STATE OF MINNESOTA

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

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Friday, April 9, 1999

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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 Rodriguez.

 

Members present: Fluegel, Heffelfinger, Pauly, Rodriguez.

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

 

Ms. Wilson notified staff she would not be attending the meeting.

 

MINUTES (March 19, 1999)

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: To approve the March 19, 1999, minutes as drafted.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

CHAIR'S REPORT

 

Board Meeting Schedule

 

Next meeting will be on May 28, 1999.

 

Board Resolutions

 

Mr. Heffelfinger's MOTION: To adopt the following resolutions:

 

Resolved that, the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board recognizes Charles Slocum for his service from 1996 to 1999 as a member of the Board and offers this resolution in appreciation for his investment of time and energy in support of the mission and objectives of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

 

Resolved, that the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board recognizes Nancy Wilson for her service from 1995 to 1999 as a member of the Board and offers this resolution in appreciation for her investment of time and energy in support of the mission and objectives of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

 

Resolved, that the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board recognizes Susan Gretz for her service from 1996 to 1999 as Counsel to the Board and offers this resolution in appreciation for her investment of time and energy in support of the mission and objectives of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT

 

Ms. Olson submitted the following written report:

 

Staff Activities:

 

March 23 - Mr. Goldsmith and Ms. Olson met with members of the (Jesse) Ventura Campaign Committee, Ventura for Minnesota, Inc., and Matt Smith, Commissioner, Department of Revenue to discuss campaign contributions and the political contribution refund program.

 

March 25 - Mr. Goldsmith and Ms. Olson met with Susan Gretz and Greg Huwe from the Attorney General's office. Ms. Gretz' last day as Board counsel was March 30. Mr. Huwe is the new counsel assigned to the Board.

 

Billie Errico, investigator, Patty Klingner, programs assistant, and Ms. Olson will attend the Heartland conference in Madison, Wisconsin, April 25, 26, and 27. The Heartland conference is for staff of regional Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) member agencies.

Legislation:

 

Legislation to recodify Chapter 10A passed the House and Senate committees with minor amendments. The legislation is awaiting floor action in each of the houses.

 

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. Some version of most of the Board's legislative recommendations are included in the bills.

 

The Board's request for $15,000 to pay legal fees was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate State Finance Committee. The bill was defeated on the House floor on April 6 and is awaiting floor action in the Senate.

Miscellaneous:

 

Legislative staff estimates that April 15 will be the 45th legislative day.

 

Attachments:

 

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 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 individuals by telephone.

 

Steven Anderson, treasurer, Grassroots Party of Minnesota

 

Brian Skon, candidate, (Brian) Skon volunteer Committee

 

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

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Discussion Items

 

Failure to File

 

 

Brian Slowinski, candidate, (Brian) Slowinski for Senate - This committee registered with the Board in January 1996. The last report filed by Mr. Slowinski was the year end 1997 report. The report disclosed no change from his 1996 year end report, and disclosed an ending cash balance of $32.50.

 

Brian Slowinski, candidate, We the People for (Brian) Slowinski (Secretary of State) - This committee registered with the Board in March 1998. The file includes a registration form and a signed public subsidy agreement. No reports have been received.

 

Brian Slowinski, candidate, (Brian) Slowinski Volunteer Foundation (House) - This committee registered with the Board in November 1993. Reports disclose no activity since 1995. The 1997 year end report shows an ending cash balance of $5.48.

 

Mr. Slowinski is the treasurer and the chair for all three committees. All mail sent to Mr. Slowinski has been returned to the Board office with no forwarding address. The telephone number listed on forms has been disconnected. A current address and phone number was not available through an internet search. Mr. Goldsmith noted that staff research found that no political contribution refund activity took place with the committees.

 

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

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

 

Pamela Robinson, WorldCom Technologies, Inc. - Ms. Robinson registered with the Board in January 1998. Two lobbyist disbursement reports disclosing no lobbying disbursements were filed in 1998. All mail sent to Ms. Robinson has been returned to the Board office with no forwarding address. On March 3, 1999, staff called WorldCom Technologies, Inc., and was told that Ms. Robinson was no longer employed there. No forwarding address or phone number was available.

 

Ms. Pauly's MOTION: To direct staff to administratively terminate Ms. Robinson's lobbyist registration for WorldCom Technologies, Inc. and discontinue attempts to secure the delinquent reports.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Acceptance of contribution from an unregistered association

 

Richard Anfang, treasurer, Building Trades C1-PAC Fund - The Building Trades C-1 PAC Fund is registered with the Board. It is supported by the St. Paul Building and Construction Trades Council, an unincorporated association that is not registered with the Board. A $18,669.46 transfer to the Fund from the Council was disclosed on the Funds Report of Receipts and Expenditures for 1998. The Fund used the money for an independent expenditure. Because the Council is an unregistered association, the question arises as to whether the Council is permitted to transfer money to its affiliated Fund without providing statutory disclosure at the time of transfer.

Ms. Rodriguez welcomed Richard Anfang, Executive Secretary of the Council and Richard Miller, Counsel to the meeting. Mr. Anfang told Board members that the Council consists of a number of local building trade unions which vote to join the Council. The unions then pay a per capita payment to the Council on a quarterly basis.

 

Mr. Miller explained that the union payment is made from dues which the local unions collect from their members. No individual union members share of the payment to the Council reaches the $100 reporting threshold within a calendar year. Mr. Heffelfinger questioned at what level the decision is made to donate to a political committee or political fund. Mr. Anfang answered that an Executive Board and a Board of Delegates made up of members of the participating unions both approve any contributions made by the Council.

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: To accept the Report of Receipts and Expenditures of the Building Trades C-1 PAC Fund as filed.

 

Mr. Fluegel withdrew his MOTION.

 

Mr. Heffelfinger's MOTION: To direct staff to investigate the matter and to require disclosure of local unions that contributed more than $100 to the St. Paul Building and Construction Trades Council.

 

Mr. Heffelfinger withdrew his MOTION.

 

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: To direct staff to require the St. Paul Building and Construction Trades Council to disclose the names of local unions that contribute more than $100 to the Council.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Informational Items

 

Payment of Late Filing Fees

 

 

Forrest Wilkinson, lobbyist, Forrest Wilkinson: $100

 

 

Karen Asfeld, treasurer, Todd County DFL: $100

 

Warren Arndt, treasurer, David Arndt Volunteer Committee: $50

 

Roy Buchholz, treasurer, Campaign Fundamentals Consortium, Inc.: $50

 

Phil Heir, candidate, (Phil) Heir Volunteer Committee: $55

 

Jeff Larson, treasurer, People Power 2000: $20

 

Richard Lunz, treasurer, Friends for (Chuck) Fowler Volunteer Committee: $50

 

Donald Niemi, treasurer, (Skip) Carlson for Treasurer: $35

 

Payment of Civil Fine for Acceptance of Contributions in Excess of Special Source Limit

 

Greg Hansen, candidate, Greg Hansen Volunteer committee: $46.93

 

All payments of late filing fees and the civil fine have been deposited in the general fund of the state pursuant to statute.

 

ADVISORY OPINION REQUEST

 

Requests for the following advisory opinions are 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 and March 19th Board meetings)

 

Chair Rodriguez noted that Mr. Heffelfinger has abstained from voting on this matter, therefore the Board would not have the four members needed to decide the matter.

 

Ms. Pauly's MOTION: To lay over the matter to the May 28 Board meeting.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Doug Friedline, campaign manager for Jesse Ventura for Governor Committee, had Jesse Ventura action figures for Board members to view. Board members questioned the use of a Ventura for Governor sticker on action figure package. The Board directed staff to contact Ventura Marketing, Inc. for further information and to return the matter to the Board at the May meeting.

 

Advisory Opinion #311 - Publishing candidate links on state government office's web site

 

The Board reviewed a draft response to an advisory opinion request from Mary Kiffmeyer, Secretary of State, who asks if the inclusion on the Office of the Secretary of State's web site of links to web pages of candidates who have filed for office would constitute a campaign contribution.

 

Ms. Pauly's MOTION: To approve Advisory Opinion #310 as drafted.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #311 signed by Chair Carolyn Rodriguez, April 9, 1999:

Inclusion of candidate web site links on the Office of the Secretary of State's web site does not result in contributions to the candidates if every filing candidate for the same office has the same opportunity to have a link included.

 

LEGAL COUNSEL'S REPORT

 

Counsel Eichhorst presented the legal counsel report outlining the status of cases which have been turned over to the Attorney General's office (see copy of memo attached). Counsel Eichhorst told the Board that the Attorney General's office has been asked to join in two amicus briefs with other states. One of the cases challenges the constitutionality of contribution limits and the other the use of arrest data which may be analogous to Chapter 10A restrictions on commercial use of data included on reports filed with the Board. Mr. Heffelfinger voiced concern over the Attorney General's office deciding these issues without a dialogue with the Board about the issues involved.

 

Mr. Heffelfinger's MOTION: To request that the Attorney General's office brief Board members on all issues that pertain to Chapter 10A before a decision is made. The Board will accommodate whatever time schedule is imposed by a request for a brief.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

REPORT FROM EXECUTIVE SESSION

 

In the matter of the failure to file required disclosure and payment of late filing fees for committees registered by Sharon Anderson

 

Board directed staff to: 1) not refer to the Office of the Attorney General any matters for enforcement; 2) withdraw from the Office of the Attorney General any pending enforcement matters; and 3) not commence any conciliation court action to obtain judgment for any late filing fees. Staff shall continue to mail letters or certified letters as required to notify Ms. Anderson of filings that become due and to begin the accumulation of late filing fees. Staff shall refer late filing fee collection matters to the Minnesota Collections Enterprise and advise the Board of the failure of Ms. Anderson to file any reports or pay any late filing fees that become due in the future.

 

OTHER BUSINESS

Mr. Heffelfinger told Board members that he has been questioned about his legislative activities during the past few weeks in regards to his position on the Board. Mr. Heffelfinger noted that his activities at the legislature were for a nonprofit organization that he is a member of, a nonprofit organization that is a client, and as the chair of a local organization. He was not engaged for pay by any of the entities and does not meet the definition of lobbyist which would preclude him from serving on the Board.

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

Meeting adjourned.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Wil Fluegel, Secretary

(Minutes by staff)

 

attachments (1) For a copy of the attachment, contact the Board office.