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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 10A

Section 10A.01

Recent History

10A.01 Definitions.

Subdivision 1. Scope. For the purposes of sections 10A.01 to 10A.34, the terms defined in this section have the meanings given them unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

Subd. 2. Administrative action. "Administrative action" means an action by any official, board, commission or agency of the executive branch to adopt, amend, or repeal a rule pursuant to chapter 14. "Administrative action" does not include the application or administration of an adopted rule, except in cases of rate setting, power plant and powerline siting and granting of certificates of need under chapter 116J.

Subd. 3. Association. "Association" means business, corporation, firm, partnership, committee, labor organization, club, or any other group of two or more persons, which includes more than an immediate family, acting in concert.

Subd. 4. Associated business. "Associated business" means any association in connection with which the individual is compensated in excess of $50 except for actual and reasonable expenses in any month as a director, officer, owner, member, partner, employer or employee, or is a holder of securities worth $2,500 or more at fair market value.

Subd. 5. Candidate. "Candidate" means an individual who seeks nomination or election to any statewide or legislative office for which reporting is not required under federal laws. The term candidate shall also include an individual who seeks nomination or election to supreme court, court of appeals, or district court judgeships of the state. An individual shall be deemed to seek nomination or election if the individual has taken the action necessary under the law of the state of Minnesota to qualify for nomination or election, has received contributions or made expenditures in excess of $100, or has given implicit or explicit consent for any other person to receive contributions or make expenditures in excess of $100, for the purpose of bringing about the individual's nomination or election. A candidate remains a candidate until the candidate's principal campaign committee is dissolved as provided in section 10A.24.

Subd. 6. Board. "Board" means the state campaign finance and public disclosure board.

Subd. 7. Contribution. "Contribution" means a transfer of funds or a donation in kind.

Contribution includes any loan or advance of credit to a political committee, political fund, or principal campaign committee, which loan or advance of credit is (a) forgiven, or (b) paid by an individual or an association other than the political committee, political fund, or principal campaign committee to which the loan or advance of credit is made. If an advance of credit or a loan is forgiven or paid as provided in this subdivision, it is a contribution in the year in which the loan or advance of credit is made.

A contribution made for the purpose of defeating a candidate is considered made for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of that candidate or any opponent of that candidate.

Contribution does not include services provided without compensation by an individual volunteering personal time on behalf of a candidate, ballot question, political committee or political fund, or the publishing or broadcasting of news items or editorial comments by the news media.

Subd. 7a. Transfer of funds. "Transfer of funds" or "transfer" means money or negotiable instruments given by an individual or association to a political committee, political fund, or principal campaign committee for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of a candidate or for the purpose of promoting or defeating a ballot question.

Subd. 7b. Donation in kind. "Donation in kind" means anything of value other than money or negotiable instruments given by an individual or association to a political committee, political fund, or principal campaign committee for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of a candidate or for the purpose of promoting or defeating a ballot question. Donation in kind includes an approved expenditure.

Subd. 8. Depository. "Depository" means any bank, savings association or credit union, organized under federal or state law and transacting business within Minnesota.

Subd. 9. Election. "Election" means a primary, special primary, general or special election.

Subd. 9a. Election cycle. "Election cycle" means the period from January 1 following a general election for an office to December 31 following the next general election for that office, except that "election cycle" for a special election means the period from the date the special election writ is issued to 60 days after the special election is held.

Subd. 10. Campaign expenditure. "Campaign expenditure" or "expenditure" means a purchase or payment of money or anything of value, or an advance of credit, made or incurred for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of a candidate or for the purpose of promoting or defeating a ballot question.

An expenditure is considered to be made in the year in which the candidate made the purchase of goods or services or incurred an obligation to pay for goods or services.

An expenditure made for the purpose of defeating a candidate is considered made for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of that candidate or any opponent of that candidate.

Except as provided in clause (a), expenditure includes the dollar value of a donation in kind.

Expenditure does not include:

(a) Noncampaign disbursements as defined in subdivision 10c;

(b) Transfers as defined in subdivision 7a;

(c) Services provided without compensation by an individual volunteering personal time on behalf of a candidate, ballot question, political committee, or political fund; or

(d) The publishing or broadcasting of news items or editorial comments by the news media.

Subd. 10a. Approved expenditure. "Approved expenditure" means an expenditure made on behalf of a candidate by an entity other than the principal campaign committee of that candidate, which expenditure is made with the authorization or expressed or implied consent of, or in cooperation or in concert with, or at the request or suggestion of that candidate, the candidate's principal campaign committee or the candidate's agent. An approved expenditure is a contribution to that candidate.

Subd. 10b. Independent expenditure. "Independent expenditure" means an expenditure expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, which expenditure is made without the express or implied consent, authorization, or cooperation of, and not in concert with or at the request or suggestion of, any candidate or any candidate's principal campaign committee or agent. An independent expenditure is not a contribution to that candidate. An expenditure by a political party or political party unit, as defined in section 10A.275, subdivision 3, in a race where the political party has a candidate on the ballot is not an independent expenditure.

Subd. 10c. Noncampaign disbursement. "Noncampaign disbursement" means a purchase or payment of money or anything of value made, or an advance of credit incurred, by a political committee, political fund, or principal campaign committee for any of the following purposes:

(a) payment for accounting and legal services;

(b) return of a contribution to the source;

(c) repayment of a loan made to the political committee, political fund, or principal campaign committee by that committee or fund;

(d) return of a public subsidy;

(e) payment for food, beverages, entertainment, and facility rental for a fundraising event;

(f) services for a constituent by a member of the legislature or a constitutional officer in the executive branch, performed from the beginning of the term of office to adjournment sine die of the legislature in the election year for the office held, and half the cost of services for a constituent by a member of the legislature or a constitutional officer in the executive branch performed from adjournment sine die to 60 days after adjournment sine die;

(g) a donation in kind given to the political committee, political fund, or principal campaign committee for purposes listed in clauses (e) and (f);

(h) payment for food and beverages provided to campaign volunteers while they are engaged in campaign activities;

(i) payment of expenses incurred by elected or appointed leaders of a legislative caucus in carrying out their leadership responsibilities;

(j) payment by a principal campaign committee of the candidate's expenses for serving in public office, other than for personal uses;

(k) costs of child care for the candidate's children when campaigning;

(l) fees paid to attend a campaign school;

(m) costs of a postelection party during the election year when a candidate's name will no longer appear on a ballot or the general election is concluded, whichever occurs first;

(n) interest on loans paid by a principal campaign committee on outstanding loans;

(o) filing fees;

(p) post-general election thank-you notes or advertisements in the news media;

(q) the cost of campaign material purchased to replace defective campaign material, if the defective material is destroyed without being used;

(r) transfers to a party unit as defined in section 10A.275, subdivision 3; and

(s) other purchases or payments specified in board rules or advisory opinions as being for any purpose other than to influence the nomination or election of a candidate or to promote or defeat a ballot question.

The board shall determine whether an activity involves a noncampaign disbursement within the meaning of this subdivision.

Subd. 11. Lobbyist. (a) "Lobbyist" means an individual:

(1) engaged for pay or other consideration, or authorized to spend money by another individual, association, political subdivision, or public higher education system, who spends more than five hours in any month or more than $250, not including the individual's own travel expenses and membership dues, in any year, for the purpose of attempting to influence legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit, by communicating or urging others to communicate with public or local officials; or

(2) who spends more than $250, not including the individual's own traveling expenses and membership dues, in any year for the purpose of attempting to influence legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit, by communicating or urging others to communicate with public or local officials.

(b) "Lobbyist" does not include:

(1) a public official;

(2) an employee of the state, including an employee of any of the public higher education systems;

(3) an elected local official;

(4) a nonelected local official or an employee of a political subdivision acting in an official capacity, unless the nonelected official or employee of a political subdivision spends more than 50 hours in any month attempting to influence legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit other than the political subdivision employing the official or employee, by communicating or urging others to communicate with public or local officials, including time spent monitoring legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit, and related research, analysis, and compilation and dissemination of information relating to legislative or administrative policy in this state, or to the policies of metropolitan governmental units;

(5) a party or the party's representative appearing in a proceeding before a state board, commission or agency of the executive branch unless the board, commission or agency is taking administrative action;

(6) an individual while engaged in selling goods or services to be paid for by public funds;

(7) a news medium or its employees or agents while engaged in the publishing or broadcasting of news items, editorial comments or paid advertisements which directly or indirectly urge official action;

(8) a paid expert witness whose testimony is requested by the body before which the witness is appearing, but only to the extent of preparing or delivering testimony;

(9) a stockholder of a family farm corporation as defined in section 500.24, subdivision 2, who does not spend over $250, excluding the stockholder's own travel expenses, in any year in communicating with public officials; or

(10) a party or the party's representative appearing to present a claim to the legislature and communicating to legislators only by the filing of a claim form and supporting documents and by appearing at public hearings on the claim.

Subd. 12. Major political party. "Major political party" means a major political party as defined in section 200.02, subdivision 7.

Subd. 13. Minor political party. "Minor political party" means any party other than a major political party:

(a) Under whose name in the last applicable general election a candidate filed for legislative office and received not less than ten percent of the vote for that office, or filed for statewide office; or

(b) Which files a petition with the secretary of state containing the names of 2,000 individuals registered to vote in Minnesota and declaring that the signers desire that the party be eligible to receive money from the state elections campaign fund in the same manner as a major political party.

For the purposes of this chapter, all individuals who are eligible to vote in areas where there is no permanent system of registration shall be considered registered voters.

Subd. 14. Repealed, 1976 c 307 s 35

Subd. 15. Political committee. "Political committee" means any association as defined in subdivision 3 whose major purpose is to influence the nomination or election of a candidate or to promote or defeat a ballot question.

"Political committee" includes a major political party as defined in subdivision 12, a minor political party as defined in subdivision 13, and any principal campaign committee formed pursuant to section 10A.19.

Subd. 16. Political fund. "Political fund" means any accumulation of dues or voluntary contributions by an association other than a political committee, which accumulation is collected or expended for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of a candidate or for the purpose of promoting or defeating a ballot question.

Subd. 17. Political party. "Political party" means either a major political party or a minor political party.

Subd. 18. Public official. "Public official" means any:

(a) member of the legislature;

(b) constitutional officer in the executive branch and the officer's chief administrative deputy;

(c) member, chief administrative officer or deputy chief administrative officer of a state board or commission which has at least one of the following powers: (i) the power to adopt, amend or repeal rules, or (ii) the power to adjudicate contested cases or appeals;

(d) commissioner, deputy commissioner, or assistant commissioner of any state department as designated pursuant to section 15.01;

(e) individual employed in the executive branch who is authorized to adopt, amend or repeal rules or adjudicate contested cases;

(f) executive director of the state board of investment;

(g) executive director of the Indian affairs intertribal board;

(h) commissioner of the iron range resources and rehabilitation board;

(i) commissioner of mediation services;

(j) deputy of any official listed in clauses (e) to (i);

(k) judge of the workers' compensation court of appeals;

(l) administrative law judge or compensation judge in the state office of administrative hearings or referee in the department of economic security;

(m) solicitor general or deputy, assistant or special assistant attorney general;

(n) individual employed by the legislature as secretary of the senate, legislative auditor, chief clerk of the house, revisor of statutes, or researcher, legislative analyst, or attorney in the office of senate counsel and research or house research;

(o) member, regional administrator, division director, general counsel, or operations manager of the metropolitan council;

(p) the director of the racing commission, the director of the gambling control board, the director of the state lottery, and the deputy director of the state lottery;

(q) director of the division of alcohol and gambling enforcement in the department of public safety;

(r) member or executive director of the higher education facilities authority;

(s) member of the board of directors or president of the Minnesota world trade center corporation; or

(t) member or chief administrator of a metropolitan agency.

Subd. 19. Office holder. "Office holder" means an individual who holds any statewide or legislative office, except a federal office for which candidates are required to report under federal laws, state supreme court justice, and judges of the court of appeals or district court.

Subd. 20. Advance of credit. "Advance of credit" means any money owed for goods provided or services rendered. An advance of credit is an expenditure or a noncampaign disbursement in the year in which the goods or services are used or consumed. Advance of credit does not mean loan as defined in subdivision 21.

Subd. 21. Loan. "Loan" means an advance of money or anything of value made to a political committee, political fund, or principal campaign committee.

Subd. 22. Financial institution. "Financial institution" means a lending institution chartered by an agency of the federal government or regulated by the commissioner of commerce.

Subd. 23. Ballot question. "Ballot question" means a question or proposition which is placed on the ballot and which may be voted on by all voters of the state. "Promoting or defeating a ballot question" includes activities related to qualifying the question for placement on the ballot.

Subd. 24. State committee. "State committee" means the organization which, by virtue of the bylaws of a political party, is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the political party at the state level.

Subd. 25. Local official. "Local official" means a person who holds elective office in a political subdivision or who is appointed to or employed in a public position in a political subdivision in which the person has authority to make, to recommend, or to vote on as a member of the governing body, major decisions regarding the expenditure or investment of public money.

Subd. 26. Metropolitan governmental unit. "Metropolitan governmental unit" means any of the seven counties in the metropolitan area as defined in section 473.121, subdivision 2, a regional railroad authority established by one or more of those counties under section 398A.03, a city with a population of over 50,000 located in the seven-county metropolitan area, the metropolitan council, a metropolitan agency as defined in section 473.121, subdivision 5a, the Minnesota state high school league, and Minnesota Technology, Inc.

Subd. 27. Political subdivision. "Political subdivision" means the metropolitan council, a metropolitan agency as defined in section 473.121, subdivision 5a, a municipality as defined in section 471.345, subdivision 1, the Minnesota state high school league, and Minnesota Technology, Inc.

Subd. 28. Principal. "Principal" means an individual or association that:

(1) spends more than $500 in the aggregate in any calendar year to engage a lobbyist, compensate a lobbyist, or authorize the expenditure of money by a lobbyist; or

(2) is not included in clause (1) and spends a total of at least $50,000 in any calendar year on efforts to influence legislative action, administrative action, or the official action of metropolitan governmental units, as described in section 10A.04, subdivision 6.

Subd. 29. Population. "Population" means the population established by the most recent federal census, by a special census taken by the United States Bureau of the Census, by an estimate made by the metropolitan council, or by an estimate made by the state demographer under section 4A.02, whichever has the latest stated date of count or estimate.

HIST: 1974 c 470 s 1; 1975 c 271 s 6; 1976 c 307 s 1-4; 1978 c 463 s 1-18; 1979 c 59 s 1-3; 1980 c 509 s 1; 1980 c 587 art 2 s 1-7; 1980 c 607 art 14 s 45 subd 1; art 17 s 1-8; 1980 c 614 s 40; 1980 c 615 s 60; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 1; 1981 c 346 s 1; 1981 c 356 s 248; 1982 c 424 s 130; 1983 c 247 s 5,6; 1983 c 258 s 10; 1983 c 289 s 114 subd 1; 1984 c 619 s 11; 1984 c 640 s 32; 1984 c 654 art 3 s 13; 1984 c 655 art 1 s 92; 1Sp1985 c 14 art 9 s 75; 1986 c 444; 1Sp1986 c 3 art 1 s 2; 1987 c 186 s 15; 1988 c 686 art 1 s 40; 1989 c 209 art 1 s 1,2; 1989 c 334 art 6 s 1; 1990 c 562 art 8 s 2; 1990 c 608 art 1 s 1-5; art 3 s 1-3; 1991 c 233 s 109; 1991 c 322 s 19; 1991 c 349 s 1,2; 1993 c 13 art 1 s 1; 1993 c 318 art 2 s 1-4; 1994 c 483 s 1; 1994 c 628 art 3 s 2; 1995 c 189 s 8; 1995 c 202 art 1 s 25; 1996 c 277 s 1; 1997 c 129 art 2 s 15; 1997 c 202 art 2 s 63; 1998 c 254 art 2 s 3