Skip Maine state header navigation

Agencies | Online Services | Help

Skip First Level Navigation | Skip All Navigation

Home > Meetings >November 28, 2012

November 28, 2012 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 28, 2012, at 9:00 a.m.
Commission Office, 45 Memorial Circle, 2nd Floor, Augusta, Maine

 

1. Ratification of Minutes of the October 31, 2012 Meeting

2. Consideration of Statute Changes Proposed by Commission Staff
The Commission will consider whether to include statute changes proposed by its staff in legislation which the Commission will submit for the 2013 session. More statute changes will be considered by the Commission at its meeting on December 19, 2012.

Additional Materials- Comments by Maine Citizens for Clean Elections
Additional Materials- Comments by Maine Association of Broadcasters
Additional Materials- Comments by William P. Logan, Esq.
Additional Materials- Staff memo and revised proposal

3. Request for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty by L PAC (postponed until December 19)
L PAC is a national political action committee formed in June 2012. In early September, the PAC solicited contributions on its Facebook page to influence the same-sex marriage initiative in Maine. It registered and filed its first report with the Commission on October 15, 2012. Based on when its fundraising initiated, however, it was late in registering and in filing two campaign finance reports due September 18 and October 5, 2012. It was also late filing a third report dated October 26, 2012, but it had already disclosed the only transaction that would have appeared in the third report. It donated a total of $40,000 to Mainers United for Marriage, the pro-initiative PAC. The PAC requests a waiver because of a lack of familiarity with Maine campaign finance laws and because it made a bona fide effort to file on time. Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends reducing the penalties by 75% (registration and first two reports) and 100% (third report), for a total penalty of $1,106.28.

4. Request for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty by the National Organization for Marriage Maine PAC
The National Organization for Marriage Maine PAC is a registered PAC in Maine in opposition to the same-sex marriage citizen initiative. It was required to file an 11-Day Pre-General Report on Friday, October 26, 2012. The NOM PAC filed the report one day late on October 27. In the report, the NOM PAC disclosed contributing $800,000 to another PAC opposed to the initiative. The preliminary penalty amount is $8,001.11. Through a letter by its attorney, NOM states that the PAC knew of the deadline and failed to timely file due to an oversight, but contends that the public suffered little harm from the late disclosure. Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends reducing the penalty by 75% to $2,000 because the report was filed 14 hours late.

5. Request for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty by the Sagadahoc County Republican Committee
The Sagadahoc County Republican Committee was required to file an 11-Day Pre-General Report on Friday, October 26, 2012. The committee treasurer was removed three days before the filing deadline. Other committee members took over the records, but the committee filed the report 11 days late on November 7 (one day after the general election). The preliminary penalty amount is $729.60. The committee chair requests a waiver of the assessed penalty by letter. Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends reducing the penalty by 70% to $218.88, in light of the removal of the treasurer and the inexperience of the other committee members who worked on the report.

6. Request for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty by the Somerset County Republican Committee
The Somerset County Republican Committee purchased radio and television advertising to promote ten Republican nominees for the Legislature, and was required to file two independent expenditure reports on October 22 and 25. Instead, the committee filed a single report late on October 29. The preliminary penalty amount is $407.40. The committee treasurer requests a waiver of the penalty because it was the first time he was responsible for performing a substantial amount of independent expenditure reporting. Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends reducing the penalty by 50% to $203.70, because the amount of the preliminary penalty is disproportionate to the level of experience of the treasurer.

7. Request for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty by the Washington County Republican Committee
The Washington County Republican Committee was required to file an 11-Day Pre-General Report on Friday, October 26, 2012. The committee filed the report five days late. The preliminary penalty amount is $114.45. The committee chair requests a waiver of the penalty, contending that, due to inexperience, the treasurer overlooked the filing deadline. He also contends the amount of the penalty is disproportionate to the size and sophistication of the committee. Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends against granting a waiver as the preliminary penalty is not disproportionately high.

8. Request for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty by the Aroostook Democratic County Committee
The Aroostook County Democratic Committee was required to file an independent expenditure report on Sunday, October 21, 2012. The committee filed the report eight days late on Monday, October 29, 2012 after the committee received a communication from the Commission staff that the report was late. The preliminary penalty amount is $64.24. The committee treasurer requests a waiver of the penalty, because he was not aware that an independent expenditure report was expected from county committees, having never before made an expenditure which required an independent expenditure report. Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends against granting a waiver because the $64.24 preliminary penalty is not disproportionately high.

Additional Materials

9. Request for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty by the National Association of Social Workers Maine PAC
The National Association of Social Workers Maine PAC is a PAC registered with the Commission. It was required to file an 11-Day Pre-General Report on Friday, October 26, 2012. The committee filed the report three days late. The preliminary penalty amount is $21.75. By letter dated October 29, 2012, the committee executive director requests a waiver of the penalty. Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends against granting a waiver in order to assure consistent penalties and because the amount of $21.75 is not disproportionately high.

10. Request for Waiver of Late Filing Finding by Orono Democratic Committee
The Orono Democratic Committee was required to file an 11-Day Pre-General Report on Friday, October 26, 2012. The committee filed the report three days late (the following Monday). Because the preliminary penalty amount was less than $10.00, the financial penalty was automatically waived. The committee treasurer requests a waiver of the finding of violation, contending that the committee made a good faith effort to file on time by sending the report by regular mail two days before the deadline. Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends maintaining a finding of violation because the report was late. The mitigating factors in the commission’s penalty statute relate to the financial penalty.

Other Business

EXECUTIVE SESSION
If necessary.

ADJOURNMENT