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Home > Meetings > March 26, 2009 Actions

Commission Actions
March 26, 2009 Meeting

1.  Ratification of Minutes of the January 29, 2009 Meetings

Motion:  To accept minutes as drafted.
Made by:  Mr. Marsano
Seconded by:  Mr. McKee
Vote:  4-0 (motion carried)
Yeas:  Mr. Friedman, Mr. McKee, Mr. Marsano, Ms. Thompson
Nays: None 

2.  Legislation to Amend the Maine Clean Election Act Program
State Senator Peter Mills wishes to discuss with the Commission his 2009 legislation to amend the Maine Clean Election Act program.

3.  Waiver of Penalties for Late Registration and Campaign Finance Reports/Scarborough Village Partnership PAC
The Scarborough Village Partnership PAC was late in registering and in filing two campaign finance reports with the Scarborough Town Clerk in connection with the November 4, 2008 municipal referendum to allow slot machines at a harness racing track.  The PAC requests waivers of the late filing penalties, because it attempted to comply with the disclosure requirements and received wrong information about the reporting deadlines.  Staff recommendation: the staff recommends the assessment of a $250 penalty for the late registration and a substantial or full waiver of the penalties for the two late campaign finance reports.

Motion:  To assess SVP a maximum penalty of $250 for late registration.
Made by:  Ms. Thompson
Seconded by:  Mr. McKee
Vote:  4-0 (motion carried)
Yeas:  Ms. Thompson, Mr. Friedman, Mr. McKee, Mr. Marsano
Nays:  None

Second Motion:  To assess SVP a penalty of $56,050, the maximum penalty allowable under the statute, for the late filing of the August 26 report.
Made by:  Ms. Thompson
Seconded by:  Mr. McKee
Vote:  1-3 (motion failed)
Yeas:  Ms. Thompson
Nays:  Mr. Friedman, Mr. McKee, Mr. Marsano

Third Motion:  To find that August 26 is the date on which SVP should have registered and filed its first report and to assess a penalty of $20,000.
Made by:  Mr. McKee
Seconded by:  Mr. Friedman
Vote:  2-2 (motion failed)
Yeas:  Mr. McKee, Ms. Thompson
Nays:  Mr. Friedman, Mr. Marsano

Fourth Motion:  To impose a penalty of $10,000 with respect to the filing, which should have been made on August 26, 2008.
Made by:  Mr. Friedman
Seconded by:  Mr. McKee
Vote:  4-0 (motion carried)
Yeas:  Mr. Friedman, Ms. Thompson, Mr. Marsano, Mr. McKee
Nays:  None

Fifth Motion:  To assess SVP the maximum penalty allowed of $5,000 for the late filing of the October 10 report.
Made by:  Ms. Thompson
Seconded by:  Mr. McKee
Vote:  2-2 (motion failed)
Yeas:  Mr. McKee, Ms. Thompson
Nays:  Mr. Friedman, Mr. Marsano

Sixth Motion:  To impose a penalty of $2,000 for the late filing of the October 10 report.
Made by:  Mr. Friedman
Seconded by:  Mr. Marsano
Vote:  4-0 (motion carried)
Yeas:  Mr. Friedman, Ms. Thompson, Mr. McKee, Mr. Marsano
Nays:  None 

4.  Request to Investigate Campaign Finance Reporting by Casinos NO! PAC
Kathryn Rolston of the Scarborough Village Partnership PAC has requested that the Commission consider whether the Casinos NO! PAC complied with requirements to specifically report expenditures made to oppose the Scarborough gambling referendum.

Motion:  To find CasinosNO! in violation because it failed to follow the procedure for amending their registration and to assess a $250 penalty.
Made by:  Ms. Thompson
Seconded by:  Mr. Friedman
Vote:  2-2 (motion failed)
Yeas:  Ms. Thompson, Mr. Friedman
Nays:  Mr. Marsano, Mr. McKee

Second Motion:  To find CasinosNO! in violation but to assess no penalty.
Made by:  Mr. McKee
Seconded by:  Ms. Thompson
Vote:  3-1 (motion carried)
Yeas:  Ms. Thompson, Mr. Friedman, Mr. McKee
Nays:  Mr. Marsano

5.  Adoption of Proposed Changes to Commission Rules
At its December 29, 2008 meeting, the Commission agreed to accept public comment on changes to Chapters 1 and 3 of the Commission’s rules that were drafted by staff.  On January 29, 2009, the Commission received public comment on the proposed changes.  The staff recommends adoption of the rule changes.  The changes to Chapter 3 are major substantive, and would be considered by the Legislature.

Motion:  To adopt the changes to Chapter 1 in final form and the changes in Chapter 3 provisionally.
Made by:  Mr. Friedman
Seconded by:  Mr. Marsano
Vote:  4-0 (motion carried)
Yeas:  Mr. Friedman, Ms. Thompson, Mr. Marsano, Mr. McKee
Nays:  None 

6.  Re-Adoption of Proposed Change to Commission Rules
At the Commission’s December 29, 2008 meeting, the Commission voted to provisionally adopt a rule change that would permit gubernatorial candidates seeking Maine Clean Election Act funding to raise up to $150,000 in seed money.  The Commission staff recommends that the Commission vote again to adopt the proposed rule amendment, in order to comply with technical requirements for the rule-making process.

Motion:  To provisionally adopt the rule change.
Made by:  Mr. McKee
Seconded by:  Ms. Thompson
Vote:  4-0 (motion carried)
Yeas:  Mr. Friedman, Mr. McKee, Mr. Marsano, Ms. Thompson
Nays:  None 

7.  Recommendations by Commission Staff on Two Policy Issues
In response to direction from the Commission at its November 24, 2008 meeting, the staff convened a group of interested persons on January 13, 2009 to discuss two policy issues of candidates appearing in issue advertising sponsored by third-parties and the effect of the Commission’s 2006 express advocacy decisions on communications sent in the 2008 elections.  Based on a consensus of members of the working group, the Commission staff recommends that the Commission adopt a policy change regarding the express advocacy standard and authorize the inclusion of some new advice in the 2010 Candidate Guidebook.

8.  Update on Criminal Prosecutions of 2006 Candidate Debra Reagan and 2008 Candidate Bruce Ladd
The Commission’s counsel will update the Commission on the criminal prosecutions of candidates Debra Reagan and Bruce Ladd.  Ms. Reagan has pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge in connection with her 2006 misuse of Maine Clean Election Act funds, has agreed to serve a 30-day jail sentence, and has repaid all misused Maine Clean Election Act funds.  2008 House candidate Bruce Ladd submitted to the Commission qualifying paperwork that contained forged signatures.  He did not receive public funds.  Mr. Ladd has pled guilty and has agreed to a sentence that includes jail time.  The sentencing is scheduled for April 2009.

9.  Audits of 2008 Maine Clean Election Act Candidates
The Commission staff has completed an additional 31 audits of 2008 Maine Clean Election Act candidates.  The Commission’s executive director will answer any questions from the Commission members about the status of the audits.