for a party at the end of a public official's term under Minn. Stats. 10A.01, subd. 10c (j) and 10A.01, subd. 10c (m).

 

The Board agreed to changes to the motion.

 

Ms. Wilson's AMENDED MOTION: To direct staff to prepare an Advisory Opinion approving the expenditure of a party at the end of a public official's term as set forth in Minn. Stat. 10A.01, subd. 10c (m) for consideration at the next Board meeting.

 

Ms. Wilson withdrew her MOTION.

 

Further discussion occurred.

 

Ms. Owens Hayes' MOTION: To: 1) direct staff to prepare an Advisory Opinion approving the expenditure of a party at the end of a public official's term under Minn. Stat. 10A.01, subd. 10c (s); 2) circulate the draft to the chair and other Board members for a five day working review; and 3) direct the chair to approve nonsubstantive changes, if any, and sign the opinion.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Ms. Growe left the meeting.

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #285 signed by Chair Barry Anderson, February 5, 1998:

Costs paid by a principal campaign committee for a party given in an election year, after the general election, upon the retirement from public office of the principal campaign committee's

candidate, are noncampaign disbursements.

 

Advisory Opinion #286 - Gift to officials of informational booklet

 

The Board reviewed a draft response to an advisory opinion request by the representative of an association who asks if the association may distribute a booklet as described to persons who are officials under Minn. Stat. 10A.071.

 

Mr. Slocum's MOTION: To approve Advisory Opinion #286 as drafted.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #286 signed by Chair Barry Anderson, January 23, 1998:

Gift to officials of an informational booklet which costs $4.60 to produce and which will be available in limited quantities to the public without charge is a gift of informational material of unexceptional value which is not prohibited by Minn. Stat. 10A.071.

 

Advisory Opinion #287 - Gift to official of special seating rights at athletic event

 

The Board reviewed a draft response to an advisory opinion request by a registered lobbyist who asks if a lobbyist principal may allow an official to use its licensed box seating at an athletic event if the official pays for the ticket or the right to use the box seating area.

 

Ms. Rodriguez's MOTION: To approve Advisory Opinion #287 as drafted.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #287 signed by Chair Barry Anderson, January 23, 1998:

A lobbyist principal is prohibited by Minn. Stat. 10A.071 and Minn. Rules, part 4512, from giving or selling an official the right to sit in the box seating area it has leased for athletic events unless the right to purchase equivalent seating is available to members of the public.

 

LEGAL COUNSEL'S REPORT

 

Board members reviewed a memo from Counsel Gretz outlining the status of cases which have been turned over to the Attorney General's office (see copy of memo attached).

 

 

 

Commercial Use of Board Data

 

Patrick Boulay, St. Paul Legal Ledger - On December 16, 1997, Board staff became aware of a solicitation from Patrick Boulay on behalf of the Saint Paul Legal Ledger, a publication of Legal

 

 

Ledger, Inc. Solicitations were directed to names and addresses available only on Board lists of registered lobbyists or registered political committees. Mr. Boulay was advised by the Executive

Director that it appeared that the solicitation may violate the provisions of Minn. Stat. 10A.02, subd. 8 (e), which prohibits commercial use of data filed with the Board and that the matter would be considered by the Board its January meeting.

 

Board members reviewed a letter from Mark Anfinson, legal counsel for the Saint Paul Legal Ledger and a summons and complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court challenging the constitutionality of Minn. Stat. 10A.02, subd. 8 (e).

 

Counsel Gretz discussed her preliminary analysis of the lawsuit and possible Board alternatives. The Board, by consensus, requested counsel to defend the lawsuit (see copy of summons and complaint attached).

 LEGISLATIVE RECOMMENDATIONS COMMITTEE REPORT

 

Ms. Rodriguez reported that the committee discussed the recodification of Chapter 10A. Committee members will talk to legislative members to try and move the recodification bill through the 1998 legislative session. Committee members decided to hold a hearing to discuss proposed recommendations to the 1999 legislature. A draft invitation to the hearing was available for Board members. The Board agreed to certain language changes to the invitation.

 

Mr. Slocum's MOTION: To approve the invitation as amended in discussion.

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

 

Board members reviewed a draft letter to the legislature asking for clarification of its intent with regard to Minn. Stat. 10A.25, subd. 10. This matter may be the subject of a request for declaratory judgment.

 

Ms. Rodriguez's MOTION: To approve the letter to the members of the legislature as drafted.

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

 

Ms. Olson stated that the committee would meet today following the Executive Committee session and that all Board members were invited to attend. Ms. Owens Hayes suggested that the committee consider bringing the matter of the use of funds from a principal campaign committee for a retirement party to the attention of the legislature.

 

 OTHER BUSINESS

 

Resolution

 

Ms. Rodriguez's MOTION: To adopt the following resolution:

 

Resolved, that Jeanne Olson, the executive director of the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, Gary Goldsmith, the assistant director of the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, Billie Errico, the compliance officer of the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, and Nicole Perreault, program assistant, 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.

 

Request to reconsider findings

 

In executive session, Board members reviewed a letter dated December 1, 1997, from Brian Bates requesting that the Board reconsider its findings issued November 21, 1997, in the matter of an investigation in respect to the complaint of Brian Bates, Michael Ravnitzky, and John Marty regarding Governor Carlson, Phillip Morris, Inc., New York Society for International Affairs, and American-European Community Association (see November 21st Board minutes). The Board concluded that the matter should be moved to regular session for possible action. No motion was made.

 

REPORT FROM EXECUTIVE SESSION

 

Findings in the Matter of an Investigation Regarding the Complaint of Eric Johnson Regarding the Office of the Attorney General

 

The Board issued findings concerning probable cause in the matter of an investigation regarding the Office of the Attorney General. 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).

 

Findings in the Matter of an Investigation Regarding the Complaint of the Republican Party of Minnesota Regarding Mary Ellen Otremba

 

The Board issued findings concerning probable cause in the matter of an investigation regarding the Committee to Elect Mary Ellen Otremba. 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).

 

Findings in the Matter of an Investigation of Certain Political Committees and Political Funds for Failure to Report Employment or Occupational Information

 

The Board issued findings concerning probable cause in the matter of an investigation regarding the 19th Senate District RPM, DFL House Caucus, and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. 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

in the absence of Sidney Pauly, Secretary

(Minutes by staff)

 If you would like to receive any attachment referred to in these minutes please contact the board office