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Home > Meetings >July 29, 2013 Actions

Commission Actions
Meeting of July 29, 2013, at 9:00 a.m.
Commission Office, 45 Memorial Circle, 2nd Floor, Augusta, Maine
and
Preti Flaherty, Beliveau Room, 45 Memorial Circle, Augusta Maine

Present: Walter F. McKee, Esq., Chair; André G. Duchette, Esq.; Hon. Jane Amero; Margaret E. Matheson, Esq.; Michael T. Healy, Esq. 
Staff:  Jonathan Wayne, Executive Director; Phyllis Gardiner, Counsel

 

1. Ratification of Minutes of the April 5, 2013 Meeting

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

2. Hearing Concerning Spending to Influence 2012 Election for Maine House of Representatives, District 1

The Commission held a hearing to continue its investigation concerning spending to influence the 2012 general election for Maine House of Representatives, District 1. 

Motion: To find that there was insufficient evidence to determine that the candidate, Allen Michael Nadeau, was the true source of the $1,475 used to pay for the Citizens for Effective Government mailing.
Made by: Mr. McKee
Seconded by: Ms. Amero
Vote: 5-0 (motion passed)

Original Motion: To find that there was no candidate's political committee in this case.
Made by: Mr. Healy
Seconded by: Ms. Amero

Amended Motion: To find that there was no candidate’s committee and no political committee authorized by the candidate to accept contributions on his behalf in this case as it relates to the expenditure of $1,475 on the Citizens for Effective Government mailing.
Made by: Mr. Duchette
Seconded by: Mr. Healy
Vote: 4-1 (motion passed) Ms. Matheson opposed.

Motion: To find that the treasurer, L. Philip Soucy, was not an agent of the candidate for purposes of the statute (21-A M.R.S.A. § 1015(5)) with respect to making the expenditure of $1,475 on the Citizens for Effective Government mailing.
Made by: Mr. Duchette
Seconded by: Mr. Healy
Vote: 5-0 (motion passed)

Original Motion: To find that James Majka, as an agent of the candidate, violated the clean election law by placing the ad in the Fiddlehead Focus.
Made by: Mr. McKee
Seconded by:Ms. Matheson

Amended Motion: To find that, by making the expenditure for the Fiddlehead Focus ad as an agent of the candidate, James Majka made a contribution to the candidate and that Mr. Nadeau accepted the contribution in violation of the clean election law.
Made by: Mr. McKee
Seconded by: Ms. Matheson
Vote: 4-1 (motion passed) Ms. Amero opposed.

Motion: To find that James Majka purchased the Fiddlehead Focus ad at the request or suggestion of the candidate, Mr. Nadeau.
Made by: Mr. McKee
Seconded by: Mr. Duchette
Vote: 3-2 (motion passed) Mr. Healy and Ms. Amero opposed.

Motion: To find that L. Philip Soucy did not make a material false statement by signing the affidavit submitted with the independent expenditure report filed on November 1, 2012 (for the Citizens for Effective Government mailing).
Made by: Mr. Duchette
Seconded by: Mr. Healy
Vote: 5-0 (motion passed)

3.  Complaint against Governor LePage Re-Election Campaign on Over-the-Limit Contributions

The Maine Citizens for Clean Elections requested that the Commission determine whether Governor Paul LePage’s re-election campaign accepted three contributions that exceeded the $1,500 limit for the 2014 primary election.  The campaign has acknowledged that it inadvertently accepted three contributions that were over-the-limit and has set out specific steps to be taken in the future by the campaign treasurer to avoid similar errors. 

First Motion: To accept the staff recommendation and find the campaign committee in violation for accepting three contributions that exceeded the limit. and assess no civil penalties for the violations.
Made by: Mr. McKee
Seconded by: Mr. Duchette
Vote: 5-0 (motion passed)

Second Motion: To accept the staff recommendation to assess no civil penalty for the violations.
Made by: Ms. Amero
Seconded by: Mr. Duchette
Vote: 5-0
(motion passed)

4.  Complaint of Late Lobbyist Registration/Humane Society of United States

Rep. Dale Crafts filed a complaint that the Humane Society of the United States was late in registering a lobbyist for the 2013 legislative session and failed to file monthly reports on time.  Kathleen Hansberry of the Humane Society acknowledges that she was late, but argues that she did not meet the requirements to register until April 2013.  Ms. Hansberry requested a waiver of the preliminary penalties totaling $300. 

First Motion: To accept the staff recommendation and find Ms. Hansberry was late in registering and filing reports as a lobbyist.
Made by:
Mr. McKee
Seconded by: Mr. Duchette
Vote: 4-0 (motion passed) Mr. Healy abstained.

Second Motion: To assess a penalty of $200.
Made by: Mr. Duchette
Seconded by: Mr. McKee
Vote: 3-1 (motion passed) Ms. Amero opposed. Mr. Healy abstained.

5.  Audits of Maine Clean Election Act Candidates

The Commission’s auditor completed seventeen audits since the Commission’s last meeting, which concludes the 2012 program of auditing Maine Clean Election Act candidates.  Most of the audits found no violations.  finding that four candidates violated a reporting or documentation requirement of the program, assessing one civil penalty of $50, and requesting the return of a $200 overpayment.

Motion: To find Rep. Verow violated 21-A M.R.S.A. § 1125(2-A)(C) by misreporting expenditures on the seed money report and require a reibursement to the Maine Clean Election Act fund of $200.
Made by: Mr. Healy
Seconded by: Mr. Duchette
Vote: 5-0 (motion passed)

Motion: To find Jody James violated 21-A M.R.S.A. § 1125(2-A)(B)&(C) for record keeping violations and assess a penalty of $50.
Made by: Mr. Duchette
Seconded by: Ms. Amero
Vote: 5-0 (motion passed)

Motion: To find Christopher Kessler violated 21-A M.R.S.A. § 1125(7-A) for commingling public funds and assess no penalty.
Made by: Ms. Matheson
Seconded by: Ms. Amero
Vote: 5-0 (motion passed)

Motion:To find Glenn Curry violated 21-A M.R.S.A. § 1125(7-A) for commingling public funds and assess no penalty.
Made by: Ms. Amero
Seconded by: Mr. Duchette
Vote: 5-0 (motion passed)

6.  Presentation of Final Audit Report

The Commission’s auditor presented a summary report on the 2012 audit program.  The report notes a continuing improvement in the overall level of compliance by Maine Clean Election Act candidates.

No action required.

7.  Request for Waiver of Late-Filing Penalty/Christopher O’Neil (5:31)

Based on information available to the Commission staff prior to the meeting, it appeared that Lobbyist Christopher O’Neil was one day late in filing a monthly lobbyist report for Delta Dental Plan of Maine covering the month of March 2013. Under these circumstances, a notice was sent to Mr. O'Neil informing him that the preliminary penalty was $50.  Mr. O’Neil requested a waiver of the preliminary penalty due. At the meeting, Mr. O'Neil provided copies of the receipts confirming that he had, in fact, filed the report on April 8th, eight days before the deadline.

Motion: To find there was no violation.
Made by: Mr. Healy
Seconded by: Mr. McKee
Vote: 5-0 (motion passed)

8.  Request for Waiver of Late-Filing Penalty/Candidate Stuart Pennels (5:33)

[Postponed from April 5, 2013 meeting]

Stuart Pennels was a candidate for the Maine House of Representatives in District #111 in Windham.  He was required to file a campaign finance report 42 days after the general election on December 18, 2012.  The report was filed one day late on December 19, 2012.  He requested a waiver of the preliminary penalty amount of $24.66, stating that his treasurer tried to file the report on the deadline but the Commission’s e-filing system rejected it. 

Motion: To accept the staff recommendation and decline to waive the penalty.
Made by: Mr. McKee
Seconded by: Ms. Matheson
Vote: 5-0 (motion passed)