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Home > Meetings > November 30, 2010

November 30, 2010 Commission Meeting

Click the title of an agenda item below to view a pdf file of the meeting materials relating to that item.

 

Agenda
Meeting of November 30, 11:00 a.m.
Commission Office, 45 Memorial Circle, 2nd Floor, Augusta, Maine

1.  Ratification of Minutes of the September 9 and 30, 2010 Meetings

2.  Request for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty/Campaign for Maine PAC
The Campaign for Maine political action committee (PAC) was required to file an independent expenditure report on Saturday, October 9, 2010.  The PAC filed the report three days late on Tuesday, October 12, after the Columbus Day weekend.  The preliminary penalty amount for the late filing is $1,551.12.  The PAC requests a waiver of the penalty in its letter dated November 1, 2010.  Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends granting a partial waiver and assessing a penalty of $250 because of the lack of harm to the public from the late disclosure, no matching funds were delayed, and because of incomplete communications between the PAC and the Commission staff.

3.  Consideration of Proposed Civil Penalties against Consultant Michael Dennehy
On June 7, 2010, about 7,000 Maine households received an automated telephone message asking whether candidate Paul LePage could be trusted on issues of moral values.  The calls did not include a “disclaimer” statement of the sponsor of the calls.  On June 11, 2010, the Commission received a request from Robert D. Stone of Lewiston to investigate who made the calls.  In July 2010, a political consultant based in New Hampshire came forward and took responsibility for the calls.  The staff investigated whether any evidence suggested that another gubernatorial candidate authorized the calls.  Staff recommendation: the staff recommends that the Commission assess a penalty of $200 for the missing disclaimer, which is the maximum permitted by statute.  The staff also recommends the assessment of a $74 penalty for late independent expenditure reporting.  At the Commission’s December meeting, the staff will recommend statutory changes to the disclaimer statute, including its enforcement subsection.

4.  Request for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty/Stop Handgun Violence Action Fund
Stop Handgun Violence Action Fund is a PAC registered with the Commission.  It was required to file an independent expenditure report on Saturday, October 23, to disclose a payment for a newspaper ad opposing Senate candidate Gerald Davis.  The PAC filed a PAC 24-Hour Report on October 22.  The PAC filed an independent expenditures report on Monday, October 25.  The preliminary penalty amount for the late filing is $11.34.  Staff recommendation: the Commission staff accepts that the PAC acted entirely in good faith, but recommends declining the waiver request because the late report delayed the Commission staff in authorizing matching funds to the opposing candidate.

5.  Request for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty/Sagadahoc County Democratic Committee
The Sagadahoc County Democratic Committee was required to file an independent expenditure report on October 23, 2010.  Instead, it filed a party committee 24-Hour Report.  The independent expenditure report was filed eight days late.  The preliminary penalty amount for the late filing is $142.80.  Stephen Masters, the treasurer of the Sagadahoc County Democratic Committee, seeks a waiver of the late filing penalty because it made a good faith effort to file the correct report and the e-filing system does not provide instructions about independent expenditure report filing procedures.  Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends declining the request because the late filing of the report delayed the payment of matching funds to the opposing candidate.

6.  Request for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty/Robust Economy Maine PAC
The Robust Economy Maine PAC was required to file an independent expenditure report on October 17, 2010, because it purchased a direct mailing for $3,100 in support of House candidate Paul Tessier.  Instead, it filed a PAC 24-Hour Report.  After the mistake was brought to the PAC’s attention, it filed an independent expenditure report on October 30, 2010.  The late report did not delay the payment of matching funds to Mr. Tessier’s opponents, because their campaign receipts were significantly higher than his as of October 17.  The preliminary penalty for the late report is $403.00.  The PAC requests a waiver because it made a bona fide effort to file the report on time.  Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends granting a partial waiver and assessing a $50 penalty because the committee acted in good faith and filed the wrong report.

7.  Request for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty/Seacoast Democrats
The Seacoasts Democrats is a party committee that was required to file a regular campaign finance report on October 22, 2010 – the eleventh day before the election.  The report was filed seven days late on October 29, after the committee received a communication from the Commission staff that the report was late.  The preliminary penalty is $408.52.  The committee requests a waiver but admits that it forgot about the filing deadline.  The late-filing did not delay the payment of any matching funds to a Maine Clean Election Act candidate.  Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends granting a partial waiver and assessing a $100 penalty because it believes the preliminary penalty is disproportionately high relative to the harm to the public and level of experience of the treasurer.

8.  Request for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty/Sen. Lawrence Bliss
Sen. Lawrence Bliss was required to file an 11-day pre-election report on Friday, October 22, 2010.  He filed it one day late, after receiving a call from the Commission staff.  The preliminary penalty amount is $228.88.  Sen. Bliss requests a waiver of the penalty because a data entry error by the Commission staff contributed to the late filing.  Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends granting a partial waiver and assessing a penalty of $114.44 because the preliminary penalty is disproportionately high relative to the harm suffered by the public from the late disclosure.

9.  Request for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty/Eric Lusk
Eric Lusk was a candidate for State Senate.  He was required to file a 11-day pre-election report on Friday, October 22, 2010.  He filed it one day late, after receiving a call from the Commission staff.  The preliminary penalty amount is $28.21.  Mr. Lusk claims that he had completed the report but it did not get filed when he hit the “File Report” command in the e-filing system.  Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends declining the waiver request.

10.  Audit Report of Primary Election Candidate
The Commission’s auditor randomly selected Maine Clean Election Act candidates for the Legislature who lost their primary elections for an audit.  In October 2010, the auditor completed his audit of the last remaining audit of a primary legislative candidate, Daniel L. Smiley.  No exceptions (violations) were found.

 

Other Business

EXECUTIVE SESSION
If necessary.

ADJOURNMENT