Minutes for January 9, 2013 Meeting

Posted in Minutes

Campaign Spending Commission
Leiopapa A Kamehameha Building, Room 204
January 9, 2013
10:30 a.m.

Commissioners Present:
Michael Weaver, Tina Pedro Gomes, G. William Snipes, Eldon Ching, Gregory Shoda

Staff Present:
Kristin Izumi-Nitao, Tony Baldomero, Gary Kam, Ellen Kojima

Deputy Attorney General Robyn Chun and Deputy Solicitor General Deirdre Marie-Iha

Call to Order:
Meeting convened at 10:35 a.m. with Chair Weaver presiding.

Consideration of Minutes:
Commissioner Gomes moved to approve the minutes of December 12, 2012.  Motion seconded by Vice Chair Snipes.  Motion carried unanimously.

New Business
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao stated that the following proposed conciliation agreements are a result of investigations that she initiated in September, October, November, and December 2012 pursuant to HRS §11-314(7) to determine whether there has been a violation of the Hawaii campaign spending laws.

Respondents have been notified in a letter of the fine that Commission staff computed as a result of their late filed report.   Further, they have been notified of today’s meeting, received a copy of the proposed conciliation agreement, and waived the opportunity to explain or otherwise respond to the notice of violation.  She recommended that the Commission make a preliminary determination of probable cause that a violation has been committed, waive further proceedings, and approve the settlement amounts as stated in each of the proposed agreements.

Commissioners noted that each of the following proposed conciliation agreements had been reviewed and that they had no additional questions:

CA 13-60  In Re the Matter of Friends of Friends of Nicole Lowen
CA 13-61  In Re the Matter of Friends of Lee McIntosh
CA 13-62  In Re the Matter of United Public Workers, AFSCME, Local 646, AFL-CIO, PAC
CA 13-63  In Re the Matter of Friends of Heather Giugni

CA 13-63  Friends of Heather Giugni
Present – Renea Stewart, Treasurer

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that the Final Election Period Report for the period 8/12/12 – 11/6/12 was due on 12/6/12.  The committee filed the report 20 days late.  Committee was then informed that the fine for filing the report late would be $2,185.40.  Ms. Stewart called staff and asked if the fine could be waived.  Staff informed Ms. Stewart that they did not have the authority to waive a fine, but could negotiate a conciliation agreement to reduce the fine, which would be on the Commission’s January meeting agenda for consideration.  She could attend the meeting and request that the fine be waived and explain their position.

Ms. Stewart, treasurer for the Heather Giugni campaign committee, appeared before the Commission and requested that the assessed fine for the late filing be waived because of the passing of her father and then her illness which occurred when the report was due.

Discussion on whether the conciliation agreement should be approved or denied and what the fine should be.  If the conciliation agreement is denied, an order would be generated.  Regarding the fine, the minimum fine for this late report is $200 and staff is recommending $730 which takes into consideration that this is their first time in filing a late report.

Commissioner Gomes moved to assess the minimum fine of $200 for the late filing of the Final Election Period Report.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Ching.  Motion carried unanimously.

Chair Weaver asked for a vote regarding Conciliation Agreements 13-60, 13-61, and 13-62.

Vice Chair Snipes moved that with regard to Conciliation Agreements 13-60, 13-61, and 13-62,  the Commission makes a preliminary determination that probable cause exists that a violation had been committed and accept the settlement terms and amounts as stated in each conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Gomes.  Motion carried unanimously.

Draft Advisory Opinion 13-02 – Government Contractor’s Association
Glenn Nohara and Gladys Hagemann present for the Government Contractor’s Association

General Counsel Kam stated that the draft advisory opinion is in response to the Government Contractor’s Association’s request for an advisory opinion on the formation of a noncandidate committee and potential implications of HRS §11-355.

Discussion on concerns regarding funds derived from state or county contractor members.  Staff asked that matter be deferred until the February meeting for further discussions with the Government Contractor’s Association and Attorney General’s Office.

Vice-Chair Snipes moved to deferred matter until the February meeting.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Gomes.  Motion carried unanimously.

Old Business:
Docket No. 12-10  In Re the Matter of Tom Berg
Present – Tom Berg

General Counsel Kam stated that with regard to Docket No. 12-10, the Commission made a preliminary determination of probable cause that a violation existed in that the t-shirts Mr. Berg received did have a value and he was assessed a fine of $250 for failure to report the in-kind contribution.  Mr. Berg is now rescinding his request for a contested case hearing and is asking reconsideration of the $250 fine.

Mr. Berg stated that he was offered t-shirts Patty Teruya had from her from campaign.  She said she was throwing them out and that it had no value.  He did not know how to report something that had no value, but he did report the cost of having the shirts reprinted.  He felt that for shirts that had no value and having paid $500 to reprint the shirts, the $250 fine is exorbitant.

Commissioner Gomes moved to reconsider the assessed $250 fine in Docket No. 12-10.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Ching.  Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioners discussed the reporting the value of the t-shirts and the amount of the fine that should be assessed.

General Counsel Kam explained that the definition of a contribution is anything of value and that he would continue to argue that because Mr. Berg had the shirts reprinted, they had some value which should have been disclosed and reported.  If he had reported anything other than $.0, this probably would be a non-issue.  Regarding the assessment of a fine for not reporting a contribution, a fine of $250 has been recommended and has been issued before in other cases.

Consensus of Commissioners is to reduce the fine Mr. Berg was assessed.  Commissioner Gomes moved to value the shirts at $1 per shirt for fine of $24.  No second.

Commissioner Ching moved to reduce the fine from $250 to $50.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Shoda.  Motion carried (aye – Weaver, Snipes, Ching, Shoda / no – Gomes)

Consideration of Modification to Executive Director’s Position Description
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that with the assistance of DAGS-Personnel, the Executive Director’s position description has been modified to include a desirable qualification of possessing an attorney’s license.  Recommend that it be approved and that in June, evaluation of her performance of duties and responsibilities be discussed in executive session.

Vice Chair Snipes suggested that on page 2, item (c) should be worded to say that the Executive Director “works with Commissioners to develop the strategic plan.”  He further suggested that before their evaluation of the Executive Director, that the Executive Director conclude her evaluations of staff.

Proposed 2013 Legislation
General Counsel Kam explained that the proposed 2013 legislation for the Commission has been submitted for introduction by the Senate President and House Speaker.  Proposed legislation to include the following:

-Section 1 – §11-301 Definitions – adding the definition of “matching payment period”
-Section 2 – §11-314 Duties of commission – clarifications
-Section 3 – §11-321(e) Registration of CC or NC – corrects an incorrect statutory citation
-Section 4 – §11-331(d) Filing of reports – corrects an incorrect statutory citation
-Section 5 – §11-334(a)(4) Time for CC to file preliminary, final and supplemental reports – require the filing of the January 31 supplemental report regardless of whether it is an election year
-Section 6 – §11-335 NCC Reports – clarification and identification of candidate supported/opposed by independent expenditures
-Section 7 – §11-336(d) Time for NCC to file preliminary, final and supplement reports – like for CC’s require the filing of the January 31 supplemental report regardless of whether it is an election year
-Section 8 – §11-11-359 Family contributions – correct an incorrect statutory citation
-Section 9 – §11-423 Voluntary expenditure limits; filing affidavit – increases the amount of expenditures a publicly funded candidate for the office prosecuting attorney can make

Good government groups are planning to reintroduce the final version of HB 2174 from the last legislative session which has since been improved.

Report from Executive Director:
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported on the following items:

Report on Compliance of Filing Timely Disclosure Reports
1 – Supplemental Report for the period 1/1/12 – 6/30/12 due on 7/31/12 for candidates whose names are not on the 2012 ballot:  One candidate committee has not filed
2 – Preliminary General Report for the period 8/12/12-10/22/12 or 1/1/12-10/22/12 due on 10/29/12:  Candidate Committees – 4 non-filers
3 – Final Election Period Report for the period 8/12/12-11/6/12 or 1/1/12-11/6/12 or 10/23/12-11/6/12 due on 12/6/12:  Candidate Committees – 8 non-filers

Report on 2012 Campaign Statistics
Associate Director Baldomero submitted for Commissioners’ review the campaign statistics for the 2012 election.  The summary includes information on receipts and disbursements, loans, cost per vote, and partial and comprehensive public funding of the 312 candidates in the 2012 election.  Summaries to be posted on the Commission’s website.

Commissioner Ching moved to convene executive session to consult with attorney.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Gomes.  Motion carried unanimously.

Public Session reconvened at 12:19 p.m.

Next Meeting:
Scheduled for Wednesday, February, 13 at 10:30 a.m.

Commissioner Ching moved to adjourn meeting.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Gomes.  Motion carried unanimously.  Meeting adjourned at 12:20 p.m.