STATE OF MINNESOTA

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

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Monday, June 14, 1999

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Ladyslipper Conference Room

Ground Floor, Centennial Office Building

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MINUTES

 

Meeting was called to order by Chair Pauly.

 

Members present: Chase, Fluegel, Heffelfinger, Pauly, Penny, Roggenbauer.

Others present: Olson, Goldsmith, Swanson, staff; Huwe, counsel.

 

MINUTES (May 25, 1999)

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: To approve the May 25, 1999, minutes as drafted.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

CHAIR'S REPORT

 

Board Appointments

 

Chair Pauly welcomed new Board members Tim Penny and Donald Roggenbauer. The Governor appointed Mr. Penny to replace Carolyn Rodriguez and Mr. Roggenbauer to replace Nancy Wilson. Both appointments were effective June 12, 1999.

 

Board Meeting Schedule

 

Next meeting will be July 20, 1999. Board members discussed the possibility of a Board retreat in October.

 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT

 

Ms. Olson submitted the following written report:

 

Staff Activities:

 

May 27 - Mr. Goldsmith met with representatives from Hennepin County about the Board's Campaign Finance Software. Hennepin County election officials intend to initiate electronic filing for their local candidates, political committees, and political funds.

June 7 - Ms. Swanson and Ms. Errico met with Lazlo Majtenyi from Hungary. The meeting was arranged by the Minnesota International Center. Mr. Majtenyi sought information about campaign finance laws and our complaint and investigation processes.

 

June 9 - Ms. Swanson, Mr. Goldsmith, and Ms. Olson met with representatives from the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) for an entrance conference. Jason Stauffenecker from the OLA will begin an audit of the Board's major financial activities on June 28, 1999. The audit will cover the period from July 1, 1997, through June 30, 1999. Mr. Stauffenecker believes that the audit report will be available later this summer.

 

June 10 and 11- Ms. Olson met with Don Roggenbauer and Tim Penny to discuss the Board, its policies, staff interaction, and reviewed materials for the Board meeting.

Mr. Goldsmith will attend a meeting in Chicago from June 25 to June 28 on electronic filing and standardized electronic reporting among all jurisdictions.

Miscellaneous:

 

Terri Reiners, a political science major at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, is an intern in the Board office. Ms. Reiners began her internship on May 23 and will work on Tuesdays and Thursdays through August. Ms. Reiners will attend the July and August Board meetings.

 

Enforcement Report

 

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

 

Consent Items

 

Board Action: Authorization of a certified letter to compel the amendment of the Lobbyist Disbursement Report due January 15, 1999, and subsequent legal enforcement action if the report is not filed. A reminder notice was sent and staff attempted to contact the individual by telephone.

 

Leroy Kurimay, lobbyist, Minnesota Association of Private Postsecondary Schools

 

Board Action: Authorization of a certified letter to compel the amendment of the Report of Receipts and Expenditures due February 1, 1999, and subsequent legal enforcement action if the report is not filed. A reminder notice was sent and staff attempted to contact the individuals by telephone.

 

Walter Baldus, treasurer, (Walter) Baldus Volunteer Committee

Gerald Belanger, treasurer, David Miller Volunteer Committee

Becky Boland, treasurer, Winona County DFL

John Bowen, treasurer, Coalition of Black Churches

Herminia Cardenas, treasurer, Neighbors for (Carlos) Mariani Committee

Robert Cardinal, treasurer, Volunteers for Bob Zick House

Roger Christensen, treasurer, (Warren) Limmer for Senate Committee

Curtis DeYoung, treasurer, St. Croix Valley Central Labor Union

Kim Ellison, treasurer, Committee to Elect Keith Ellison

Cecil Fossell, treasurer, Jim Tunheim Volunteer Committee

Richard Jansman, treasurer, (Bob) Gustafson for Minnesota House

Kathy Jovanovich, treasurer, AFSCME Council 14 Local 1076

Darrel Mosel, treasurer, (Darrel) Mosel Volunteer Committee

Board Action: Authorization of a certified letter for the late filing fee which accrued because of the late filing of the Report of Receipts and Expenditures due February 1, 1999, and subsequent legal enforcement action if the fees are not paid. A reminder notice was sent and staff attempted to contact the individual by telephone.

 

Kim Ellison, treasurer, Committee to Elect Keith Ellison: $100

Board Action: Authorization of a 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.

 

Jeffrey Aakhus, treasurer, Beltrami County RPM

Jerry Pederson, treasurer, Carlton County DFL

Laurel Tambornino, treasurer, 63rd Senate District RPM/Minneapolis

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

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

 

Informational Items

 

Payment of Late Filing Fees

Penny Droogsma, treasurer, People for (Tim) Droogsma: $40

Paul Kess, candidate, Paul Kess Campaign Committee: $20

Gavin Wilkinson, treasurer, (Jay) Klaphake Volunteer Committee: $30

Shawn Riley, treasurer, Delbert Mandelko District 31B Campaign: $45

John Chell, lobbyist, Blandin Paper Company: $60

John Curry, lobbyist, Hennepin County Attorney's Office: $40

 

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

Gerald Newton, candidate, (Jerry) Newton Campaign Fund: $494.65

Steve Novosel, treasurer, (Andrew) Westerberg Volunteers: $738.20

 

All payments of late filing fees and civil fines 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 26, March 19, April 9, and May 25 Board meetings)

 

Additional information on this matter from Ventura for Minnesota, Inc. and Common Cause Minnesota was provided to Board members.

 

Chair Pauly welcomed David Schultz, president, Common Cause Minnesota.

 

Mr. Schultz suggested that Board members appointed by the Governor may have a conflict of interest in this matter. He also stated that the opinion could set a dangerous precedent which will allow any politician to exploit campaign finance laws by forming a nonprofit group to promote themselves through charitable donations. Board members told Mr. Schultz that the Board authority is limited to addressing issues in Minn. Stat. chapter 10A. When asked if Mr. Schultz had any evidence that Board members appointed by the Governor had a conflict of interest or a role in establishing VMI, Mr. Schultz said no, but it was a concern. Counsel Huwe advised the Board that the concerns raised by Mr. Schultz did not constitute a conflict of interest as defined by statute.

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: To approve Advisory Opinion #306 as drafted.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed by five members (Heffelfinger abstained).

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #306 signed by Chair Sidney Pauly, June 14, 1999: Ventura For Minnesota, Inc. is not a political committee and is not required to establish a political fund based on its activities as presently described. Funding the educational or constituent services activities of the governor and lieutenant governor or paying for certain expenses of the governor and lieutenant governor, however, could require VMI to register a political fund with the Board. The Board is not authorized to issue an opinion whether VMI is permitted to make political contributions under an exception to the corporate contribution prohibition of Minn. Stat. 211B.15.

 

Advisory Opinion Request #312 - Provision of educational program to officials

 

Copies of advisory opinion request #312 were made available to Board members. Staff is in the process of obtaining additional information from the requester and completing its analysis of the request.

 

Mr. Heffelfinger's MOTION: To lay the matter over to the July 20 Board meeting.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed by five members (Penny absent).

 

Requests for the following advisory opinions are nonpublic data.

 

Advisory Opinion Request #313 - Use of principal campaign committee funds for informational mailing

 

The Board reviewed a draft response to an advisory opinion request from a state legislator, who asks: 1) if it is permissible or required that another legislator whose constituents received an informational booklet share in the cost of its production and distribution; 2) for guidance in reporting the costs of booklets that were mailed to constituents; and 3) if extra copies of the booklet may be made available to other organizations for reprinting and/or distribution.

 

Ms. Chase's MOTION: To approve Advisory Opinion #313 as drafted.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed by five members (Penny absent).

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #313 signed by Chair Sidney Pauly, June 14, 1999: Costs of informational mailing to constituents are reported as noncampaign disbursements for constituent services. Costs of mailing to another legislative district may be reimbursed by legislator from the other district or by the candidate individually. The question of whether costs of mailing outside a candidate's district are a permitted use of campaign funds is determined under Minn. Stat. 211B.12, which is not in the Board's jurisdiction to interpret. Excess mailing pieces may be sold at their cost of production.

 

 

 

[Secretary's note: Advisory Opinion request #313 was made public pursuant to a consent for release of information signed by the requester and received by the Board subsequent to the June 14, 1999, meeting. The requester was Ken Wolf, State Representative, District 41B.]

 

Advisory Opinion Request #314

 

Copies of advisory opinion request #314 were made available to Board members. Due to the late receipt of the request, the requester was contacted to find out if any hardship would be caused if the matter was laid over to the next Board meeting. The requester had no objection.

 

Mr. Heffelfinger's MOTION: To lay the matter over to the July 20 Board meeting.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed by five members (Penny absent).

 

Advisory Opinion Request #315 - Gift Prohibition; public official solicitation of contributions, membership in a group

 

The Board reviewed a draft response to an advisory opinion request from the attorney for a number of public officials, who asks: 1) if officials, as defined in Minn. Stat. 10A.071, subd. 1(c), may fully participate in a future regional unit meeting of a multi-state governmental membership organization without payment of additional charges due to the underwriting of the event by lobbyists and lobbyist principals; 2) if solicitation of contributions for the annual meeting by Minnesota officials, as members of the organizing committee, would result in a violation of Minn. Stat. 10A.071 if a lobbyist or lobbyist principal makes a contribution as a result of the solicitation; and 3) if contributions to the regional unit by lobbyists and lobbyist principals resulting from the solicitations described in this opinion are prohibited by Minn. Stat. 10A.071.

 

Mr. Heffelfinger's MOTION: To approve Advisory Opinion #315 as drafted.

 

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed by five members (Penny absent).

 

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #315 signed by Chair Sidney Pauly, June 14, 1999: Minnesota officials who are members of a multi-state membership organization are not required to pay additional charges to attend the organization's annual meeting even if the costs of the meeting are subsidized by contributions from lobbyists or lobbyist principals. Minnesota officials who are members of the meeting organizing committee may solicit lobbyists and lobbyist principals for contributions to the organization to subsidize costs of the annual meeting. Contributions to the organization are not prohibited gifts when they are used for the benefit of the organization as a whole.

 

 LEGAL COUNSEL'S REPORT

 

Counsel Huwe presented the legal counsel report outlining the status of lawsuits and cases which have been turned over to the Attorney General's office (see copy of memo attached).

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

Meeting adjourned.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 Tom Heffelfinger, Secretary

(Minutes by staff)

 

 

attachment:  Contact Board office for copy of Legal Counsel's report.