Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 486

    February Session, 2018

Substitute Senate Bill No. 499

Senate, April 12, 2018

The Committee on Government Administration and Elections reported through SEN. FLEXER of the 29th Dist. and SEN. MCLACHLAN, M. of the 24th Dist., Chairpersons of the Committee on the part of the Senate, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING CONTRIBUTIONS UNDER CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (c) of section 9-608 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective January 1, 2019, and applicable to primaries and elections held after said date):

(c) (1) Each statement filed under subsection (a), (e) or (f) of this section shall include, but not be limited to: (A) An itemized accounting of each contribution, if any, including the full name and complete address of each contributor and the amount of the contribution; (B) an itemized accounting of each expenditure, if any, including the full name and complete address of each payee, including secondary payees whenever the primary or principal payee is known to include charges which the primary payee has already paid or will pay directly to another person, vendor or entity, the amount and the purpose of the expenditure, the candidate supported or opposed by the expenditure, whether the expenditure is made independently of the candidate supported or is an in-kind contribution to the candidate, and a statement of the balance on hand or deficit, as the case may be; (C) an itemized accounting of each expense incurred but not paid, provided if the expense is incurred by use of a credit card, the accounting shall include secondary payees, and the amount owed to each such payee; (D) the name and address of any person who is the guarantor of a loan to, or the cosigner of a note with, the candidate on whose behalf the committee was formed, or the treasurer in the case of a party committee or a political committee or who has advanced a security deposit to a telephone company, as defined in section 16-1, for telecommunications service for a committee; (E) for each business entity or person purchasing advertising space in a program for a fund-raising affair or on signs at a fund-raising affair, the name and address of the business entity or the name and address of the person, and the amount and aggregate amounts of such purchases; (F) for each individual who contributes in excess of one hundred dollars but not more than one thousand dollars, in the aggregate, to the extent known, the principal occupation of such individual and the name of the individual's employer, if any; (G) for each individual who contributes in excess of one thousand dollars in the aggregate, the principal occupation of such individual and the name of the individual's employer, if any; (H) for each itemized contribution made by a lobbyist, the spouse of a lobbyist or any dependent child of a lobbyist who resides in the lobbyist's household, a statement to that effect; and (I) for each individual who contributes in excess of four hundred dollars in the aggregate to or for the benefit of any candidate's campaign for nomination at a primary or election to the office of chief executive officer or a slate or town committee financing the nomination or election or a candidate for chief executive officer of a town, city or borough, a statement indicating whether the individual or a business with which he is associated has a contract with said municipality that is valued at more than five thousand dollars. Each treasurer shall include in such statement (i) an itemized accounting of the receipts and expenditures relative to any testimonial affair held under the provisions of section 9-609 or any other fund-raising affair, which is referred to in subsection (b) of section 9-601a, and (ii) the date, location and a description of the affair, except that a treasurer shall not be required to include the name of any individual who has purchased items at a fund-raising affair or food at a town fair, county fair or similar mass gathering, if the cumulative value of items purchased by such individual does not exceed one hundred dollars, or the name of any individual who has donated food or beverages for a meeting. A treasurer shall not be required to report or retain any receipts or expenditures related to any de minimis donations described in subdivision (17) of subsection (b) of section 9-601a.

(2) Each contributor described in subparagraph (F), (G), (H) or (I) of subdivision (1) of this subsection shall, at the time the contributor makes such a contribution, provide the information that the treasurer is required to include under said subparagraph in the statement filed under subsection (a), (e) or (f) of this section. Notwithstanding any provision of subdivision (2) of section 9-7b, neither any contributor described in subparagraph (F) of subdivision (1) of this subsection who does not provide such information at the time the contributor makes such a contribution [and] nor any treasurer shall [not] be subject to the provisions of subdivision (2) of section 9-7b. If a treasurer receives a contribution from an individual which separately, or in the aggregate, is in excess of one thousand dollars and the contributor has not provided the information required by said subparagraph (G), or if a treasurer receives a contribution from an individual to or for the benefit of any candidate's campaign for nomination at a primary or election to the office of chief executive officer of a town, city or borough [,] which separately, or in the aggregate, is in excess of four hundred dollars and the contributor has not provided the information required by said subparagraph (I), the treasurer: (i) Not later than three business days after receiving the contribution, shall send a request for such information to the contributor by certified mail, return receipt requested; (ii) shall not deposit the contribution until the treasurer obtains such information from the contributor, notwithstanding the provisions of section 9-606; and (iii) shall return the contribution to the contributor if the contributor does not provide the required information [not later than] within fourteen days after the treasurer's written request or at the end of the reporting period in which the contribution was received, whichever is later. Any failure of a contributor to provide the information [which] that the treasurer is required to include under said subparagraph (F) or (H) [, which] and that results in noncompliance by the treasurer with the provisions of said subparagraph (F) or (H) [,] shall be a complete defense to any action against the treasurer for failure to disclose such information.

(3) In addition to the requirements of subdivision (2) of this subsection, each contributor who makes a contribution to a candidate or exploratory committee for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of the State, State Treasurer, State Comptroller, Attorney General, [State Comptroller, Secretary of the State, State Treasurer,] state senator or state representative, any political committee authorized to make contributions to such candidates or committees, and any party committee [that separately, or in the aggregate, exceeds fifty dollars] shall provide with the contribution: (A) The name of the contributor's employer, if any; (B) the contributor's status as a communicator lobbyist, as defined in section 1-91, a member of the immediate family of a communicator lobbyist, a state contractor, a prospective state contractor or a principal of a state contractor or prospective state contractor, as defined in section 9-612; and (C) a certification that the contributor is not prohibited from making a contribution to such candidate or committee. The State Elections Enforcement Commission shall prepare a sample form for such certification by the contributor and shall make it available to treasurers and contributors. Such sample form shall include an explanation of the terms "communicator lobbyist", "principal of a state contractor or prospective state contractor", "immediate family", "state contractor" and "prospective state contractor". The information on such sample form shall be included in any written solicitation conducted by any such committee. If a treasurer receives such a contribution and the contributor has not provided such certification, the treasurer shall: (i) Not later than three business days after receiving the contribution, send a request for the certification to the contributor by certified mail, return receipt requested; (ii) not deposit the contribution until the treasurer obtains the certification from the contributor, notwithstanding the provisions of section 9-606; and (iii) return the contribution to the contributor if the contributor does not provide the certification [not later than] within fourteen days after the treasurer's written request or at the end of the reporting period in which the contribution was received, whichever is later. No treasurer shall be required to obtain and keep more than one certification from each contributor, unless information certified to by the contributor, other than the amount contributed, changes. If a treasurer deposits a contribution based on a certification that is later determined to be false, the treasurer shall have a complete defense to any action, including, but not limited to, any complaint investigated by the State Elections Enforcement Commission, or any other investigation initiated by said commission, against such treasurer for the receipt of such contribution.

[(4) Contributions from a single individual to a treasurer in the aggregate totaling fifty dollars or less need not be individually identified in the statement, but a sum representing the total amount of all such contributions made by all such individuals during the period to be covered by such statement shall be a separate entry, identified only by the words "total contributions from small contributors".]

[(5)] (4) Each statement filed by the treasurer of a party committee, a legislative caucus committee or a legislative leadership committee shall include an itemized accounting of each organization expenditure made by the committee. Concomitant with the filing of any such statement containing an accounting of an organization expenditure made by the committee for the benefit of any candidate for the office of [state senator, state representative,] Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of the State, State Treasurer, State Comptroller, Attorney General, [Secretary of the State, State Comptroller or State Treasurer] state senator or state representative, such treasurer of any such committee shall provide notice of the organization expenditure to the candidate committee of such candidate.

[(6)] (5) The commission shall post a link on the home page of the commission's Internet web site to a listing of all organizational expenditures reported by a party, legislative leadership or caucus committee under subdivision [(5)] (4) of this subsection. Such information shall include reported information on the committee making the expenditure, the committee receiving the expenditure and the date and purpose for the expenditure.

[(7)] (6) Statements filed in accordance with this section shall remain public records of the state for five years from the date such statements are filed.

Sec. 2. Subsection (b) of section 9-601a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective January 1, 2019, and applicable to primaries and elections held after said date):

(b) As used in this chapter and chapter 157, "contribution" does not mean:

(1) A loan of money made in the ordinary course of business by a national or state bank;

(2) Any communication made by a corporation, organization or association solely to its members, owners, stockholders, executive or administrative personnel, or their families;

(3) Nonpartisan voter registration and get-out-the-vote campaigns by any corporation, organization or association aimed at its members, owners, stockholders, executive or administrative personnel, or their families;

(4) Uncompensated services provided by individuals volunteering their time on behalf of a party committee, political committee, slate committee or candidate committee, including any services provided for the benefit of nonparticipating and participating candidates under the Citizens' Election Program and any unreimbursed travel expenses made by an individual who volunteers the individual's personal services to any such committee. For purposes of this subdivision, an individual is a volunteer if such individual is not receiving compensation for such services regardless of whether such individual received compensation in the past or may receive compensation for similar services that may be performed in the future;

(5) The use of real or personal property, a portion or all of the cost of invitations and the cost of food or beverages, voluntarily provided by an individual to a candidate, including a nonparticipating or participating candidate under the Citizens' Election Program, or to a party, political or slate committee, in rendering voluntary personal services at the individual's residential premises or a community room in the individual's residence facility, to the extent that the cumulative value of the invitations, food or beverages provided by an individual on behalf of any candidate or committee does not exceed four hundred dollars with respect to any single event or does not exceed eight hundred dollars for any such event hosted by two or more individuals, provided at least one such individual owns or resides at the residential premises, and further provided the cumulative value of the invitations, food or beverages provided by an individual on behalf of any such candidate or committee does not exceed eight hundred dollars with respect to a calendar year or single election, as the case may be;

(6) The sale of food or beverage for use by a party, political, slate or candidate committee, including those for a participating or nonparticipating candidate, at a discount, if the charge is not less than the cost to the vendor, to the extent that the cumulative value of the discount given to or on behalf of any single candidate committee does not exceed four hundred dollars with respect to any single primary or election, or to or on behalf of any party, political or slate committee, does not exceed six hundred dollars in a calendar year;

(7) The display of a lawn sign by a human being or on real property;

(8) The payment, by a party committee or slate committee of the costs of preparation, display, mailing or other distribution incurred by the committee or individual with respect to any printed slate card, sample ballot or other printed list containing the names of three or more candidates;

(9) The donation of any item of personal property by an individual to a committee for a fund-raising affair, including a tag sale or auction, or the purchase by an individual of any such item at such an affair, to the extent that the cumulative value donated or purchased does not exceed one hundred dollars;

(10) (A) The purchase of advertising space which clearly identifies the purchaser, in a program for a fund-raising affair sponsored by the candidate committee of a candidate for an office of a municipality, provided the cumulative purchase of such space does not exceed two hundred fifty dollars from any single such candidate or the candidate's committee with respect to any single election campaign if the purchaser is a business entity or fifty dollars for purchases by any other person;

(B) The purchase of advertising space which clearly identifies the purchaser, in a program for a fund-raising affair or on signs at a fund-raising affair sponsored by a party committee or a political committee, other than an exploratory committee, provided the cumulative purchase of such space does not exceed two hundred fifty dollars from any single party committee or a political committee, other than an exploratory committee, in any calendar year if the purchaser is a business entity or fifty dollars for purchases by any other person. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subparagraph, the following may not purchase advertising space in a program for a fund-raising affair or on signs at a fund-raising affair sponsored by a party committee or a political committee, other than an exploratory committee: (i) A communicator lobbyist, (ii) a member of the immediate family of a communicator lobbyist, (iii) a state contractor, (iv) a prospective state contractor, or (v) a principal of a state contractor or prospective state contractor. As used in this subparagraph, "state contractor", "prospective state contractor" and "principal of a state contractor or prospective state contractor" have the same meanings as provided in subsection (f) of section 9-612;

(11) The payment of money by a candidate to the candidate's candidate committee, provided the committee is for a nonparticipating candidate;

(12) The donation of goods or services by a business entity to a committee for a fund-raising affair, including a tag sale or auction, to the extent that the cumulative value donated does not exceed two hundred dollars;

(13) The advance of a security deposit by an individual to a telephone company, as defined in section 16-1, for telecommunications service for a committee or to another utility company, such as an electric distribution company, provided the security deposit is refunded to the individual;

(14) The provision of facilities, equipment, technical and managerial support, and broadcast time by a community antenna television company, as defined in section 16-1, for community access programming pursuant to section 16-331a, unless (A) the major purpose of providing such facilities, equipment, support and time is to influence the nomination or election of a candidate, or (B) such facilities, equipment, support and time are provided on behalf of a political party;

(15) The sale of food, [or] beverage or parking by a town committee to an individual at a town fair, county fair, local festival or similar mass gathering held within the state, to the extent that the cumulative payment made by any one individual for such [items] food, beverage or parking does not exceed fifty dollars;

(16) An organization expenditure by a party committee, legislative caucus committee or legislative leadership committee;

(17) The donation of food or beverage by an individual for consumption at a slate, candidate, political committee or party committee meeting, event or activity that is not a fund-raising affair to the extent that the cumulative value of the food or beverages donated by an individual for a single meeting or event does not exceed fifty dollars;

(18) The value associated with the de minimis activity on behalf of a party committee, political committee, slate committee or candidate committee, including for activities including, but not limited to, (A) the creation of electronic or written communications or digital photos or video as part of an electronic file created on a voluntary basis without compensation, including, but not limited to, the creation and ongoing content development and delivery of social media on the Internet or telephone, including, but not limited to, the sending or receiving of electronic mail or messages, (B) the posting or display of a candidate's name or group of candidates' names at a town fair, county fair, local festival or similar mass gathering by a party committee, (C) the use of personal property or a service that is customarily attendant to the occupancy of a residential dwelling, or the donation of an item or items of personal property that are customarily used for campaign purposes, by an individual, to a candidate committee, provided the cumulative fair market value of such use of personal property or service or items of personal property does not exceed one hundred dollars in the aggregate for any single election or calendar year, as the case may be;

(19) The use of offices, telephones, computers and similar equipment provided by a party committee, legislative caucus committee or legislative leadership committee that serve as headquarters for or are used by such party committee, legislative caucus committee or legislative leadership committee;

(20) A communication, as described in subdivision (7) of subsection (b) of section 9-601b;

(21) An independent expenditure, as defined in section 9-601c;

(22) A communication containing an endorsement on behalf of a candidate for nomination or election to the office of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of the State, State Treasurer, State Comptroller, Attorney General, state senator or state representative, from a candidate for the office of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of the State, State Treasurer, State Comptroller, Attorney General, state senator or state representative, provided the candidate (A) making the endorsement is unopposed at the time of the communication, and (B) being endorsed paid for such communication;

(23) A communication that is sent by mail to addresses in the district for which a candidate being endorsed by another candidate pursuant to this subdivision is seeking nomination or election to the office of state senator or state representative, containing an endorsement on behalf of such candidate for such nomination or election from a candidate for the office of state senator or state representative, provided the candidate (A) making the endorsement is not seeking election to the office of state senator or state representative for a district that contains any geographical area shared by the district for the office to which the endorsed candidate is seeking nomination or election, and (B) being endorsed paid for such communication; or

(24) Campaign training events provided to multiple individuals by a legislative caucus committee and any associated materials, provided the cumulative value of such events and materials does not exceed six thousand dollars in the aggregate for a calendar year.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

January 1, 2019, and applicable to primaries and elections held after said date

9-608(c)

Sec. 2

January 1, 2019, and applicable to primaries and elections held after said date

9-601a(b)

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

In Section 1(c)(3), "that separately, or in the aggregate, exceeds fifty dollars" was bracketed for accuracy.

GAE

Joint Favorable Subst. -LCO

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill requires certain candidate and exploratory committees to disclose and itemize all contributions, regardless of amount, and also expands contribution exemptions to include certain parking sales. No fiscal impact is anticipated to the state or municipalities, as the provisions of the bill affect committee treasurers.

The Out Years

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

OLR Bill Analysis

SB 499

AN ACT CONCERNING CONTRIBUTIONS UNDER CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWS.

SUMMARY

Existing law places limits on most political contributions and requires campaign treasurers to disclose them in the campaign finance statements they submit to the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) or town clerk, as applicable. It also contains contribution exemptions for certain items and services.

This bill (1) generally subjects contributions of $50 or less from individuals to the same disclosure requirements that apply under existing law to larger contributions from individuals and (2) expands a contribution exemption to include the sale of parking, up to a cumulative total of $50, sold by a town committee to an individual at a town or county fair, local festival, or similar mass gathering. Existing law already exempts the sale of food or beverages, up to $50, sold by a town committee to an individual at these gatherings.

The bill also makes technical changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2019, and applicable to primaries and elections held after that date.

SMALL CONTRIBUTIONS

Under current law, contributions from individuals to state central and town committees, political committees (known as PACs), or candidates not participating in the Citizens' Election Program (CEP), need only be disclosed when they separately or in the aggregate exceed $50. (Contributions of any amount to participating CEP candidates must be individually disclosed.) Treasurers report the sum total from small contributors in the campaign statements that they submit to SEEC or the town clerk, depending on the election, office sought, or committee type (e.g., for candidates voted on at a state election, treasurers submit statements to SEEC; for those voted on at a municipal election, they submit statements to the town clerk).

The bill instead requires that all such small contributions be individually disclosed. Under the bill, individuals making these contributions must (1) provide their employer's name, if any; (2) certify that they are not prohibited from making the contribution; and (3) indicate whether they are a lobbyist or state contractor. (The law places restrictions and prohibitions on their contributions.) Campaign treasurers must identify the small contributions individually in their campaign finance statements. By law, these statements are public records and subject to disclosure under the state Freedom of Information Act.

BACKGROUND

Related Bill

SB 500, reported favorably by the Government Administration and Elections (GAE) Committee, establishes a contribution exemption for certain campaign communications by candidates for legislative office.

sHB 5522, reported favorably by the GAE Committee, modifies the definitions of “contribution” and “expenditure,” as well as the exemptions for certain communications.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

14

Nay

3

(03/23/2018)

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