Clean Elections Board of Directors Meeting 2/17

 Clean Elections Minnesota Board of Director’s meeting 

Feb. 17, 2022  Minutes 

Meeting held via Zoom 

Attendees: G. Beck, R Bardal, D. Miller, C. Lewis, L. Skrentner, K. Peterson, T. Otis, R. Cain, J.C. Kiser, Mary Hartnett, Allan Klein, Z. Fizer, D. Hage, K. Janasz

Absent:    No one Guests: none

  1. Meeting called to order at 5:01 pm;  Minutes of Jan. 12 meeting approved via email 
  2. Treasurer’s Report – Ken: Cash balance: $ 126,848  Income: $ 40,418 Expenses: $ ~3,200.for the Klobuchar/Simon program.     
  3. Election of new board member and officers:. 

New Board member: JC Kiser – motion to accept JC as a board member passed unanimously

Motion made to approve the slate below. Seconded unanimously voted in favor.  

    1. Co-chairs – Todd and Connie – Todd’s term runs until 9/1/22; Connie’s term until 9/1/23. 
    2. Vice-Chair – Lonni – term runs until 9/1/23
    3. Secretary – Ron – term runs until 9/1/22
    4. Treasurer-JC – term runs until 9/1/23. 
  1. Liability Insurance – JC: A $1 million policy with $2,500 deductible is now in place.  .  
  2. Welcome and Introduction of new Exec. Dir., Mary Hartnett:  Mary has recently been consulting and working to get people involved in public policy.  Worked with and advocating primarily with deaf and other handicapped people. She is excited to be part of ensuring clean elections  
  3. Legislative Update – George and Mary George filed written testimony to support a bill by Rep. Long to require full disclosure of campaign contributions. The bill was heard in House Government Finance and Elections and forwarded for possible inclusion in a larger elections bill. Senator Kiffmeyer presented a bill in her Senate committee to reduce confusion about absentee ballot applications sent by private organizations. The DFL lead supported it. George recommended CEM support this bill and its House counterpart and said he would email the Board to determine support. We need a good process for alerting people of upcoming legislative bills. 
  4. Discussion of team plans with – team leaders – Use work plan overview and input from meeting as a guide for finalizing work plans.  (attached) Each team leader(s) should be prepared to share a brief overview of the team plan and budget needs for 2022.  
    1. a.LegislativeGeorge: We are firming up support from people on the legislative team for bills we favor.  Mary has past experience on ways to pass on notices of pending bills.  
    2. b.EducationKen and Connie: The goal is to educate & motivate people regarding who favors and who opposes what we want to accomplish. Plan on  3-4 more Zoom sessions, emphasizing voter suppression; examples: A panel of people who work on elections to show its openness.  Do a legislative wrap-up.  Look at voting rights from African-American voters’ perspective.    
    3.   CommunicationsDavid: The board is part of the Comm. Team. Communicating is not only what to say but how to say it. The team has shrunk to one (David). We need to hire someone like Nick to be on call for help with technical aspects.  We have all the platforms except for Tik-Tok. Feel good about newsletter, but social media is a learning experience.  We have gotten expert help which helped a lot. David is looking for professional help on which media to use for which various topics. We need to replace George’s “Notes from the Chair” letters because up to 50% of readers open the “Notes.”        
    4. d.Development – JC and Todd: JC – We will do whatever we can to expand our base and increase donations.  Need to broaden our demographics.  Specific objectives: 

Expand base of individual contributors. 2021: $47,142 in pledges from 45 donors ($1,047 avg.). We need to hit our growing mailing list hard and expand individual contributors substantially. Educational Events and electronic marketing initiatives are needed to support these initiatives. Further diversify our the membership base as to age, political party, geography, etc. might also be helpful to the organization.

• Begin to formally pursue potential institutional sponsors: Foundations, Families, etc.

• Build momentum around multi-year and recurring commitments that we can build our annual and multi-year budgets around.

Kathleen has a report showing young people won’t work for an organization that is not socially responsible. It could help get younger members if we have socially responsible relationships. 

  1. Budget – Ken: Will transition Treasurer role to JC in March when Ken gets back from California.   
  2. Discussion of proposal from Minnesota Democracy Campaign (MDC): Connie: Todd, Connie and Mary received information on this group. The idea is to have a “table” to come together for discussion. MDC has staff and funding.  Mary will serve on the steering comm. to meet monthly to get this c-3 organization (including a c-4 entity) going.  Their goal is to be data-driven.  They have done deep canvassing, going door-to-door to get people’s input.  The Big Lie is alive and well many places in MN (as well as part of the national narrative).  Need to figure out how to mobilize people regarding elections.  MDC is extremely honest and honorable, is a grassroots group and has funding and power. Don’t expect much progress in 2022 but will lay the groundwork for 2023 and for the 2024 election.  They want to move forward on the policy issues that George laid out. They work on what to say and how to say it, for each segment of society. Connie: a lot of our fellow organization we’ve worked with are involved.  A united approach is essential to be successful.  Ruth: we need to communicate this, and ensure that Common Cause MN is involved.  Lonny moved that CEM be part of the MDC. Motion seconded.  George & Ruth – concerned about where their funding is coming from.  Ron: MDC’s charter includes issues that CEM is not involved in. Connie – let’s get involved to get more background info for our next meeting and decide then.  The motion was withdrawn. 
  3. Research request from Common Cause – George:  CC MN asked for help with research into money donated by special interests and effect on legislation.  George likes the idea but wants to know the paths of research. Question: Does this overlap with Open Secrets?  This is a MN research only. Will start working with CCMN to learn more. 
  4. Recruitment of new board members. Todd: We need to reach out to conservatives to add to our board. Lonni knows an open-minded conservative who could be a great addition to CEM.  We also need more racial diversity and younger people. Todd: create a working group to work on this.  JC and Kathleen were nominated.  Zina will pass on contacts information.  Todd will also help. 


Next meeting date: 5 p.m., Wed., Mar. 16 

Meeting adjourned at 6:40 p.m.  

Ronald  Bardal, 

CEM Secretary