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Home > Meetings >July 28, 2011 Actions

Commission Actions
Meeting of July 28, 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 June 23, 2011 Meeting

Motion:  To adopt the minutes as drafted.
Made by:  Ms. Matheson
Seconded by:  Mr. Duchette
Vote:  5-0 (motion passed)

2. Public Comment on Changes to the Maine Clean Election Act Program

In June 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Arizona could not pay matching funds to candidates in that state’s public campaign financing program.  As a result, the State of Maine will not pay matching funds to Maine Clean Election Act candidates in the 2012 elections.  The Maine Legislature has directed the Ethics Commission to study the Maine Clean Election Act program and to recommend any necessary changes.  The Commission heard public comment on suggested changes to the program.

No action required.  Written comments are welcome through August 10, 2011.

3. Matching Funds in the August 2011 Special Election

A special election has been scheduled for August 16, 2011 to elect a new State Representative for District 121 in Cape Elizabeth.  The staff informed the Commission that because of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Arizona Free Enterprise Club v. Bennett, the U.S. District Court entered an order declaring the matching funds provision of the Maine Clean Election Act unconstitutional.  As a result, the Commission will not make any payments of matching funds in this special election.

No action required.

4. Ellen Lemire – Update on Candidate’s Sale of Stamps

The Commission staff updated the Commissioners on a non-compliant situation that the staff is trying to resolve on its own.  No action is required by the Commissioners for the July 28 meeting.  Ellen Lemire was a candidate for the Maine House of Representatives in the 2010 elections.  Her campaign purchased rolls of postage stamps worth $1,320 that the campaign did not use.  The Commission staff has provided her with an extended period of time to sell the stamps and to return the proceeds to the Commission.  The candidate has sold (and returned the proceeds for) most of the postage, except for eight rolls worth $352.  If the situation is not resolved by early August, the Commission staff intends to schedule this for the Commissioners’ meeting on August 18 as an enforcement matter with a possible civil penalty.

No action taken.


5. Rudolph T. St. Peter/Recommended Findings of Violation

Rudolph T. St. Peter was a candidate for the Maine House of Representatives in 2010.  His campaign was selected for an audit.  The audit disclosed that the campaign did not accurately report all campaign expenditures, did not keep required records of expenditures, and other violations.  The Commission’s auditor recommended findings of violation, civil penalties, and a finding that the candidate should repay some campaign funds.

Motion:  That the Commission find Mr. St. Peter in violation and accept the staff recommendation as follows:

Finding No. 1, Use of MCEA funds to pay qualifying period expenditures.
Candidate is directed to repay $74.80 to the Clean Election fund
Finding No. 2, Undocumented campaign expenditures.
Assess a penalty of $125
Finding No. 3, Reported expenditures with no record of disbursement.
Assess a penalty of $125
Finding No. 4, Unreported campaign receipts and disbursements
Assess a penalty of $125
Finding No. 5, Incomplete Mileage Log
Assess a penalty of $100

Made by:  Mr. McKee
Seconded by:  Mr. Youngblood
Vote:  5-0

6Audits of Maine Clean Election Act Campaigns

In addition to Rudolph T. St. Peter, the Commission’s auditor has completed 11 audits of 2010 Maine Clean Election Act candidates.  No exceptions (violations) were found.