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Introduced Version House Bill 2485 History

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hb2485 intr
H. B. 2485


(By Delegates Ennis, Doyle, Mahan, Pethtel,

Caputo and Miley)


[Introduced February 17, 2005; referred to the

Committee on the Judiciary.]



A BILL to repeal §3-8-5c of the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; to amend and reenact §3-8-1, §3-8-2, §3-8-4, §3-8-7, §3-8-8, and §3-8-12 of said code; and to amend said code by adding thereto two new sections, designated §3-8-1a and §3-8- 2b, all relating to regulating elections; requiring the disclosure of electioneering communications; prohibiting corporate disbursements for electioneering communications; and limitations on contributions to political action committees and political organizations;

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §3-8-5c of the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be repealed; that §3-8-1, §3-8-2, §3-8-4, §3-8-7, §3-8-8, and §3-8- 12 be amended and reenacted; and that said code be amended by adding thereto two new sections, designated §3-8-1a and §3-8-2b, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 8. REGULATION AND CONTROL OF ELECTIONS.
§3-8-1. Provisions to regulate and control elections.
(a) The Legislature finds that:
(1) Election campaigns for statewide and state legislative offices are becoming too expensive. As a result many West Virginians are financially unable to seek election to public office and candidates for statewide offices are spending inordinate amounts of time raising campaign funds.
(2) Some candidates and elected officials, particularly when time is limited, respond and give access to contributors who make large contributions in preference to those who make small or no contributions.
(3) In the context of West Virginia, contributions larger than the amounts specified in this article are considered by the legislature, candidates and elected officials to be large contributions.
(4) Robust debate of issues, candidate interaction with the electorate, and public involvement and confidence in the electoral process have decreased as campaign expenditures have increased.
(5) Increasing campaign expenditures require candidates to seek and rely on a smaller number of larger contributors, often outside the state, rather than a large number of small contributors.
(6) In the context of West Virginia, contributions up to the amounts specified in this article adequately allow contributors to express their opinions, level of support and their affiliations.
(7) In the context of West Virginia, candidates can raise sufficient monies to fund effective campaigns from contributions no larger than the amounts specified in this article.
(8) Limiting large contributions and limiting campaign expenditures will encourage direct and small group contact between candidates and the electorate and will encourage the personal involvement of a large number of citizens in campaigns, both of which are crucial to public confidence and the robust debate of issues.
(9) Large contributions and large expenditures by persons or committees, other than the candidate, reduce public confidence in the electoral process and increase the appearance that candidates and elected officials will not act in the best interests of the state's citizens.
(10) Citizen interest, participation and confidence in the electoral process is lessened by excessively long and expensive campaigns.
(11) In West Virginia, campaign expenditures by persons who are not candidates have been increasing and public confidence is eroded when substantial amounts of soft money are expended, particularly during the final days of a campaign.
(12) Identification of persons who publish political advertisements assists in enforcement of the contribution and expenditure limitations established by this act.
(b) Political campaign contributions, receipts and expenditures of money, advertising, influence and control of employees, and other economic, political and social control factors incident to primary, special and general elections shall be regulated and controlled by the provisions of this article and other applicable provisions of this chapter.
§3-8-1a. Definitions.
As used in this article, the following terms have the following definitions:
(1) "501(c)(4) organization" means either of the following:
(A) An organization described in section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of that Code.
(B) An organization that has submitted an application to the Internal Revenue Service for determination of its status as an organization described in subdivision (A) of this paragraph.
(2) "Agent" means any person who has actual oral or written
authority, either express or implied, to make or to authorize the
making of expenditures on behalf of a candidate, or means any
person who has been placed in a position with the candidate's
campaign committee or organization such that it would reasonably
appear that in the ordinary course of campaign-related activities
the person may authorize expenditures.
(3) "Candidate" means an individual who has taken affirmative action to become a candidate for state, county, local or legislative office in a primary, special, general or local election. An affirmative action shall include one or more of the following:
(A) accepting contributions or making expenditures totaling one thousand dollars or more; or
(B) filing the requisite petition for nomination under this title or being nominated by primary; or
(C) announcing that he or she seeks an elected position as a state, county or local officer or a position as a delegate or senator in the legislature.
(4) "Clearly identified" means that-
(A) the name or nickname of the candidate involved appears;
(B) a photograph or drawing of the candidate appears; or
(C) the identity of the candidate is apparent by an unambiguous reference to the person or the person's status as a candidate.
(5) "Continuing association" means an association, other than
a campaign committee, political party, legislative campaign fund,
political contributing entity, or labor organization, that is
intended to be a permanent organization that has a primary purpose
other than supporting or opposing specific candidates, political
parties, or ballot issues, and that functions on a regular basis
throughout the year. "Continuing association" includes
organizations that are determined to be not organized for profit
under subsection 501 and that are described in subsection
501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), or 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code.
(6) "Contribution" means a gift subscription, assessment, payment for services, dues, advance, donation, pledge, contract, agreement, forbearance or promise of money or other tangible thing of value, whether or not conditional or legally enforceable, or a transfer of money or other tangible thing of value to a person, made for the purpose of influencing the nomination, election or defeat of a candidate, or for the passage or defeat of any issue, thing or item to be voted upon. An offer or tender of a contribution is not a contribution if expressly and unconditionally rejected or returned. A contribution does not include volunteer personal services provided without compensation.
(7) The term "disclosure date" means either of the following:
(A) The first date during any calendar year when an electioneering communication is aired after an entity has made disbursements for the direct costs of producing or airing electioneering communications aggregating in excess of ten thousand dollars.
(B) Any other date during that calendar year by which an entity has made disbursements for the direct costs of producing or airing electioneering communications aggregating in excess of ten thousand dollars since the most recent disclosure date for that calendar year.
(8) "Election" means the procedure whereby the voters of this state or any of its political subdivisions select a person to be a candidate for public office or fill a public office, or to act on public questions including voting on constitutional amendments. Each primary, general, special, run-off or local election shall constitute a separate election.
(9) (A) "Electioneering communication" means any paid advertising broadcast from a television or radio broadcast station, published in any periodical or newspaper, or sent by mass mailing, that has all the following characteristics:
(i) Refers to a clearly identified candidate for a statewide office or the legislature.
(ii) Is made within one of the following time periods:
(a) sixty days before a general or special election for the office sought by the candidate, or
(b) thirty days before a primary election or a convention of a political party that has authority to nominate a candidate for the office sought by the candidate.
(iii) Is targeted to the relevant electorate.
(B) "Electioneering communication" does not include any of the following:
(i) A communication appearing in a news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, unless those facilities are owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate.
(ii) A communication that constitutes an expenditure or independent expenditure under this article.
(iii) A communication that constitutes a candidate debate or forum conducted pursuant to rules adopted by the State Election Commission or that solely promotes that debate or forum and is made by or on behalf of the person sponsoring the debate or forum.
(iv) A communication made while the Legislature is in session which, incidental to advocacy for or against a specific piece of legislation pending before the Legislature, urges the audience to communicate with a member or members of the Legislature concerning that piece of legislation.
(v) A statement or depiction by an organization, in existence prior to the time during which a candidate named or depicted qualifies, made in that organization's newsletter, which newsletter is distributed only to members of that organization.
(10) "Expenditure" means the disbursement or use of a
contribution for the purpose of influencing the results of an
election or making an electioneering communication.
(11) "Express advocacy" means a communication that contains
express words advocating the nomination, election, or defeat of a
candidate or that contains express words advocating the adoption
or defeat of a public question.
(12) "Financial agent" means any person acting for and by himself or herself, or any two or more natural persons acting together or cooperating in a financial way to aid or take part in the nomination or election of any candidate for public office, or to aid or promote the success or defeat of any political party or principle at any election, or any proposition submitted to a vote at a public election.
(13) "General election campaign period" means the period beginning the day after the primary election and ending on the day of the general election in that election year.
(14) "Independent expenditure" means an expenditure made by a person or entity other than a candidate or his or her committee in support or opposition to the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates that is made without consultation or coordination with a candidate or agent of a candidate whose nomination or election the expenditure supports or whose opponent's nomination or election the expenditure opposes. Supporting or opposing the election of clearly identified candidates includes supporting or opposing the candidates of a clearly identified political party. A contribution is not an independent expenditure.
(15) "Made in coordination, cooperation, or consultation with, or at the request or suggestion of, any candidate or the campaign committee or agent of the candidate" means made pursuant to any arrangement, coordination, or direction by the candidate, the candidate's campaign committee, or the candidate's agent prior to the publication, distribution, display, or broadcast of the
communication. An expenditure is presumed to be so made when it is
any of the following:
(A) Based on information about the candidate's plans,
projects, or needs provided to the person making the expenditure
by the candidate, or by the candidate's campaign committee or
agent, with a view toward having an expenditure made;
(B) Made by or through any person who is, or has been,
authorized to raise or expend funds, who is, or has been, an
officer of the candidate's campaign committee, or who is, or has
been, receiving any form of compensation or reimbursement from the
candidate or the candidate's campaign committee or agent;
(C) Made by a political party in support of a candidate, unless the expenditure is made by a political party to conduct voter registration or voter education efforts.
(16) "Mass mailing" means a mailing by United States mail, facsimile, or Internet of more than five hundred pieces of mail matter of an identical or substantially similar nature within any thirty day period.
(17) "Name" means an individual's full first name, middle name or initial, if any, and full legal last name, making the identity of the person who made the contribution apparent by unambiguous reference.
(18) "Person" means an individual, partnership, committee, association, corporation, and any other organization or group of persons.
(19) "Political action committee" means a committee organized by one or more individuals, corporations, associations, labor unions or organizations, the primary purpose of which is to support or oppose any candidate, political party, or public question, or to influence the result of any election through express advocacy, and that is not a political organization, political party or a campaign committee. "Political action committee" does not include a continuing association that makes disbursements for the direct costs of producing or airing electioneering communications and that does not engage in express advocacy.
(20) "Political organization" means any committee, club, association, fund, or other group of persons (whether or not incorporated), including but not limited to, a political organization defined in section 527(e)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, organized and operated primarily for the purpose of directly or indirectly accepting contributions aggregating in excess of one thousand dollars during a calendar year or making expenditures aggregating in excess of one thousand dollars during a calendar, or both, to influence or attempt to influence the selection, nomination, election or appointment of an individual to a state-wide or legislative office.
(21) "Political party" means a political party as defined by section eight, article one, chapter three of this code or any committee established, financed, maintained or controlled by the party, including any subsidiary, branch or local unit thereof and including national or regional affiliates of the party.
(21) "Primary election campaign period" means the period beginning on the first day of the primary election filing period and ending on the day of the subsequent primary election.
(22) "Public question" means an issue that is before the voters for a binding decision.
(23) "Single source" means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, labor organization or any other organization or group of persons which is not a political committee or political party.
(24) "Targeted to the relevant electorate" means a communication which refers to a clearly identified candidate for statewide office or the Legislature and which can be received by ten thousand or more individuals in the state in the case of a candidacy for statewide office and five hundred or more individuals in the district in the case of a candidacy for the legislature.
§3-8-2. Accounts for receipts and expenditures in elections; requirements for reporting independent expenditures.
(a) Except candidates for party committeemen and committeewomen, in primary and other elections and federal committees required to file under the provisions 2 U.S.C. § 434, all candidates for nomination or election and all persons or organizations of any kind advocating or opposing a nomination, election or defeat of any candidate shall keep records of receipts and expenditures which are made for political purposes. All of the receipts and expenditures are subject to regulation by the provisions of this article. Verified financial statements of the records and expenditures shall be made and filed as public records by all candidates and by their financial agents, representatives or any person acting for and on behalf of any candidate and by the treasurers of all political party committees.
(b) In addition to any other reporting required by the provisions of this chapter, any independent expenditure in the amount of one thousand dollars or more for any statewide, legislative or multi-county judicial candidate or in the amount of five hundred dollars or more for any county office, single-county judicial candidate, committee supporting or opposing a candidate on the ballot in more than one county, any municipal candidate on a municipal election ballot, which is made after the eleventh day but more than twelve hours before the day of any election shall be reported, on a form prescribed by the secretary of state, within twenty-four hours after the expenditure is made or debt is incurred for a communication, to the secretary of state by hand-delivery, facsimile or other means to assure receipt by the secretary of state within the twenty-four hour period
(c) For purposes of this section, "independent expenditure" means an expenditure made by a person other than a candidate or committee for a communication which expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate but which is made independently of a candidate's campaign and which has not been made with the cooperation or consent of, or in consultation with, or at the request or suggestion of, any candidate or any of his or her agents or authorized committees. An expenditure which does not meet the criteria for independence established in this subsection is considered a contribution
(dc) Any independent expenditure must include a clear and conspicuous public notice which identifies the name of the person who paid for the expenditure and states that the communication is not authorized by the candidate or his or her committee.
§3-8-2b. Disclosure of Electioneering Communications
(a) Every individual, committee, association, or any other organization or group of individuals that makes a disbursement for the direct costs of producing and airing electioneering communications in an aggregate amount in excess of ten thousand dollars during any calendar year shall, within twenty-four hours of each disclosure date, file with the state elections commission a statement containing the information described in subsection (b) of this section.
(b)(1) Each statement required to be filed by this section shall contain the following information:
(A) The identification of the entity making the disbursement, of any entity sharing or exercising direction or control over the activities of that entity, and of the custodian of the books and accounts of the entity making the disbursement.
(B) The principal place of business of the entity making the disbursement if the entity is not an individual.
(C) The amount of each disbursement of more than one thousand dollars during the period covered by the statement and the identification of the entity to whom the disbursement was made.
(D) The elections to which the electioneering communications pertain and the names, if known, of the candidates identified or to be identified.
(E) If the disbursements were paid out of a segregated bank account that consists of funds contributed solely by individuals directly to that account for electioneering communications, the names and addresses of all contributors who contributed an aggregate amount of more than one thousand dollars during the period beginning on the first day of the preceding calendar year and ending on the disclosure date. Nothing in this subdivision is to be construed as a prohibition on the use of funds in such a segregated account for a purpose other than electioneering communications.
(F) If the disbursements were paid out of funds not described in subdivision (5) of this subsection, the names and addresses of all contributors who contributed an aggregate amount of more than one thousand dollars to the entity making the disbursement during the period beginning on the first day of the preceding calendar year and ending on the disclosure date.
(2) For each contributor for which information is required to
be reported under subsection (b)(1)(E) or (F) of this section, all
of the following shall be reported:
(A) The month, day, and year that the contributor made the
contribution or contributions aggregating two hundred dollars or
more;
(B)(i) The full name and address of the contributor, and, if
the contributor is a political action committee, the name the political action committee registered with the Commission;
(ii) If the contributor is an individual, the name and address of the individual's current employer, if any, or, if the individual is self-employed, the individual's occupation and the name and address of the individual's business, if any.
(C) A description of the contribution, if other than money;
(D) The value in dollars and cents of the contribution.
(c)(1) Any person who makes a contribution for the purpose of
funding the direct costs of producing or airing an electioneering
communication under this section shall provide the person's full
name and address to the recipient of the contribution at the time
the contribution is made.
(2) Any individual who makes a contribution or contributions
aggregating two hundred dollars or more during the period specified in subsection (b)(1)(E) or (F) of this section, as applicable, for the purpose of funding the direct costs of producing or airing an electioneering communication under this section shall provide the name of the individual's current employer, if any, or, if the individual is self-employed, the individual's occupation and the name of the individual's business, if any, to the recipient of the contribution at the time the contribution is made.
(d) In each electioneering communication, a statement shall
appear or be presented in a clear and conspicuous manner that does
both of the following:
(1) Clearly indicates that the electioneering communication
is not authorized by the candidate or the candidate's campaign
committee;
(2) Clearly identifies the electioneering communication
committee making the disbursement for the electioneering
communication.
(e) Any coordinated electioneering communication is an
in-kind contribution, subject to the applicable contribution
limits prescribed in sections eight and twelve of this article, to the candidate by the electioneering communication committee making
disbursements to pay the direct costs of producing or airing the
communication.
(f) Within five business days after the commission receives a disclosure of electioneering communications statement pursuant to this section, the commission shall make available online to the public through the internet the contribution and disbursement information in that statement.
(g) For the purposes of this section, a person shall be
considered to have made a disbursement if the person has entered
into a contract to make the disbursement.
§3-8-4. Treasurers and financial agents; written designation requirements; "person" and "financial agent" defined.
(a) No person shall act as the treasurer of any political committee, or as financial agent for any candidate for nomination or election to any office to be filled by the voters of the entire state, or candidates for nomination or election for any office, encompassing an election district larger than a county, or candidates for nomination for legislative office, or any person or organization advocating or opposing the nomination, election or defeat of any candidate, encompassing an election district larger than a county, unless a written statement designating him or her as the treasurer or financial agent is filed with the secretary of state at least twenty-eight days before the election at which he or she is to act and must be received before midnight, eastern standard time, of that day or if mailed, shall be postmarked before that hour: Provided, That a change of treasurer may be made at any time by filing a written statement with the secretary of state.
(b) No person shall act as treasurer of any committee or as financial agent for any candidate to be nominated or elected by the voters of a county or a district therein, except legislative candidates, or as the treasurer or financial agent for a candidate for the nomination or election to any other office, unless a written statement designating him or her as the treasurer or financial agent is filed with the clerk of the county commission at least twenty-eight days before the election at which he or she is to act and must be received before midnight, eastern standard time, of that day or if mailed, shall be postmarked before that hour: Provided, That a change of treasurer may be made at any time by filing a written statement with the clerk of the county commission.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, a filing designating a treasurer or financial agent for a state or county political executive committee may be made anytime before the committee either accepts or spends funds on behalf of the committee. Once a designation is made by a state or county political executive committee, no additional designations are required under this section until a successor treasurer or financial agent is designated. A state or county political executive committee may terminate a designation made pursuant to this section by making a written request to terminate the designation and by stating in the request that the committee has no funds remaining in the committee's account. This written request shall be made with either the secretary of state or the clerk of the county commission as provided by subsections (a) and (b) of this section.
(d) As used in this article:
The term "person" means an individual, partnership, committee, association, corporation, and any other organization or group of persons; and
The term "financial agent" means any person acting for and by himself or herself, or any two or more natural persons acting together or cooperating in a financial way to aid or take part in the nomination or election of any candidate for public office, or to aid or promote the success or defeat of any political party or principle at any election, or any proposition submitted to a vote at a public election.
§3-8-7. Failure to file statement; delinquent or incomplete filing; criminal and civil penalties.
(a) Any individual, committee, association, candidate, financial agent or treasurer of a political party committee, or any other organization or group of individuals who fails to file a sworn, itemized statement as required by this article within the time limitations specified in this article or who willfully files a grossly incomplete or grossly inaccurate statement shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than five hundred dollars or imprisoned in the county jail for not more than one year, or both, in the discretion of the court. Forty days after any such primary or other election, the secretary of state, or county clerk, or municipal recorder, as the case may be, shall give notice of any failure to file such sworn statement or the filing of any grossly incomplete or grossly inaccurate statement by any individual, committee, association, candidate, financial agent or treasurer of a political party committee, or any other organization or group of individuals and forward copies of any grossly incomplete or grossly inaccurate statement to the prosecuting attorney of the county where such the individual, candidate, agent, or treasurer, committee, association or any other organization or group of individuals resides, is located or has it's principal place of business.
(b) (1) Any individual, committee, association, candidate, financial agent or treasurer of a political party committee, or any other organization or group of individuals who fails to file a sworn, itemized statement as provided in this article or who files a grossly incomplete or grossly inaccurate statement may be assessed a civil penalty by the secretary of state of twenty-five dollars a day for each day after the due date the statement is delinquent, grossly incomplete or grossly inaccurate. Forty days after any such primary or other election the county clerk shall give notice to the secretary of state of any failure to file such sworn statement or the filing of any grossly incomplete or grossly inaccurate statement by any individual, committee, association, candidate, financial agent or treasurer of a political party committee, or any other organization or group of individuals and forward copies of such delinquent, incomplete or inaccurate statements to the secretary of state.
(2) A civil penalty assessed pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be payable to the state of West Virginia and is collectable in any manner authorized by law for the collection of debts.
(3) The secretary of state may negotiate and enter into settlement agreements for the payment of civil penalties assessed as a result of the filing of a delinquent, grossly incomplete or inaccurate statement.
(4) The secretary of state and county clerk may review and audit any sworn statement required to be filed pursuant to the provisions of this article. The state election commission shall propose legislative rule for promulgation, in accordance with the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, to establish procedures for the assessment of civil penalties as provided in this section.
(c) No candidate nominated at a primary election who has failed to file a sworn statement, as required by the provisions of this article, shall have his name placed on the official ballot for the ensuing election, unless there has been filed by or on behalf of such candidate, or by his financial agent, if any, the financial statement relating to nominations required by this article. It is unlawful to issue a commission or certificate of election, or to administer the oath of office, to any person elected to any public office who has failed to file a sworn statement as required by the provisions of this article and no such person may enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed such statement, nor may he receive any salary or emolument for any period prior to the filing of such statement.
§3-8-8. Corporation contributions forbidden; exceptions; penalties; promulgation of rules and regulations; additional powers of state election commission.
(a) No officer of any corporation, or agent or person on behalf of such corporation, whether incorporated under the laws of this or any other state, or foreign country, shall pay, give or lend, or authorize to be paid, given or lent, any money or other thing of value belonging to such corporation, to any candidate, financial agent or political committee or other person, for the payment of any primary or other election expenses whatever. No person shall solicit or receive such payment, contribution or other thing from any corporation, officer or agent thereof, or other person acting on behalf of such corporation.
(b)(1) The provisions of this section shall not be deemed to prohibit:
(A) Direct communications, other than by newspapers of general circulation, radio, television or billboard advertising likely to reach the general public, by a corporation to its stockholders and executive or administrative personnel and their families on any subject;
(B) Nonpartisan registration and get-out-the-vote campaigns by a corporation aimed at its stockholders and executives or administrative personnel and their families; and
(C) The solicitation of contributions to a separate segregated fund to be utilized for political purposes by any corporate officer, agent or any person on behalf of a corporation. Any such fund shall be deemed to be a political committee for the purpose of this article and subject to all reporting requirements thereof.
(2) It shall be unlawful:
(A) For such a fund to make a contribution or expenditure by utilizing money or anything of value secured by physical force, job discrimination, financial reprisal or the threat of force, job discrimination or financial reprisal, or as a condition of employment, or by moneys obtained in any commercial transaction;
(B) For any person soliciting a stockholder, executive or administrative personnel and members of their family for a contribution to such fund to fail to inform such person of the political purposes of such fund at the time of such solicitation;
(C) For any person soliciting any other person for a contribution to such a fund to fail to inform such other person at the time of such solicitation of his right to refuse to so contribute without any reprisal;
(D) For a corporation, or a separate segregated fund established by a corporation to solicit contributions to such a fund from any person other than its stockholders and their families and its executive or administrative personnel and their families or to contribute any corporate funds;
(E) For a corporation, or a separate segregated fund established by a corporation to receive contributions to such a fund from any person other than its stockholders and their immediate families and its executive or administrative personnel and their immediate families;
(F) For a corporation to engage in job discrimination or to discriminate in job promotion or transfer because of an employee's failure to make a contribution to such fund;
(G) For such a fund directly or indirectly to make any contribution in excess of the value of one thousand dollars in connection with any campaign for nomination or election to or on behalf of any elective office in the state or any of its subdivisions, or in connection with or on behalf of any committee or other organization or person engaged in furthering, advancing or advocating the nomination or election of any candidate for any such office; and
(H) For a corporation to pay, give or lend, or authorize to be paid, given or lent, any moneys or other things of value belonging to such corporation to such fund for any purpose. This provision shall not be deemed to prohibit such a fund from using the property, real or personal, facilities, and equipment of a corporation solely to establish, administer, and solicit contributions to the fund, subject to the rules and regulations of the state election commission as provided in subsection (d) of this section: Provided, That such corporation shall also permit any group of employees thereof represented by a bona fide political action committee to use the real property of such corporation solely to establish, administer and solicit contributions to the fund of such political action committee, subject to the rules and regulations of the state elections commission as provided in subsection (d) of this section. No such property, real or personal, facilities, equipment, materials or services of a corporation shall be utilized for the purpose of influencing any voter or voters to vote for a particular candidate, or in any particular manner, or upon any particular side of any question to be decided at any election, or to influence the result of any such election.
(I) Public utility companies and railroad companies may not form funds or political action committees in support of political candidates or parties, and may not use corporate property, real or personal, facilities, equipment, materials or services of said utility to establish, administer or solicit contributions to such fund or political action committee.
(J) For a corporation to make any disbursement for the costs of producing or airing any electioneering communication. No individual, committee, association, political organization or any other organization or group of individuals, which has received any payment from a corporation may make any disbursement for the costs of producing and airing any electioneering communication. For the purpose of this section, the term "electioneering communication" does not include a communication by a section 501(c)(4) organization or a political organization if the communication is paid for exclusively by funds provided by individuals and the disbursements for costs of producing and airing the communication are paid out of a segregated bank account that consists of funds contributed solely by individuals directly to that account. An electioneering communication shall be treated as made by a corporation if the corporation directly or indirectly disburses any amount for any of the costs of the communication.
(3) For the purposes of this section, the term "executive or administrative personnel" means individuals employed by a corporation who are paid on a salary rather than hourly basis and who have policy making, managerial, professional or supervisory responsibilities.
(c) Any person or corporation violating any provision of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction, shall be fined not more than five ten thousand dollars. No corporation shall reimburse any person the amount of any such fine imposed pursuant to this section.
(d) The state election commission shall promulgate rules and regulations to implement the provisions of this section, which rules and regulations, insofar as practicable, shall be the same as the rules and regulations promulgated by the Federal Election Commission to carry out those provisions of 2 USC § 441b which are similar or identical to those provisions contained in this section in order that the provisions of this section and the regulations promulgated thereunder and the similar provisions of 2 USC § 441b and the regulations promulgated thereunder may be uniformly administered and applied to corporations subject to the cited section of the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1976 and to this section. The state election commission shall promulgate such rules and regulations not later than sixty days after the effective date of this subsection and in doing so shall be governed by the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
(e) In addition to its powers and duties as set forth in article one-A of this chapter, the state election commission shall have the following powers and duties:
1. To investigate, upon complaint or on its own initiative, any alleged violations or irregularities of this article.
2. To administer oaths and affirmations, issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses, issue subpoenas duces tecum to compel the production of books, papers, records and all other evidence necessary to any investigation.
3. To involve the aid of any circuit court in the execution of its subpoena power.
4. To report any alleged violations of this article to the appropriate prosecuting attorney having jurisdiction, which prosecuting attorney shall present to the grand jury such alleged violations, together with all evidence relating thereto, no later than the next term of court after receiving the report.
It shall be the duty of the attorney general to provide such legal and investigative assistance to the state election commission as it may request and require.
Any investigation either upon complaint or initiative, shall be conducted in an executive session of the state election commission and shall remain undisclosed except upon an indictment by a grand jury.
Any person who shall disclose the fact of any complaint, investigation or report or any part thereof, or any proceedings thereon, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than one thousand dollars, nor more than five thousand dollars, and shall be imprisoned in the county jail not less than six months nor more than one year.
§3-8-12. Additional acts forbidden; circulation of written matter; newspaper advertising; solicitation of contributions; intimidation and coercion of employees; promise of employment or other benefits; limitations on contributions; public contractors; penalty.
(a) No person may publish, issue or circulate, or cause to be published, issued or circulated, any anonymous letter, circular, placard, radio or television advertisement or other publication expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate.
(b) No owner, publisher, editor or employee of a newspaper or other periodical may insert, either in its advertising or reading columns, any matter, paid for or to be paid for, which tends to influence the voting at any election, unless directly designating it as a paid advertisement and stating the name of the person authorizing its publication and the candidate in whose behalf it is published.
(c) No person may, in any room or building occupied for the discharge of official duties by any officer or employee of the state or a political subdivision of the state, solicit orally or by written communication delivered within the room or building, or in any other manner, any contribution of money or other thing of value for any party or political purpose, from any postmaster or any other officer or employee of the federal government, or officer or employee of the state, or a political subdivision of the state. No officer, agent, clerk or employee of the federal government, or of this state, or any political subdivision of the state, who may have charge or control of any building, office or room, occupied for any official purpose, may knowingly permit any person to enter any building, office or room, occupied for any official purpose for the purpose of soliciting or receiving any political assessments from, or delivering or giving written solicitations for, or any notice of, any political assessments to, any officer or employee of the state, or a political subdivision of the state.
(d) Except as provided in section eight of this article, no person entering into any contract with the state or its subdivisions, or any department or agency of the state, either for rendition of personal services or furnishing any material, supplies or equipment or selling any land or building to the state, or its subdivisions, or any department or agency of the state, if payment for the performance of the contract or payment for the material, supplies, equipment, land or building is to be made, in whole or in part, from public funds may, during the period of negotiation for or performance under the contract or furnishing of materials, supplies, equipment, land or buildings, directly or indirectly, make any contribution to any political party, committee or candidate for public office or to any person for political purposes or use; nor may any person or firm solicit any contributions for any purpose during any period.
(e) No person may, directly or indirectly, promise any employment, position, work, compensation or other benefit provided for, or made possible, in whole or in part, by act of the Legislature, to any person as consideration, favor or reward for any political activity for the support of or opposition to any candidate, or any political party in any election.
(f) No person may, directly or indirectly, make any contribution in excess of the value of one thousand dollars in connection with any campaign for nomination or election to or on behalf of any statewide or national elective office, or in excess of the value of one thousand dollars, in connection with any other campaign for nomination or election to or on behalf of any other elective office in the state or any of its subdivisions, or in connection with or on behalf of any committee or other organization or person engaged in furthering, advancing or advocating the nomination or election of any candidate for any of the offices.
(g) A political organization or political action committee, other than a political committee of a candidate or a political party, that engages in activities either expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate for a statewide office or the legislature, or in electioneering communications, shall not accept contributions totaling more than one thousand dollars from a single source, political committee or political party during a primary election campaign period or a general election campaign period.
(gh) (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (f) of this section to the contrary, the aggregate contributions made to a state party executive committee or state party legislative caucus committee are to be permitted only pursuant to the limitations imposed by the provisions of this subsection.
(2) No person may, directly or indirectly, make contributions to a state party executive committee or state party legislative caucus committee which, in the aggregate, exceed the value of one thousand dollars in any calendar year.
(hi) The limitations on contributions contained in this section do not apply to transfers between and among a state party executive committee or a state party's legislative caucus political committee from national committees of the same political party: Provided, That transfers permitted by this subsection may not exceed fifty thousand dollars in the aggregate in any calendar year to any state party executive committee or state party legislative caucus political committee: Provided, however, That the moneys transferred may only be used for voter registration and get-out-the-vote activities of the state committees.
(ij) No person may solicit any contribution from any nonelective salaried employee of the state government or of any of its subdivisions or coerce or intimidate any nonelective salaried employee into making a contribution. No person may coerce or intimidate any nonsalaried employee of the state government or any of its subdivisions into engaging in any form of political activity. The provisions of this subsection may not be construed to prevent any employee from making a contribution or from engaging in political activity voluntarily, without coercion, intimidation or solicitation.
(jk) No person may solicit a contribution from any other person without informing the other person at the time of the solicitation of the amount of any commission, remuneration or other compensation that the solicitor or any other person will receive or expect to receive as a direct result of the contribution being successfully collected. Nothing in this subsection may be construed to apply to solicitations of contributions made by any person serving as an unpaid volunteer.
(kl) No person may place any letter, circular, flyer, advertisement, election paraphernalia, solicitation material or other printed or published item tending to influence voting at any election in a roadside receptacle unless it is: (1) Approved for placement into a roadside receptacle by the business or entity owning the receptacle; and (2) contains a written acknowledgment of the approval. This subdivision does not apply to any printed material contained in a newspaper or periodical published or distributed by the owner of the receptacle. The term "roadside receptacle" means any container placed by a newspaper or periodical business or entity to facilitate home or personal delivery of a designated newspaper or periodical to its customers.
(lm) Any person violating any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars, or confined in a regional or county jail for not more than one year, or, in the discretion of the court, be subject to both fine and confinement.
(n) The limitations on contributions established by this section shall not apply to contributions made for the purpose of advocating a position on a public question, including a constitutional amendment.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is require the disclosure of electioneering communications; prohibit corporate disbursements for electioneering communications; and limit contributions to political action committees and political organizations.

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

§§3-8-1a and 3-8-2a are new, therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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