STATE OF MINNESOTA

CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BOARD

. . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, October 13, 1999

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Riverwood Conference Center

Monticello, Minnesota

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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 (August 24, 1999)

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: To approve the August 24, 1999, minutes as drafted.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

CHAIR'S REPORT

Board Meeting Schedule

Next meeting will be December 14, 1999, at 2:00 p.m.

Executive Director Performance Evaluation

The personnel committee, Chair Pauly and Mr. Fluegel, reviewed the performance of Ms. Olson. The committee recommends to the Board that Ms. Olson receive the full salary increase and an achievement award as allowed under the terms of the Manager's Plan when it is ratified.

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: To accept the personnel committee recommendation.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT

Ms. Olson submitted the following written report:

 

Staff Activities:

August 30 and 31 - Ms. Olson participated in a customer service training program. The program is a pilot project and is being tested to determine if the Department of Administration should offer the program to state employees.

September 7 - Ms. Olson attended a training class on State Employee Ethics. The class is offered to state employees through the Department of Employee Relations.

September 14 and 15 - Ms. Olson was in Fredricksburg, Virginia, meeting with a candidate for the position of Secretariat of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws.

September 20 - Ms. Olson spoke to a second group of new members of state Boards and Commissions about their reporting requirements and the gift ban.

September 27 - Mr. Goldsmith and Ms. Olson met with three individuals from Peru and their interpreter. The Peruvians are part of the U.S. State Department's International Visitor Program and were interested in Election Observation, Voter Education, and the Board's administration of Chapter 10A.

October 1 - Mr. Goldsmith provided training and demonstrated campaign finance software to party unit treasurers of the Republican Party of Minnesota.

October 2 - Mr. Goldsmith demonstrated the Board's campaign finance software at the Republican Party of Minnesota's convention.

Personnel:

John Nesbitt has been hired as the Board's Information Technology Specialist IV. This is a new position approved by the 1999 legislature. Mr. Nesbitt began his duties on September 1 and will attend the December Board meeting.

Tom Thao has accepted the position of Information Technology Specialist II. Mr. Thao begins work on October 18th and will attend the December Board meeting.

Legislation:

The Chapter 10A recodification changed the final day a candidate can file an Affidavit of Contributions from December 1 to November 1. This information was omitted from the summary provided at the last Board meeting. The change was needed to allow the Board to pay the post general election public subsidy payment within the time designated by statute.

At a previous Board meeting, the Board decided to not offer recommendations to the 2000 legislature. The Board's primary recommendations to the 1999 legislature were passed into law during the last session. Most of the remaining recommendations from 1999 are included in one or more bills introduced in the 1999 session. The Board decided to continue to support the 1999 recommendations. (See copy of recommendations attached).

Miscellaneous:

The redesign of the staff area in the Board office continues. Ms. Swanson's modular furniture has been installed. New partitions and modular furniture have been ordered as have facilities for a public use computer area.

The Board office has two new, more efficient copiers. Because of lower costs, we have reduced copying charges to 10 cents per page for copies made by clients and 50 cents per page for prepaid copies made by staff. In the past these charges were 25 cents and $1.00.

Provided for Board members information:

Enforcement Report

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

Consent Items

Board Action: Authorization of a certified letter for the late filing fee which accrued because of the late filing of a Lobbyist Disbursement Report due April 15, 1999, and subsequent legal enforcement action if the late fee is not paid. A reminder notice was sent and staff attempted to contact the individual by telephone.

Teri Halpin, Lobbyist, Minneapolis Municipal Retirement Association: $100

Board Action: Authorization of a certified letter to compel the filing of a Lobbyist Disbursement Report due July 15, 1999, collection of any accrued late filing fee, and subsequent legal enforcement action if the report is not filed and the late fee is not paid. A certified letter was sent and staff attempted to contact the individual by telephone.

Teri Halpin, lobbyist, Minneapolis Municipal Retirement Association

Board Action: Authorization of a certified letter for the late filing fees which accrued because of the late filing of a Lobbyist Disbursement Reports due July 15, 1999, and subsequent legal enforcement action if the late fees are not paid. A reminder notice was sent and staff attempted to contact the individuals by telephone.

Ray Egan, lobbyist, Minnesota Motorcycle Riders Association: $15

Francis X Viggiano, lobbyist, Minnesota State University Student Association: $20

Board Action: Authorization of a certified letter to compel the filing of an Original Statement of Economic Interest and subsequent legal enforcement action if the statement is not filed. A reminder notice was sent and staff attempted to contact the individual by telephone.

Greg Renteria, Accountancy Board

Board Action: Authorization for inactive committees to maintain active status.

Ruby Kubista, treasurer, Republican Pro-Life Caucus - last expenditures reported in 1996, ending cash balance 1998: $171.43. In a letter to the Board Ms. Kubista states that the committee plans to make expenditures in 1999 and wishes to maintain it's active status with the Board.

Janet Filter, treasurer, District 66 Choice Coalition - last expenditures reported in 1996, ending cash balance 1998: $420.23. Ms. Filter provided a copy of a check for reportable expenditures made in 1999.

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

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

Discussion Items

Nonpayment of reduced fines and waiver requests

Under certain circumstances, the Board has in the past reduced late filing fees. Mr. Goldsmith told the Board that there are times when the reduced fee is not paid. In such cases, staff then files a claim in conciliation court for the reduced amount. The Board may wish to consider referring to the Attorney General's Office the committees with reduced fees that are not paid with in thirty days of the notification letter. In such matter, the original late filing fee would be due and the matter would be referred for possible legal action.

Mr. Penny's MOTION: To establish a policy that reduced fines are valid for 30 days. If the fine is not paid within 30 days of notice from the Board, the original fine is automatically reinstated and staff is authorized to initiate subsequent legal enforcement action. Persons whose fines are reduced shall be notified of this policy in writing at the time they are notified of the fine reduction.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

Informational Items

Payment of Late Filing Fees

Douglas Cox, lobbyist, Minnesota Citizens for Tax Justice: $20

Robert Gunderson, lobbyist, Education Minnesota: $100

Christopher Morton, lobbyist, Minnesota FoodShare: $60

Joseph Olson, lobbyist, Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance: $30

Joy Sorensen Navarre, lobbyist, Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing: $45

Rev. John Bowens, treasurer, Coalition of Black Churches: $200

Barbara Hanson, treasurer, (Mark) Hanson for Senate Election Fund: $50

Alicia Schuman, treasurer, Norquist (Kenneth) Election Campaign: $150

Revenue Recapture

Phil Ratté, candidate, Ratté for State Representative Committee: $460

Jill Henderson, treasurer, Marianne Stebbin for State Representative: $112.50

Jill Henderson, treasurer, Marianne Stebbin for State Senate: $112.50

Sheila Colbert, treasurer, Donald Bellfield Volunteer Committee: $30

Rick Stafford, treasurer, 61st Senate District DFL: $168

James Bernstein, treasurer, Metropolitan Good Government: $37

David Thune, lobbyist, M. A. Mortenson Company & Sage Company: $200

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

Discussion items held over from the August 24, 1999, Board meeting

The Attorney General's Office is doing research on the following matters:

When the research is complete, these matters will be brought back to the Board for further discussion.

Notification of failure to file Lobbyist Disbursement Reports by Sharon Anderson

Pursuant to the Board's direction at its April 9, 1999, meeting, staff is advising the Board that Sharon Anderson failed to file two Lobbyist Disbursement Reports which were due July 15, 1999. Certified letters have been sent and the late filing fees will be referred to the Minnesota Collections Enterprise.

ADVISORY OPINION REQUESTS

Requests for the following advisory opinions are private data.

Advisory Opinion Request #314 - Use of principal campaign committee funds (laid over from the June 14 and August 24 Board meetings)

The Board reviewed a draft response to an advisory opinion request which included the additional information requested by the Board concerning the legal fee obligation of the committee.

Mr. Fluegel's MOTION: To approve advisory opinion #314 as drafted.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #314 signed by Chair Sidney Pauly, October 13, 1999: Costs of civil litigation which is not related to a candidate's election or to the candidate's principal campaign committee are not the type of legal fees that may be paid as a noncampaign disbursement. Costs of litigation are not expenses of serving in office that may be paid as a noncampaign disbursement.

 

 

 

Advisory Opinion Request #317 - Gift to officials of informational book

The Board reviewed a draft response to an advisory opinion request from the representative of a lobbyist principal, who asks if under Minn. Stat. 10A.071, a lobbyist principal may give an informational book to officials that it will give without charge to any member of the public who requests a copy.

Mr. Heffelfinger's MOTION: To approve advisory opinion #317 as drafted.

Vote on MOTION: Unanimously passed.

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #317 signed by Chair Sidney Pauly, October 13, 1999:

An informational book that is available without charge to the public has "unexceptional value" for the purposes of Minn. Stat. 10A.071 and, thus, is not a prohibited gift when given to officials.

Advisory Opinion Request #318 - Use of principal campaign committee funds

The Board reviewed and discussed a draft response to an advisory opinion request from an elected official, who asks if Minn. Stat. 10A.01, subd. 10c, which provides for payment of certain costs as noncampaign disbursements, permits the use of principal campaign committee funds to pay the anticipated expenses of litigation and legal fees for proposed legal action.

Ms. Chase's MOTION: To approve advisory opinion #318 as drafted.

Vote on MOTION: Yes - Chase, Fluegel, Pauly, Penny, Roggenbauer.

No - Heffelfinger.

Motion passed: 5 to 1.

SUMMARY: ADVISORY OPINION #318 signed by Chair Sidney Pauly, October 13, 1999:

Costs of civil litigation which is not related to a candidate's election or to the candidate's principal campaign committee are not the type of legal fees that may be paid as a noncampaign disbursement. Costs of litigation are not expenses of serving in office that may be paid as a noncampaign disbursement.

LEGAL COUNSEL'S REPORT

Counsel Huwe 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).

Board Members Legal Issues and Board/Attorney General Interactions - Counsel Huwe referred members to selected chapters of the Board Member Handbook of Legal Issues for Board members to review. The chapters included the subjects: requirements of the open meeting law, the Data Practices Act, and defining an administrative agency. A copy of the complete handbook is available for Board members in the Board office. Counsel Huwe and the Board discussed the matter of requesting independent legal counsel.

OTHER BUSINESS

Minor Party Certification (see August 24 Board minutes) - Board members reviewed a letter to the chair of the Libertarian Party of Minnesota from Mary Kiffmeyer, Secretary of State, and letters from Chair Pauly to the chairs of the Libertarian Party of Minnesota and the Grassroots Party of Minnesota about the failure of the two parties to obtain certification as minor parties. Mr. Goldsmith said that a law change in 1999, allowing certification by minor parties every year will allow the Libertarian Party of Minnesota to request certification again after January 3, 2000. The Grassroots Party of Minnesota did not receive enough votes in the 1998 election to request certification in 2000.

Legislative Recommendations - At a previous meeting, the Board decided not to offer recommendations to the legislature in 2000 as most of the 1999 recommendations are already contained in proposed legislation. A memo outlining two recommendations that the Board had previously discussed, that were not included in the 1999 recommendations, was available for Board review. Ms. Olson noted that the Board has issued advisory opinions on each of the issues.

Board members agreed by consensus that the two issues should be pointed out to legislators as staff meets with them on the 1999 recommendations. If legislation is not passed on the issues, the Board could do rulemaking to clarify the issue.

Candidate for Office - Under Minn. Stat. 10A.02, subd. 7, no member of the Board shall be a candidate for national, state, congressional district, legislative district, county or precinct office in a political party. Mr. Penny told Board members that he is not a candidate for office and should he decide to run for office in the future, he will resign his position from the Board.

ADJOURNMENT

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

 

Jeanne Olson

Executive Secretary

 

attachments

 

 

STATE OF MINNESOTA

Office of the Attorney General


TO:

JEANNE OLSON

Executive Director

Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board
First Floor South, Centennial Office Building

DATE:

October 1, 1999

 

FROM:

GREGORY P. HUWE

Assistant Attorney General

525 Park Street, #200

St. Paul, MN 55103-2106

PHONE:

(651) 297-1223 (Voice)

(651) 297-1235 (Fax)

(651) 282-2525 (TTY)

 

SUBJECT:

Status Report of Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board Matters

 

I. Major Cases/Major Issues:

Republican Party of Minnesota v. G. Barry Anderson: United States District Court Judge Ann Montgomery issued her opinion and order on September 17, 1999. The Court ruled that a portion of Minn. Stat. 10A.01, subd. 10b, is unconstitutional under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to the extent that the statutory language limits independent expenditures by a political party on behalf of its candidates. A copy of the decision is attached to this memorandum for your review.

II. Enforcement Matters:

For other enforcement matters referred to the Attorney General's Office, please see the attached chart.

 

 

 

 

 

AG:109558, v. 1