June is a busy month for state campaign finance reporting!
On June 14, 2016 all political committees, political funds, independent expenditure committees and independent expenditure funds are required to file a Report of Receipts and Expenditures for the period covering January 1 through May 31, 2016.
State reports must be filed electronically. The Board will consider exceptions to the electronic filing requirements if you can show that your committee or fund has a good reason for not filing electronically. If granted, a waiver of the electronic filing requirements is valid for two (2) years. A committee or fund that fails to file the annual report by the due date is subject to a late filing fee of $50 per day, not to exceed $1,000. Additional information about state reporting requirements can be found at: http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/index.html
On June 15, 2016 all Minnesota lobbyists are required to file a lobbyist disbursement report, covering the period of January 1 through May 31, 2016. Reports can be filed electronically at http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/lobby/report.htm. In order to file the report, lobbyists should use the username and password provided by the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
At the time of registration, each lobbyist designates whether he or she is a “self-reporting lobbyist,” an “authorizing lobbyist” or a “reporting lobbyist.” A self-reporting lobbyist reports his or her own expenditures to the Board. A lobbyist that reports distributions for another lobbyist on behalf of the same client is referred to as a reporting lobbyist. A lobbyist who allows someone to report expenditures on his or her behalf is an authorizing lobbyist. In addition, Minnesota Rules require all lobbyist principals to appoint one lobbyist as a “designated lobbyist” who is responsible for reporting the disbursements of the entity. Lobbyists must retain records related to lobbyist expenses for a period of four (4) years.
All self-reporting, reporting and designated lobbyists must file a Lobbyist Disbursement Report no later than June 15, 2016. The report must disclose the following information for expenditures between January 1 and May 31, 2016:
- Total lobbying disbursements (not including lobbyist compensation);
- Gifts to public officials; and
- Other sources of funds used for lobbying purposes.
In general, an expense is a lobbying disbursement if it is incurred (1) to communicate with officials for the purpose of influencing official action; (2) to urge others to communicate with officials for the purpose of influencing official action; or (3) for any activity that directly supports either of these types of communication. Lobbyist disbursements do not include lobbyist compensation. Lobbyist compensation is reported by the principal on the principal report that is filed in March. If an actual cost of a lobbying activity is not available, the lobbyist must use a reasonable approximation of the cost.
Designated lobbyists must also provide a current list of officers and directors for the associations that the lobbyist represents. A report must be filed even if no disbursements were made during the reporting period.
The report may be filed with the Board by facsimile at 651.539.1196 or 800.357.4114 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, the report may be filed electronically at http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/lobby/report.htm. To access the electronic filing system, each lobbyist will need a user name and password that is provided by the Board. All reports are available for viewing by the public.
A lobbyist who fails to file a required report by the due date is subject to a late filing fee of $25 per day, not to exceed $1,000.