June 22, 2022 Commission Meeting

The meeting will be conducted in person and streamed to YouTube. A link will be posted shortly before the start the meeting on www.maine.gov/ethics.


AGENDA

1.  Ratification of the Minutes of the April 27, May 6, May 11, and June 9, 2022 Meetings

Motion: To approve the meeting minutes for April 27, May 6, May 11, and June 9, 2022.
Made by: Commissioner Marble
Seconded by: Commissioner Hastings
Vote: 5-0

2.  Request for Waiver of Late-Filing Penalty – Hon. Paul R. LePage

Paul R. LePage is a candidate for governor in the 2022 elections. He was required to file the 42-Day Pre-Primary Report by 11:59 p.m. on May 3, 2022, but the report was not filed until May 4, 2022, one day late. The preliminary penalty is $9,091.83. The campaign is requesting a waiver of the penalty.

Motion: To find that the campaign violated 21-A M.R.S. § 1017(2)(B) when it failed to file the statutorily required report by the deadline.
Made by: Chairman Schneider
Seconded by: Commissioner Neumann
Vote: 5-0

Motion: To assess a $3,000 penalty to the campaign for the late filing.
Made by: Chairman Schneider
Seconded by: Commissioner Neumann
Vote: 5-0

3.  Request for Waiver of Late-Filing Penalty – Ethan Alcorn

Ethan Alcorn was an unenrolled candidate for governor. He was required to file the 42-Day Pre-Primary Report by 11:59 p.m. on May 3, 2022, but the report was not filed until May 4, 2022, one day late. The preliminary penalty is $200. He is requesting a waiver of the penalty.

Motion: To find that the campaign violated 21-A M.R.S. § 1017(2)(B) when it failed to file the statutorily required report by the deadline.
Made by: Chairman Schneider
Seconded by: Commissioner Hastings
Vote: 5-0

Motion: To assess a $200 penalty to the campaign for the late filing.
Made by: Chairman Schneider
Seconded by: Commissioner Marble
Vote: 5-0

4.  Request for Determination that Advertising Costs are not an Independent Expenditure – Brookfield White Pine Hydro LLC

On June 3, 2022 and June 6, 2022, Brookfield White Pine Hydro (BWPH) began disseminating communications – a digital video advertisement and radio advertisement, respectively – featuring Governor Janet Mills. Because the communications were disseminated within the 28 days prior to the June 14th primary election, and Governor Mills is running for reelection, BWPH requests a determination from the Commission that its communications are not to be considered independent expenditures. BWPH submitted comments in early June to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection surrounding the issues in this communication.

Motion: A finding that the communications in this case are not an independent expenditure and that BHPH has successfully rebutted the presumption.
Made by: Chairman Schneider
Seconded by: Commissioner Hastings
Vote: 5-0

5.  Request for Determination that Advertising Costs are not an Independent Expenditure – Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund

On May 24, 2022 and May 26, 2022, Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund (PPMAF) began disseminating communications – a digital video advertisement and radio advertisement, respectively – featuring Governor Janet Mills. Because the communications were disseminated within the 28 days prior to the June 14th primary election, and Governor Mills is running for reelection, PPMAF requests a determination from the Commission that its communications are not to be considered independent expenditures.

Motion: A finding that the communications in this case are not an independent expenditure and that PPMAF has successfully rebutted the presumption.
Made by: Chairman Schneider
Seconded by: Commissioner Marble
Vote: 5-0

6.  Request for Determination that Mailing Costs are not an Independent Expenditure – U.S. Term Limits

During May 23 – June 3, 2022, U.S. Term Limits (USTL) sent mailings referring to nine candidates who were opposed in the June 14, 2022 Republican primary election for Maine House of Representatives and Maine Senate. The organization explains the purpose of the mailings was to promote congressional term limits and highlight the candidates’ positions on the issue. Because the communications were disseminated within the 28 days before the primary, U.S. Term Limits requests a determination from the Commission that their mailings are not to be considered independent expenditures.

Motion: A finding that the communications in this case are independent expenditures and that USTL has not rebutted the presumption.
Made by: Chairman Schneider
Seconded by: Commissioner Hastings
Vote: 5-0

7.  Investigation of Software Provided by American Legislative Exchange Council 

The Commission staff will report on the status of the investigation into ALEC CARE software that the American Legislative Exchange Council provides to its members as a free membership benefit.

Motion: To continue this matter until the next meeting.
Made by: Chairman Schneider
Seconded by: Commissioner Marble
Vote: 5-0

Other Business

Executive Director Wayne advised the Commission that online commentary by former State Senator Ethan Strimling regarding lobbyist reporting practices has been reviewed by the staff. In particular, in an online posting Mr. Strimling questioned the accuracy of 5 lobbying clients regarding LD 1945. Commission staff inquired to the three lobbyists who filed reports on behalf of these five clients and determined that no further action was necessary because one lobbyist reports all of his activities including monitoring legislation, one amended their report, and another told us that the mention of the LD on their report was in error. Commission staff are aware that there are variances in lobbyist reporting - some will report all activities, while other strictly report only the issues for which they have actively lobbied. 

ADJOURNMENT