STATE OF MINNESOTA

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

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Special Board Meeting

Wednesday, August 5, 1998

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Robert Whitaker Conference Room

First Floor, Centennial Office Building

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MINUTES

 

Meeting was called to order by Chair Rodriguez.

Members present: Fluegel, Pauly, Rodriguez, Slocum, Wilson.Others present: Olson, Goldsmith, Swanson, staff; Gretz, counsel.

 

ADVISORY OPINIONS

 

Request for the following advisory opinion is nonpublic data.

 

Advisory Opinion #298 - Campaign expenditure definition; reporting contributions (laid over from the July 24, 1998, Board meeting)

 

The Board reviewed a draft response to an advisory opinion request from the representative of a candidate who asks: 1) if the costs of production, publication, and distribution of a book paid for by the principal campaign committee of the candidate must be reported as campaign expenditures; 2) if goods or services were provided to the committee for production of the book, are those items contributions to the Committee; 3) if the goods or services are contributions to the Committee, how should they be valued; 4) how should the transaction be reported if a contributor of goods or services is subsequently paid for the goods or services; 5) if a third party reimburses providers of goods or services or reimburses whoever originally paid for the goods and services, will that reimbursement be a contribution to the Committee from the third party; and 6) can the book, or its distribution, be restructured in some way so that the costs will not be campaign expenditures.

 

Ms. Pauly's MOTION: To direct staff to: 1) contact the requester of Advisory Opinion #298 and ask if production, publication, and distribution of the book was a project of the principal campaign committee; 2) adopt the draft response as the opinion of the Board if the book was a principal campaign committee project; 3) amend the opinion as appropriate if the book was not a principal campaign committee project, and in that case; 4) circulate the amended text to the chair and other Board members for a five working day review; and 5) direct the chair to approve nonsubstantive changes, if any, and sign the opinion.

 

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

 

Staff reported to the Board that the requester had been contacted and that production, publication, and distribution of the book was a project of the principal campaign committee. The opinion would not be amended.

 

Summary: Advisory Opinion #298 signed by Chair Carolyn Rodriguez, August 5, 1998: A principal campaign committee's costs of producing a book about its candidate and the candidate's public policy positions are campaign expenditures. Donation of goods or services used in production of the book are contributions to the principal campaign committee.

 

Requests for the following advisory opinions are public data.

 

Advisory Opinion #299 and #300 - Independent expenditure definition (laid over from the July 24, 1998, Board meeting)

 

The Board reviewed a draft response to requests from Tony Trimble, counsel, Republican Party of Minnesota and Alan Weinblatt, counsel, Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL), acting separately, who both ask the Board to review its position on when independent expenditures by party units are prohibited.

 

Mr. Slocum's MOTION: To approve Advisory Opinions #299 and #300 as drafted.

 

Board Chair Rodriguez welcomed Mr. Weinblatt who concurred with the conclusions of the draft opinion. Board Chair Rodriguez welcomed Matthew Haapoja, co-counsel, Republican Party of Minnesota, who suggested that the Board may wish to look at Minn. Stat. 204D, sub. 11(1) and subd. 16, as alternate dates for the limitation on independent expenditures.

Mr. Slocum's MOTION: To approve Advisory Opinions #299 and #300 as drafted.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Summary: Advisory Opinion #299 signed by Chair Carolyn Rodriguez, July 24, 1998: An expenditure by a party unit in a race where the party has a candidate on the general election ballot is not an independent expenditure. Such an expenditure is deemed to be an expenditure approved by the party's candidate and is a contribution to that candidate.

 

Summary: Advisory Opinion #300 signed by Chair Carolyn Rodriguez, July 24, 1998: An expenditure by a party unit in a race where the party has a candidate on the general election ballot is not an independent expenditure. Such an expenditure is deemed to be an expenditure approved by the party's candidate and is a contribution to that candidate.

 

CORRESPONDENCE

 

The Board reviewed the copy of a letter from Lee Sheehy, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, regarding the Board's request for independent legal counsel in the matter of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux (Dakota) Community et al. v. Minnesota Campaign Finance &

 

 

Public Disclosure Board. The Board also reviewed a draft of Chair Rodriguez's response to Deputy Sheehy's letter.

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: To direct Chair Rodriguez to sign the letter to Lee Sheehy, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, as drafted.

 

The Board reviewed and made certain language changes to the draft.

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: To direct Chair Rodriguez to sign the letter to Lee Sheehy, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, as amended in discussion.

 

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

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

Meeting adjourned.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 Wil Fluegel, Secretary

(Minutes by staff)

 

attachments (1)

 Please call the Board office at 651-296-5148 or 800-657-3889 for a copy of the attachment.