July 25, 2012 Commission Meeting
Click the title of an agenda item below to view a pdf file of the
meeting materials relating to that item.
*note time change*
Meeting of July 25, 2012, at 10:00 a.m.
Commission Office, 45 Memorial Circle, 2nd Floor, Augusta, Maine
1. Ratification of Minutes of the May 30, 2012 Meeting
2. Complaint/Contributions to 2010 Campaign of Rosa W. Scarcelli
Karl S. Norberg has submitted a complaint against the 2010 gubernatorial campaign of his step-daughter, Rosa W. Scarcelli. Ms. Scarcelli reported receiving two contributions of $750 in December 2009 from Mr. Norberg and his son. Mr. Norberg states in his complaint that he and his son did not make or authorize any contributions. Ms. Scarcelli responds that the donors agreed to make the contributions and were properly reported. Staff recommendation: the Commission staff suggests that the Commissioners receive testimony from relevant witnesses at a future meeting.
3. Update on Criminal Prosecution of former State Representative David R. Burns
On June 14, 2012, former State Representative David R. Burns of Alfred, Maine pled guilty to three counts of forgery and three counts of theft, in connection with his 2010 campaign for office. The criminal sentence included 364 days of imprisonment, which was suspended except for six months. Mr. Burns agreed to pay $2,384 in restitution to the Commission, in addition to amounts he has returned previously. Staff recommendation: the staff recommends not assessing any civil penalties against Mr. Burns, because of the significant criminal sentence.
4. Request for Waiver of Late-Filing Penalty/Maine Senate Republican Majority PAC
The Maine Senate Republican Majority PAC was required to file a 24-Hour Report on Friday, June 1, 2012 of three payments over $500 that it made to consultants on May 31. The PAC filed the report four days late on Tuesday, June 5, after discovering that a report was due. The preliminary penalty was $317.80. Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends reducing the penalty by half to $158.90 because of the level of experience of the person filing the report for the PAC and because the late filing resulted in minimal harm to the public.
5. Late Candidate Registration/Ronald E. Usher
Ronald E. Usher is a candidate for the Maine House of Representatives, District 131. His campaign began receiving contributions in February 2012, and he qualified for the ballot on March 7, 2012. He registered as a candidate with the Ethics Commission on May 21, 2012 after receiving two reminder letters and a message from the Commission staff. The Commission received a complaint contending that Mr. Usher was late in registering as a candidate. Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends finding that Mr. Usher violated 21-A M.R.S.A. § 1013-A(1) by registering late and assessing a civil penalty of $10 against the candidate for the violation.
6. Request for Waiver of Late-Filing Penalty/Carol Gutekunst
Carol Gutekunst is a candidate for Registrar of Probate for Oxford County. She was required to file her first campaign finance report on June 1, 2012. She filed the report one day late. The report showed that the campaign has received $1,504 in loans from the candidate and $683 in cash contributions from others. The amount of the preliminary penalty is $21.88 (one percent of total receipts for the period). Her campaign requests a waiver due to its lack of experience. Staff recommendation: the Commission staff recommends against granting a waiver of the $21.88 penalty because the amount is not disproportionately high.
7. Request to Investigate Mailing in Senate Republican Primary, District 33
A resident of Glenburn, Maine received an anonymous flyer in the mail urging him to vote against Andre Cushing and for James Emerson in the June 12, 2012 Republican primary election for State Senate, District 33. The flyer had a simple design and may not have been printed commercially. The recipient requests that the Commission investigate whether the flyer is in violation, because the flyer did not identify who paid for it. The Commission staff has not yet verified who sent the mailing and whether it cost more than the threshold amount to require a disclaimer. Staff recommendation: the Commission staff is willing to pursue any further investigation, but it is unknown whether there is a violation and further inquiries may not identify the party responsible.
8. Anonymous Request for Investigation/Sara Gideon
Sara Gideon was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the Maine House of Representatives, District 106. The Commission received an anonymous letter asking it to investigate whether her financial reporting is complete. Ms. Gideon has provided a detailed response. Staff recommendation: the staff recommends taking no action on the request.
9. Adoption of Amendments to Chapter 1 Rules
The Commission decided in January 2012 to accept public comments on proposed amendments to Chapter 1 of the Commission Rules. In March and May, the Commission decided to invite additional comment. The Commission will decide whether to adopt proposed amendments.