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Campaign Finance Alert: Lobbyist Disbursement Report

In accordance with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Act, each lobbyist who registers with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board ("Board") must periodically disclose the total amount of money spent on lobbying activities. The disclosure is made in a semi-annual Lobbyist Disbursement Report. The next report must be filed with the Board no later than January 18, 2011.

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.

All self-reporting, reporting and designated lobbyists must file a Lobbyist Disbursement Report no later than January 18. The report must include all disbursement made between June 1 and December 31, 2010. The report should include any lobbying expenses that have been incurred in the following categories:

1. Lobbying materials: the cost of producing, purchasing or otherwise acquiring of materials that directly support lobbying.

2. Media costs: the cost of media space or time, including Web design and maintenance for lobbying activities. The cost of preparing material for use in the media is reported in the lobbying materials category.

3. Telephone and communications: costs for local and long-distance telephone services, electronic mail, pagers, cellular telephones, facsimile distribution services and other communications services.

4. Postage and distribution: costs of postage as well as other distribution costs associated with lobbying activities.

5. Fees and allowances: fees for consulting or other services as well as expenses associated with related services. Fees and allowances includes fees for surveys, polls, and legal counsel.

6. Entertainment: costs of all entertainment associated with any situation where lobbying activities take place.

7. Food and beverages: costs of all food and beverages associated with any situation where lobbying activities take place.

8. Travel and lodging: costs of all travel and lodging associated with any lobbying activity. This category does not include the costs of the lobbyist's own travel to accomplish the lobbying activity.

9. Other disbursements: general administration and overhead and any other lobbyist disbursements not reported in other categories.

10. Gifts to Public Officials: you must report the full name and office of each public and local official to whom a lobbyist, the lobbyist's principal or any employee of the lobbyist gave or paid an honorarium, gift, loan, item or benefit equal in value to $5 or more, whether or not it was given for a lobbying purpose. Do not include campaign contributions. Please note that gifts to public officials are generally illegal unless they fall within an exception.

11. Other Sources of Funds: you must provide the name and address of any source of funds (other than from the entity for which the lobbyist is registered) that paid more than $500 in the calendar year to your lobbyist principal for lobbying purposes.
The report may be filed with the Board by United States Mail, personal delivery, or by facsimile transmission to (651) 296-1722 or (800) 357-4114. Alternatively, the report may be e-mailed to the Board at cf.board@state.mn.us or 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.

If the report is not received by January 18, the Board will notify the lobbyist principal by certified mail. The Board may impose late filing fees in an amount equal to $5 per day (up to a maximum of $100) beginning eleven (11) days after providing written notice that the report was not received. Failure to report after receiving notice from the Board can result in civil penalties of up to $1,000. Lobbyists must retain records related to lobbyist expenses for a period of four (4) years.

If anyone at Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A., serves as the designated or reporting lobbyist for your company or association, it is important that you provide information on any disbursements to us as soon as possible so that we can include these disbursements in the semi-annual report that we will be filing.

Should you have any questions regarding the filing of this report, or any other campaign finance or lobbying issues, please contact:

John Knapp
(612) 604-6404
jknapp@winthrop.com

or

Tami Diehm
(612) 604-6658
tdiehm@winthrop.com



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NOTICE:

This client alert is a periodic publication of Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A., and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general information purposes only, and you are urged to consult your legal counsel concerning your situation and any specific legal questions you may have. This may be considered Advertising Material.
For More Information
Deb Cochran
Direct: (612) 604-6688
 
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