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Home > Meetings > March 31, 2011 Actions

Commission Actions
Meeting of March 31, 2011, 9:00 a.m.
45 Memorial Circle, Augusta, Maine

Present: Walter F. McKee, Esq., Chair; André G. Duchette, Esq.; Margaret E. Matheson, Esq., Michael T. Healy, Esq.

1.  Ratification of Minutes of the January 27 Meeting

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


2.  Maine Clean Election Act Expenditure – 2010 Candidate Patricia R. Jones
After the 2010 general election, the campaign of former State Representative Patricia R. Jones used $395.80 in Maine Clean Election Act (MCEA) funds to reimburse the candidate for her son’s air fare from Chicago to Maine.  After the travel had been conducted and the election was over, a former employee of the Commission advised her that she could use MCEA funds to reimburse herself for this purpose.  The Commission staff recommended that the expenditure should not be permitted under the 2010 MCEA Expenditure Guidelines.

Motion: That the Commission find the expenditure was campaign related and require no reimbursement to the Clean Election fund.
Made by:  Mr. Duchette
Seconded by: Mr. Healy
Vote: 3-0 (motion passed)
Mr. McKee recused himself and left the meeting.


3.  Request for Waiver of Late-Filing Penalty/Patricia R. Jones
On December 9, 2010, former State Representative Patricia R. Jones registered as a lobbyist for the Maine Dental Hygienists Association.  She was required to file her first monthly lobbyist report on January 18, 2011.  She filed the report two days late.  The preliminary penalty is $100.  Ms. Jones requested a waiver of the penalty because she is new to lobbyist disclosure procedures and had difficulties accessing the electronic reports on-line.  The staff recommended denying the request and assessing the preliminary penalty of $100.

Motion: That the Commission deny the request for waiver.
Made by:  Mr. Healy
Seconded by:  Mr. Duchette
Vote: 3-0 (motion passed)
Mr. McKee recused himself and left the meeting.


4.  Policy Issue Concerning Maine Clean Election Act Program
Seth Berner was a Green-Independent candidate for the State House of Representatives in 2010.  He believes that the Maine Republican and Democratic Parties encourage candidates to purchase printed campaign materials from certain vendors, thereby providing the candidates with a financial advantage in their races.  He argued that the practice subverts the intent of the Maine Clean Election Act program, which is to maintain an even playing field among candidates in a race. 

Motion: That the Commission take no further action.
Made by:  Mr. McKee
Seconded by:  Mr. Healy
Vote:  4-0 (motion passed)


5.  2011 Legislation
The Commission’s executive director sought feedback on whether the Commission wished to take any position on four bills before the Legislature in 2011.  The Commission directed the Executive Director to convey to the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee its support for L.D. 848 and its opposition to L.D. 1245.  The Commission did not take a position on L.D. 120 and L.D. 659.

No action required.


6.  Statutory Proposal by Commission
At the January 2011 meeting of the Commission, the members approved legislation to be submitted on behalf of the Commission for the 2011 session.  The Commission staff proposed two additional changes to the bill to address internet and e-mail activities in political campaigns.  The Commission directed the Executive Director to make the proposed changed to the bill before submitting it to the Revisor’s Office.

No action required.


7.  Commission Rule-Making
The Commission staff recommended that the Commission initiate a rule-making to address topics of contributions, coordinated expenditures, the definition of express advocacy, and the schedule for filing independent expenditure reports.  If the Commission agreed, the staff would distribute an invitation to comment and investigate whether it is possible to hold a public hearing at the April 26 meeting.  It may not be possible due to the requirement to publish a notice in newspapers 17-24 days before the public hearing.

Motion: That the Commission propose the rule changes as recommended by the staff and hold a public hearing at the April meeting or the May meeting, if necessary.
Made by:  Mr. McKee
Seconded by:  Mr. Healy
Vote:  4-0 (motion passed)


8.  Report from Commission Auditor
The Commission’s auditor completed the audit of Sen. Richard Rosen’s 2010 campaign.  No exceptions (violations) were found.

No action required.