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Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board
January 26, 2012
Mr. Ken Martin, Chair Minnesota DFL Party 255 East Plato Blvd. St. Paul, MN 55107
Re: Complaint regarding Senator David Thompson
Dear Mr. Martin: The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board has received your complaint dated January 23, 2012, regarding the alleged failure of Senator David Thompson to include all required information on his Statements of Economic Interest filed with the Board. Under the authority delegated to me by the Board, I have reviewed the complaint and concluded that it does not provide a sufficient basis for the commencement of a Board investigation. The complaint cites media articles to support an allegation that the Republican Party of Minnesota ("the RPM") paid Senator Thompson $70,000. However, the only documentation you have provided is a Federal Communications Commission report showing a payment of $3,750 with a described purpose of "General Party Media Consulting." If you have other documentation of the alleged $70,000 in payments and wish to submit it, the Board will reevaluate your complaint. At this time, your complaint is considered on the basis of the documented $3,750 payment. Minnesota Statutes section 1OA.09 requires a public official, which includes a legislator, to disclose, among other things, "the name and address of each associated business and the nature of that association." The Board's Economic Interest Statement form is designed to provide that disclosure without the official being required to look up the definition of an "associated business." However, in evaluating your complaint, I turn to the statutory definition. Minnesota Statutes section 1OA.01, subd. 5, defines "associated business". The definition has three components: (1) the business must be one of the specified types of entities, (2) the business must have paid the official more than $50, and (3) the payment must be made to the official in one of the specified relationships to the business. An associated business may be, among other things, an association such as a political party unit. Thus, your complaint is sufficient in alleging that a business of the specified type made a payment to an official in the requisite amount. However, your complaint is insufficient in alleging one of the statutorily specified relationships between the business and the official. Suite 190 • Centennial Office Building • 658 Cedar Street • St. Paul, MN 55155-1603 651-296-5148 • 800-657-3889 • FAX 651-296-1722 • 800-357-4114 • firstname.lastname@example.org For TTY/TDD communication contact us through the Minnesota Relay Service at 800-627-3529 AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER
According to the statute, the payment must be made to the official in the official's capacity "as a director, officer, owner, member, partner, employer, or employee." The evidence you have provided states that the payment was made for "consulting". If Senator Thompson acted in his individual capacity as a consultant, that relationship would not typically support a conclusion that he was an employee. None of the other specified relations appears to apply. Even assuming that your complaint is intended to allege that Senator Thompson was an employee, it is insufficient because no facts are alleged to support that contention. The Board has recognized that self-employed individuals operating as sole proprietors do not typically have one of the statutorily required relationships with their clients. In view of that recognition, the Statement of Economic Interest form provided by the Board indicates that disclosure of independent contractor income is not required. If you wish to re-submit your complaint with additional information, you may do so. However, on the basis of your current submission, this matter is closed. The complaint and this response will become part of the Board's public files. If you have any questions about this letter, you may call me at (651) 296-1721. SincerelY.'
Gary Go smith Executive Director
Copy, with copy of complaint: Senator David Thompson 9175 211th St W Lakeville, MN 55044