July 16, 2007 Commission Meeting
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of Minutes of the March 9 and May 14, 2007 Meetings
Findings/Hon. Philip A. Cressey
Representative Philip A. Cressey ran for re-election as a Maine
Clean Election Act candidate in 2006. In the audit of his campaign,
he was unable to produce documentation of a reported expenditure of
$517.63 to Staples for printing and cardstock. In addition, he purchased
a flash drive for $62.50. The Commission rules may have required him
to sell the flash drive and return the proceeds to the Maine Clean Election
Fund. At the May 14, 2007 meeting, the Commission postponed its consideration
of the audit to provide Rep. Cressey with more time to explain the $571.63
payment to Staples.
of Maine Clean Election Act/Hon. Arthur H. Clement
Arthur H. Clement was a Maine Clean Election Act candidate for the
Maine House of Representatives in the 2006 election. A review of his
campaign by the Commission staff disclosed that he used MCEA funds for
personal uses that were unrelated to his campaign, did not return unspent
MCEA funds by the December 19, 2006 deadline, and commingled his MCEA
funds with personal funds. He has repaid to the State of Maine all
funds used for personal expenses, so all public funds retained by Mr.
Clement were used for campaign purposes. The staff mailed Mr. Clement
a notice of recommended penalties totaling $2,000 for the May 14, 2007
meeting. Staff recommendation: the staff recommends that the Commission
hear Mr. Clement describe his personal circumstances at the July 16
meeting and decide whether they warrant a reduction in the recommended
penalties totaling $2,000.
for Waiver of Late-Filing Penalty/ Hon. Arthur H. Clement
Arthur H. Clement was a candidate for
the Maine House of Representatives in 2006. He was required to
file a 42-Day Post General report by December 19, 2006. After
a number of communications by the Commission staff, he filed the report
55 days late on February 12, 2007. Mr. Clement made no campaign
expenditures during the report period, so the only financial activity
included in the report was the State's payment of $1,348.27 in matching
funds. The preliminary penalty for the late filing is $2,224.75.
Staff recommendation: the staff recommends that the Commission
reduce the penalty to $400 because the preliminary penalty amount was
disproportionate to the level of harm suffered by the public and because
of the other serious penalties recommended against Mr. Clement for Maine
Clean Election Act violations.
for Waiver of Penalty/Leadership for Maine's Future PAC
Political action committees that raised contributions or made expenditures
to influence the June 12, 2007 election were required to file a campaign
finance report six days before the election. On May 10, 2007, the Commission
staff sent a filing schedule by e-mail to all PACs. The schedule inadequately
described the special June 6 filing requirement.
Leadership for Maine's Future was one of three PACs which should have
filed a report on June 6 because it made a contribution to a candidate
in the June 12 special election. The PAC requests a waiver of the $340.68
statutory penalty. The Election Law authorizes the Commission to waive
late-filing penalties due to errors by the Commission staff. Staff
recommendation: the staff recommends waiver of the penalty because the
filing schedule may have contributed to the late filing. The Commission
may also wish to consider waiving penalties against the two other late
of Maine Clean Election Act/Hon. Joseph C. Perry
In the 2006 elections, the Hon. Joseph C. Perry was a Maine Clean
Election Act (MCEA) candidate for re-election to the State Senate.
The audit of his campaign showed that his credit union transferred MCEA
funds from his savings account to his checking account to avoid overdrafts
in the checking account. Senator Perry responds that initially he was
unaware of the transfers, and that he repaid all funds transferred to
his checking account plus interest. Also, the audit concludes that
Senator Perry did not obtain complete documentation of his campaign
expenditures as required by the MCEA. Staff recommendation: the
staff recommends findings of violation and the assessment of civil penalties,
as explained in the staff's audit report.
of Maine Clean Election Act/Hon. Barbara E. Merrill
Former State Representative Barbara E. Merrill was a MCEA candidate
for Governor in the 2006 elections. The audit of her campaign disclosed
some reporting and documentation problems during the qualifying period
(before MCEA funds were paid to the campaign). In addition, the Commission
staff concludes that the campaign has submitted documentation of nine
expenditures that does not adequately state the particular goods or
services purchased. Staff recommendation: the staff recommends findings
of violation and the assessment of civil penalties, as explained in
the staff's audit report.
of Audit Reports
The Commission's auditor will present audit reports to the Commission.
Three of the reports contain minor findings, and four reports contain
|Hon. Peter Edgecomb
|Hon. Jill M. Conover
|Hon. Beth Edmonds
|Hon. Randy E. Hotham
The staff recommends that the Commission make minor findings of violation
against Joseph Hanslip and John Cushing.
of Maine Clean Election Act Payments for 2008 Candidates
The amounts of the initial payments made to MCEA candidates are
based on average candidate spending in the two previous elections.
The Commission is required to re-calculate the payment amounts at least
once every four years. In order to reduce the shortfall in the Maine
Clean Election Fund for 2010, the staff recommends keeping the 2008
payment amounts at 2006 levels, rather than increasing them. The staff
invited comment from legislative leadership and committees on the issue.
Changes to Maine Clean Election Act Expenditure Guidelines for 2008
The Maine Clean Election Act requires the Commission to publish
guidelines outlining permissible campaign-related expenditures. In
June 2007, the staff proposed changes to the guidelines and invited
comment from legislative leadership and committees. The staff recommends
that the Commission adopt the proposed changes.
Adoption of Rule Changes
At its April 6, 2007 meeting, the Commission provisionally adopted
changes to Chapter 3 of its rules relating to the administration of
the Maine Clean Election Act. In June, the Maine Legislature issued
a resolve approving the rule changes. The staff recommends final adoption
of the rule changes so that they may go into effect.
12. Selection of Date for August Meeting