July 30, 2021 Commission Meeting

1.  Ratification of the Minutes:

Motion:  Adopt the Minutes of all four meetings.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Seconded by:  Mr. Schneider
Vote:  5-0

2-6.  Compliance Review of 2020 Leadership PACs

At its November 18, 2020 meeting, the Commission directed its staff to move forward with an enhanced compliance review of 2020 leadership PACs.  The Commission’s Political Committee and Lobbyist Registrar, Michael Dunn, conducted the reviews.  Mr. Dunn will provide the second of two reports on the results of his reviews.  The findings will be presented on the following PACs:

  1. Charlotte PAC

The Commission staff is recommending a finding that the PAC failed to maintain receipts and accurately report transactions.  The Commission staff recommended a $400 penalty for these potential violations.

Motion:  Accept the staff recommendation to impose a financial penalty of $250 for failure to keep receipts as required by statute.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Seconded by:  Mr. Marble
Vote:  5-0

Motion:  Accept the staff recommendation to impose a financial penalty of $150 for failure to report transactions to Bangor Residence Inn, Maureen AuCoin and Maine Bankers Association.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Seconded by:  Mr. Marble
Vote:  5-0

  1. One Maine PAC

The Commission staff is recommending a finding that the PAC failed to update its registration and has an inaccurate report balance.  If the Commission finds that the PAC filed an independent expenditure report late, the Commission staff recommended a $750 penalty. 

Motion:  To find that One Maine PAC did not violate the independent expenditure reporting requirements.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Seconded by:  Mr. Schneider
Vote:  5-0

Motion:  To find a violation of 21-A MRS § 1052-A(3)(E) for failure to file a notice of change of financial institution within 10 days of making that change.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Seconded by:  Mr. Schneider
Vote:  5-0

Motion:  To impose no financial penalty for that violation.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Seconded by:  Mr. Schneider
Vote:  5-0

  1. Shiretown PAC

The Commission staff is recommending a finding that the PAC was late in registering, that its initial campaign finance report was substantially non-conforming, and that it omitted transactions.  The Commission staff recommended a $1,500 penalty for these potential violations. 

Motion:  To find that Shiretown PAC omitted transactions in violation of 21-A MRS § 1004-A and impose a $250 penalty.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Seconded by:  Mr. Marble
Vote:  5-0

Motion:  To find that the Initial campaign finance report was substantially non-compliant in violation of 21-A MRS § 1062-A(2) and impose a penalty of $250.00.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Seconded by:  Mr. Schneider
Vote:  5-0

Motion:  To find a late registration in violation of 21-A MRS § 1062-A(1) and impose a penalty of $250.00
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Motion Withdrawn

Motion:  To find that Shiretown PAC violated 21-A MRS § 1062-A(1) by registering two days later than required by law.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Seconded by:  Mr. Schneider
Vote:  5-0

Motion:  To impose a $100 penalty for the late registration.
Made by:  Mr. Schneider
Seconded by:  Mr. Hastings
Vote:  5-0

  1. Star City PAC

The Commission staff is recommending a finding that the PAC failed to report a $250 withdrawal, or that the PAC failed to maintain records sufficient to identify the purpose of that withdrawal.  The Commission staff recommended no further action. 

Motion:  To accept the staff recommendation to find that the PAC violated 21-A MRS § 1060(7) by not reporting a February 20, 2019 payment of $250 and further, to not impose a financial penalty for that violation.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Seconded by:  Mr. Marble
Vote:  5-0

  1. Committee for Peace and Justice

The Commission staff is recommending a finding that the PAC accepted an improper contribution from a lobbyist that has since been returned.  The Commission staff recommended no further action. 

Motion:  Accept the staff recommendation that the Committee for Peace & Justice violated 21-A MRS § 1015-A(3) by accepting a $75 contribution from a registered lobbyist and impose no financial penalty because it was a relatively small amount and the contribution has been returned.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Seconded by:  Mr. Hastings
Vote:  5-0

7.  Update on Audits of 2020 Maine Clean Election Act Candidates

The Commission’s auditors updated the Commission on the progress of the post-election audits of 2020 Maine Clean Election Act candidates.

8.  Proposed Investigation – Alpine Initiatives LLC

The Commission staff recommended investigating Alpine Initiatives LLC, which made a political contribution of $150,000 in 2018 shortly after registering as a limited liability company.
Motion:  To request the Commission staff investigate Alpine Initiatives LLC or any other person associated with this financial activity violated Maine campaign finance law 21-A MRS §§ 1001-1105.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Seconded by:  Mr. Schneider
Vote:  5-0

9.  Policy on Remote Participation in Commission Meetings

A new law enacted in 2021 authorized members of Maine state boards and commissions to participate remotely in a proceeding if the board or commission has adopted a written policy on participating remotely.  The Commission considered a draft policy proposed by staff and comments from members of the public.

Motion:  Adopt the policy as presented.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Seconded by:  Mr. Schneider
Vote:  No Vote Taken

Motion:  To amend the policy to substitute the 1st paragraph of subsection 5 in the letter submitted by Maine Citizens for Clean Elections for the 1st paragraph of subsection 5 of the policy presented to the Commission.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Seconded by:  Mr. Marble
Vote:  5-0

Motion:  To adopt the policy as amended.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Seconded by:  Mr. Schneider
Vote:  5-0

10.  Discussion of Procedures for Waiving Late-Filing Penalties

The Commission discussed its procedures for considering requests for waivers of late-filing penalties.

11.  Question on Confidentiality in Litigation (No written materials)

The Commission discussed whether to keep confidential the name of a political consulting firm that received an investigative subpoena from the Commission, in the event of any litigation over enforcement of the subpoena.

Motion:  If an entity whose identity the Commission has kept confidential files suit objection to a subpoena served on it and then requests the court keep its identity confidential, then Commission will not oppose the request.
Made by:  Mr. Lee
Motion failed due to lack of a second.

Other Business:  None
Executive Session:  None