H. B. 219
(By Mr. Speaker, Mr. Thompson and Delegate Armstead)
[By Request of the Executive]
[Passed June 28, 2008; in effect ninety days from passage.]
AN ACT to amend and reenact §3-8-1, §3-8-1a, §3-8-4, §3-8-5 and §3-
8-8 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to
amend and reenact §3-9-14 of said code, all relating to the
regulation and control of elections, generally; legislative
findings related to the particular characteristics of West
Virginia which warrant regulation of non-broadcast media;
defining terms; clarifying that statutory prohibitions and
criminal provisions relating to corporate election
communications apply only to express advocacy; clarifying
offenses and penalties; and establishing effective dates.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §3-8-1, §3-8-1a, §3-8-4, §3-8-5 and §3-8-8 of the Code of
West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that
§3-9-14 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as
ARTICLE 8. REGULATION AND CONTROL OF ELECTIONS.
§3-8-1. Provisions to regulate and control elections.
(a) The Legislature finds that:
(1) West Virginia's population is 1,808,344, ranking 37th among
the fifty states.
(2) State Senate districts have a population of approximately
one hundred six thousand three hundred seventy-three, and the
average Delegate district has a population of approximately thirty-
one thousand, one hundred seventy-eight. The size of these
districts is substantially smaller than the United States
Senatorial and Congressional Districts.
(3) When the relatively small size of the State's legislative
and other voting districts is combined with the economics and
typical uses of various forms of electioneering communication,
history shows that non-broadcast media is and will continue to be
a widely used means of making campaign related communications to
target relevant audiences. Consequently, non-broadcast
communications are prevalent during elections.
(4) Disclosure provisions are appropriate legislative weapons
against the reality or appearance of improper influence stemming
from the dependence of candidates on large campaign contributions,
and the ceilings imposed accordingly serve the basic governmental
interest in safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process
without directly impinging upon the rights of individual citizens and candidates to engage in political debate and discussion.
(5) Disclosure of expenditures serve a substantial
governmental interest in informing the electorate and preventing
the corruption of the political process.
(6) Disclosure by persons and entities that make expenditures
for communications that expressly advocate the election or defeat
of clearly identified candidates, or perform its functional
equivalent, is a reasonable and minimally restrictive method of
furthering First Amendment values by public exposure of the state
(7) Failing to regulate non-broadcast media messages would
permit those desiring to influence elections to avoid the
principles and policies that are embodied in existing state law.
(8) The regulation of the various types of non-broadcast media
embodied within the amendments enacted during the second
extraordinary session of two thousand eight, in addition to
broadcast media, is tailored to meet the circumstances found in the
State of West Virginia.
(9) Non-broadcast media such as mass mailing, telephone banks
and billboards have proven to be effective means of election
communication in West Virginia. Broadcast, satellite and non-
broadcast media have all been used to influence election outcomes.
(10) Mass mailing and telephone communications can be more
effective campaign methods than broadcast media because such communications can be targeted to registered voters or historical
voters in the particular district. In contrast, broadcasted
messages reach all of the general public, including person
ineligible to vote in the district.
(11) Mass mailings or telephone communications in the final
days of a campaign can be particularly damaging to the public's
confidence in the election process because they reduce or make
impossible an effective response.
(12) Identifying those funding mass mailing or telephone
campaigns in the final days of a campaign may at least permit
voters to evaluate the credibility of the message.
(13) In West Virginia, contributions up to the amounts
specified in this article allow contributors to express their
opinions, level of support and their affiliations.
(14) In West Virginia, campaign expenditures by entities and
persons who are not candidates have been increasing. Public
confidence is eroded when substantial amounts of such money, the
source of which is hidden or disguised, is expended. This is
particularly true during the final days of a campaign.
(15) In West Virginia, contributions to political
organizations (defined in Section 527(e)(1) of the Internal Revenue
Code of 1986) substantially larger than the amounts permitted to be
received by a candidate's political committee have been recorded
and are considered by the legislature to be large contributions.
(16) Independent expenditures intended to influence
candidates' campaigns in the State are increasingly utilizing non-
broadcast media to support or defeat candidates.
(17) Identification of persons or entities funding political
advertisements assists in enforcement of the contribution and
expenditure limitations established by this article and simply
informs voters of the actual identities of persons or entities
advocating the election or defeat of candidates.
(18) Identification of persons or entities funding political
advertisements allows voters to evaluate the credibility of the
message contained in the advertisement.
(19) Disclosure of the identity of persons or entities funding
political communications regarding candidates bolsters the right of
listeners to be fully informed.
(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.
As used in this article, the following terms have the
(1) "Ballot issue" means a constitutional amendment, special levy, bond issue, local option referendum, municipal charter or
revision, an increase or decrease of corporate limits or any other
question that is placed before the voters for a binding decision.
(2) "Billboard" means a commercially available outdoor
advertisement, sign or similar display regularly available for
lease or rental to advertise a person, place or product.
(3) "Broadcast, cable or satellite communication" means a
communication that is publicly distributed by a television station,
radio station, cable television system or satellite system.
(4) "Candidate" means an individual who:
(A) Has filed a certificate of announcement under section
seven, article five of this chapter or a municipal charter;
(B) Has filed a declaration of candidacy under section
twenty-three, article five of this chapter;
(C) Has been named to fill a vacancy on a ballot; or
(D) Has declared a write-in candidacy or otherwise publicly
declared his or her intention to seek nomination or election for
any state, district, county or municipal office or party office to
be filled at any primary, general or special election.
(5) "Candidate's committee" means a political committee
established with the approval of or in cooperation with a candidate
or a prospective candidate to explore the possibilities of seeking
a particular office or to support or aid his or her nomination or
election to an office in an election cycle. If a candidate directs or influences the activities of more than one active committee in
a current campaign, those committees shall be considered one
committee for the purpose of contribution limits.
(6) "Clearly identified" means that the name, nickname,
photograph, drawing or other depiction of the candidate appears or
the identity of the candidate is otherwise apparent through an
unambiguous reference, such as "the Governor," "your Senator" or
"the incumbent" or through an unambiguous reference to his or her
status as a candidate, such as "the Democratic candidate for
Governor" or "the Republican candidate for Supreme Court of
(7) "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 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. 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: Provided, That a nonmonetary
contribution is to be considered at fair market value for reporting
requirements and contribution limitations.
(8) "Corporate political action committee" means a political action committee that is a separate segregated fund of a
corporation that may only accept contributions from its restricted
group as outlined by the rules of the State Election Commission.
(9) "Direct costs of purchasing, producing or disseminating
electioneering communications" means:
(A) Costs charged by a vendor, including, but not limited to,
studio rental time, compensation of staff and employees, costs of
video or audio recording media and talent, material and printing
costs and postage; or
(B) The cost of airtime on broadcast, cable or satellite radio
and television stations, the costs of disseminating printed
materials, establishing a telephone bank, studio time, use of
facilities and the charges for a broker to purchase airtime.
(10) "Disclosure date" means either of the following:
(A) The first date during any calendar year on which any
electioneering communication is disseminated after the person
paying for the communication has spent a total of five thousand
dollars or more for the direct costs of purchasing, producing or
disseminating electioneering communications; or
(B) Any other date during that calendar year after any
previous disclosure date on which the person has made additional
expenditures totaling five thousand dollars or more for the direct
costs of purchasing, producing or disseminating electioneering
(11) "Election" means any primary, general or special election
conducted under the provisions of this code or under the charter of
any municipality at which the voters nominate or elect candidates
for public office. For purposes of this article, each primary,
general, special or local election constitutes a separate election.
This definition is not intended to modify or abrogate the
definition of the term "nomination" as used in this article.
(12) (A) "Electioneering communication" means any paid
communication made by broadcast, cable or satellite signal, mass
mailing, telephone bank, billboard advertising, or published in any
newspaper, magazine or other periodical that:
(i) Refers to a clearly identified candidate for Governor,
Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Auditor,
Commissioner of Agriculture, Supreme Court of Appeals or the
(ii) Is publicly disseminated within:
(I) Thirty days before a primary election at which the
nomination for office sought by the candidate is to be determined;
(II) Sixty days before a general or special election at which
the office sought by the candidate is to be filled; and
(iii) Is targeted to the relevant electorate: Provided, That
for purposes of the general election of two thousand eight the
amendments to this article shall be effective the first day of October, two thousand eight.
(B) "Electioneering communication" does not include:
(i) A news story, commentary or editorial disseminated through
the facilities of any broadcast, cable or satellite television or
radio station, newspaper, magazine or other periodical publication
not owned or controlled by a political party, political committee
or candidate: Provided, That a news story disseminated through a
medium owned or controlled by a political party, political
committee or candidate is nevertheless exempt if the news is:
(I) A bona fide news account communicated in a publication of
general circulation or through a licensed broadcasting facility;
(II) Is part of a general pattern of campaign-related news
that gives reasonably equal coverage to all opposing candidates in
the circulation, viewing or listening area;
(ii) Activity by a candidate committee, party executive
committee or caucus committee, or a political action committee that
is required to be reported to the State Election Commission or the
Secretary of State as an expenditure pursuant to section five of
this article or the rules of the State Election Commission or the
Secretary of State promulgated pursuant to such provision:
Provided, That independent expenditures by a party executive
committee or caucus committee or a political action committee
required to be reported pursuant to subsection (b), section two of this article are not exempt from the reporting requirements of this
(iii) A candidate debate or forum conducted pursuant to rules
adopted by the State Election Commission or the Secretary of State
or a communication promoting that debate or forum made by or on
behalf of its sponsor;
(iv) A communication paid for by any organization operating
under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
(v) A communication made while the Legislature is in session
which, incidental to promoting or opposing 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;
(vi) A statement or depiction by a membership organization, in
existence prior to the date on which the individual named or
depicted became a candidate, made in a newsletter or other
communication distributed only to bona fide members of that
(vii) A communication made solely for the purpose of
attracting public attention to a product or service offered for
sale by a candidate or by a business owned or operated by a
candidate which does not mention an election, the office sought by
the candidate or his or her status as a candidate; or
(viii) A communication, such as a voter's guide, which refers to all of the candidates for one or more offices, which contains no
appearance of endorsement for or opposition to the nomination or
election of any candidate and which is intended as nonpartisan
public education focused on issues and voting history.
(13) "Expressly advocating" means any communication that:
(A) Uses phrases such as "vote for the Governor," "re-elect
your Senator," "support the Democratic nominee for Supreme Court,"
"cast your ballot for the Republican challenger for House of
Delegates," "Smith for House," "Bob Smith in '04," "vote Pro-Life"
or "vote Pro-Choice" accompanied by a listing of clearly identified
candidates described as Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, "vote against Old
Hickory," "defeat" accompanied by a picture of one or more
candidates, "reject the incumbent," or communications of campaign
slogans or individual words, that in context can have no other
reasonable meaning than to urge the election or defeat of one or
more clearly identified candidates, such as posters, bumper
stickers, advertisements, etc. which say "Smith's the One," "Jones
'06," "Baker"; or
(B) When considered in its entirety, the communication can
only be interpreted by a reasonable person as advocating the
election or defeat of one or more clearly identified candidates
(i) The electoral portion of the communication is
unmistakable, unambiguous, and suggestive of only one meaning; and
(ii) Reasonable minds could not differ as to whether it
encourages actions to elect or defeat one or more clearly
(14) "Financial agent" means any individual acting for and by
himself or herself, or any two or more individuals 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 at any
(15) "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.
(16) "Independent expenditure" means an expenditure by a
(A) Expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly
identified candidate; and
(B) That is not made in concert or cooperation with or at the
request or suggestion of such candidate, his or her agents, the
candidate's authorized political committee or a political party
committee or its agents.
Supporting or opposing the election of a clearly identified
candidate includes supporting or opposing the candidates of a political party. An expenditure which does not meet the criteria
for an independent expenditure is considered a contribution.
(17) "Mass mailing" means a mailing by United States mail,
facsimile or electronic mail of more than five hundred pieces of
mail matter of an identical or substantially similar nature within
any thirty-day period. For purposes of this subdivision,
substantially similar includes communications that contain
substantially the same template or language, but vary in
non-material respects such as communications customized by the
recipient's name, occupation, or geographic location.
(18) "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. "Membership organization"
does not include organizations that grant membership upon receiving
(19) "Name" means the full first name, middle name or initial,
if any, and full legal last name of an individual and the full name
of any association, corporation, committee or other organization of
individuals, making the identity of any person who makes a
contribution apparent by unambiguous reference.
(20) "Person" means an individual, partnership, committee,
association and any other organization or group of individuals.
(21) "Political action committee" means a committee organized
by one or more persons for the purpose of supporting or opposing
the nomination or election of one or more candidates. The
following are types of political action committees:
(A) A corporate political action committee, as that term is
defined by subdivision (8) of this section;
(B) A membership organization, as that term is defined by
subdivision(18) of this section;
(C) An unaffiliated political action committee, as that term
is defined by subdivision(29) of this section.
(22) "Political committee" means any candidate committee,
political action committee or political party committee.
(23) "Political party" means a political party as that term is
defined by section eight, article one of this chapter 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.
(24) "Political party committee" means a committee established
by a political party or political party caucus for the purposes of
engaging in the influencing of the election, nomination or defeat
of a candidate in any election.
(25) "Political purposes" means supporting or opposing the
nomination, election or defeat of one or more candidates or the
passage or defeat of a ballot issue, supporting the retirement of the debt of a candidate or political committee or the
administration or activities of an established political party or
an organization which has declared itself a political party and
determining the advisability of becoming a candidate under the
precandidacy financing provisions of this chapter.
(26) "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.
(27) "Telephone bank" means telephone calls that are targeted
to the relevant electorate, other than telephone calls made by
volunteer workers, regardless of whether paid professionals
designed the telephone bank system, developed calling instructions
or trained volunteers.
(28) "Two-year election cycle" means the 24-month period that
begins the day after a general election and ends on the day of the
subsequent general election.
(29) "Unaffiliated political action committee" means a
political action committee that is not affiliated with a
corporation or a membership organization.
§3-8-4. Treasurers and financial agents; written designation
(a) No person may act as the treasurer of any political
action committee or political party committee supporting, aiding or
opposing the nomination, election or defeat of any candidate for an
office encompassing an election district larger than a county
unless a written statement of organization, on a form to be
prescribed by the Secretary of State, is filed with the Secretary
of State at least twenty-eight days before the election at which
that person is to act as a treasurer and is received by the
Secretary of State before midnight, eastern standard time, of that
day or, if mailed, is postmarked before that hour. The form shall
include the name of the political committee; the name of the
treasurer; the mailing address, telephone number and e-mail
address, if applicable, of the committee and of the treasurer if
different from the committee information; the chairman of the
committee; the affiliate organization, if any; type of committee
affiliation, as defined in subdivisions (21) and (24), section
one-a of this article, if any; and whether the committee will
participate in statewide, county or municipal elections. The form
shall be certified as accurate and true and signed by the chairman
and the treasurer of the committee: Provided, That a change of
treasurer or financial agent may be made at any time by filing a
written statement with the Secretary of State.
(b) No person may act as the treasurer for any candidate for
nomination or election to any statewide office, or to any office encompassing an election district larger than a county or to any
legislative office unless a written statement designating that
person as the treasurer or financial agent is filed with the
Secretary of State at least twenty-eight days before the election
at which that person is to act as a treasurer and is received by
the Secretary of State before midnight, eastern standard time, of
that day or if mailed, is postmarked before that hour: Provided,
That a change of treasurer or financial agent may be made at any
time by filing a written statement with the Secretary of State.
(c) No person may 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 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 is received before midnight, eastern standard time, of that day
or if mailed, is 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.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a), (b) and
(c) of this section, a filing designating a treasurer for a state
or county political executive committee may be made anytime before the committee either accepts or spends funds. 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 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 filed with either the Secretary of State or the clerk of
the county commission as provided by subsections (a), (b) and (c)
of this section.
§3-8-5. Detailed accounts and verified financial statements
(a) Every candidate, treasurer, person and association of
persons, organization of any kind, including every corporation,
directly, or by an independent expenditure, supporting a political
committee established pursuant to paragraph (C), subdivision (1),
subsection (b), section eight of this article or engaging in other
activities permitted by this section and also including the
treasurer or equivalent officer of the association or organization,
expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified
candidate for state, district, county or municipal office, and the
treasurer of every political committee shall keep detailed accounts
of every sum of money or other thing of value received by him or her, including all loans of money or things of value and of all
expenditures and disbursements made, liabilities incurred, by the
candidate, financial agent, person, association or organization or
committee, for political purposes, or by any of the officers or
members of the committee, or any person acting under its authority
or on its behalf.
(b) Every person or association of persons required to keep
detailed accounts under this section shall file with the officers
hereinafter prescribed a detailed itemized sworn statement:
(1) Of all financial transactions, whenever the total exceeds
five hundred dollars, which have taken place before the last
Saturday in March, to be filed within six days thereafter and
annually whenever the total of all financial transactions relating
to an election exceeds five hundred dollars;
(2) Of all financial transactions which have taken place
before the fifteenth day preceding each primary or other election
and subsequent to the previous statement, if any, to be filed
within four business days after the fifteenth day;
(3) Of all financial transactions which have taken place
before the thirteenth day after each primary or other election and
subsequent to the previous statement, if any, to be filed within
four business days after the thirteenth day; and
(4) Of all financial transactions, whenever the total exceeds
five hundred dollars or whenever any loans are outstanding, which have taken place before the forty-third day preceding the general
election day, to be filed within four business days after the
(c) Every person who announces as a write-in candidate for any
elective office and his or her financial agent or election
organization of any kind shall comply with all of the requirements
of this section after public announcement of the person's candidacy
has been made.
(d) For purposes of this section, the term "financial
transactions" includes all contributions or loans received and all
repayments of loans or expenditures made to promote the candidacy
of any person by any candidate or any organization advocating or
opposing the nomination, election or defeat of any candidate to be
(e) Candidates for the office of conservation district
supervisor elected pursuant to the provisions of article
twenty-one-a, chapter nineteen of this code are required to file
only the reports required by subdivisions (2) and (3), subsection
(b) of this section immediately prior to and after the primary
election: Provided, That during the election in the year two
thousand eight, the statements required by this subsection shall be
filed immediately prior to and after the general election.
§3-8-8. Corporation contributions forbidden; exceptions;
penalties; promulgation of rules; additional powers of State Election Commission.
(a) Notwithstanding any provision of section two-b of this
article, no officer, agent or person acting on behalf of any
corporation, whether incorporated under the laws of this or any
other state or of a foreign country, may pay, give, lend or
authorize to be paid, given or lent any money or other thing of
value belonging to the corporation for the purpose of expressly
advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate
for state, district, county or municipal office, to any candidate,
financial agent, political committee or other person. No person
may solicit or receive any payment, contribution or other thing
from any corporation or from any officer, agent or other person
acting on behalf of the corporation.
(b)(1) The provisions of this section do not prohibit a
(A) Directly communicating with its stockholders and executive
or administrative personnel and their families on any subject:
Provided, That the communication is not by newspapers of general
circulation, radio, television or billboard advertising likely to
reach the general public;
(B) Conducting nonpartisan registration and get-out-the-vote
campaigns aimed at its stockholders and executive or administrative
personnel and their families;
(C) Soliciting, through any officer, agent or person acting on behalf of the corporation, contributions to a separate segregated
fund to be used for political purposes. Any separate segregated
fund is considered a political action committee for the purpose of
this article and is subject to all reporting requirements
applicable to political action committees; and
(D) Corporations may make disbursements for political
purposes, as such are defined by the provisions of subdivision
(25), subsection (a), section one-a of this article, that do not
expressly advocate for the election or defeat of a clearly
A disbursement for political purposes is
permissible if it:
(i) Does not reference an election, candidacy, political
party, opposing candidate or voting by the general public;
(ii) Does not take a position on any candidate's or
officeholder's character, qualifications, or fitness for office;
(iii) Focuses on a legislative, executive, or judicial matter
or issue which either:
(I) Urges a candidate to take a particular position or action
with respect to the matter or issue; or
(II) Urges the public to adopt a particular position and to
contact the candidate with respect to the matter or issue; or
(iv) Proposes a commercial transaction, such as purchase of a
book, video, or other product or service, or attendance (for a fee) at a film exhibition or other event.
(2) It is unlawful for:
(A) A separate segregated fund to make a primary or other
election contribution or expenditure by using money or anything of
value secured: (i) By physical force, job discrimination or
financial reprisal; (ii) by the threat of force, job discrimination
or financial reprisal; (iii) as a condition of employment; or(iv)
in any commercial transaction;
(B) Any person soliciting a stockholder or executive or
administrative personnel and members of their families for a
contribution to a separate segregated fund to fail to inform the
person solicited of the political purposes of the separate
segregated fund at the time of the solicitation;
(C) Any person soliciting any other person for a contribution
to a separate segregated fund to fail to inform the person
solicited at the time of the solicitation of his or her right to
refuse to contribute without any reprisal;
(D) A corporation or a separate segregated fund established by
a corporation: (i) To solicit contributions to the fund from any
person other than the corporation's stockholders and their families
and its executive or administrative personnel and their families;
or (ii) to contribute any corporate funds;
(E) A corporation or a separate segregated fund established by
a corporation to receive contributions to the fund from any person other than the corporation's stockholders and their immediate
families and its executive or administrative personnel and their
(F) 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 a separate segregated fund;
(G) A separate segregated fund to make any contribution,
directly or indirectly, in excess of one thousand dollars in
connection with or on behalf of any campaign for nomination or
election to 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,
supporting or aiding the nomination or election of any candidate
for any such office;
(H) A corporation to pay, give or lend or to authorize
payment, giving or lending of any moneys or other things of value
belonging to the corporation to a separate segregated fund for any
purpose. This provision does not prohibit a separate segregated
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 of the
State Election Commission as provided in subsection (d) of this
section: Provided, That any such corporation shall also permit any
group of its employees represented by a bona fide political action committee to use the real property of the corporation solely to
establish, administer and solicit contributions to the fund of the
political action committee, subject to the rules of the State
Election Commission promulgated in accordance with said subsection.
No corporation may use its property, real or personal, facilities,
equipment, materials or services for the purpose of expressly
advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate
for state, district, county or municipal office.
(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
(c) Any person or corporation violating any provision of this
section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, on conviction, shall be
fined not more than ten thousand dollars. No corporation may
reimburse any person the amount of any fine imposed pursuant to
(d) To ensure uniform administration and application of the
provisions of this section and of those of the Federal Election
Campaign Act Amendments of 1976 relating to corporate
contributions, the State Election Commission shall propose rules
for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of
article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to implement the provisions of this section consistent, insofar as practicable, with
the rules and regulations promulgated by the Federal Election
Commission to carry out similar or identical provisions of 2 U.S.C.
(e) In addition to the powers and duties set forth in article
one-a of this chapter, the State Election Commission has 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.
(f) The Attorney General shall, when requested, provide legal
and investigative assistance to the State Election Commission.
(g) 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.
(h) Any person who discloses the fact of any complaint,
investigation or report or any part thereof, or any proceedings
thereon, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be
fined not less than one thousand dollars, nor more than five
thousand dollars, and shall be imprisoned in jail not less than six
months nor more than one year.
(i) The amendments to this section enacted during the second
extraordinary session of two thousand eight are intended to conform
to the existing proscription to constitutionally permissible limits
and not to create a new offense or offenses.
(j) The effective date of the amendments to this section
enacted during the second extraordinary legislative session of two
thousand eight shall be the first day of October, two thousand
ARTICLE 9. OFFENSES AND PENALTIES
§3-9-14. Unlawful acts by corporations; penalties.
(a) Except as provided in section eight, article eight of this
chapter, any corporation which shall, by its officers, agents or
otherwise, offer, give or use, or cause to be offered, given or
used, or place or cause to be placed, in the possession, under the
control or at the disposal of another, to be offered, given or
used, directly or indirectly, money or other thing of value, for the purpose of expressly advocating the election or defeat of a
clearly identified candidate for a state, district, county or
municipal office, it shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon
conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than five thousand nor
more than twenty thousand dollars for every such offense, at the
discretion of the jury.
(b) As used in this section, the terms "clearly identified,"
and "expressly advocating" shall have the meaning ascribed thereto
by the provisions of section one-a, article eight of this chapter.
(c) The amendments to this section enacted during the second
extraordinary session of two thousand eight are intended to conform
the existing proscription to constitutionally permissible limits
and not to create a new offense or offenses.
(d) The effective date of the amendments to this section
enacted during the second extraordinary legislative session of two
thousand eight shall be the first day of October, two thousand