STATE OF MINNESOTA

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

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Friday, April 24, 1998

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St. Croix Conference Room

Second Floor, Centennial Office Building

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MINUTES

 

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

 

MINUTES (March 27, 1998)

Ms. Rodriguez's MOTION: To approve the March 27, 1998, minutes as drafted.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

CHAIR'S REPORT

 

Board Meeting Schedule

 

Next Board meeting will be Friday, May 22, 1998. Chair Anderson directed staff to secure meeting rooms for fiscal year 1999. Board meetings will continue to be held on the third Friday of each month.

 

Board Member Appointments

 

Ms. Olson reported that no appointment has been made to Ms. Owens Hayes' position and no confirmation hearings were held for Ms. Wilson.

 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT

 

Ms. Olson reported the following:

 

The Campaign Finance Management System is nearing completion. Many individuals express interest is using the software. Once the software is fully tested, staff will make it available to committees and funds upon request. Mr. Goldsmith will hold numerous training sessions around the state and in St. Paul to familiarize clients with the use of the software.

 

Mr. Goldsmith is working with a subcommittee of the Information Policy Council to draft a Computerized Information Security Policy for State agencies.

 

Miscellaneous:

 

The Legislature adjourned on April 8th. Following is a preliminary review of signed legislation affecting the Board:

 

Technical changes made to Chapter 10A:

 

10A.01, subd. 19, was amended to remove "county court, or county municipal court" from the definition of office holder; and

10A.323 was amended to remove two references to 10A.312 (which was repealed in a previous year).

 

Economic Interest change:

 

The State Board of Education is abolished effective December 31, 1999. Currently 11 Board members and one Executive Director file Economic Interest Statements.

 

Ms. Olson will continue to review 1998 legislation and report any other changes that impact the Board.

 

Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL)

 

Ms. Olson reported she was in Seattle on April 19th and 20th for the spring meeting of the COGEL steering committee.

 

Enforcement Report

 

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

 

Consent Items

 

Board Action: Authorization of third letter, to be sent by certified mail, to compel the filing of a required amendment to the Report of Receipts and Expenditures and to authorize subsequent legal enforcement action if the amendment is not filed. An amendment letter and one subsequent notice have previously been sent to each client.

 

Betty Cozatt, treasurer, Len Biernat Volunteer Committee

 

Harlan Tardy, treasurer, Minn CAP-PAC

John Meeks, treasurer, Committee for Minnesota's Future

 

Dan Cherryhomes, treasurer, Minneapolis Municipal Retirement Association

 

John Meeks, treasurer, Friends of Vin Weber Committee

Gregory Gray, former treasurer, Minneapolis DFL Committee

Richard LaCoursiere, treasurer, Marshall County RPM

Joleen Schaefer, treasurer, Nicollet County DFL

Carol Molnau, treasurer, House RPM Campaign Committee

Board Action: Authorization of third letter, to be sent by certified mail, to compel the filing of an Original Statement of Economic Interest, due March 17, 1998, and subsequent legal action if the statement is not filed. A reminder letter and two certified letters have been sent to the client.

 

Ellen Palmer, member, The Board of Lola & Rudy Perpich Minn Center for Arts Education

 

Board Action: Authorization of certified letter for nonpayment of a late filing fee and subsequent legal enforcement action in the event the fee is not paid. Two notices have been previously sent to the client.

 

Teri Halpin, representing Minneapolis Municipal Retirement Association

 

Ms. Pauly's MOTION: To authorize the actions specified in the consent matters.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Discussion Item

 

Request to terminate lobbyist registration

 

Thomas Faust, lobbyist for the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG), has not filed Lobbyist Disbursement Reports due January 15 and April 15, 1998. The only address in Board records for Mr. Faust is that of MPIRG. MPIRG requests that Mr. Faust's registration as a lobbyist for the association be terminated. According to the association's letter, Mr. Faust no longer is employed as a lobbyist and they do not have a current address for him. Mr. Faust did not have any expenditures to report during the reporting periods covered by the missing reports. Mr. Faust registered in March of 1997.

 

Ms. Pauly's MOTION: Direct staff to: 1) administratively terminate Thomas Faust's registration as a lobbyist for the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group effective March 31, 1998; 2) discontinue efforts to secure the required reports; 3) place all correspondence in the lobbyist file; and 4) retain the file in the active file should Mr. Faust become an active lobbyist in the future.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Informational Items

 

Payment of Late Filing Fees

 

 

Francis X Viggiano, representing Minnesota State University Student Association: $30

 

 

Richard Shager, candidate, Richard J Shager 51 B: $100

 

Louis Smith, treasurer, Committee to Elect Bruce Peterson Hennepin County Judge: $45

 

Payment of Civil Fines

 

Robert Jellinger, treasurer, Charlie Weaver for Attorney General - During calendar year 1997, the Charlie Weaver for Attorney General Committee accepted a contribution during the regular 1997 legislative session. On April 9, 1998, the committee paid a civil fine of $200, one times the amount of the contribution.

 

Phil Hennemann, treasurer, (Tom) Hackbarth Volunteer Committee - During calendar year 1997, the Hackbarth Volunteer Committee accepted a contribution of $200, which exceeds by $100 the applicable non-election year contribution limit of $100. Mr. Hackbarth entered into a conciliation agreement, effective April 9, 1998, to remedy the matter. On April 3, 1998, the committee paid a civil fine of $200, two times the amount by which the contribution exceeds the applicable contribution limit.

 

 

Anonymous Contribution

 

Ane Hanley, treasurer, 7th Congressional District DFL: $200

 

All payments of late filing fees and civil fines have been deposited in the general fund of the state and the anonymous contribution has been deposited in the general account of the state elections campaign fund pursuant to statute.

 

Conciliation Court

 

Staff represented the Board in conciliation court on April 7, 1998, in the following matters:

 

Debra Williamson, representing VOICE - A $137.75 judgment was obtained for the late fees and service of process fees accrued for the late filing of the Lobbyist Disbursement Reports due January 15 and July 15, 1997.

 

Conrad Lee, representing VOICE - A $127.75 judgment was obtained for the late fee and service of process fees accrued for the late filing of the Lobbyist Disbursement Report due July 15, 1997.

 

Contribution/Loan Limit for Calendar Year 1997

 

Under a policy adopted at the October 25, 1996, Board meeting, staff reviewed the contributions and outstanding loans payable reported by Principal Campaign Committees on the Report of Receipts and Expenditures covering the period January 1 through December 31, 1997. Three committees were found to have contributions, outstanding direct loans, and outstanding endorsed loans from individuals which exceeded the loan/contribution limit. The committee treasurers were advised that they had 60 days in which to pay back direct or endorsed loans to bring the committees into compliance with the applicable loan/contribution limit. Two out of the three committees are now in compliance. The third committee has stated that it will be in compliance by April 18, 1998.

 

Financial statement and agency deposits - Mr. Goldsmith submitted a report covering July, 1997, through March, 1998.

 

ADVISORY OPINION REQUESTS

 

Request for the following advisory opinion is public data.

 

Advisory Opinion #289 - Application of gift prohibition to referral of legal client

 

The Board reviewed and discussed a draft response to an advisory opinion request by Richard J. Cohen, an attorney and legislator who asks if the referral of a legal client by an attorney who is a lobbyist to an attorney who is an official is prohibited by Minn. Stat. 10A.071.

 

Mr. Slocum's MOTION: To approve Advisory Opinion #289 as drafted.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #289 signed by Chair Barry Anderson, April 24, 1998: Gift prohibition of Minn. Stat. 10A.071 does not extend to referral of legal matters between attorneys.

 

Requests for the following advisory opinions are nonpublic data.

 

Advisory Opinion #290 - Contributions to political committee by Indian tribe

 

The Board reviewed a draft response to an advisory opinion request by representatives of an Indian tribe that wishes to participate in the Minnesota political process who ask: 1) if the tribe is an "association" as that term is defined in Minn. Stat. 10A.01, subd. 3; 2) may the Board prevent the committee, an entity registered with and reporting to the Board, from accepting prohibited contributions from unregistered associations; and 3) is the disclosure which would be imposed on the tribe under Minn. Stat. 10A.20, through the operation of Minn. Stat. 10A.22, subd. 7, so extensive as to be unconstitutional.

 

Chair Anderson welcomed Robert Hentges, counsel for the requester to the meeting. Mr. Hentges introduced Kurt Bluedog, counsel for the requester and Lief Rasmussen, representative from another Minnesota tribe. Mr. Hentges and Mr. Bluedog presented information about tribal government and political activity, and answered questions from Board members.

 

Chair Anderson welcomed Larry Kitto, a lobbyist representing tribes located in Minnesota, who provided written documentation about the political activities of those tribes; Randy Asunma, a lobbyist representing a tribe located in Minnesota, who presented history on the registration of the political action committee for a tribe; and Chris Sande, deputy treasurer of a Minnesota tribe, who provided information on federal laws regulating contributions from tribes.

 

The Board discussed the draft and the information presented by the interested persons.

 

Mr. Slocum's MOTION: To lay the matter over to a special Board meeting to be held on May 4, 1998, at 10 a.m.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Mr. Hentges, Mr. Bluedog, Mr. Rasmussen, Mr. Kitto, Mr. Asunma, and Mr. Sande left the meeting.

 

Advisory Opinion #291 - Independent expenditures by party units

 

The Board reviewed and discussed a draft response to an advisory opinion request by a representative of an association who asks if the prohibition on independent expenditures by a party unit in a race where the party has a candidate on the ballot, found in Minn. Stat. 10A.01, subd. 10b, is constitutional.

Ms. Rodriguez's MOTION: To approve Advisory Opinion #291 as drafted.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Summary: Advisory Opinion #291 signed by Chair Barry Anderson, April 24, 1998: Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board will not make determination of constitutionality of Minn. Stat. 10A.01, subd. 10b, which prohibits certain independent expenditures by party units.

 

Advisory Opinion #292 - Determination of Lobbyist Principal

 

The Board reviewed and discussed a draft response to an advisory opinion request by the representative of an association who asks if an independent association, having complete control over the services of a lobbyist, pays its national affiliate for those services, which entity is the lobbyist principal under Minn. Stat. 10A.01, subd. 28.

 

Ms. Rodriguez's MOTION: To approve Advisory Opinion #292 as drafted.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #292 signed by Chair Barry Anderson, April 24, 1998: An independent association that pays for a lobbyist's services is the lobbyist principal even if the payment for those services is made to the association's national affiliate.

 

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 (see January 23rd and March 27th minutes)

 

Patrick Boulay, St. Paul Legal Ledger - Counsel Gretz reported that a discovery response due April 20th is being prepared.

 

LEGISLATIVE RECOMMENDATIONS COMMITTEE REPORT

 

No report.

 

REPORT FROM EXECUTIVE SESSION

 

Findings in the Matter of the Complaint of Representative Bob Milbert Regarding William Folkes

 

The Board issued findings concerning probable cause in the matter of an investigation regarding the possible lobbying activity of William Folkes. 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 Solicitation of Contributions During the Regular 1998 Legislative Session by the House Republican Campaign Committee

 

The Board issued findings concerning probable cause in the matter of an investigation regarding the solicitation of contributions during the regular legislative session by the House Republican Campaign Committee. 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,

 

 Sidney Pauly, Secretary

(Minutes by staff)

 

attachments (2)

 

 

STATE OF MINNESOTA

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

 

 

FINDINGS IN THE MATTER OF A COMPLAINT REGARDING WILLIAM FOLKES

 

 

Procedural Background

 

On March 11, 1998, Representative Bob Milbert ("Complainant") filed a complaint with the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board ("Board") alleging that William Folkes ("Respondent") violated certain provisions of Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 10A, including Minn. Stat. 10A.03, by failing to register as a lobbyist.

 

The Complainant alleges that the Respondent attempted to influence legislative action regarding a bonding bill by sending letters and faxes on corporate letterhead and sending reproduced audio tapes to legislators. The Complainant further alleges that the Respondent is affiliated with the Majestic Oaks Golf Club and is paid by them, or authorized to spend money on their behalf, to lobby members of the legislature.

 

By letter dated March 26, 1998, the Respondent states that he is the vice president for Majestic Oaks Golf Club and that he spent about 5 hours and 35 minutes over a three month period distributing material and speaking with legislators regarding a bonding bill. The Respondent further states that he spent a total of $60.29 in this effort.

 

The matter was considered by the Board in executive session on April 24, 1998. Neither of the parties presented testimony.

 

 

Based on the record before it, the Board issues the following:

 

STATEMENT OF THE EVIDENCE

 

  1. William Folkes acknowledges that he is employed by the Majestic Oaks Golf Club and that he communicated with members of the legislature regarding a bonding bill.
  2.  

  3. William Folkes did not spend more than $250 in any calendar year nor more than five hours in any month to influence or attempt to influence legislative action regarding a bonding bill.

 

 

Based on the above Statement of the Evidence, the Board makes the following:

 

FINDINGS CONCERNING PROBABLE CAUSE

 

    1. The activities and spending of William Folkes, as described in the complaint, were not sufficient to bring him within the definition of lobbyist under Minn. Stat. 10A.01, subd. 11.
    2.  

    3. There is no probable cause to believe that the William Folkes violated the Ethics in Government Act, Minnesota Statutes Chapter 10A by failing to register as a lobbyist.

 

 

Based on the above Findings, the Board issues the following:

 

ORDER

 

The complaint of Representative Bob Milbert regarding William Folkes is dismissed in all respects. The Board investigation of this matter is hereby made a part of the public records of the Board pursuant to Minn. Stat. 10A.02, subd. 11.

 

Copies of this document shall be provided to the complainant and to the respondent.

 

Dated: 4/24/98

G. Barry Anderson, Chair

Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board

 

 

STATE OF MINNESOTA

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

 

 

FINDINGS IN THE MATTER OF SOLICITATION OF CONTRIBUTIONS

DURING THE REGULAR 1998 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

BY THE HOUSE REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE

 

 

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

 

By letter dated April 8, 1998, Representative Steven Sviggum, House Caucus Republican Leader for the House Republican Campaign Committee ("Committee"), notified the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board ("Board") of an inadvertent violation of Minn. Stat. 10A. 065, by the Committee when it mailed fundraising invitations to a list of people on April 7, 1998. In a telephone conversation with Board staff, Representative Sviggum confirmed that the mailing list included lobbyists. The regular 1998 Legislative Session was held from January 20, to April 9, 1998.

 

Representative Sviggum stated that in an effort to correct the violation, the Committee mailed letters dated April 8, 1998, to the same list of people asking that the invitation be disregarded.

 

This matter was considered by the Board in executive session on April 24, 1998. No one from the Committee requested to appear on behalf of the Committee.

 

 

Based on the record before it, the Board issues the following:

 

STATEMENT OF THE EVIDENCE

 

1. The House Republican Campaign Committee is a political committee established by the Republican Party of Minnesota within a house of the Minnesota Legislature.

 

2. The Committee mailed out fundraising invitations on April 7, 1998, to a list of people, including lobbyists. The solicitation was mailed during the regular 1998 Legislative Session, which was held from January 20, to April 9, 1998.

 

3. Minn. Stat. 10A.065 states in part that a political committee established by a party organization within a house of the legislature shall not solicit contributions from a registered lobbyist, political committee or political fund during a regular session of the legislature.

 

4. The House Caucus Republican Leader notified the Board of the solicitation action by letter dated April 8, 1998, and stated that in an attempt to correct the violation, letters were mailed to the same list of people asking them to disregard the invitation.

 

5. This is the first calendar year in which the Committee violated Minn. Stat. 10A.065 by soliciting contributions during a regular legislative session.

 

 

Based on the above Statement of the Evidence, the Board makes the following:

 

FINDING CONCERNING PROBABLE CAUSE

 

There is probable cause to believe that the House Republican Campaign Committee violated Minn. Stat. 10A.065 by soliciting contributions during the regular session of the Legislature in 1998.

 

 

Based on the above Finding Concerning Probable Cause, the Board issues the following:

 

ORDER

 

1. In lieu of forwarding the above 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 $500 on the House Republican Campaign Committee for solicitation of contributions during the regular 1998 Legislative Session.

 

2. The House Republican Campaign Committee is directed to forward to the Board payment of the civil fine, by check or money order payable to the STATE OF MINNESOTA, within thirty days after receipt of this order.

 

3. If the House Republican Campaign Committee does not comply with the provisions of this order, the Board's Executive Director shall refer this matter to the Ramsey County Attorney for civil enforcement pursuant to Minn. Stat. 10A.065.

 

4. The Board investigation of this matter is entered into the public record in accordance with Minn. Stat. 10A.02, subd. 11, and upon payment by the House Republican Campaign Committee of the civil fine imposed herein, the matter is concluded.

 

 

Dated: 4/24/98

G. Barry Anderson, Chair

Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board