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Home > Meetings >November 30, 2011 Actions

Commission Actions
Meeting of November 30, 2011, 9:00 a.m.
45 Memorial Circle, Augusta, Maine

Present: Walter F. McKee, Esq., Chair; André G. Duchette, Esq.; Margaret E. Matheson, Esq.; Hon. Jane A. Amero

Absent: Michael T. Healy

1. Ratification of Minutes of the October 28, 2011 Meeting

Motion: To adopt the minutes as written.
Made by: Ms. Amero
Seconded by: Ms. Matheson
Vote: 4-0 (motion passed)

2. Complaint by Rep. Donald E. Pilon concerning Office of Rep. Linda M. Valentino
Rep. Donald E. Pilon filed a complaint with the Ethics Commission concerning an office in downtown Saco opened by Rep. Linda M. Valentino. The office is in Rep. Pilon’s district, rather than Rep. Valentino’s district. Rep. Pilon suggests that the office should be viewed as a campaign office, rather than an office opened for the purpose of providing services to her constituents

Motion: That the Commission find no violation by Rep. Valentino.
Made by:
Ms. Matheson
Seconded by:
Mr. McKee
Vote:
4-0 (motion passed)

3. Audit of Rep. David Richard Burns/Recommended Referral to the Attorney General
In 2010, David Richard Burns (Alfred) ran as a Maine Clean Election Act (MCEA) candidate and was elected as the State Representative for House District 138. He was selected for an audit through the Commission auditor’s random selection process. Rep. Burns was authorized to spend $9,066 in MCEA funds for the 2010 election cycle. The audit determined that Rep. Burns spent at least $2,500 of public funds for personal purposes and that expenditures totaling at least $1,295 were falsely reported in his campaign finance reports. In responding to the auditor’s request for documentation, Rep. Burns submitted cash register receipts that he later voluntarily admitted were fabricated.

First Motion: That the Commission find Rep. Burns violated:

• 21-A M.R.S.A. § 1125(7-A) by commingling Maine Clean Election Act (MCEA) funds with his personal funds, as discussed in Finding No. 1 of the audit report;

• 21-A M.R.S.A. § 1004-A(5) by making materially false statements in documents submitted to the Commission, as discussed in Finding No. 2 of the audit report;

• 21-A M.R.S.A. § 1125(6) by using MCEA funds for purposes that were not related to his campaign, as discussed in Finding No. 3 of the audit report;

• 21-A M.R.S.A. § 1004-A(4) by filing campaign finance reports that substantially misreported expenditures, as discussed in Finding No. 4 of the audit report;

• 21-A M.R.S.A. § 1125(12) by failing to accurately report expenditures of MCEA funds, as discussed in Findings No. 5 and 8 of the audit report;

• 21-A M.R.S.A. § 1125(12-A)(C) by failing to keep campaign records as required by law, as discussed in Finding No. 6 of the audit report, with the exception of the travel reimbursements which the Commission will consider at a later date; and

• 21-A M.R.S.A. § 1125(2-A)(A) by using MCEA funds to pay for goods received prior to certification as an MCEA candidate, as discussed in Finding No. 7 of the audit report.

And further to defer any findings that address the travel reimbursement issue until the next Commission meeting when additional information has been presented to the Commission.
Made by: Mr. McKee
Seconded by: Ms. Matheson
Vote: 4-0 (motion passed)

Second Motion: That the Commission require Rep. Burns to reimburse the Maine Clean Election Fund $2,285.48 for unallowable expenditures, which does not include payments to the candidate for travel.
Made by: Mr. McKee
Seconded by: Ms. Amero
Vote: 4-0 (motion passed)

Third Motion: That the Commission refer this matter to the Office of the Attorney General for consideration of criminal investigation and prosecution.
Made by: Mr. McKee
Seconded by: Mr. Duchette
Vote: 4-0 (motion passed)

Fourth Motion: That the Commission defer assessment of any civil penalties for these violations until the completion of the investigation by the Office of the Attorney General.
Made by: Ms. Matheson
Seconded by: Mr. McKee
Vote: 4-0 (motion passed)

4. Audit of Sen. Michael D. Thibodeau
In 2010, State Representative Michael D. Thibodeau ran for State Senate as a Maine Clean Election Act candidate. During a random audit of his campaign, his treasurer submitted a log of his campaign travel. The log was requested because the campaign reimbursed the candidate a total of $816.47 for his vehicle travel. The log did not include the destination or purpose of the campaign trips, as required by the Commission’s rule. The audit disclosed no other violations. At the October 28, 2011 meeting, the Commission requested that the candidate provide additional information concerning how the travel was recorded. The candidate has submitted an affidavit.

First Motion: That the Commission take this matter off the table.
Made by: Ms. Matheson
Seconded by: Mr. McKee
Vote: 4-0 (motion passed)

Second Motion: That the Commission accept the staff recommendation from the October 28 meeting and find that Senator Thibodeau violated Chapter 3, Section 7(1)(C) and assess a penalty of $100.
Made by: Ms. Matheson
Seconded by: Mr. McKee
Vote: 4-0 (motion passed)

5. Audit of Former Rep. Sean Flaherty
Former State Representative Sean Flaherty ran for re-election in 2010 as a Maine Clean Election Act (MCEA) candidate. He was randomly selected for an audit. The only finding in the audit was that the candidate commingled $216.29 of personal funds with his MCEA funds. The audit did not indicate any misuse of MCEA funds or impermissible in-kind contribution to the campaign.

Motion: That the Commission accept the staff recommendation and find that former Rep. Flaherty violated 21-A M.R.S.A. § 1125(7-A) by commingling funds and assess a penalty of $100.
Made by: Mr. Duchette
Seconded by: Ms. Amero
Vote: 4-0 (motion passed)

 

No Other Business.