August 13, 2007 Commission Meeting
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of Minutes of the July 16 Meeting
for Waiver of Late-Filing Penalty/House Republican Fund PAC
The House Republican Fund PAC requests a waiver of a late-filing
penalty of $51.05 because of an error contained in a reminder e-mail
sent by Commission staff. The e-mail stated that the deadline fell
on a Tuesday, when it was in fact a Monday. Staff recommendation:
the staff recommends granting a waiver of the penalty because of the
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 $517.63
payment to Staples. He has provided an e-mail explanation of the expenditure.
Finding/Hon. Glenn Cummings
Rep. Glenn Cummings was a 2006 candidate for re-election to
the House of Representatives. The audit of his campaign disclosed that
a reimbursement to himself of $335 for postage was in fact a reimbursement
for three smaller expenditures for postage and other goods. One vendor
who received a payment of $130 did not provide the agreed-upon services
and did not cash the payment check. Staff recommendation: the staff
recommends that the Commission find the campaign in violation for not
reporting the three expenditures with separate payees and amounts.
Because of the minor nature of the violation, the staff recommends no
Findings/Hon. Chandler E. Woodcock
Former State Senator Chandler E. Woodcock was the 2006 Republican
nominee for Governor, who received $1,303,727 in Maine Clean Election
Act funds. Overall, the campaign was very compliant, but the audit
disclosed two minor findings. First, the campaign did not report the
expenditure of about $300 in private campaign funds used to purchase
money order transaction fees. Second, the audit acknowledges that the
campaign staff made significant efforts to sell computer and other electronic
equipment after the election, but questions whether the campaign obtained
fair market value for the goods. Compared to the size of the campaign,
the amount of the goods in question is relatively small. Staff recommendation:
the staff recommends that the Commission find the campaign in violation
and assess a $100 penalty for not accurately reporting money order transaction
fees and consider whether the campaign complied with the Commission
rule about selling equipment at fair market value.
David Feeney was a candidate for the Maine House of Representatives
in the 2006 elections. Beginning in June and July 2006, he deposited
his Maine Clean Election Act (MCEA) payments into a bank account with
personal funds. He did not make his first campaign expenditure until
September 15, 2006. He used MCEA funds for short term personal expenditures,
although the candidate fully reimbursed the state of Maine for all funds
not used for campaign purposes. There is no evidence that he intended
to keep MCEA funds. Staff recommendation: the staff recommends that
the Commission find the candidate in violation for commingling MCEA
and personal funds and for using MCEA funds for personal expenses.
The staff also recommends the assessment of $850 in penalties.
for Waiver of Late-Filing Penalty/Lobbyist Sebastian Belle
Sebastian Belle is a lobbyist for the Maine Aquaculture Association.
On June 17, 2007, he filed a monthly lobbyist report two days late.
Mr. Belle requests a waiver of the preliminary penalty of $100 because
of his good record of filing reports on time. Staff recommendation:
because the Commission members decided in 2004 to discontinue reducing
penalties by 50% for first-time late filers, the staff recommends no
waiver of the penalty.
of Legislation re: Payments of Maine Clean Election Act Funds to Family
At its July 16 meeting, the Commission members postponed discussion
of introducing legislation concerning candidates' paying Maine Clean
Election Act funds to relatives. The Commission may wish to introduce
an agency bill for the 2008 session.
for Appropriation for Maine Clean Election Fund
The staff recommends that the Commission request two transfers from
the General Fund to the Maine Clean Election Fund in 2010 to finance
the Maine Clean Election Act program in the 2010 elections.
of Audit Reports
The Commission's auditor will present two "no exception"
audit reports concerning candidates Hon. Richard G. Woodbury and Beth
P. Turner whose audits disclosed no findings of non-compliance.
11. Selection of Date for September Meeting