The Legislature hereby further declares that the code of fair campaign practices, as contained in this article, is a standard to which all candidates for public office should aspire and is a guideline for voters to determine fair play in the conduct of campaigns for public office.
It is the further goal of the Legislature that every candidate for public office in this state will voluntarily subscribe and adhere to the code of campaign practices.
(a) "Campaign advertising or communication" means a communication authorized by a candidate or a candidate's committee for the purpose of advocating the nomination, election or defeat of a candidate;
(b) "Candidate for public office" means an individual who has filed a pre-candidacy statement pursuant to the provisions of section five-e, article eight of this chapter, has qualified to have his or her name listed on the ballot of any election, or who has declared his or her intention to seek nomination or election through a petition or write-in procedure for any state, regional, county, municipal or district office which is to be filled at an election;
(c) "Code" means the code of fair campaign practices as set forth in this article;
(d) "Commission" means the state election commission created pursuant to the provisions of article one-a of this chapter; and
(e) "Political committee" means all of those persons and entities required to keep accounts and file financial statements pursuant to the provisions of section five, article eight of this chapter.
(a) The power to issue advisory opinions on whether an action or proposed action of a subscribing candidate violates the code of fair campaign practices;
(b) The duty to prepare and distribute copies of the code of fair campaign practices to voters, circuit clerks, county clerks and other election officials;
(c) The duty to receive, investigate and act on complaints or other information concerning noncompliance with the code by candidates for public office who subscribe to the code; and
(d) The duty to make public the name and identity of candidates subscribing to the code and the findings of compliance or noncompliance with the code upon the conclusion of a hearing conducted pursuant to section four of this article.
CODE OF FAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES
I SHALL CONDUCT this campaign openly and publicly, discussing the issues as I see them, presenting positions and policies with sincerity and frankness, and criticizing without fear or favor the record and policies of candidates or political parties which merit such criticism.
I SHALL NOT USE OR PERMIT the use of character defamation, whispering campaigns, libel, slander or scurrilous attacks on any candidate or his or her personal family life.
I SHALL CONDEMN the use of campaign advertising or communication of any sort which misrepresents, distorts, or otherwise falsifies the facts regarding any candidate or issue raised in my campaign.
I SHALL NOT USE OR PERMIT any appeal to negative prejudice based on race, sex, religion, national origin, physical disability or age.
I SHALL NOT USE OR PERMIT any dishonest or unethical practice which tends to corrupt or undermine our system of free elections, or which hampers or prevents the full and free expression of the will of the voters including acts intended to hinder, prevent, or discourage any eligible person from registering to vote, or from voting, or which is intended to affect voting through the buying of influence or votes.
I SHALL NOT COERCE election help or campaign contributions for myself or my committee or for any other candidate or any ballot issue from my employees or from any person under my authority, influence or control.
I SHALL IMMEDIATELY AND PUBLICLY REPUDIATE support on behalf of or in opposition to any candidacy deriving from any individual or group which resorts to the methods and tactics which I condemn. I shall accept responsibility to take firm action against any subordinate or associate who violates any provisions of this code or the laws governing elections.
I PERSONALLY SUPPORT a limit on campaign expenditures that when reasonable, sufficient and fairly applied, does not limit or restrict the expression of ideas of the candidate or others on behalf of the candidate, but instead challenges individuals to engage in open dialogue on the issues rather than merely to purchase the excessive repetition of images and slogans.
ACCORDINGLY, IF I AM A CANDIDATE for one of the offices listed below, I will, in conjunction with the committee or committees organized on my behalf, adhere to the following limitations on campaign spending specified for the office I seek:
|Supreme Court of Appeals||150,000||150,000|
|House of Delegates||25,000||25,000|
I SHALL DEFEND AND UPHOLD the right of every qualified voter to full and equal participation in the electoral process.
I, the undersigned, a candidate for election to public office in the State of West Virginia, or the chairperson of a political committee supporting one or more candidates for election, hereby voluntarily endorse, subscribe to, and solemnly pledge myself to conduct this campaign in accordance with the above principles and practices. I understand that subscription and adherence to the code is voluntary.
Forms filed with the circuit clerk shall be immediately forwarded to the county clerk. The county clerk, secretary of state, and municipal recorder or clerk shall retain such forms filed with them for public inspection until one hundred eighty days after the general election.