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Introduced Version House Bill 2131 History

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hb2131 intr
H. B. 2131


(By Delegates Overington, Frich, Carmichael and Sumner)

[Introduced February 10, 2005 ; referred to the

Committee on the Judiciary.]





A BILL to amend and reenact §3-8-5a of the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to elections generally and lowering the threshold for reporting certain information about individuals, firms, associations or committees contributing to a campaign from two hundred fifty dollars to one hundred dollars.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That §3-8-5a of the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:

ARTICLE 8. REGULATION AND CONTROL OF ELECTIONS.

§3-8-5a. Information required in financial statement.

(a) Each financial statement required by the provisions of this article shall contain only the following information:

(1) The first name, middle initial, if any, and last name, residence and mailing address and telephone number of each
candidate, financial agent, treasurer or person, and the full name, address and telephone number of each association, organization or committee filing a financial statement.
(2) The balance of cash and any other sum of money on hand at the beginning and the end of the period covered by the financial statement.

(3) The first name, middle initial, if any, and the last name in the case of an individual, and the full name of each firm, association or committee, and the amount of such contribution of such individual, firm, association or committee, and, if the aggregate of the sum or sums contributed by any one such individual, firm, association or committee exceeds two one hundred fifty dollars, there shall also be reported the residence and mailing address and, in the case of an individual, the major business affiliation and occupation. A contribution totaling more than fifty dollars of currency of the United States or currency of any foreign country by any one contributor is prohibited and a violation of this provision is subject to section five-d of this article. The report on which contributions required by this subdivision shall not distinguish between contributions made by individuals and contributions made by firms, associations or committees.

(4) The total amount of contributions received during the period covered by the financial statement.

(5) The first name, middle initial, if any, and the last name, residence and mailing address of any individual or the full name and mailing address of each lending institution making a loan or of the spouse cosigning a loan, as appropriate, the amount of any loan received, the date and terms of the loan, including the interest and repayment schedule, and a copy of the loan agreement.

(6) The first name, middle initial, if any, and the last name, residence and mailing address of any individual or the full name and mailing address of each firm, association or committee having previously made or cosigned a loan for which payment is made or a balance is outstanding at the end of the period, together with the amount of repayment on the loan made during the period and the balance at the end of the period.

(7) The total outstanding balance of all loans at the end of the period.

(8) The first name, middle initial, if any, and the last name, residence and mailing address of any individual, or the full name and mailing address of each firm, association or committee to whom each expenditure was made or liability incurred, together with the amount and purpose of each expenditure or liability incurred and the date of each transaction.

(9) The total expenditure for the nomination, election or defeat of a candidate or any person or organization advocating or opposing the nomination, election or defeat of any candidate, or
the passage or defeat of any issue, thing or item to be voted upon, in whose behalf an expenditure was made or a contribution was given for the primary or other election.
(10) The total amount of expenditures made during the period covered by the financial statement.

(b) Any unexpended balance at the time of making the financial statements herein provided for shall be properly accounted for in that financial statement and shall appear as a balance in the next following financial statement.

(c) Each financial statement required by this section shall contain a separate section setting forth the following information for each fund-raising event held during the period covered by the financial statement:

(1) The type of event, date held, and address and name, if any, of the place where the event was held.

(2) All of the information required by subdivision (3), subsection (a) of this section.

(3) The total of all moneys received at the fund-raising event.

(4) The expenditures incident to the fund-raising event.

(5) The net receipts of the fund-raising event.

(d) When any lump sum payment is made to any advertising agency or other disbursing person who does not file a report of detailed accounts and verified financial statements as required in
this section, such lump sum expenditures shall be accounted for in the same manner as provided for herein.
(e) Any contribution or expenditure made by or on behalf of a candidate for public office, to any other candidate, or committee for a candidate for any public office in the same election shall be accounted for in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(f) No person, firm, association or committee may make any contribution except from their own funds, unless such person, firm, association or committee discloses in writing to the person required to report under this section the first name, middle initial, if any, and the last name in the case of an individual, or the full name in case of a firm, association or committee, residence and mailing address and the major business affiliation and occupation of the person, firm, association or committee which furnished the funds to such contributor. All such disclosures shall be included in the statement required by this section.

(g) Any firm, association, committee or fund permitted by section eight of this article to be a political committee shall disclose on the financial statement its corporate or other affiliation.

(h) No contribution may be made, directly or indirectly, in a fictitious name, anonymously or by one person through an agent, relative or other person so as to conceal the identity of the source of the contribution or in any other manner so as to effect
concealment of the contributor's identity.
(i) No person, firm, association or committee may accept any contribution for the purpose of influencing the nomination, election or defeat of a candidate or for the passage or defeat of any issue or thing to be voted upon unless the identity of the donor and the amount of the contribution is known and reported.

(j) When any candidate, organization, committee or person receives any anonymous contribution which cannot be returned because the donor cannot be identified, that contribution shall be donated to the general revenue fund of the State. Any anonymous contribution shall be recorded as such on the candidate's financial statement, but may not be expended for election expenses. At the time of filing, the financial statement shall include a statement of distribution of anonymous contributions, which total amount shall equal the total of all anonymous contributions received during the period.

(k) Any membership organization which raises funds for political purposes by payroll deduction assessing them as part of its membership dues or as a separate assessment may report the amount raised as follows:

(1) If the portion of dues or assessments designated for political purposes equals twenty-five dollars or less per member over the course of a calendar year, the total amount raised for political purposes through membership dues or assessments during
the period is reported by showing the amount required to be paid by each member and the number of members.
(2) If the total payroll deduction for political purposes of each participating member equals twenty-five dollars or less over the course of a calendar or fiscal year, as specified by the organization, the organization shall report the total amount received for political purposes through such payroll deductions during the reporting period, and to the maximum extent possible, the amount of each yearly payroll deduction contribution level and the number of members contributing at each such specified level. The membership organization shall maintain records of the name and yearly payroll deduction amounts of each participating member.

(3) If any member contributes to the membership organization through individual voluntary contributions by means other than payroll deduction, membership dues, or assessments as provided in this subsection, the reporting requirements of subdivision (3), subsection (a) of this section shall apply. Funds raised for political purposes must be segregated from the funds for other purposes and listed in its report.

(l) For purposes of this section:

(1) "Political purposes" means advocating or opposing the nomination, election or defeat of one or more candidates, supporting the retirement of the debt of a candidate or activities of an established political party or an organization which has
declared itself a political party, supporting the administration or activities of a political committee or advocating or opposing the passage of a ballot issue.
(2) "Membership organization" means a group that grants bona fide rights and privileges, such as the right to vote, to elect officers or directors, and the ability to hold office, to its members, and which uses a majority of its membership dues for purposes other than political purposes. This term shall not include organizations that grant membership upon receiving a contribution.

(3) "Fund-raising event" means an event such as a dinner, reception, testimonial, cocktail party, auction or similar affair through which contributions are solicited or received by such means as the purchase of a ticket, payment of an attendance fee or by the purchase of goods or services.

(m) Notwithstanding the provisions of section five of this article or of the provisions of this section to the contrary, an alternative reporting procedure may be followed by a political party executive committee or a political action committee representing a political party in filing financial reports for fund-raising events if the total profit does not exceed five thousand dollars per year. A political party executive committee or a political action committee representing a political party may report gross receipts for the sale of food, beverages, services,
novelty items, raffle tickets or memorabilia, except that any receipt of more than fifty dollars from an individual or organization shall be reported as a contribution. A political party executive committee or a political action committee representing a political party using this alternative method of reporting shall report: (i) The name of the committee; (ii) the type of fund-raising activity undertaken; (iii) the location where the activity occurred; (iv) the date of the fund raiser; (v) the name of any individual who contributed more than fifty dollars worth of items to be sold; (vi) the name and amount received from any person or organization purchasing more than fifty dollars worth of food, beverages, services, novelty items, raffle tickets or memorabilia; (vii) the gross receipts of the fund raiser; and (viii) the date, amount, purpose and name and address of each person or organization from whom items with a fair market value of more than fifty dollars were purchased for resale.



NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to lower the threshold required for reporting certain information about individuals, firms, associations or committees contributing to a campaign from two hundred fifty dollars to one hundred dollars.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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