STATE OF MINNESOTA

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

. . . . . . . . .

Friday, March 19, 1999

. . . . . . . . .

St. Croix Conference Room

Second Floor, Centennial Office Building

. . . . . . . . .

  

MINUTES

 

Meeting was called to order by Chair Rodriguez.

 

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

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

 

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

 

MINUTES (February 26, 1999)

 

Board members agreed to certain changes in the draft minutes.

 

Ms. Wilson's MOTION: To approve the February 26, 1999, minutes as amended in discussion.

 

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

 

Mr. Heffelfinger's MOTION: To amend the minutes as approved to reflect the fact that Mr. Heffelfinger abstained on the vote on Advisory Opinion #306.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

CHAIR'S REPORT

 

Board Meeting Schedule

 

Next meeting will be on April 9, 1999.

 

Mr. Slocum announced that he intends to send a letter of resignation to the Governor and this will be the last Board meeting he will attend.

 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT

 

Ms. Olson submitted the following written report:

Staff Activities:

 

March 10 - Mr. Goldsmith and Ms. Olson viewed a web-based campaign finance reporting system presented by IBM at the request of Secretary of State, Mary Kiffmeyer.

 

Staff prepared campaign finance and public subsidy materials for special elections in Senate Districts 26 and 32.

 

Legislation:

 

Bills to amend the gift ban and campaign finance provisions have passed out of committees in each of the houses of the legislature. The Senate version includes the requirement that the Board enforce the provisions of and issue advisory opinions on Minn. Stat. 471.895, the gift ban as it relates to local officials. The senate version makes the advisory opinion process public, the House version keeps it nonpublic.

 

The Board's request to the legislature for $15,000 to pay legal fees was approved by the House Ways and Means committee.

 

Personnel:

 

Ms. Olson reviewed LuAnn Swanson's performance from March, 1998, to March, 1999. Ms. Swanson's performance meets all requirements of the position description. Under the terms of the Middle Manager's Agreement, Ms. Swanson is not eligible for a salary increase this year. However, she is eligible and will receive a performance based achievement award for her continued good work for the Board and staff.

 

Mr. Goldsmith reviewed Billie Errico's performance from March, 1998, to March, 1999. Ms. Errico's performance is satisfactory. Under the terms of the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, Mr. Goldsmith approved a salary increase and a performance based achievement award in recognition of Ms. Errico's efforts.

Miscellaneous:

 

Ms. Gretz provided the Board with a copy of Board Members Handbook of Legal Issues from Attorney General Hatch. It contains general information for members and staff of all state Boards including information about Attorney General representation issues. The book is available for members to borrow.

 

Miscellaneous:

 

The following items were available for Board members:

 

 

Enforcement Report

 

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

 

Consent Items

 

Board Action: Authorization for procedure of third certified letter and subsequent legal enforcement action for Lobbyists, Political Action Committees and Principal Campaign Committees in the event the 1998 year end reports are not filed, and the accrued late filing fees are not paid. A reminder letter and certified letters have been sent. Staff will attempt to contact delinquent filers by telephone prior to the third certified letter being sent.

 

Board Action: Authorization of certified letter to compel the amendment of the 1998 year end Report of Receipts and Expenditures and subsequent legal enforcement action if the amended report is not filed. A reminder notice was sent and staff attempted to contact the individual by telephone.

 

Michael Spillane, candidate, Mike Spillane Volunteer Committee

 

Board Action: Authorization of certified letter to compel the registration amendment and subsequent legal enforcement action if the amended registration is not filed. A reminder notice was sent and staff attempted to contact the individual by telephone.

 

Michele Ford, candidate, Michele Ford Volunteer Committee

 

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

 

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

 

Discussion Item

 

Failure to File Reports of Receipts and Expenditures

 

Ly Daobay, treasurer, Hmong American DFL Caucus - The Hmong American DFL Caucus failed to file the pre-primary, pre-general, and year end Reports of Receipts and Expenditures for 1998. Late filing fees of $1,100 have accrued. The Caucus registered with the Board in June 1994. Mr. Daobay has been treasurer of the Caucus since October 1996. The last report received by the Board covered calendar year 1997 and disclosed an ending cash balance of $128.41. Mr. Daobay has been referred to the Attorney General's office for the non-filing of the pre-primary Report due September 8, 1998. All certified mail sent to Mr. Daobay at the address on record was returned to our office, except for one letter mailed in December 1998. No response was received from Mr. Daobay. Staff made several attempts to telephone Mr. Daobay, but the number is disconnected and there is no current listing for him in the phone book. Mail sent to the committee chair, Kou Som, has been returned to the Board office by the post office.

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: To direct staff to administratively terminate the committee and discontinue attempts to secure the delinquent reports.

 

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

 

Informational Items

 

Payment of Late Filing Fees

 

Report of Receipts and Expenditures due October 26, 1998

 

Wilda Obey, treasurer, Pine county DFL: $50

 

Payment of the late filing fee has been deposited in the general fund of the state pursuant to statute.

 

Financial statement and agency deposits - Mr. Goldsmith and Ms. Errico submitted reports covering July 1 through February 28, 1999.

 

ADVISORY OPINION REQUEST

 

Request for the following advisory opinion is public data.

 

Advisory Opinion #306 - Status of a nonprofit corporation as political committee; application of Minnesota Statutes Chapter 10A to nonprofit corporation's activities (laid over from the February 26th Board meeting)

 

Board members reviewed a draft advisory opinion based on the Boards discussion at the February 26th meeting. Several amendments were offered to the draft opinion.

 

Mr. Slocum's MOTION: To direct staff to rewrite Advisory Opinion #306 to reflect the changes as discussed and lay the matter over to the April 9, 1999, meeting.

 

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

 

 

Request for the following advisory opinions are nonpublic data.

 

Advisory Opinion #307 - Definition of Constituent Services (laid over from the February 26th Board meeting)

 

Chair Rodriguez welcomed the Advisory Opinion requester to the meeting. The requester explained that the trip was designed to be a public service to constituents and the cost of one of the three buses was paid for by the local Jaycees. The requester answered questions from Board members.

 

The Board reviewed a draft response to the advisory opinion.

 

Mr. Slocum's MOTION: To approve Advisory Opinion #307 as drafted.

 

Board members agreed to a language change in the draft opinion.

 

Mr. Slocum's AMENDED MOTION: To approve Advisory Opinion #307 as amended in discussion.

 

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

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #307 signed by Chair Carolyn Rodriguez, March 19, 1999:

Provision of bus transportation by a legislator's principal campaign committee so that the legislator's constituents may attend an educational day at the Capitol is a constituent service. Costs of constituent services are reported as noncampaign disbursements when incurred during a legislative session.

 

The requester left the meeting.

 

Advisory Opinion #310 - Fundraising Activities of Political Committee

The Board reviewed a draft response to an advisory opinion request from an attorney for an association who asks several questions about committee communication with its contributors, soliciting contributions from contributors to a list of candidates provided by the committee, and for Board direction in meeting the limits of the law.

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: To approve advisory opinion #310 as drafted.

 

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

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #310 signed by Chair Carolyn Rodriguez, March 19, 1999: A political committee may solicit its contributors to make contributions directly to candidates. Contributions collected by the political committee for delivery to candidates are subject to limits on contributions delivered by a political committee. A political committee may provide address lists or addressed envelopes to facilitate its contributors in making contributions directly to candidates. A political committee that has the right to direct its members to make contributions to a list of candidates is subject to the contribution attribution provisions of Minn. Stat. 10A.15, subd. 3b.

 

Advisory Opinion #311 - Copies of an advisory opinion request to be considered at the April 9th Board meeting were made available to Board members.

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).

 

Counsel Gretz reported that she received a telephone call regarding a late filing fee owed by a political committee. The Board voted to reduce the fee at the February 26th Board meeting and the caller is contemplating whether to pay the fine. Counsel Gretz suggests to the Board that future votes to reduce the amount owed for a late filing fee include language that the reduced fee is contingent upon the payment of the fee being received in the Board office within a certain time frame or the full amount of the late filing fee will be imposed.

The Board agreed that future motions to stay a portion of a late filing fee will include the language that the reduced fee is contingent upon the payment of the fee being received in the Board office within 30 days or the full amount of the late filing fee will be imposed.

Counsel Gretz announced that she is leaving the Attorney General's Office to work with the State Supreme Court. Her work with the Board will end on March 30th. A new Assistant Attorney General will be appointed to assist the Board.

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

Meeting adjourned.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Wil Fluegel, Secretary

(Minutes by staff)

 

for a copy of the Legal Counsel's Report, contact the Board office at 651-296-5148 or 1-800-657-3889