March 31, 2011 Commission Meeting
Click the title of an agenda item below to view a pdf file of the
meeting materials relating to that item.
Meeting of March 31, 2011, at 9:00 a.m.
Commission Office, 45 Memorial Circle, 2nd Floor, Augusta, Maine
1. Ratification of Minutes of the January 27, 2010 Meeting
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 recommends that the expenditure should not be permitted under the 2010 MCEA Expenditure Guidelines.
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 requests a waiver of the penalty because she is new to lobbyist disclosure and had difficulties accessing the electronic reports on-line. Staff recommendation: the staff is sympathetic to Ms. Jones as a first-time filer, but recommends denying the request and assessing the preliminary penalty of $100.
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 argues 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.
5. 2011 Legislation
The Commission’s executive director seeks feedback on whether the Commission wishes to take any position on four bills before the Legislature in 2011.
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 proposes two additional changes to the bill to address internet and e-mail activities in political campaigns.
7. Commission Rule-Making
The Commission staff recommends 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 agrees, the staff will distribute an invitation to comment and will 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.
8. Report from Commission Auditor
The Commission’s auditor completed the audit of Sen. Richard Rosen’s 2010 campaign. No exceptions (violations) were found.
9. Request for Investigation by Joseph and Michele Greenier
Joseph and Michele Greenier request that the Commission investigate the 2010 campaign of Roger Katz. They believe that the campaign received an in-kind contribution in connection with a purchase of campaigns signs. Staff recommendation: the campaign staff has gathered preliminary factual information, and recommends that the Commission take no further action on the request.