STATE OF MINNESOTA
CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

. . . . . . . . .

Friday, October 30, 1998

. . . . . . . . .

St. Croix Conference Room
Second Floor, Centennial Office Building

 

MINUTES

 

Meeting was called to order by Chair Rodriguez.

 

Members present: Fluegel, Heffelfinger, Pauly, Rodriguez, Slocum, Wilson.

Others present: Olson, Goldsmith, Swanson, staff: Gretz, counsel.

 

MINUTES (September 25, 1998)

 

Board members agreed to certain changes in the draft minutes.

 

Ms. Wilson's MOTION: To approve the September 25, 1998, minutes as amended in discussion.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

CHAIR'S REPORT

 

Board Meeting Schedule

 

Next meeting will be on December 11, 1998, at 8:30 a.m.

 

Board Retreat

 

Chair Rodriguez reported on the following matters discussed at the Board retreat held, September 25,1998:

 

 

Board members reviewed the current Mission Statement and changed one word:

 

To promote public confidence in state government decision making through development and administration of disclosure, public financing, and enforcement programs that will ensure public access to information filed with the Board.

 

Board Objectives for fiscal year 1999 were established (see copy attached).

 

 

Board members agreed that the question of whether the acceptance of a prohibited contribution is to be treated the same as the acceptance of an excessive contribution should be addressed in rulemaking.

 

Staff will draft proposed language for findings concerning probable cause for review at the October Board meeting (see page 12).

 

Staff will draft a policy on facially excessive contributions for review at the October Board meeting (see page 12). This policy will be effective for 1999 contributions.

 

Board members agreed that findings concluded during executive session will be reported into regular session minutes and be made available to the public that day. Letters to the parties involved in the findings have been changed to notify them of this decision.

 

 

Board members discussed comments received during a public meeting regarding:

 

Contributions from Indian tribes - currently in the judicial system;

 

Categorization of committees - included in the recodification bill;

 

Mandated electronic filing - the Board is not prepared to undertake at this time but members agree that this is a good idea;

 

Equality between unions and corporations - this matter has been recommended by the Board over the years and the legislature has not changed the statute; and

 

Expenditure limits - included in a League of Women Voters survey.

 

The Board decided not to discuss six other items on the agenda.

 

 

Chair Rodriguez made the following appointments to the Legislative Recommendations Committee: Sidney Pauly, Wil Fluegel, and Carolyn Rodriguez as ex officio member.

 

The Board reviewed the following items for possible inclusion in the legislative recommendations:

 

Commercial use of Board data - currently in the judicial system;

 

Retirement parties - dealt with in an advisory opinion;

 

Fines levied on committees or funds directly - the Board is unable to do this administratively;

 

Changes to the gift ban - the Board decided not to continue this recommendation at this time;

 

Special source contribution limits - dealt with in an advisory opinion; and

Enforcement against candidates for principal campaign committee violations (see page 12).

 

It was determined that two items will be discussed as legislative recommendations:

 

a) issue advocacy vs. candidate advocacy; and

 

b) expenditure and contribution limits based on election cycle, not calendar year.

 

The Board reviewed and discussed a memorandum from Chuck Slocum.

 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT

 

Ms. Olson reported the following:

 

Staff activities:

 

October 7 - Ms. Olson was interviewed by a student from Hamline University's Master in Public Administration program. The student's assignment was to determine how an administrative agency relates to elected officials and the public.

 

October 21 - Ms. Olson was a guest lecturer at a William Mitchell Law School class on Legislative Advocacy taught by John Herman. She discussed lobbying, campaign finance, and the gift ban with about 35 students.

 

Finance 98 was used by 18 candidate committees and 12 political committees and political funds to electronically file the pre-general election report. Staff believes that additional candidates, committees, and funds are using the software for recordkeeping.

 

Legislative staff continues to meet regarding recodification of Chapter 10A. The next meeting will be with legislators following the election.

 

 Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL):

 

Ms. Olson will attend a COGEL long-range planning meeting in Washington, DC on December 6, 7, and 8. All travel associated with membership on the COGEL Steering Committee is paid for by COGEL.

 

Personnel:

 

October 22nd was Nicole Perreault's last day as a Board employee. Ms. Perreault will join the staff at WestLaw. Patricia Klingner will begin work with staff on November 16th.

 

Mr. Goldsmith reviewed Kelly Hansen's performance from October, 1997, to October, 1998. Ms. Hansen's performance is satisfactory and she will receive a step increase under the provisions of the AFSCME contract. Ms. Hansen's position description is out of date and will be rewritten.

 

Ms. Swanson reviewed Joyce Larson's performance from October, 1997, to October, 1998. Ms. Larson's performance is satisfactory and she will receive a step increase under the provisions of the AFSCME contract.

 

Miscellaneous:

 

Ms. Olson will attend a University of St. Thomas, Center for Nonprofit Management, Board Breakfast: Relationship Between Board and Executive Director.

 

The following items were available for Board members:

 

 

The Board directed staff to draft a letter to Mr. Cooper for signature by Chair Rodriguez saying that the matter of the contributions between the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Political Committee and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (tribe) is before the courts. The letter should also state that the contribution from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Political Committee to the DFL was appropriately made and is not an issue in the judicial proceedings.

 

 

Mr. Heffelfinger's MOTION: Direct staff to draft a letter for signature by Chair Rodriguez saying that the Board respectfully declines Mr. Ebbotts offer of a portrait for the Board office.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Enforcement Report

 

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

 

Consent Items

 

Board Action: Authorization of third certified letter to compel the filing of the Report of Receipts and Expenditures due September 9, 1998, and subsequent legal enforcement action if the report is not filed. A reminder notice and a certified letters have previously been sent to each client.

 

Jill Samson Larson, treasurer, Health Partners Civic Affairs Council

 

Daobay Ly, treasurer, Hmong American DFL Caucus

Michael Forbes, treasurer, Olmsted County DFL Women's Club

Reid Hekman, treasurer, Young Republicans

Sharon Anderson, candidate, Sharon Anderson Volunteer Committee

 

Board Action: Authorization of a certified letter to compel the filing of an amended Statement of Economic Interest, and subsequent legal enforcement action if the amended statement is not filed. Two letters have previously been sent to the client.

 

John Wallace, Emergency Response Commission

 

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

 

 

Ted Siefert, Goodhue County RPM: $100

Sunday Alabi, MN Acorn Political Action Committee: $150

Robert Butterbrodt, 64A House District RPM: $100

Joan Huffman, 23rd Senate District DFL: $100

Russell Bennett, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers: $200

David Mortenson, 8th Congressional District COPE AFL-CIO: $200

 

Nyle Zikmund, Volunteer Fire Fighter Political Committee: $50

Carol Rosengren, 54B House District RPM: $50

Joseph Quinn, Minneapolis Fire Department Pensioner's PCF: $50

 

Donna Hogan, AFSCME Local 8 People Fund: $500

Roma Kindschi, Lyon County DFL: $500

Wilda Obey, Pine County DFL: $450

Ronald Lattin, Republican Majority Fund: $300

Kris Anderson, Nicollet County RPM: $250

 

 

Stacy Breyer, (David) Anderson for State Treasurer: $100

James Mangan, (James) Mangan Campaign Committee: $100

Herminia Cardenas, Neighbors for (Carlos) Mariani Committee: $300

Joan Huffman, (Joseph) Huffman for State Representative: $350

 

Ray Wheeler, Ray Wheeler Volunteer Committee: $500

 

 

Brian Blair, Representing Independent Analytical Testing Laboratories: $15

 

John T Clawson, Representing Lutheran Social Services: $50

W H Hawks, Representing Minnesota Taxpayers in Exile: $55

 

 

Wendy Rabin: $55

Susan Jasper: $10

 

Board Action: Authorization of a certified letter to compel the filing of an amended Report of Receipts and Expenditures, and subsequent legal enforcement action if the amended report is not filed. Two letters have previously been sent to the client.

 

Kristina Gronquist, Progressive Minnesota

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: To authorize the actions specified in the consent matters.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Discussion Items

 

Waiver Requests

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ms. Wilson's MOTION: To approve Ms. Anderson's request to waive the $250 late filing fee due to extenuating circumstances.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

 

 

Request to be removed from List of Lobbyist Principals

 

Brandon Klar, ASI - By letter dated September 29, 1998, Brandon Klar from ASI requests that ASI no longer be considered a lobbyist Principal. According to Mr. Klar, ASI disputes that it has hired the services of Chris Sandberg or any other lobbyist in the state of Minnesota for the purpose of lobbying on behalf of ASI.

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: To lay over the matter to the January meeting.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Request for Acceptance of New beginning Cash Balance

 

Joseph Sheffer, treasurer, Rifenberg for House Committee - The Report of Receipts and Expenditures for calendar year 1997, disclosed an ending cash balance of $5,184.69. The beginning cash balance on the Pre-primary Report of Receipts and Expenditures was disclosed as $5,115.69. Mr. Sheffer explains that he became treasurer in March and at that time he received a printout from the bank that gave the $5,115.60 balance. Mr. Sheffer hopes that this will clear up any questions regarding his 1998 beginning cash balance and requests that the Board accepts this as a new beginning cash balance.

 

Ms. Pauly's MOTION: To approve Mr. Sheffer's request to accept the beginning cash balance of $5,115.69 on the Pre-primary Report of Receipts and Expenditures.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Request for Acceptance of Chair's Letter in Lieu of Report

 

Claudia Kelly, chair, County Unit 34 DFL - On October 5, 1998, Board staff received a letter from Claudia Kelly requesting that it be accepted in lieu of a filed report. The former treasurer of County Unit 34 DFL resigned on July 29, 1998. Ms. Kelly informed staff that there had been no activity and that there would be no activity while the office of treasurer is vacant. In her letter, Ms. Kelly states that she has spoken with the former treasurer, who agreed to send a report covering all expenditures and contributions through the dates of his resignation. Ms. Kelly requests that the Board accept the letter in lieu of a report, as she is not empowered to act as treasurer.

 

Ms. Pauly's MOTION: To approve Ms. Kelly's request and accept her letter in lieu of the Pre-primary Report of Receipts and Expenditures.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Request to Terminate With Outstanding Debt

 

Tom Meyer, candidate, Eastside Neighbors for Tom Meyer - On September 25, 1998, Board staff received a letter and a termination report from Mr. Meyer. In his letter Mr. Meyer states that all debts are paid with the exception of an outstanding bill from 1990, to Capitol Printing and Engraving, of Lake Elmo, MN for $2,998.36. Mr. Meyer states that he has made every attempt to locate this company, including contacting the Secretary of State's office, and there is no record of it. Mr. Meyer requests that his committee be allowed to terminate with this outstanding debt.

 

Mr. Slocum's MOTION: To approve Mr. Meyer's request to terminate his committee with an outstanding debt.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Lobbyist Principals Report

 

The Annual Report of Lobbyist Principal covering the period January 1 through December 31, 1997, was due on March 16, 1998. On April 3, 1998, a reminder letter was sent to those principals who had not filed the report. A second letter was sent on April 28, 1998, notifying those who had not yet filed the report that this matter would be brought to the Board for authorization of referral to the Office of the Attorney General for further action. On June 25, 1998, the Board authorized a letter to be sent by the Attorney General's Office, regarding the non filed reports, and authorization for subsequent legal action. To date, there are 26 Lobbyist Principal reports that have not been filed. Staff requests further direction on whether to proceed with litigation regarding those Lobbyist Principals who have not filed a report and have active lobbyists.

 

Active Lobbyists

No Active Lobbyists

AFSCME #14

Advantage Minn.

Assn. of Professional Driving Instructors of Minn.

Brotherhood

Cedar Towing Inc.

Clean Fuels Minn.

Computer Assisted Technologies Inc.

Collectors Consortium of Minn. Inc.

FANS (Fans Advocating Intelligent Spending)

CompuServ

Forrest Wilkinson

Legal Rights Center Inc.

FRM Associates

Minn. Assn. of Private Detectives

Leech Lake Reservation Business Comma

Minneapolis Taxi Federation

Lower Sioux Community

Mr. Movies

Minn. Lawful Gaming Distributors Assn.

Paul Revere PAC

Minn. Weapon Collector Assn.

United Lakeshore Property Owners Assn.

United Sportsmen of Minn.

VOICE

Prairie Island Dakota Community

Westar Properties

 

Mr. Slocum's MOTION: To: 1) direct staff to contact all Lobbyist Principals who have active lobbyists and have not filed the report to make sure they understand the disclosure requirements; and 2) refer all nonfiling Lobbyist Principals with active lobbyists to the Attorney General's office for further action if the report is not filed.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Request for Extension

 

MA MA Wi No Min I, Fond du Lac Band Committee of Political Education, Lower Sioux Political Fund, and Prairie Island Community PAC (laid over from the August 28th and September 25th Board meetings) - On October 13, 1998, Board staff received requests for extensions from the representatives of the above named tribes. They renewed their initial request that enforcement regarding the disclosure requirement be extended until the end of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux litigation. No motion was made.

 

Enforcement Matters from the Board Retreat

 

 

The Board considered language for findings concerning probable cause in cases of complaints alleging reporting violations. These violations include such items as missing receipts or expenditures, mis-classified expenditures, or inadequate disclosure about an item that is included on the report. The specific situation to be dealt with is the case where a reporting violation existed at the time the complaint was filed but was resolved by amendment prior to the issuance of findings concerning probable cause.

 

This language is not intended to deal with any matter where there is evidence of a knowing violation that may trigger Minn. Stat. 10A.22, subd. 1. Such matters will be treated on a case by case basis. The Board's only remedy in the matters under consideration in this discussion item is to compel the required disclosure. When these same matters are raised by staff inquiry rather than complaint, they are usually resolved by amendment and never reach the Board.

 

The Board agreed to the following language: When the subject report of the XXXX Committee was filed on mmmmmm dd, yyyy, it failed to include all statutorily required disclosure. Specifically, it [describe inadequacy of report]. Pursuant to notice from the Board of this inadequacy, the treasurer of the committee amended the report on mmmmmm dd, yyyy. Based on the amended report, there is no probable cause to believe that the reporting violations alleged in the complaint continue to exist.

 

 

Minn. Stat. 10A.15, subd. 3, provides that any contribution received by a political committee or political fund may be returned within 60 days of the date it is deposited.

Minn. Stat. 10A.15, subd. 3a, provides that a facially excessive contribution may not be deposited unless at the time of deposit the treasurer issues the donor a check for the amount that is in excess of the donor's contribution limit.

 

Staff requests direction from the Board on how to treat facially excessive contributions which are deposited without issuing a refund check at the same time.

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: Resolved that:

 

Acceptance of facially excessive contributions is governed by Minn. Stat. 10A.15, subd. 3a, which prohibits the deposit of such a contribution without the contemporaneous return of the excessive portion. The return provisions of Minn. Stat. 10A.15, subd. 3, are not applicable to facially excessive contributions. If a facially excessive contribution is reported and a contemporaneous refund of the excessive part of the contribution is not included with the report, an apparent contribution limits violation exists which should be handled by staff in the same manner as other contribution violations. This interpretation will govern reports covering calendar year 1999 and beyond.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

 

Pursuant to Minn. Rules, part 4503.0200, subp. 2, the candidate is ultimately responsible for the principal campaign committee's compliance with Minnesota Statutes Chapter 10A.

 

Board members discussed and made certain changes to a draft resolution.

 

Ms. Wilson's MOTION: Resolved that:

 

Staff is directed to send its initial courtesy compliance letter to the treasurer of a principal campaign committee with a copy to the candidate. If the matter is not resolved and moves to the certified letter process, the candidate shall thereafter be included as a responsible party. All certified letters shall be mailed to both the candidate and the treasurer. The first letter to the candidate shall inform the parties of the substance of rule 4503.0200, subp. 2. Any legal action authorized by the Board to compel compliance shall be brought against both the candidate and the treasurer.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Informational Items

 

Payment of Late Filing Fees

 

 

Rick Harvala, Minn. Technical College Student Assn.: $15
Douglas Cox, Minn. Citizens for Tax Justice: $30

 

 

Robert Walz, treasurer, Chisago County DFL: $100
Roy Buchotz, treasurer, Campaign Fundamentals: $50
Steven Johnson, treasurer, McLeod County RPM: $50
Edwin Hill, treasurer, IBEW Educational Committee: $500
Thomas Dennstedt, treasurer, Fillmore County DFL: $300
Nyle Zikmund, treasurer, Volunteer Fire Fighter Political Committee: $50
Debbie Ortman, treasurer, St. Louis County Unit 8 DFL: $50
Michael Stocksted, treasurer, Minn. Professional Firefighters Political Fund: $250

Nancy Fleming Norton, treasurer, AFSCME Local 34 People: $500

Edwin Cain, lobbyist, Legislative Associates: $50

Laura Spillane, treasurer, Mike Spillane Volunteer Committee: $90 through revenue recapture

 

 

Wendy Rabin: $55

 

Return of Public Subsidy

 

Stephen Baretz, Baretz Volunteer Committee: $500 partial payment. $4,785.05 return of public subsidy financing remains to be paid for 1991.

 

Anonymous Contribution

 

Robert Maline, Treasurer, Jessie Ventura for Governor: $200

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

 

Financial Statement and Agency Deposit Reports - Ms. Olson and Ms. Errico submitted reports covering January 1 through September 30, 1998.

 

ADVISORY OPINION REQUESTS

 

Request for the following advisory opinion is public data.

 

Advisory Opinion #304 - Lobbying Municipal Governmental Units (laid over from the September 25th Board meeting)

 

The Board reviewed a draft opinion.

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: To approve Advisory Opinion #304 as drafted.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #304 signed by Chair Carolyn Rodriguez, October 30, 1998: An individual becomes a lobbyist by spending five hours in a month communicating with or urging others to communicate with local officials of a metropolitan governmental unit. Local officials include only those persons who meet the statutory definition of a local official. The exception to the lobbyist definition for individuals engaged in the sale of goods or services extends to attorneys representing clients in such sales.

 

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, March 27th, and April 24th Board minutes)

 

Patrick Boulay, St. Paul Legal Ledger v. State, Campaign Finance Board - Counsel Gretz reported that Judge Gearin found Minn. Stat. 10A.02, subd. 8 (e) unconstitutional as an infringement on First Amendment rights to commercial speech. Counsel Gretz noted that the decision was based solely on the use of the Board's list of lobbyists and, thus, could be limited in application to lobbyist information filed in the Board office. Ms. Olson stated that staff would modify the data restrictions information given to clients accordingly.

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Correspondence

 

The following correspondence was available for Board members:

 

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

Meeting adjourned.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Wil Fluegel, Secretary

(Minutes by staff)

 

attachments ( for a copy of Legal Counsel's report contact the Board Office)

 

1999 OBJECTIVES OF THE CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

 

The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board will facilitate easier and more universal compliance with the Ethics In Government Act, Minnesota Statutes, chapter 10A.

 

The Board works to accomplish this objective by:

The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board will provide fair and consistent enforcement of the Ethics In Government Act.

 

The Board works to accomplish this objective by:

 

 

 The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board will help citizens become better informed about public issues related to the Ethics in Government Act.

 

The Board works to accomplish this objective by: