OLR Bill Analysis

SB 2103

Emergency Certification

AN ACT CONCERNING COMPREHENSIVE CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM FOR STATE-WIDE CONSTITUTIONAL AND GENERAL ASSEMBLY OFFICES

SUMMARY

This bill establishes a system of public financing for election campaigns. Beginning in 2008 for legislative offices and in 2010 for statewide elected offices, candidates who receive qualifying contributions and agree to limit their spending and comply with other requirements are eligible to receive state grants for their campaigns. Additionally, legislative candidates running in a special election are eligible to receive grants beginning December 31, 2006, the effective date of the program. Statewide office candidates are those running for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, state comptroller, secretary of the state, and state treasurer.

The bill requires the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) to administer the program. It expands SEEC’s other duties, including making it the repository for state candidate’s campaign finance statements. It also requires the SEEC to establish a pilot program for the public funding of municipal campaigns.

The bill changes contribution and expenditure limits to political campaigns, including a ban on contributions from certain contractors and lobbyists. Only candidates who do not participate in the public financing program are subject to the new limits under the bill. Those who participate are limited to qualifying contributions, personal funds, and state grants as sources of funding for their campaigns.

EFFECTIVE DATE: December 31, 2006 and applicable to elections held on and after that date, except for definitions applicable to the Citizens’ Election Program, SEEC’s duty to study and prepare a plan municipal public financing, use of corporation tax revenues to fund the Citizens’ Election Fund, provision on public funds and voluntary contributions to the fund, which are effective January 1, 2006; and provisions on state contractor contribution bans, abandoned property proceeds, and severability, which are effective upon passage.

CITIZENS’ ELECTION FUND SOURCES ( 2, 3, 10, 26, 51-53)

The bill establishes a Citizens’ Election Fund from which payments to participating candidates are made. It includes (1) proceeds from sales of abandoned property in the state’s custody (2) voluntary contributions from individuals, businesses, organizations, party committees, and PACs, (3) contributions of surpluses from campaign committees, exploratory committees, and certain other committees that dissolve, and (4) the fund's own investment earnings. In the case of a shortfall, it includes corporation tax revenues. The fund, which the state treasurer administers, is a separate, nonlapsing account in the General Fund. Grants paid to participating candidates from the fund are not considered public funds for any other purpose.

Unclaimed Property and Corporation Tax ( 51-52)

The bill allocates revenue to fund the Citizens’ Election Fund. The initial revenue source is proceeds from sales of abandoned property in the state’s custody. If that is insufficient, any shortfall must come from corporation tax revenues.

By law, the state treasurer assumes custody of unclaimed property after specified periods and may sell or otherwise dispose of it. Under current law, the treasurer must deposit unclaimed cash and the proceeds from the sale of other types of abandoned property in the General Fund.

This bill instead allocates $ 17 million of abandoned property proceeds for FY 06 and $ 16 million for FY 07 to the Citizens’ Election Fund. For FY 08 and each fiscal year thereafter, the bill requires the treasurer, within 30 days of the end of the fiscal year, to adjust the previous fiscal year’s allocation for inflation in accordance with any change in the Consumer Price Index from July 1, 2006 and June 30 of the adjustment year.

Any abandoned property revenue that exceeds the required allocation to the Citizens’ Election Fund must go to the General Fund. However, if for any fiscal year, abandoned property proceeds are less than the required allocation, the bill requires corporation tax revenue to be deposited in the fund to make up the shortfall.

Voluntary Contributions ( 53)

The bill allows a person, business, organization, party committee, or PAC to contribute directly to the fund. Contributions must be sent to the SEEC and be paid by check or money order. The SEEC immediately transmits all contributions to the state treasurer for deposit.

Donations of Surpluses ( 10, 26, 50)

Any candidate committee or a political committee, other than an ongoing PAC, can contribute to the fund some or its entire surplus when it dissolves. The law requires committee treasurers to spend or distribute surplus funds within 90 days of (1) a primary when a candidate loses, (2) an election, or (3) a referendum. The bill adds the fund to the following list of recipients that are eligible to receive surplus funds: party committees, ongoing PACs, charitable organizations, and contributors on a prorated basis.

Under the bill, a candidate committee that receives money from the fund must return any surplus to it. In addition, a participating lieutenant governor candidate’s committee that has a surplus when the candidate joins a gubernatorial candidate’s campaign must turn it over to the fund at that time.

The bill allows the treasurer of an exploratory committee formed by a candidate who intends to participate in the Citizens’ Election Program to distribute to the candidate’s candidate committee surplus funds that meet the criteria for qualifying contributions. The bill requires the treasurer to distribute any remaining surplus to the Citizens’ Election Fund.

CITIZENS’ ELECTION PROGRAM ( 1–17)

The bill establishes a Citizens’ Election Program under which major party candidates for statewide and legislative office can receive grants to finance their primary and general election campaigns. Eligible minor and petitioning party candidates for statewide and legislative office can receive grants to finance their general election campaigns. The program begins in 2008 for legislative races and in 2010 for statewide office races.

An eligible minor party candidate is one who is nominated by a minor party. An eligible petitioning party candidate is one whose nominating petition has been approved by the secretary of the state.

Eligibility Requirements ( 3)

A candidate is eligible to receive grants if he certifies with the SEEC as a participating candidate and agrees to limit spending to the amount the bill permits. His candidate committee must receive the required amount of qualifying contributions and return those that do not meet the qualifying contribution criteria. He must also submit an application that the SEEC approves.

Spending Limits ( 3)

Under the bill, participating candidates must agree to limit candidate committee spending:

1. before a primary and a general election campaign, to the sum of (a) the allowable qualifying contributions and (b) personal funds from the candidate;

2. for a primary campaign, to the sum of (a) the qualifying contributions and personal funds not spent before the primary campaign, (b) the amount of the grant authorized for the primary campaign, and (c) the amount of additional money authorized due to specified circumstances (i. e. , because an opponent exceeds the spending limit or an independent expenditure is made to promote the defeat of a participating candidate or the nomination or election of his opponent); and

3. for a general election campaign, to the sum of (a) the qualifying contributions and personal funds not spent before the general election campaign, (b) unspent funds from a primary campaign grant (c) the amount of the grant authorized for the general election campaign, (d) the amount of authorized additional money from the primary that was unspent, and (e) the amount of authorized additional money due to specified circumstances.

If a candidate has not spent all of his qualifying contributions before he receives a grant for the primary, the expenditures that he makes during the primary campaign are not considered qualifying contributions and do not count against his spending limit until he has fully spent the primary grant.

Tables 1 through 8 show the spending limits for statewide office and legislative candidates under the bill.

Table 1: Spending Limits for Major Party Gubernatorial Candidates

 

Candidates Opposed by Major Party Candidate

Unopposed Candidates

Candidates Opposed by Minor or Petitioning Party Candidates

Qualifying contributions

$ 250,000

$ 250,000

$ 250,000

Primary grant

1,250,000

1,250,000

1,250,000

Spending Limit total up to primary

1,500,000

1,500,000

1,500,000

General election grant

3,000,000

900,000

1,800,000

Spending limit total for entire election cycle with a primary

$ 4,500,000

$ 2,400,000

$ 3,300,000

Spending limit total for entire election cycle without a primary

$ 3,250,000

$ 1,150,000

$ 2,050,000

Table 2: Spending Limits for Minor and Petitioning Party Gubernatorial Candidates

 

Previous Minor Party Candidate Received at Least 10% of All Votes Cast or

Petition Signed by Qualified Electors Totaling at Least 10% of All Votes Cast

Previous Minor Party Candidate Received at Least 15% of All Votes Cast or

Petition Signed by Qualified Electors Totaling at Least 15% of All Votes Cast

Previous Minor Party Candidate Received at Least 20% of All Votes Cast or

Petition Signed by Qualified Electors Totaling at Least 20% of All Votes Cast

Qualifying contributions

$ 250,000

$ 250,000

$ 250,000

Primary grant

N/A

N/A

N/A

Spending Limit total up to primary

N/A

N/A

N/A

General election grant*

1,000,000

2,000,000

3,000,000

Spending limit total for entire election cycle

$ 1,250,000

$ 2,250,000

$ 3,250,000

N/A means not applicable

* Minor and petitioning party candidates can apply for a general election grant at any time during the election cycle once they have received the required amount of qualifying contributions.

Table 3: Spending Limits for Other Major Party

Statewide Office Candidates

 

Candidates Opposed by Major Party Candidate

Unopposed Candidates

Candidates Opposed by Minor or Petitioning Party Candidates

Qualifying contributions

$ 75,000

$ 75,000

$ 75,000

Primary grant

375,000

375,000

375,000

Spending Limit total up to primary

450,000

450,000

450,000

General election grant

750,000

225,000

450,000

Spending limit total for entire election cycle with a primary

$ 1,200,000

$ 675,000

$ 900,000

Spending limit total for entire election cycle without a primary

$ 825,000

$ 300,000

$ 525,000

Table 4: Spending Limits for Minor and Petitioning Party Other Statewide Office Candidates

 

Previous Minor Party Candidate Received at Least 10% of All Votes Cast or

Petition Signed by Qualified Electors Totaling at Least 10% of All Votes Cast

Previous Minor Party Candidate Received at Least 15% of All Votes Cast or

Petition Signed by Qualified Electors Totaling at Least 15% of All Votes Cast

Previous Minor Party Candidate Received at Least 20% of All Votes Cast or

Petition Signed by Qualified Electors Totaling at Least 20% of All Votes Cast

Qualifying contributions

$ 75,000

$ 75,000

$ 75,000

Primary grant

N/A

N/A

N/A

Spending Limit total up to primary

N/A

N/A

N/A

General election grant*

250,000

500,000

750,000

Spending limit total for entire election cycle

$ 325,000

$ 575,000

$ 825,000

N/A means not applicable

* Minor and petitioning party candidates can apply for a general election grant at any time during the election cycle once they have received the required amount of qualifying contributions.

Table 5: Spending Limits for Major Party

State Senate Candidates

 

Candidates Opposed by Major Party Candidate

Unopposed Candidates

Candidates Opposed by Minor or Petitioning Party Candidates

General Election

Qualifying contributions

$ 15,000

$ 15,000

$ 15,000

Primary grant*

35,000

35,000

35,000

Spending Limit total up to primary

50,000

50,000

50,000

General election grant

85,000

25,500

51,000

Spending limit total for entire election cycle with a primary

$ 135,000

$ 75,500

$ 101,000

Spending limit total for entire election cycle without a primary

$ 100,000

$ 40,500

$ 66,000

Special Election

Qualifying contributions

$ 11,250

$ 11,250

$ 11,250

Primary grant

N/A

N/A

N/A

Spending Limit total up to primary

N/A

N/A

N/A

General election grant

63,750

19,125

38,250

Spending limit total for entire election cycle with a primary

N/A

N/A

N/A

Spending limit total for entire election cycle without a primary

$ 75,000

$ 30,375

$ 49,500

N/A means not applicable

* A major party candidate whose party has at least 20% more enrolled voters in his district than those enrolled in another major party receives a primary grant for $ 75,000, increasing the above spending limits by $ 40,000.

Table 6: Spending Limits for Minor and Petitioning Party

State Senate Candidates

 

Previous Minor Party Candidate Received at Least 10% of All Votes Cast or

Petition Signed by Qualified Electors Totaling at Least 10% of All Votes Cast

Previous Minor Party Candidate Received at Least 15% of All Votes Cast or

Petition Signed by Qualified Electors Totaling at Least 15% of All Votes Cast

Previous Minor Party Candidate Received at Least 20% of All Votes Cast or

Petition Signed by Qualified Electors Totaling at Least 20% of All Votes Cast

General Election

Qualifying contributions

$ 15,000

$ 15,000

$ 15,000

Primary grant

N/A

N/A

N/A

Spending Limit total up to primary

N/A

N/A

N/A

General election grant*

28,333

56,667

85,000

Spending limit total for entire election cycle

$ 43,333

$ 71,667

$ 100,000

Special Election

Qualifying contributions

$ 11,250

$ 11,250

$ 11,250

Primary grant

N/A

N/A

N/A

Spending Limit total up to primary

N/A

N/A

N/A

General election grant*

21,250

42,500

63,750

Spending limit total for entire election cycle

$ 32,500

$ 53,750

$ 75,000

N/A means not applicable

* Minor and petitioning party candidates can apply for a general election grant at any time during the election cycle once they have received the required amount of qualifying contributions.

Table 7: Spending Limits for Major Party State Representative Candidates

 

Candidates Opposed by Major Party Candidate

Unopposed Candidates

Candidates Opposed by Minor or Petitioning Party Candidates

General Election

Qualifying contributions

$ 5,000

$ 5,000

$ 5,000

Primary grant*

10,000

10,000

10,000

Spending Limit total up to primary

15,000

15,000

15,000

General election grant

25,000

7,500

15,000

Spending limit total for entire election cycle with a primary

$ 40,000

$ 22,500

$ 30,000

Spending limit total for entire election cycle without a primary

$ 30,000

$ 12,500

$ 20,000

Special Election

Qualifying contributions

$ 3,750

$ 3,750

$ 3,750

Primary grant

N/A

N/A

N/A

Spending Limit total up to primary

N/A

N/A

N/A

General election grant

18,750

5,625

11,250

Spending limit total for entire election cycle with a primary

N/A

N/A

N/A

Spending limit total for entire election cycle without a primary

$ 22,500

$ 9,375

$ 15,000

N/A means not applicable

* A major party candidate whose party has at least 20% more enrolled voters in his district than those enrolled in another major party receives a primary grant for $ 25,000, increasing the above spending limits by $ 15,000.

Table 8: Spending Limits for Minor and Petitioning Party State Representative Candidates

 

Previous Minor Party Candidate Received at Least 10% of All Votes Cast or

Petition Signed by Qualified Electors Totaling at Least 10% of All Votes Cast

Previous Minor Party Candidate Received at Least 15% of All Votes Cast or

Petition Signed by Qualified Electors Totaling at Least 15% of All Votes Cast

Previous Minor Party Candidate Received at Least 20% of All Votes Cast or

Petition Signed by Qualified Electors Totaling at Least 20% of All Votes Cast

General Election

Qualifying contributions

$ 5,000

$ 5,000

$ 5,000

Primary grant

N/A

N/A

N/A

Spending Limit total up to primary

N/A

N/A

N/A

General election grant*

8,333

16,667

25,000

Spending limit total for entire election cycle

$ 13,333

$ 21,667

$ 30,000

Special Election

Qualifying contributions

$ 3,750

$ 3,750

$ 3,750

Primary grant

N/A

N/A

N/A

Spending Limit total up to primary

N/A

N/A

N/A

General election grant*

6,250

12,500

18,750

Spending limit total for entire election cycle

$ 10,000

$ 16,250

$ 22,500

N/A means not applicable

* Minor and petitioning party candidates can apply for a general election grant at any time during the election cycle once they have received the required amount of qualifying contributions.

Intent to Participate ( 4)

Effective December 31, 2006, the bill requires every candidate for nomination or election to a statewide or legislative office to file an affidavit with the SEEC when he forms a candidate committee or certifies that the registration is not required. The affidavit must include a written certification of whether the candidate intends to abide by the spending limits under the Citizens’ Election Program. If the candidate intends to abide by the limits, he must also include a certification that the campaign treasurer agrees to the lawful use of state funds and that the candidate will repay any amount improperly spent. The candidate must also include a certification stating his status as a major or minor party candidate, and the name of the party, or a petitioning party candidate. In addition, the candidate and the campaign treasurer must both certify that they are jointly and severally liable for repaying an amount equal to the excess spending if the candidate exceeds the spending limit. The bill prohibits a candidate who changes his status or political party during a campaign from receiving grants from the fund for that campaign.

Generally, candidates must file the affidavits by 4: 00 p. m. of the 40th day preceding the election. But in the case of a special election for state senator or state representative, candidates must file by 4: 00 p. m. on the 25th day preceding the special election.

Once a candidate certifies his intent to either abide or not abide by the spending limits, he becomes a “participating candidate” or a “nonparticipating candidate,” respectively. The bill requires the SEEC to prepare separate lists of participating and nonparticipating candidates and make them available to the public.

A participating candidate may withdraw without penalty from the Citizens’ Election Program before applying for an initial grant from the fund, whether for the primary or general election. He does this by filing an affidavit with the SEEC that includes a written certification of withdrawal. A candidate who files such an affidavit is deemed a nonparticipating candidate. The bill prohibits a participating candidate from withdrawing from the program after applying for an initial grant from the fund.

Qualifying Contributions ( 5)

Candidates who want to participate in the program must qualify by raising a specified amount from individual donors in contributions of no more than $ 100 (“aggregate qualifying contributions”). For statewide office candidates, a minimum amount must come from individuals who are state residents (“in-state qualifying contributions”). For state senators and state representatives, a minimum number of contributions of at least five dollars must come from individuals residing in municipalities included, in whole or in part, in their senate or assembly districts (“in-district qualifying contributions”). Tables 9 and 10 show the qualifying contributions for statewide office and legislative candidates, respectively.

Table 9: Qualifying Contributions for Statewide Office Candidates

Candidates for

Qualifying Total

Including Contributions from State Residents Totaling at Least:

Counting Amount from Separate Contributions

Up To:

Governor

$ 250,000

$ 225,000

$ 100

Other statewide offices

75,000

67,500

100

Table 10: Qualifying Contributions for Legislative Candidates

Candidates for

Qualifying Total

Including a Minimum Number of Contributions from District Residents of

at Least*:

Counting Amount from Separate Contributions

Between

State Senator

$ 15,000

300

$ 5 to $ 100

State Representative

5,000

150

5 to 100

*Individuals must reside in municipalities included either in whole or in part in candidate’s district.

In the case of a special election, a legislative candidate must raise aggregate qualifying contributions totaling least 75% of the aggregate contributions required during a regular election. They must similarly raise a number of in-state and in-district qualifying contributions equal to at least 75% of the applicable minimum number required during a regular election. Table 11 shows the qualifying contributions for legislative candidates during a special election.

Table 11: Qualifying Contributions for Legislative Candidates in a Special Election

Candidates for

Qualifying Total

Including a Minimum Number of Contributions from District Residents of

at Least:

Counting Amount from Separate Contributions

Between

State Senator

$ 11,250

225

$ 5 to $ 100

State Representative

3,750

113

5 to 100

Candidate committees must return any portion of a contribution from an individual, including the candidate himself, that exceeds $ 100 and cannot count any excess portion toward the required qualifying contributions whether aggregate, in-state, or in-district. All contributions to statewide office candidate’s exploratory committees that meet the criteria for aggregate and in-state qualifying contributions are counted toward the applicable thresholds that candidates must reach in order to qualify for a grant. The provision also applies to an exploratory and a candidate committee for a candidate for lieutenant governor who is running jointly with a candidate for governor. Similarly, contributions to a legislative candidate’s exploratory committee that meet the criteria for aggregate and in-district qualifying contributions are counted toward those thresholds.

Under the bill, a communicator lobbyist and his immediate family are banned from contributing to a participating candidate. The bill imposes the same restriction on a principal of a state contractor or prospective state contractor. An individual who makes a contribution of more than $ 50 must certify his eligibility in this regard.

A qualifying contribution is not valid when (1) the contributor of $ 5 or more does not provide his full name and address and (2) the contributor does not reside in the state and the candidate has reached the threshold for contributions from out-of-state residents. For legislative candidates, donations of less than $ 5 count toward the required amount of qualifying contributions, but not toward the required number of in-district contributions.

Contributions to participating candidate committees that exceed the limit for qualifying contributions must be transferred to the fund.

Grants from the Fund ( 6)

Candidates who agree to limit spending are entitled to receive grants from the Citizens’ Election Fund. Only major party candidates are eligible to receive grants for a primary campaign. Candidates for lieutenant governor can receive grants for a primary of a campaign or for petitioning for ballot access, but not for the general election when they must run together with a gubernatorial candidate whose committee may participate in the program.

An eligible minor party candidate can receive a grant for the general election only if the candidate for the same office representing the same minor party at the last preceding election received at least 10% of the whole number of votes cast for that office. In that case, the amount of the grant is one-third of the general election grant for major party candidates. If the candidate for the same office representing the same minor party at the last preceding election received 15% of the whole number of votes cast, the amount of the grant is two-thirds of the grant for major party candidates. If the previous candidate received 20% of the votes, the amount of the grant is the same.

An eligible petitioning party candidate can receive a grant for the general election only if his petition has been signed by a number of qualified electors equal to 10% of the number of votes cast for the same office at the last preceding regular election. In that case, the amount of the grant is one-third of the grant for major party candidates. If the petition has been signed by a number of qualified electors equal to 15% of the number of votes cast for the same office at the last preceding regular election, the amount of the grant is two-thirds of the grant for major party candidates. If it is signed by a number of qualified electors equal to 20% of the votes cast, the amount of the grant is the same.

If a nominated, major party candidate is unopposed, the amount of the grant he receives for the general election is 30% of the full grant. If he is opposed only by a minor or petitioning party candidate who has not received contributions of any type totaling at least as much as the required qualifying contributions for that office, the amount of the grant is 60% of the full grant. Finally, the grant amounts for legislative candidates in a special election are 75% of the amount authorized for that candidate in the general election, whether major, minor, or petitioning party. Tables 12 through 17 show all of the grant amounts.

Table 12: Grant Amounts for Major Party Statewide Office Candidates*

 

Primary for Nomination

General Election,

Nominated Candidate Opposed by Major Party Candidate

General Election,

Unopposed Nominated Candidate (30%)

General Election,

Nominated Candidate Opposed by Minor or Petitioning Party Candidates (60%)**

Governor

$ 1,250,000

$ 3,000,000

$ 900,000

$ 1,800,000

Other statewide offices

375,000

750,000

225,000

450,000

* To be adjusted for inflation (see below).

** Applies to a candidate only when opposed by a minor or petitioning party candidate who has received contributions less than the qualifying amount.

Table 13: Grant Amounts for Eligible Minor Party Statewide Office Candidates*

 

Primary for Nomination

General Election, Previous Minor Party Candidate Received at Least 10% of All Votes Cast for Same Office

General Election, Previous Minor Party Candidate Received at Least 15% of All Votes Cast for Same Office

General Election, Previous Minor Party Candidate Received at Least 20% of All Votes Cast for Same Office

Governor

N/A

$ 1,000,000

$ 2,000,000

$ 3,000,000

Other statewide offices

N/A

250,000

500,000

750,000

N/A means not applicable

* To be adjusted for inflation (see below).

Table 14: Grant Amounts for Eligible Petitioning Party Statewide Office Candidates*

 

Primary for Nomination

General Election, Petition Signed by Qualified Electors Totaling at Least 10% of All Votes Cast for Same Office

General Election, Petition Signed by Qualified Electors Totaling at Least 15% of All Votes Cast for Same Office

General Election, Petition Signed by Qualified Electors Totaling at Least 20% of All Votes Cast for Same Office

Governor

N/A

$ 1,000,000

$ 2,000,000

$ 3,000,000

Other statewide offices

N/A

250,000

500,000

750,000

N/A means not applicable

* To be adjusted for inflation (see below).

Table 15: Grant Amounts for Major Party Legislative Candidates*

 

Primary for Nomination

Primary for Nomination in a District with an Advantage of 20% or More Enrolled Electors**

General Election, Nominated Candidate Opposed by Major Party Candidate

General Election, Unopposed Nominated Candidate (30%)

General Election, Nominated Candidate Opposed by Minor or Petitioning Party Candidates (60%)***

State

Senator

$ 35,000

$ 75,000

$ 85,000

$ 25,500

$ 51,000

State Senator, special election

(75% of general election amounts)

N/A

N/A

63,750

19,125

38,250

State Represen-tative

10,000

25,000

25,000

7,500

15,000

State Represen-tative, special election

(75% of general election amounts)

N/A

N/A

18,750

5,625

11,250

N/A means not applicable

* To be adjusted for inflation (see below).

** Applies to a major party candidate whose party has at least 20% more enrolled voters in his district than another major party has, as determined by the latest enrollment and voter registration records in the Office of the Secretary of the State. Electors on the inactive registry list do not count toward the total.

*** Applies to a candidate only when opposed by a minor or petitioning party candidate who has received contributions less than the qualifying amount.

Table 16: Grant Amounts for Eligible Minor Party Legislative Candidates*

 

Primary for Nomination

General Election, Previous Minor Party Candidate Received at Least 10% of All Votes Cast for Same Office

General Election, Previous Minor Party Candidate Received at Least 15% of All Votes Cast for Same Office

General Election, Previous Minor Party Candidate Received at Least 20% of All Votes Cast for Same Office

State

Senator

N/A

$ 28,333

$ 56,667

$ 85,000

State Senator, special election

(75% of general election grant)

N/A

21,250

42,500

63,750

State Representative

N/A

8,333

16,667

25,000

State Representative, special election

(75% of general election grant)

N/A

6,250

12,500

18,750

* To be adjusted for inflation (see below).

N/A means not applicable

Table 17: Grant Amounts for Eligible Petitioning Party Legislative Candidates*

 

Primary for Nomination

General Election, Petition Signed by Qualified Electors Totaling at Least 10% of All Votes Cast for Same Office

General Election, Petition Signed by Qualified Electors Totaling at Least 15% of All Votes Cast for Same Office

General Election, Petition Signed by Qualified Electors Totaling at Least 20% of All Votes Cast for Same Office

State

Senator

N/A

$ 28,333

$ 56,667

$ 85,000

State Senator, special election

(75% of general election grant)

N/A

21,250

42,500

63,750

State Representative

N/A

8,333

16,667

25,000

State Senator, special election

(75% of general election grant)

N/A

6,250

12,500

18,750

* To be adjusted for inflation (see below).

N/A means not applicable

The initial grant that any candidate receives is reduced by the amount of personal funds that the candidate provides for his campaign (see 11). If a candidate who is nominated at a primary does not spend the entire grant for the primary campaign, the amount of the grant for the general election is reduced by the unspent amount. The bill prohibits a candidate committee from applying a Citizens’ Election Program grant to any deficit it incurs.

For legislative elections held in 2010, the bill requires the SEEC, by January 15, 2010, and every two years thereafter, to adjust the grant amounts in accordance with any change during the two preceding calendar years in the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers (CPI-U) as published by the U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. For statewide office elections held in 2014, the SEEC must do the same by January 15, 2014, and every four years thereafter, basing the change on the prior four years’ change in the CPI-U.

The bill makes a campaign treasurer guilty of larceny if he fails to return a surplus grant from the Citizens’ Election Fund to the fund within 90 days after the primary or election for which the grant was made. The penalty for larceny depends on the amount of money involved.

Grant Application ( 7)

Procedures. Beginning in 2008 for legislative races and 2010 for statewide office races, the bill allows participating candidates to apply for a grant under the Citizens’ Election Program for a primary and general election campaign. For a primary campaign, a candidate applies after the close of his party’s nominating convention if he (1) receives his party endorsement, (2) receives at least 15% of the delegate vote on a roll-call at the party convention, if applicable, or (3) qualifies as a petitioning candidate for the party’s nomination. The bill distinguishes legislative candidates seeking election to a district office (i. e. , multiple-town district) from those seeking election to a municipal office (i. e. , single-town district). By law, a state senator or state representative who represents a single-town district holds a municipal office. Since municipal office candidates are not endorsed at a state or district convention, they apply for a primary grant only after their party endorsement or qualifying as a petitioning candidate.

For a general election campaign, the candidate applies after the close of his party’s nominating convention or municipal caucus, convention, or town committee meeting, whichever is applicable, if he (1) receives his party’s endorsement and will not have to run in a primary; (2) receives at least 15% of the delegate vote on a roll-call at the party convention, no other candidate receives the party endorsement or 15% of the delegate vote, and no other candidate files a nominating petition; or (3) qualifies as a petitioning candidate and no candidate receives the party endorsement or 15% of the delegate vote. The candidate applies after a primary if the secretary of the state declares him the party nominee. If he is a minor party candidate, he applies after his nomination is certified and filed with the secretary of the state. A petitioning party candidate applies after the secretary of the state approves the petition. Finally, a legislative candidate in a special election applies after the close of his party’s district convention, municipal caucus, convention, or town committee meeting.

The SEEC must review each application and, within three business days of receiving one, determine whether a candidate qualifies for a grant. If the SEEC approves an applicant, it must determine the amount of funds for which the candidate is eligible and inform the comptroller and the candidate of the amount. The comptroller then has two business days to notify the treasurer and issue the check.

Participating candidates are ineligible for grants from the fund if they (1) change their status as a major, minor, or petitioning party candidate or (2) change parties after filing the affidavit of their intent to participate in the Citizens’ Election Program. The prohibition does not apply to cross-endorsed candidates.

Contents. The bill requires the candidate and campaign treasurer application to sign the application, which must include a written certification that the:

1. candidate committee has received the required qualifying contributions;

2. committee has repaid all loans;

3. committee has returned contributions of $ 5 or more from anyone who failed to provide his name and address;

4. committee has returned all contributions or portions thereof that do not meet the criteria for qualifying contributions and sent all excess qualifying contributions to the Citizens’ Election Fund;

5. committee treasurer will comply with all program requirements;

6. committee will deposit public funds, upon receipt, in the committee’s bank account;

7. treasurer will spend public funds for lawful committee purposes consistent with existing law and in accordance with regulations that the SEEC adopts; and

8. committee will return unspent grants it received from the fund if the candidate withdraws, becomes ineligible, or dies.

The application must be accompanied by a cumulative itemized accounting, as of three days before the application date, of all funds received, expenditures made, and expenses incurred but not yet paid. The campaign treasurer must swear to the accounting under penalty of false statement.

Replacement Candidate. If a nominated participating candidate dies, withdraws his candidacy, or becomes disqualified to hold office after the SEEC approves his application for a grant, the candidate who replaces him as the party’s nominee is eligible to receive grants without raising qualifying contributions. The replacement candidate must file an affidavit with the SEEC when he forms a candidate committee or certifies that the registration is not required. The affidavit must include a written certification that he intends to abide by the spending limits under the Citizens’ Election Program.

No Additional Deposits ( 8)

After an initial deposit of program funds into his campaign account, a candidate cannot deposit any other contribution, loan, personal funds, or other funds into it. He can, however, deposit (1) grants from the fund and (2) money he is entitled to because he is the target of an independent expenditure or an opponent exceeds the spending limit.

Automatic Qualification ( 9)

A qualified candidate who receives money from the fund for a primary and becomes the party nominee automatically receives a general election grant. The comptroller must pay it within two business days of receiving the commission's notification that the secretary declared the results of the primary.

Governor and Lieutenant Governor ( 10)

The bill requires a party’s candidates for governor and lieutenant governor to be considered as running jointly for purposes of participating in the gubernatorial financing program as soon as that determination can be made. That occurs (1) when the results of a primary are known, if there is a primary for either or both offices; (2) the 14th day following the close of the convention, if there is no primary; or (3) when party-endorsed candidates declare that they will campaign as a single ticket, which means they will run together in the general election so that electors can cast a single vote for both candidates. Candidates other than party-endorsed candidates can also declare that they are campaigning jointly.

Under the bill, any candidate for the office of lieutenant governor must dissolve his own candidate committee and any exploratory committee if he is running jointly with a gubernatorial candidate. As soon as the candidates’ status determination is made, the treasurer of the lieutenant governor candidate’s campaign committee must:

1. within 15 days, file a statement with the secretary of the state listing the committee's contributions and expenditures since the last filed report and showing the balance or deficit and

2. within 30 days, return any surplus to (a) the fund, if the candidate participated in the program or (b) those eligible to receive a surplus distribution under current law, which includes the fund, if the candidate did not participate.

Loans ( 11)

Qualified candidate committees can borrow up to $ 1,000 in the aggregate from financial institutions. Other than the candidate or, for a general election, a state central committee, no person, PAC, or party committee can endorse or guarantee more than a $ 500 loan. As long as the loan is outstanding, the endorsement or guarantee is considered to be a contribution and no additional contribution from the person or committee is allowed. Borrowed funds cannot be included as contributions for the purpose of reaching the qualifying threshold. Repayment of all loans and certification of repayment are required before a candidate is eligible to apply for or receive funds.

Candidate’s Personal Funds ( 11 (c))

The bill allows a participating candidate to provide personal funds to his campaign for nomination or election that do not count as qualifying contributions. Gubernatorial candidates may contribute up to $ 20,000, other statewide office candidates up to $ 10,000. Candidates for state senator and state representative can contribute up to $ 2,000 and $ 1,000, respectively.

Disregard of Spending Limits ( 12-15)

Penalties ( 12). The bill penalizes a qualified candidate committee that receives money from the fund and makes or incurs an expenditure exceeding the applicable spending limit. Specifically, it:

1. makes the candidate and campaign treasurer jointly and severally liable for paying for the excess expenditure,

2. prohibits the committee from receiving additional program funds for the remainder of the election cycle if the SEEC determines that the candidate or campaign treasurer had knowledge of the excess expenditure,

3. subjects the campaign treasurer to civil penalties imposed by the SEEC, and

4. makes the candidate a “nonparticipating candidate” for program purposes if the SEEC determines that the candidate or campaign treasurer had knowledge of the excess expenditure.

But the bill allows the SEEC to waive these provisions if it determines that the excess expenditure is “de minimus,” or minor. The SEEC must adopt regulations establishing standards to determine what amount is considered de minimus. The standards must include a finding by the commission that either the candidate or the treasurer has personally paid the excess expenditure or reimbursed his committee for the amount of the expenditure.

The bill also penalizes an individual associated with a campaign other than the participating candidate or treasurer who, on behalf of a qualified candidate committee, makes or incurs an expenditure exceeding the applicable spending limit without the consent of the candidate or the campaign treasurer. It (1) requires the individual to repay the fund the amount of the excess expenditure and (2) subjects him to civil penalties imposed by the SEEC.

Supplemental Statements and Declarations of Excess Expenditures ( 13). If a candidate in a primary or general election campaign with at least one participating candidate makes, or incurs an obligation to make, an expenditure exceeding 90% of the applicable grant for that campaign, he must file a supplemental campaign finance statement with the SEEC within 48 hours of doing so. After he files the initial supplemental statement, he and his opposing candidate or candidates must file weekly supplemental statements according to the following schedule:

1. during a primary campaign, on the first Thursday following (a) the July filing date already required by law or (b) the date when the candidate who exceeded 90% of the grant filed the initial supplemental campaign finance statement, whichever is later, and

2. during a general election campaign, on the first Thursday following (a) the October filing date already required by law or (b) the date when the candidate who exceeded 90% of the grant filed the initial supplemental campaign finance statement, whichever is later.

In both cases, the candidates must file supplemental statements every Thursday until the one preceding the primary or election, whichever is applicable.

The bill requires supplemental statements to disclose campaign spending as of the day before the filing deadline. It also requires the SEEC to establish regulations determining the permissible ways for transmitting the statements to the commission that must include electronic mail.

Under the bill, “excess expenditure” means an expenditure made, or obligated to be made, (1) by a nonparticipating candidate who is opposed by a participating candidate or candidates in a primary or general election that exceeds the applicable grant amount for the participating candidate(s) or (2) by a participating candidate who is opposed by a participating candidate or candidates in a primary or general election that exceeds the sum of the required qualifying contributions and applicable grant.

If a candidate makes, or incurs an obligation to make, an excess expenditure more than 20 days before the primary or general election, he must file a declaration of excess expenditures with the SEEC within 48 hours of doing so. If he makes, or incurs an obligation to make, an excess expenditure 20 days or less before the primary or general election, he must file the declaration within 24 hours. The SEEC determines whether a candidate’s expenditure is considered an excess expenditure.

A campaign treasurer who fails to file a supplemental statement or a declaration of excess expenditures within the required time is subject to a civil penalty imposed by the SEEC of up to $ 1,000 for the first offense and up to $ 5,000 for each subsequent failure.

Excess Expenditures ( 14). A participating candidate who receives program funds is entitled to additional money from the fund if his nonparticipating opponent exceeds the amount of the grant authorized for that office for the primary or general election (“applicable grant”). When the SEEC determines that a nonparticipating candidate has made, or has obligated to make, an expenditure exceeding 90% of the applicable grant, it must immediately notify the state comptroller. The comptroller has two business days to provide each opposing participating candidate with an amount equal to 25% of the applicable grant, provided the participating candidate has not spent more than the sum of (1) the amount of his required qualifying contributions and (2) 100% of the applicable grant. The campaign treasurer must hold the additional money in escrow until the SEEC notifies him that the nonparticipating candidate has made, or has obligated to make, an expenditure exceeding 100% of the grant. At that point the candidate can spend additional money equal to the amount of the opponent’s excess spending. The SEEC determines when a nonparticipating candidate makes, or obligates to make, an excess expenditure either on its own initiative or upon the request of a participating candidate.

A participating candidate may receive additional grants of 25% of the applicable grant, provided he himself has not spent more than the grant he receives plus his allowable qualifying contributions, each time his nonparticipating opponent exceeds a certain threshold. The bill limits participating candidates to one payment per threshold and their spending to 100% of the nonparticipating candidate’s excess expenditure up to the grant amount. The expenditures that trigger additional grants are 115%, 140%, and 165% of the applicable grant. For example, if a nonparticipating candidate spends 115% of a participating candidate’s applicable grant, the participating candidate receives a grant equal to 25% of the applicable grant if he did not spend more than the sum of (1) the amount of his required qualifying contributions and (2) 125% of the applicable grant. When the nonparticipating candidate spends more than 125% of the applicable grant, it triggers permission for the participating candidate’s spending up to 125%.

If the SEEC determines that a participating candidate has made, or has obligated to make, an expenditure exceeding the sum of the required qualifying contributions and the applicable grant, his participating opponents are entitled to a payment in the amount of the excess expenditure. In that case, the SEEC must immediately notify the state comptroller, directing her to provide the participating candidates who abided by the spending limits with the additional money. The comptroller has two business days to do so. Under the bill, a participating candidate may receive more than one payment under this provision.

If, during the 96-hour period beginning at 5: 00 p. m. on the Thursday preceding a primary or an election, the SEEC receives a notice from a participating candidate that his opponent has made or obligated to make an excess expenditure that is not yet reported, it must immediately review the notice. The SEEC must notify the comptroller and direct her to pay the qualified candidate committee, or a person the candidate chooses, an amount equal to the estimated or confirmed excess expenditures. The comptroller must immediately wire or electronically transfer the money.

The maximum amount that a participating candidate can receive to match an opponent’s excess spending is (1) an amount equal to the total excess spending or (2) an amount equal to the original grant, whichever is less.

Independent Expenditures ( 15). When the SEEC (1) receives a report that someone has made, or has obligated to make, an independent expenditure in an effort to oppose a participating candidate or (2) determines at the request of a participating candidate that such an independent expenditure has made against him, it must immediately notify the comptroller. The comptroller has two business days to provide the candidate with additional money equal to the amount of independent expenditure.

If, during the 96-hour period beginning at 5: 00 p. m. on the Thursday preceding a primary or an election, the SEEC receives a (1) report that an independent expenditure has been made or obligated to be made against a participating candidate or (2) notice from a participating candidate that such an independent expenditure has been made, or obligated to be made, but not yet reported, it must immediately review the report or notice. The SEEC must notify the comptroller, directing her to pay the qualified candidate committee, or a person the candidate chooses, an amount equal to the estimated or confirmed independent expenditures. The comptroller must immediately wire or electronically transfer the money

The maximum aggregate amount that a participating candidate may receive to match independent expenditures made to oppose him is 100% of the applicable grant for the primary or general election. If a participating candidate is opposed by a nonparticipating candidate, he receives this additional funding only when the nonparticipating candidate’s campaign expenditures combined with the independent expenditures exceed the applicable grant amount.

Voter Registry List ( 16)

The bill requires the secretary of the state to provide participating statewide and legislative office candidate committees with a free electronic copy of the statewide computerized voter registry list or the list for the applicable district.

Insufficient Funds ( 17)

No later than June 1, 2007, and annually thereafter, the SEEC must issue a report on the status of the fund during the previous calendar year. The report must include (1) the amount of money deposited into the fund, (2) the sources of money received by category, (3) the number of contributions, (4) the number of contributors, (5) the amount of money expended by category, (6) the names of recipients of the fund’s money, and (7) an accounting of the SEEC’s costs to administer the program.

By January 1 in a state election year, the SEEC must determine whether the money in the fund is sufficient to provide grants to candidates. If the SEEC finds that there are insufficient funds, it has three days to recalculate the amount of money qualified candidates can receive, on a proportionate basis, and notify the candidates. It must also issue a report on this determination. After the candidates receive their shares of money from the fund, they can resume accepting contributions that are not subject to the qualifying contribution limitations and spend up to the highest amount that their nonparticipating opponent spends.

The bill requires the SEEC to set aside the first $ 25,000 deposited into the fund each year in a reserve account. The SEEC can only use the reserve account during the last week before a primary or general election to make payments to candidates who (1) received partial payments due to insufficient general funds or (2) are the targets of independent expenditures made during that week and are therefore entitled to matching funds.

Remedy for an Aggrieved Candidate ( 43)

The bill permits any statewide office candidate who claims he has been harmed by a violation of the laws establishing the public financing program to file a complaint in Superior Court.

COORDINATED AND ORGANIZATION EXPENDITURES ( 18-20, 40)

Under the bill, a coordinated expenditure is considered a contribution while an organization expenditure is not. “Coordinated expenditure” means one made by a person:

1. in cooperation, consultation, concert with, at the request, suggestion, or direction of, or pursuant to a general or particular understanding with (a) a candidate or his committee, a PAC, or a party committee or (b) a consultant or agent acting on behalf of any of these entities;

2. for the production, dissemination, or publication of any broadcast, written, or graphic form of political advertising or campaign communication prepared by (a) a candidate or his committee, a PAC, or a party committee or (b) a consultant or agent acting on behalf of any of those entities;

3. based on information about a candidate’s plans, projects, or needs prepared by (1) a candidate or his committee, a PAC, or a party committee or (2) a consultant or agent acting on behalf of any of those entities;

4. who serves during that election cycle as the campaign chairperson, treasurer, or deputy treasurer of a candidate committee, PAC, or party committee benefiting from the expenditure, or in any other executive or policymaking position as a member, employee, fundraiser, consultant, or other agent of the candidate, his committee, a PAC, or a party committee;

5. for fundraising activities with or for, or for the solicitation or receipt of contributions on behalf of (a) a candidate or his committee, a PAC, or a party committee or (b) a consultant or other agent acting on behalf of any of those entities;

6. based on information given to him or his agent that is (a) about a candidate’s campaign plans, projects, or needs; (b) directly or indirectly provided by the candidate or his committee, a PAC, a party committee, or a consultant or agent acting on behalf of any of those entities; and (c) provided with an express or implied understanding that he is considering making such an expenditure; or

7. for a communication that clearly identifies a candidate during a campaign and he or his agent informs the candidate or his committee, a PAC, or a party committee, or a consultant or agent acting on behalf of any of those entities, of the communication’s contents, intended audience, timing, location, or method or frequency of dissemination.

A person who makes a coordinated expenditure without the knowledge of the candidate it benefits is guilty of illegal practices and subject to a fine of up to $ 5,000, up to five years in prison, or both. The bill prohibits a candidate from being civilly or criminally liable for any coordinated expenditure.

An organization expenditure is not considered a campaign finance expenditure and thus is not restricted to lawful committee purposes or subject to filing requirements. “Organization expenditures” include expenditures for (1) the preparation, display, mailing, or distribution of a party candidate listing; (2) printed or electronic documents including party platforms, issue papers, information on Connecticut election law, voter registration lists, and voter identification information that a party, legislative caucus, or legislative leadership committee creates or maintains for party or caucus building and gives to candidates who are members of the same party; (3) campaign events at which at least one candidate is present; (4) an advisor on campaign organization, financing, accounting, strategy, law, or media; and (5) the use of offices, telephones, computers, and similar equipment if it does not result in an additional cost.

The bill defines “party candidate listing” as any communication that (1) lists the names of candidates; (2) is distributed through public advertising including broadcast stations, cable television, newspapers or similar media, direct mail, telephone, electronic mail, or on public Internet sites; and (3) treats all candidates substantially similar. The content must be limited and may only include (1) the identification of each candidate, including photographs; (2) the offices sought; (3) the offices the candidates currently hold; (4) the party and a brief statement about the party or the candidates’ positions, philosophy, goals, accomplishments, or biographies; (5) an encouragement to vote for the candidates; and (6) information about voting, such as voting hours and locations.

AD BOOKS ( 19)

Under current law, there are prohibitions and limitation on contributions individuals and businesses make to candidates. There are also reporting requirements tied to contributions. The bill (1) limits the contribution exception for advertising space purchases; (2) exempts party, legislative caucus, and legislative leadership committees’ organization expenditures from the definition of contribution; and (3) specifies that coordinated expenditures are contributions and thus subject to prohibitions, limitations, and reporting requirements.

By law, individuals and corporations can purchase advertising space in a campaign fund raising program without the purchase being counted as a contribution. Individual purchases are limited to an aggregate of $ 50 and corporations are limited to an aggregate of $ 250.

The bill limits the contribution exemption to ad book purchases for municipal office candidates only; thus subjecting ad book purchases from candidates for state office to contribution prohibitions, limits, and reporting requirements.

The bill prohibits communicator lobbyists, their immediate families, and a state (or prospective state) contractor or their principals from purchasing an ad from a town committee.

EXPLORATORY COMMITTEES ( 22 AND 26)

The bill requires candidates who establish exploratory committees to designate on their statement of organization whether the office the candidate is considering is a legislative, statewide, or another type of public office. A candidate may certify on the statement that he will not be a state representative candidate. If a candidate so certifies and subsequently establishes a candidate committee for the office of state representative, the candidate committee’s campaign treasurer must pay to the state treasurer an amount equal to the contributions over $ 250 that the exploratory committee received. The treasurer must deposit the funds into the General Fund.

The bill prohibits a statewide or legislative candidate with an exploratory committee from forming a candidate committee before the exploratory committee is scheduled for dissolution. The candidate must form a candidate committee within 15 days after the campaign treasurer is required to file a notice of intent to dissolve the committee.

By law, candidates must file their notice of intent to dissolve an exploratory committee within 15 days after declaring their intent to seek a particular public office. The bill requires possible candidates for statewide or legislative offices to file their notice of intent within 15 days after the earlier of (1) declaring to seek public office; (2) being endorsed at a convention, caucus, or town meeting; or (3) filing their candidacy for office.

The bill allows candidates to use exploratory committees to aid or promote their candidacies for public office. As under current law, the bill also allows candidates to use them to determine if they want to run for public office. Exploratory committees may be established only for a single primary or election.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE STATEMENTS ( 6, 22, 26)

Effective December 31, 2006, the bill makes the SEEC the filing repository for state candidates’ campaign finance statements and certifications of exemption from filing, shifting the responsibility away from the secretary of the state. The SEEC must check for candidate compliance with state election law as well as for compliance with the Citizens’ Election Program, in the case of a participating candidate. The requirement applies to (1) candidate committees for statewide and legislative candidates; (2) party committees; (3) individual lobbyists; and (4) PACs other than those formed to aid or promote the success or defeat of (a) a municipal referendum or (b) municipal office candidates.

PACs established for a municipal referendum or candidate committees formed to promote the success or defeat of a municipal candidate or the position of a town committee member file their statements with their town clerk. Unsalaried town clerks receive 10 cents for each statement they file, as is the case under current law.

PACS (23)

Statement of Organization and Initial Contribution

Under current law, the chairperson of a new political committee must file a statement of organization within 10 days of the committee’s formation or immediately if it is formed 10 days or less before a primary or an election. The statement must include, among other things, the name and address of the committee and its principal officers, a statement of purpose, and whether a business or organization is establishing the committee.

The bill expands the reporting requirement for new political committees. It requires the chairperson to include in the statement the name and address of the person making the initial contribution or disbursement to the committee. If no contribution or disbursement has been made at the time of the filing, the campaign treasurer must file a report with the SEEC within 48 hours of receiving one.

Political Committees

With the exception of exploratory committees that public officials establish, the bill prohibits any individual from establishing or controlling more than one PAC. The indications that an individual established or controls a PAC must include his serving as the committee’s chairperson or campaign treasurer and may also include, among other things, making the initial contribution. An individual is not considered to have established or to control a PAC if he (1) communicates with an officer or another individual who established or controls the PAC or (2) monitors contributions that the PAC makes.

An individual who has established or controls more than one PAC as of December 31, 2006, must “disavow” all but one of his committees, in writing, to the SEEC by January 30, 2007.

Legislative Caucus Committees ( 23 and 24)

Under the bill, “legislative caucus committee” means a single committee designated by a majority of a party’s members from one house in the General Assembly and certified by the chairman of the committee on the registration filed with the SEEC. Members of the same political party in either the Senate or the House cannot establish more than one legislative caucus committee. But legislative caucus committees are not counted toward the limit allowing individuals to establish or control only one PAC each. Under current law, such a committee forms and is regulated as an ongoing PAC and the number any caucus can establish is not restricted.

Legislative Leadership Committees

The bill also allows the House speaker and majority leader and the Senate president pro tempore and majority leader to establish one legislative leadership committee each and the House and Senate minority leaders two each. Each leadership committee must be identified in its certified designation by the leader who establishes it. The chairperson of each leadership committees must file its certified designation and statement of organization in the same manner as any political committee. The leadership committees are exempt from the bill’s prohibition on one person controlling more than one PAC.

CONTRIBUTOR CERTIFICATION ( 25)

The bill requires individuals who make contributions to a committee that separately or in the aggregate exceed $ 100 to certify that they are not a principal of a state or prospective state contractor. If a campaign treasurer receives such a contribution without the certification, he must send the contributor a written request for it via certified mail, return receipt requested, within three business days and he may not deposit the contribution until he obtains the certification. He must return the contribution if he does not receive the certification within 14 days of the request or by the end of the reporting period in which the contribution was received, whichever is later. If a campaign treasurer deposits a contribution based on a false certification and he did not know and should not have known that it was false, his lack of knowledge is a complete defense in any action against him for depositing contributions in violation of the law.

The bill raises, from $ 30 to $ 50, the aggregate contribution that a contributor must give before a campaign treasurer has to identify him on campaign finance statements. Campaign treasurers report the total of all contributions below this threshold.

The bill requires each statement a party, legislative caucus, or legislative leadership committee treasurer files to include an itemized accounting of their organization expenditures.

USE OF “PUBLIC FUNDS” ( 27)

Current law prohibits state and municipal officials and employees from allowing public funds to be spent on TV, radio, newspaper, or magazine promotions or advertisements featuring the name, face, or voice of a candidate for public office. It also bans such expenditures to promote the nomination or election of a candidate. The prohibition is effective during the five months preceding an election.

The bill expands the prohibition period to the 12 months preceding an election and specifies that “public funds” do not include grants or moneys that participating candidates receive from the Citizens’ Election Fund.

LOBBYISTS’ DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS ( 28)

Under current law, every lobbyist must submit an annual fiscal year report to the secretary of the state on whether he, together with his spouse or the dependent children who live with him, purchased advertising space from, or made contributions to, a candidate, party, or political committee. The bill requires the report to be filed with the SEEC instead and extends the reporting requirement to purchases or contributions the lobbyist made with any dependent child regardless of the child’s residence.

CONTRIBUTION AND SOLICITATION RESTRICTIONS ON COMMUNICATOR LOBBYISTS ( 29)

The bill bans every communicator lobbyist from making contributions to specified political committees. The ban applies to the lobbyist, his spouse and dependent children (including those who do not live with him), and any political committee he, his spouse, or dependent child controls. It prohibits them from making contributions to or for the benefit of (1) an exploratory or candidate committee for legislative or statewide office, (2) a political committee established by candidates for these offices, (3) a legislative caucus or leadership committee, or (4) a party committee.

The bill similarly bans every communicator lobbyist from soliciting others to make contributions to or purchase advertising space from political committees. This ban applies to the lobbyist, his spouse and dependent children, his agent, and any political committee these individuals control. It prohibits them from soliciting:

1. contributions on behalf of candidates for the legislative and statewide offices listed above, the political committees they establish for that purpose, legislative caucuses and leadership committees, and party committees and

2. anyone to purchase advertising space in a funding raising program a town committee sponsors.

Anyone who violates this prohibition is subject to a civil fine of up to $ 5,000 or twice the amount of the solicited contribution, whichever is greater. The bill authorizes the SEEC to impose this fine.

The bill allows lobbyists and their spouses, dependent children, or agents to solicit contributions for the purchase of advertising space for their own municipal candidacies.

LIMITS ON INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTIONS ( 30 AND 31)

Beginning December 31, 2006, the bill increases the limits on contributions individuals can make to most candidates. It leaves unchanged the limits on individual contributions to state representative and municipal candidates. Table 18 shows the limits under the bill.

Table 18: Individual Contribution Limits

To Candidates for

Current Law

The Bill

Governor

$ 2,500

$ 3,500

Other statewide offices

1,500

2,000

State Senator, probate judge

500

1,000

State Representative

250

250

Exploratory Committee for non-State Representative

250

375

Exploratory Committee for unspecified offices

250

250

Under current law, individuals cannot make contributions in excess of $ 1,000 during a calendar year to a political committee other than (1) one formed solely to aid or promote the success or defeat of a referendum question, (2) an exploratory committee, (3) a labor PAC, or (4) one formed by a slate of candidates in a primary for the office of justice of the peace of the same town. The bill lowers this limit to $ 750 and for labor PACs, it raises the limit from $ 500 to $ 750. It also establishes a $ 1,000 limit on individual contributions during a calendar to year to legislative leadership committees and retains the $ 1,000 limit on an individual’s contribution to a legislative caucus committee, which is an ongoing PAC under current law.

INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES ( 31)

Effective December 31, 2006, any person who makes or obligates to make an independent expenditure or expenditures exceeding $ 1,000 in the aggregate to promote the success or defeat of a statewide or legislative office candidate must file a report with the SEEC. All other independent expenditures at this threshold to promote the success or defeat of a candidate are reported to the secretary of the state under current law. Under the bill, if a person makes an independent expenditure more than 20 days before the primary or general election, he must file the report within 48 hours of doing so. If a person makes an independent expenditure 20 days or less before the primary or general election, he must file the report within 24 hours.

The report must include a statement (1) identifying the candidate who is the subject of the expenditure and (2) affirming that the expenditure is not a coordinated expenditure. The person files the statement under penalty of false statement, which carries a fine of up to $ 2,000, up to one year in prison, or both (the punishment for a class A misdemeanor). Anyone can file a complaint with the SEEC alleging a false report or statement or that a report was not filed at all. The SEEC must promptly decide on the complaint.

Under the bill, a person who fails to file a report for an independent expenditure made more than 20 days before the primary or general election, is subject to a civil penalty imposed by the SEEC of up to $ 5,000. If a person fails to file a report for an independent expenditure made 20 days or less before the primary or general election, he is subject to a civil penalty of up to $ 10,000. A knowing and willful failure to file is punishable by additional fine of up to $ 5,000, imprisonment for up to five years, or both.

STATE CONTRACTORS AND PROSPECTIVE STATE CONTRACTORS ( 31 AND 32)

Prohibitions

Beginning December 31, 2006, the bill bans a principal of a state contractor or prospective state contractor from making or soliciting a contribution to or on behalf of (1) an exploratory or candidate committee for a statewide or legislative office candidate, (2) a PAC authorized to make contributions to or spend on behalf of a candidate for statewide or legislative office, or (3) a party committee. The ban on contributions to statewide candidate applies to contractors and prospective contractors on executive state agency or quasi-public agency contracts. The ban on contributions to legislative candidate applies to contractors and prospective contractors on General Assembly contracts. The bill also prohibits statewide officers, legislators, their agents, and candidates for statewide and legislative office from soliciting contributions from a principal of a state contractor or prospective state contractor on behalf of any exploratory or candidate committee established by a candidate for public office.

The bill specifies that it does not restrict a principal of a state contractor or of a prospective state contractor from establishing an exploratory or candidate committee for his own campaign or soliciting contributions for them from people permitted to contribute.

Penalties

If a principal of a state contractor violates these provisions, the bill permits the contracting state or quasi-public agency to void the contract, provided it was executed on or after the bill’s passage. It further prohibits any state or quasi-public agency from awarding that contractor a state contract, or extending or amending an existing contract, for a period of one year after the election during which the improper contribution was made or solicited. State agency includes judicial and legislative branch agencies.

If a principal of a prospective state contractor violates these provisions, the bill prohibits any state or quasi-public agency from awarding him the contract described in the bid or request for proposals, or any other contract, for a period of one year after the election during which the improper contribution was made or solicited. Each state or quasi-public agency must include the applicable prohibition and penalty as conditions of the contract, bid, or request for proposals, whichever is applicable. Additionally, the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) must include the provisions in each prequalification it issues.

Notice Requirements

The bill requires the chief executive officer of each prospective state contractor to:

1. inform the contractor’s principals of the prohibitions and penalties,

2. certify in a sworn statement that no such individual will make or solicit a prohibited contribution, and

3. give written acknowledgement that the provision or solicitation of a prohibited contribution is a ground for being disqualified for (a) the contract described in the bid or request for proposals or (b) any other contract for a period of one year after the election during which the improper contribution was made or solicited.

Definitions

A “state contract” is an agreement or contract with a state or quasi-public agency or its agent valued at $ 50,000 or more, or a combination or series of such agreements or contracts valued at $ 100,000 or more, in a fiscal year for (1) personal services; (2) material, supplies, or equipment; (3) the construction, alteration or repair of any public building or public work; (4) the acquisition, sale, or lease of any land or building; (5) a licensing arrangement; or (6) a grant, loan, or loan guarantee. A “state contractor” is a person, business entity, or nonprofit organization that has a state contract, but does not include a political subdivision of the state or a state or quasi-public agency employee performing his official duties. A “prospective state contractor” is a person, business entity, or nonprofit organization that (1) submits a bid or proposal in response to a state or quasi-public agency’s bid solicitation or request for proposals until the contract has been entered into or (2) holds a valid prequalification certificate issued by the DAS commissioner. “Prospective state contractor” does not include a political subdivision of the state or a state or quasi-public agency employee performing his official duties.

A state or prospective state contractor’s principal is (1) a member of the board of directors of, or has an ownership interest in, a state contractor or prospective state contractor’s business, except for an individual who (a) owns less than 5% of the business’ publicly traded shares or (b) is a member of the board of directors of a tax exempt charitable nonprofit organization; (2) the president, treasurer, or executive or senior vice president of the state contractor or prospective state contractor’ s business; (3) the chief executive officer of a state contractor or prospective state contractor that is not a business; (4) an employee of the business with managerial or discretionary responsibilities regarding a state contract; (5) the spouse or dependent child of, or political committee established by or on behalf of, an individual described above.

List of Contractors and Prospective Contractors

By July 1, 2006, each state and quasi-public agency must submit a form to the SEEC listing (1) the state contracts it is party to and (2) the principals of state or prospective state contractors for those contracts and any bid solicitations, requests for proposals, or prequalification certificates it issued. Agencies must keep their lists current by submitting updates by August 1, 2006, and every month thereafter, indicating any changes to the previous month’s list. The SEEC must (1) prescribe the forms; (2) compile a master list of the principals by December 31, 2006 and update it every three months; (3) post the master list on its web site; and (4) provide copies to campaign treasurers upon request. Any treasurer who relies on the list in good faith has a complete defense in any action against him for illegally depositing a campaign contribution.

The bill also requires the SEEC to study state subcontractors and, by February 1, 2007, submit proposed legislation to the Government Administration and Elections Committee for extending the contribution prohibitions and penalties to cover them.

STATE EMPLOYEES ( 32)

The bill restricts contributions in any calendar year from certain state employees to candidates for the offices in which they work. It limits to $ 100 contributions from (1) heads of executive branch and quasi-public state agencies, their deputies, employees in those agencies who are appointed by the governor, and other full-time employees who are in unclassified service, or a member of their immediate family, to any candidate for governor or lieutenant governor; (2) officials and employees who are in unclassified service in the other statewide offices, or a member of their immediate family, to any statewide office candidate for the office where they serve; and (3) caucus staff for a major party in either house of the General Assembly, or a member of their immediate family, to (a) any candidate for state senator or state representative or (b) a legislative caucus or leadership committee. The limits apply separately to primaries and general elections.

BUSINESS AND LABOR PACS ( 33-35)

Effective December 31, 2006, the bill raises the limits on business PAC contributions to legislative and municipal candidates, raises the limits on labor PAC contributions to all candidates, and makes them equal. The limits apply separately to a primary or general election as they do under current law.

The bill also imposes limits on contributions from business PACs to party PACs and increases those limits for labor PACs, making them equal. It limits business PAC contributions to another business PAC to $ 2,000 in any one calendar year. Table 19 compares the current and proposed limits.

Table 19: Business and Labor PAC Contribution Limits

To candidates for

Business PAC

Labor PAC

Limits Apply Separately to a Primary and General Election

 

Current Law

The Bill

Current Law

The Bill

Governor

$ 5,000

$ 5,000

$ 2,500

$ 5,000

Other statewide offices

3,000

3,000

1,500

3,000

Chief executive officer of a town, city, or borough

1,000

1,500

1,000

1,500

State senator or probate judge

1,000

1,500

500

1,500

State representative

500

750

250

750

Other municipal offices

250

375

250

375

Aggregate During One Calendar Year

Other PAC

Unlimited

$ 2,000

$ 2,000

$ 2,000

State central committee

Unlimited

7,500

5,000

7,500

Town committee

Unlimited

1,500

1,000

1,500

Exploratory committee

250

375

250

375

Finally, the bill prohibits businesses from establishing more than one PAC. By law, this limitation already applies to labor organizations. Under the bill, a business is considered to have established a PAC if an officer, director, owner, limited or general partner, or stockholder (with at least 5% of the total outstanding stock of any class) makes the initial disbursement or contribution. Under the bill, a labor organization is considered to have established a PAC if its treasury or an officer or director makes the initial contribution.

PARTY COMMITTEES ( 36)

Under current law, party committees can make unlimited contributions to other party committees, candidate committees, and PACs. The bill creates limits for party committee contributions to in-state candidate committees, exploratory committees, legislative caucus committees, and PACs. It increases contributions to exploratory committees from $ 250 to $ 375. In most cases, the limits apply separately to a primary and general election. Table 20 shows the party committee limits that the bill establishes.

Table 20: Proposed Party Committee Contribution Limits

Recipient

(Candidate or Committee)

State Central Committees

Town

Committees

Governor

$ 50,000

$ 7,500

Other statewide offices

35,000

5,000

State senator

10,000

5,000

State representative, probate judge, or chief executive officer of a town, city, or borough

5,000

3,000

Other municipal offices

5,000

1,500

Aggregate During One Calendar Year

Legislative caucus or leadership committee

$ 10,000

$ 2,000

PAC, other than a referendum PAC

2,500

1,500

ONGOING PACS ( 37)

Under current law, ongoing PACs can make unlimited contributions to party committees and candidate committees. The bill establishes limits for their contributions to certain party and candidate committees and in most cases, applies them to a primary and general election separately. The bill maintains the current $ 250 limit on contributions from an ongoing PAC to an exploratory committee. It maintains the current $ 2,000 limit on ongoing PAC contributions to other political committees. Table 21 shows the proposed contribution limits.

Table 21: Ongoing PAC Contribution Limits

Recipient

Ongoing PAC

   

Governor

$ 5,000

Other statewide offices

3,000

State senator, probate judge, chief executive officer of a town, city or borough

1,500

State representative

750

Other municipal offices

375

Aggregate During One Calendar Year

State central committee

$ 7,500

Town committee

1,500

Other political committee

2,000

PACS ORGANIZED FOR A SINGLE PRIMARY OR ELECTION ( 38)

Under current law, ongoing PACs organized for a single primary or election can make unlimited contributions to party committees and candidate committees. The bill establishes limits for their contributions to certain party and candidate committees that are the same as the bill’s limits for business and labor PACs. It increases the limit for their contributions to exploratory committees from $ 250 to $ 375 and maintains the current limit on contributions to other political committees at $ 2,000. Table 22 shows the proposed limits.

Table 22: PACs Organized for a Single Primary or Election Contribution Limits

Recipient

PAC Organized for a Single Primary or Election

Limits Apply Separately to a Primary or General Election

Governor

$ 5,000

Other statewide offices

3,000

State senator, probate judge, or chief executive officer of a town, city, or borough

1,500

State representative

750

Other municipal offices

375

Aggregate During One Calendar Year

State central committee

$ 7,500

Town committee

1,500

Other political committee

2,000

LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS AND LEADERSHIP COMMITTEES ( 37-38)

The bill establishes separate, higher limits for legislative caucus and legislative leadership committee contributions to state senator and state representative candidates, instead of subjecting them to the ongoing and single-election or primary PAC limits. It prohibits caucus and leadership PACs from making contributions (1) to candidates for any offices other than state senator or state representative, (2) in excess of $ 10,000 in a calendar year to a legislative leadership or state central committee, or (3) to, or for the benefit of, any other party or political committee.

Table 23 shows the bill’s state senator and state representative contribution limits for caucus and leadership PACs compared to its contribution limits for those offices for ongoing and single-election or primary PACs.

Table 23: Legislative Committee Contributions to

Legislative Candidates

Candidates for

Leadership or Caucus PAC

Ongoing or Single-Election or Primary PAC

Limits Apply Separately to a Primary or General Election

State senator

$ 10,000

$ 1,500

State representative

5,000

750

POLITICAL ADVERTISING ( 39)

By law, candidate and exploratory committee’s political mailings and advertisements intended to promote or defeat a candidate must contain certain information. The bill adds to the contents of the mailings and advertisements by requiring:

1. mailings to include a picture of the candidate conducting the mailing and his name in the same size font as the mailing’s narrative;

2. television and Internet advertising to include the candidate’s name, image, and voice before the advertising ends;

3. radio and audio internet advertising to include the candidate’s name and voice before the advertising ends; and

4. automated telephone calls to include the candidate’s name and voice before the call ends.

COMPLAINTS CONCERNING VIOLATIONS OF PUBLIC FINANCING PROVISIONS (43)

The bill authorizes any statewide candidate who claims that he is aggrieved by a violation of the public financing provisions of the bill to bring his complaint to any Superior Court judge. The bill imposes the same procedural requirements and remedies for these cases as currently apply to complaints about rulings by election officials or mistakes in vote counts. One such remedy is to order a new election.

ENFORCING THE BAN OF SOLICITATIONS ( 47)

The bill authorizes the Office of State Ethics to act against any communicator lobbyist who violates the solicitation ban. The office can suspend a lobbyist’s registration for up to the remainder of his term or prohibit him from lobbying for up to three years. It can also revoke his registration if he is convicted of bribery, theft, or moral turpitude while lobbying. The office can take these actions by following its current procedures for investigating and hearing ethics violations.

PILOT PROGRAM FOR PUBLIC FINANCING OF MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS ( 48)

The bill requires the SEEC to establish a pilot program in up to three municipalities for public financing of campaigns for the following municipal offices: chief executive officer, municipal clerk, and municipal legislative body member. Participating candidates must agree to limit campaign fundraising and expenditures. Candidates choosing not to participate must abide by state campaign financing laws. The bill specifies that receiving public financing under the pilot program does not violate the state law’s prohibition against use of public funds (1) by incumbents, during the three months before the election, to mail or print flyers or other promotional materials to help their reelection or (2) during the five months before the election, for state or municipal promotional campaigns or advertisements that feature a candidate or promote his nomination or election.

The SEEC must establish an application procedure and selection criteria. It may not select a municipality unless its legislative body, or in the case of a municipality whose legislative body is a town meeting, its board of selectmen, consents to the participation. Each selected municipality must submit an implementation plan for the SEEC’s approval.

REPORT ON MUNICIPAL ELECTION REFORMS ( 49)

The bill requires the SEEC to study and prepare a plan to address public financing for municipal election campaigns and campaign finance restrictions, including restrictions on (1) municipal candidate committees’ sale of ad space in fundraiser programs, (2) contributions to municipal candidates by communicator lobbyists and their immediate family members and political committees, and (3) contributions to municipal candidates by principals of contractors or prospective contractors.

The commission must report its findings and recommendations, including recommendations for any legislation, to the Government Administration and Elections Committee by January 1, 2007.

PROHIBITION OR LIMITATION OF EXPENDITURE FROM THE CITIZEN’S ELECTION FUND ( 55)

Under the bill, if a court prohibits or limits the expenditure of funds from the Citizen’s Election Fund for at least 72 hours the bill becomes inoperative and the law in effect before these provisions became effective becomes the controlling law.

SEEC POWERS AND DUTIES ( 2-4, 6-7, 9, 12-15, 17, 21, 29, 31-32, 41-42, 44-46, 48-49, AND 53-54)

Generally, the bill requires SEEC to (1) assume responsibility for all candidates’ campaign finance statements, (2) determine whether there is enough money in the Citizens’ Election Fund to issue grants, (3) prescribe the program’s forms, (4) process candidates' applications and determine if a candidate is eligible, (5) notify the comptroller of the amount due and payable to each qualified candidate, (6) establish regulations on permissible expenditures for grant money, (7) establish regulations on how supplemental campaign finance statements must be sent to the commission, (8) create a software program for filing electronic campaign finance statements, (9) establish a pilot program for municipal public financing, and (10) enforce the provisions of the program.

The bill requires SEEC to transmit contributions individuals and others make to the fund to the state treasurer. The bill allows SEEC to deduct its costs in administering the bill’s campaign finance provisions from the fund, up to $ 2 million in FY 06 and $ 1 million in subsequent years. If the commission does not spend these amounts in a given year, it can use the balance to pay its costs in subsequent years.

The bill extends SEEC’s enforcement powers to cover the bill’s public financing provisions, among other things. It allows SEEC to (1) investigate complaints and alleged violations of the bill’s provisions; (2) impose a civil penalty of up to $ 2,000 per offense or twice the amount of any improper contribution under the bill, which ever is greater, for such contributions. It also allows SEEC to impose a civil penalty of up to $ 2,000 against (1) any election official it finds failed to discharge her duty, (2) any person who improperly votes in an election when he was not legally qualified to vote, or (3) anyone who violates the law regarding the dates and hours of referenda. It allows SEEC to issue orders to candidate committees that receive money from the fund to comply with the bill, after being given an opportunity for a hearing.

The bill requires the SEEC, instead of the secretary of the state, to prepare, print, and distribute campaign finance forms, including forms used for campaign finance statements.

The bill requires SEEC to establish a municipal public financing pilot program and prepare a plan for public financing of municipal campaigns.

The bill transfers from the Secretary of the State’s office to the SEEC the administration of campaign finance reporting and related laws, starting in 2007.

The bill requires SEEC to compile a list of state and prospective state contractors.