June 25, 2014 Commission Meeting
Meeting of June 25, 2014, at 9:00 a.m.
Commission Office, 45 Memorial Circle, 2nd Floor, Augusta, Maine
1. Ratification of Minutes of May 28 and June 4, 2014 Meetings
2. Consideration of Draft Determination/National Organization for Marriage
At the Commission’s meeting on May 28, 2014, the Commission found that the National Organization for Marriage violated Maine Election Law by not registering and filing campaign finance reports in 2009. The Commission assessed civil penalties against the organization totaling $50,250. The Commission will consider a draft written determination presented by Commission staff.
Additional Materials (added 6/24/14)
Additional Materials (added 6/25/14)
3. Request for Waiver of Late-Filing Penalty – Maine Conservation Voters Action Fund PAC
The Maine Conservation Voters Action Fund PAC was late in filing 24-hour reports of one large contribution received and one large expenditure made during the last 13 days before the June 10, 2014 primary election. Although the transactions occurred during this time period, the contribution and expenditure were not intended to influence the primary election. Based on the formula in statute, the preliminary penalties for the two late reports total $32,500. The PAC requests a waiver due to a lack of harm to the public and because the preliminary penalty is excessive. Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends reducing the penalties to a total of $1,000 for the two late reports.
4. Request for Waiver of Late-Filing Penalty – Lobbyist Newell Augur
Newell Augur is a lobbyist who registered on behalf of four clients on March 11, 2014. He was one day late filing the monthly reports for March 2014. The reports were late because an administrative assistant mistakenly believed that no monthly reports were due until Mr. Augur had lobbied eight hours in a calendar month. The preliminary penalties for the four late reports total $200. Mr. Augur requests a waiver of the preliminary penalties. Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends denying the request and assessing penalties totaling $200.
5. Request for Waiver of Finding of Late Filing – National Association of Realtors Fund PAC
The National Association of Realtors Fund PAC was three days late in filing a campaign finance report due Friday, May 30, 2014. The preliminary penalty was zero, because the PAC engaged in no financial activity during the report period. The PAC requests a waiver of the staff’s preliminary finding that the report was late, because the PAC failed to press the file button on the Commission’s e-filing website, has a record of filing reports on time, and engaged in no financial activity during the period. Staff recommendation: the staff recommends denying the request and finding that the report was filed late.
6. Request for Waiver of Finding of Late Filing – Mark Holbrook
Mark Holbrook is a candidate for the Maine House of Representatives. He was three days late filing a campaign finance report due Friday, May 30, 2014. On May 30, he used the Commission’s e-filing system to enter the details of one expenditure, but did not file the report. The information became available to the public three days later when he filed the report after being contacted by the Commission staff. The preliminary penalty is automatically waived because it is less than $10. Mr. Holbrook requests a waiver of the staff’s preliminary finding that the report was late, because he thought he had fulfilled his filing obligations by entering the expenditure. Staff recommendation: the staff recommends denying the request and finding that the report was filed late.
7. Complaint by Steve Woods against Pam Fenrich, the Maine Democratic Party, and Others
Steve Woods was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Maine State Senate, District 25. He ran against Catherine Breen, who won the Democratic nomination in the June 10, 2014 primary election. Mr. Woods contends that his campaign was disadvantaged by a series of actions by a Democratic Party officer who resides in Falmouth that were undertaken to assist Cathy Breen in winning the Democratic nomination.
Additional Materials (added 6/25/14)
8. Complaint by Pamela Prodan against Joanne Karkos, Candidate for Treasurer of Franklin County
Joanne Karkos was a write-in candidate in the Republican primary election for County Treasurer of Franklin County. On May 7, 2014, Ms. Karkos filed a statement that she would not incur any obligations and make expenditures to promote her candidacy. Subsequently, Ms. Karkos purchased campaign signs and two newspaper advertisements. Ms. Karkos has explained that she did not understand that the exemption statement applied to payments from her personal funds. Her Democratic opponent has filed a complaint requesting an investigation.