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Home > Meetings >June 23, 2011 Actions

Commission Actions
Meeting of June 23, 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.; Hon. Edward M. Youngblood

1.  Ratification of Minutes of the March 31 and April 26, 2011 Meetings

Motion:  To adopt the minutes of the March 31 and April 26 meetings with amendments made to the April 26 minutes with regard to the typographical changes recommended in items 5 and 10 of Mr. Joseph Greenier’s memo.
Made by:  Mr. Youngblood
Seconded by:  Ms. Matheson
Vote:  5-0 (motion passed)


2. Request to Investigate Working People for Hope and Change PAC

Colin Woodard filed a request that the Commission investigate the accuracy of contributions reported by the Working People for Hope and Change political action committee in its 2010 campaign finance reports.

Request withdrawn; no action required.


3. Request for Reconsideration by Joseph C. Palmieri

At the Commission’s April 26, 2011 meeting, the Commission assessed penalties totaling $1,350 against 2010 Senate candidate Joseph C. Palmieri for violations as described in the audit of his campaign.  In addition, the Commission reduced penalties for filing two reports late to $400.  The candidate requested that the Commission reconsider the assessed penalties because they were excessive compared to the violations.

First Motion:  That the Commission reconsider its decision regarding Mr. Palmieri.
Made by:  Mr. McKee
Seconded by: Ms. Matheson
Vote:   5-0 (motion passed)

Second Motion:  That the Commission deny the request to change its decision of April 26.
Made by:  Mr. McKee
Seconded by: Mr. Youngblood
Vote:   5-0 (motion passed)


4. Request for Waiver of Late-Filing Penalty by Maine Taxpayers Taking Charge PAC

The Maine Taxpayers Taking Charge PAC filed its April 2011 quarterly campaign finance report 14 days late.  The PAC was a proponent of a November 2010 casino initiative, but needed to file a final financial report because of two outstanding debts.  The preliminary penalty for the late filing was $10,000.  The PAC requested a waiver because the preliminary penalty is disproportionate to the level of harm suffered by the public. 

Motion:  That the Commission adopt the staff recommendation of a $200 penalty.
Made by: Mr. McKee
Seconded by: Mr. Youngblood

Amended Motion: That the Commission assess a penalty in the amount of $500.
Made by: Mr. McKee
Seconded by: Mr. Youngblood
Vote:  
5-0 (motion passed)


5. Hon. Joseph A. Wagner/Recommended Findings of Violation

Former State Representative Joseph A. Wagner ran as a 2010 Maine Clean Election Act candidate.  His campaign was selected for an audit.  The Commission’s auditor reported on the audit findings, which included a small number of technical violations. 

First Motion:  That the Commission find Mr. Wagner in violation of Sections 1125(6), 1125(7A) and 1125(12) as stated in the audit report.
Made by: Mr. McKee
Seconded by:  
Mr. Healy
Vote:  
5-0 (motion passed)

Second Motion:  That the Commission assess no financial penalties for these violations.
Made by: Mr. McKee
Seconded by:  
Mr. Duchette

Amended Motion:  
That the Commission assess a $100 penalty for commingling but suspend the penalty in full.
Made by: 
Mr. McKee
Seconded by:  
Mr. Healy
Vote:  
5-0 (motion passed)

Third Motion:  That the Commission not provide any advisory guidance as requested by Mr. Wagner.
Made by: Mr. Healy
Seconded by:  
Mr. Mr. Youngblood
Vote:  
5-0 (motion passed)


6
Audit of Michael E. Lawson/Recommended Findings of Violation, Repayment and Civil Penalties

Michael E. Lawson was a candidate for the Maine House of Representatives in 2010.  His 2010 campaign was selected for an audit.  The audit disclosed that the campaign did not report all campaign expenditures, did not keep required records of expenditures, and other violations.  The Commission staff recommended findings of violation, civil penalties, and a finding that the candidate should repay some campaign funds.

Motion:  That the Commission accept the recommended findings in Mr. Wayne's June 8, 2011 letter.
Made by: Mr. McKee
Seconded by:  Mr. Healy
Vote:  5-0 (motion passed)

Second Motion:  That the Commission determine that $65.76 in costs associated with the audit are allowable expenditures and require repayment in the amount of $517.28 to the Maine Clean Election fund.
Made by: Mr. Duchette
Seconded by:  
Mr. McKee
Vote:  
5-0 (motion passed)

Third Motion:  That the Commission assess civil penalties in the aggregate amount of $2,500, consisting of a $100 penalty for an inaccurate seed money report resulting in an overpayment, a $100 penalty for using MCEA funds to pay for pre-certification services, a $1,200 penalty for the failure to accurately report expenditures of MCEA funds, a $1,000 penalty for the failure to keep expenditure documents required by law, and a $100 penalty for spending MCEA funds for purposes not related to the campaign.
Made by: Mr. Duchette
Seconded by:  
Mr. McKee
Vote:  
5-0 (motion passed)


7
. Audits of Maine Clean Election Act Campaigns

In addition to Michael Lawson and Joseph Wagner, the Commission’s auditor has completed 15 audits of 2010 Maine Clean Election Act candidates.  No exceptions (violations) were found.

No action required.

8. Adoption of Amendments to the Commission Rules

At the April 26, 2011 meeting, the Commission held a public hearing to receive comments on proposed changes to the Commission’s Rules.  The Commission received oral comments from one advocacy organization, and the Commission staff has made changes its recommended rule amendments in response to those comments. 

Motion:  That the Commission adopt the Rule amendments with one technical change in Section 6(9) of the proposed rules.
Made by: Mr. McKee
Seconded by: Ms. Matheson
Vote:  5-0 (motion passed)