Enrolled Version - Final Version
House Bill 4647 History
OTHER VERSIONS -
Key: Green = existing Code. Red = new code to be enacted
H. B. 4647
s Manchin, Frazier,
Ferro and Wells
[Passed March 13, 2010; in effect ninety days from passage.]
Moore, Miley, Brown, Caputo, Wooton,
AN ACT to
repeal §3-9-14 of the Code of West Virginia 1931, as
amended; and to amend and reenact §3-8-1, §3-8-1a, §3-8-2,
§3-8-8 and §3-8-12 of said code, all relating to the
regulation and control of elections; providing certain
legislative findings; amending and deleting certain
definitions; expanding reporting requirements for independent
expenditures; providing for electronic filing of reports of
independent expenditures; authorizing the Secretary of State
to promulgate rules relating to reports of independent
expenditures; retaining prohibition on corporate contribution;
and repealing the ban on corporate independent expenditures.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended,
be repealed; that §3-8-1, §3-8-1a, §3-8-2, §3-8-8 and §3-8-12 of
said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 8. REGULATION AND CONTROL OF ELECTIONS.
§3-8-1. Provisions to regulate and control elections.
(a) The Legislature finds that:
(1) West Virginia's population is 1,808,344, ranking 37th
among the fifty states.
(2) State Senate districts have a population of approximately
one hundred six thousand three hundred seventy-three, and the
average Delegate district has a population of approximately
thirty-one thousand, one hundred seventy-eight. The size of these
districts is substantially smaller than the United States
Senatorial and Congressional Districts.
(3) When the relatively small size of the State's legislative
and other voting districts is combined with the economics and
typical uses of various forms of electioneering communication,
history shows that non-broadcast media is and will continue to be
a widely used means of making campaign related communications to
target relevant audiences. Consequently, non-broadcast
communications are prevalent during elections.
(4) Disclosure provisions are appropriate legislative weapons
against the reality or appearance of improper influence stemming
from the dependence of candidates on large campaign contributions,
and the ceilings imposed accordingly serve the basic governmental
interest in safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process
without directly impinging upon the rights of individual citizens
and candidates to engage in political debate and discussion.
(5) Disclosure of expenditures serve a substantial
governmental interest in informing the electorate and preventing
the corruption of the political process.
(6) Disclosure by persons and entities that make expenditures
for communications that expressly advocate the election or defeat
of clearly identified candidates, or perform its functional
equivalent, is a reasonable and minimally restrictive method of
furthering First Amendment values by public exposure of the state
(7) Failing to regulate non-broadcast media messages would
permit those desiring to influence elections to avoid the
principles and policies that are embodied in existing state law.
(8) The regulation of the various types of non-broadcast media
in addition to broadcast media, is tailored to meet the
circumstances found in the State of West Virginia.
(9) Non-broadcast media such as newspapers, magazines or other
periodicals have proven to be effective means of election
communication in West Virginia. Broadcast, satellite and
non-broadcast media have all been used to influence election
(10) Certain non-broadcast communications, such as newspaper
inserts, can be more effective campaign methods than broadcast
media because such communications can be targeted to registered
voters or historical voters in the particular district. In
contrast, broadcasted messages reach all of the general public,
including person ineligible to vote in the district.
(11) Non-broadcast media communications in the final days of
a campaign can be particularly damaging to the public's confidence
in the election process because they reduce or make impossible an effective response.
(12) Identifying those funding non-broadcast media campaigns
in the final days of a campaign may at least permit voters to
evaluate the credibility of the message.
(13) In West Virginia, contributions up to the amounts
specified in this article allow contributors to express their
opinions, level of support and their affiliations.
(14) In West Virginia, campaign expenditures by entities and
persons who are not candidates have been increasing. Public
confidence is eroded when substantial amounts of such money, the
source of which is hidden or disguised, is expended. This is
particularly true during the final days of a campaign.
(15) In West Virginia, contributions to political
organizations, defined in Section 527(e)(1) of the Internal Revenue
Code of 1986, substantially larger than the amounts permitted to be
received by a candidate's political committee have been recorded
and are considered by the legislature to be large contributions.
(16) Independent expenditures intended to influence
candidates' campaigns in the state are increasingly utilizing
non-broadcast media to support or defeat candidates.
(17) Identification of persons or entities funding political
advertisements assists in enforcement of the contribution and
expenditure limitations established by this article and simply
informs voters of the actual identities of persons or entities
advocating the election or defeat of candidates.
(18) Identification of persons or entities funding political advertisements allows voters to evaluate the credibility of the
message contained in the advertisement.
(19) Disclosure of the identity of persons or entities funding
political communications regarding candidates bolsters the right of
listeners to be fully informed.
(b) Political campaign contributions, receipts and
expenditures of money, advertising, influence and control of
employees, and other economic, political and social control factors
incident to primary, special and general elections shall be
regulated and controlled by the provisions of this article and
other applicable provisions of this chapter.
As used in this article, the following terms have the
(1) "Ballot issue" means a constitutional amendment, special
levy, bond issue, local option referendum, municipal charter or
revision, an increase or decrease of corporate limits or any other
question that is placed before the voters for a binding decision.
(2) "Broadcast, cable or satellite communication" means a
communication that is publicly distributed by a television station,
radio station, cable television system or satellite system.
(3) "Candidate" means an individual who:
(A) Has filed a certificate of announcement under section
seven, article five of this chapter or a municipal charter;
(B) Has filed a declaration of candidacy under section
twenty-three, article five of this chapter;
(C) Has been named to fill a vacancy on a ballot; or
(D) Has declared a write-in candidacy or otherwise publicly
declared his or her intention to seek nomination or election for
any state, district, county or municipal office or party office to
be filled at any primary, general or special election.
(4) "Candidate's committee" means a political committee
established with the approval of or in cooperation with a candidate
or a prospective candidate to explore the possibilities of seeking
a particular office or to support or aid his or her nomination or
election to an office in an election cycle. If a candidate directs
or influences the activities of more than one active committee in
a current campaign, those committees shall be considered one
committee for the purpose of contribution limits.
(5) "Clearly identified" means that the name, nickname,
photograph, drawing or other depiction of the candidate appears or
the identity of the candidate is otherwise apparent through an
unambiguous reference, such as "the Governor," "your Senator" or
"the incumbent" or through an unambiguous reference to his or her
status as a candidate, such as "the Democratic candidate for
Governor" or "the Republican candidate for Supreme Court of
(6) "Contribution" means a gift, subscription, loan,
assessment, payment for services, dues, advance, donation, pledge,
contract, agreement, forbearance or promise of money or other
tangible thing of value, whether conditional or legally
enforceable, or a transfer of money or other tangible thing of value to a person, made for the purpose of influencing the
nomination, election or defeat of a candidate. An offer or tender
of a contribution is not a contribution if expressly and
unconditionally rejected or returned. A contribution does not
include volunteer personal services provided without compensation:
Provided, That a nonmonetary contribution is to be considered at
fair market value for reporting requirements and contribution
(7) "Corporate political action committee" means a political
action committee that is a separate segregated fund of a
corporation that may only accept contributions from its restricted
group as outlined by the rules of the State Election Commission.
(8) "Direct costs of purchasing, producing or disseminating
electioneering communications" means:
(A) Costs charged by a vendor, including, but not limited to,
studio rental time, compensation of staff and employees, costs of
video or audio recording media and talent, material and printing
costs and postage; or
(B) The cost of air time on broadcast, cable or satellite
radio and television stations, the costs of disseminating printed
materials, studio time, use of facilities and the charges for a
broker to purchase air time.
(9) "Disclosure date" means either of the following:
(A) The first date during any calendar year on which any
electioneering communication is disseminated after the person
paying for the communication has spent a total of $5,000 or more for the direct costs of purchasing, producing or disseminating
electioneering communications; or
(B) Any other date during that calendar year after any
previous disclosure date on which the person has made additional
expenditures totaling $5,000 or more for the direct costs of
purchasing, producing or disseminating electioneering
(10) "Election" means any primary, general or special election
conducted under the provisions of this code or under the charter of
any municipality at which the voters nominate or elect candidates
for public office. For purposes of this article, each primary,
general, special or local election constitutes a separate election.
This definition is not intended to modify or abrogate the
definition of the term "nomination" as used in this article.
(11) (A) "Electioneering communication" means any paid
communication made by broadcast, cable or satellite signal, or
published in any newspaper, magazine or other periodical that:
(i) Refers to a clearly identified candidate for Governor,
Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Auditor,
Commissioner of Agriculture, Supreme Court of Appeals or the
(ii) Is publicly disseminated within:
(I) Thirty days before a primary election at which the
nomination for office sought by the candidate is to be determined;
(II) Sixty days before a general or special election at which the office sought by the candidate is to be filled; and
(iii) Is targeted to the relevant electorate: Provided, That
for purposes of the general election of 2008 the amendments to this
article are effective October 1, 2008.
(B) "Electioneering communication" does not include:
(i) A news story, commentary or editorial disseminated through
the facilities of any broadcast, cable or satellite television or
radio station, newspaper, magazine or other periodical publication
not owned or controlled by a political party, political committee
or candidate: Provided, That a news story disseminated through a
medium owned or controlled by a political party, political
committee or candidate is nevertheless exempt if the news is:
(I) A bona fide news account communicated in a publication of
general circulation or through a licensed broadcasting facility;
(II) Is part of a general pattern of campaign-related news
that gives reasonably equal coverage to all opposing candidates in
the circulation, viewing or listening area;
(ii) Activity by a candidate committee, party executive
committee or caucus committee, or a political action committee that
is required to be reported to the State Election Commission or the
Secretary of State as an expenditure pursuant to section five of
this article or the rules of the State Election Commission or the
Secretary of State promulgated pursuant to such provision:
Provided, That independent expenditures by a party executive
committee or caucus committee or a political action committee required to be reported pursuant to subsection (b), section two of
this article are not exempt from the reporting requirements of this
(iii) A candidate debate or forum conducted pursuant to rules
adopted by the State Election Commission or the Secretary of State
or a communication promoting that debate or forum made by or on
behalf of its sponsor;
(iv) A communication paid for by any organization operating
under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
(v) A communication made while the Legislature is in session
which, incidental to promoting or opposing a specific piece of
legislation pending before the Legislature, urges the audience to
communicate with a member or members of the Legislature concerning
that piece of legislation;
(vi) A statement or depiction by a membership organization, in
existence prior to the date on which the individual named or
depicted became a candidate, made in a newsletter or other
communication distributed only to bona fide members of that
(vii) A communication made solely for the purpose of
attracting public attention to a product or service offered for
sale by a candidate or by a business owned or operated by a
candidate which does not mention an election, the office sought by
the candidate or his or her status as a candidate; or
(viii) A communication, such as a voter's guide, which refers
to all of the candidates for one or more offices, which contains no appearance of endorsement for or opposition to the nomination or
election of any candidate and which is intended as nonpartisan
public education focused on issues and voting history.
(12) "Expressly advocating" means any communication that:
(A) Uses phrases such as "vote for the Governor," "re-elect
your Senator," "support the Democratic nominee for Supreme Court,"
"cast your ballot for the Republican challenger for House of
Delegates," "Smith for House," "Bob Smith in '04," "vote Pro-Life"
or "vote Pro-Choice" accompanied by a listing of clearly identified
candidates described as Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, "vote against Old
Hickory," "defeat" accompanied by a picture of one or more
candidates, "reject the incumbent";
of campaign slogans or individual words,
that can have no other reasonable meaning than to urge the election
or defeat of one or more clearly identified candidates, such as
posters, bumper stickers, advertisements, etc. , which say "Smith's
the One," "Jones '06," "Baker", etc; or
(C) Is susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than
as an appeal to vote for or against a specific candidate.
(13) "Financial agent" means any individual acting for and by
himself or herself, or any two or more individuals acting together
or cooperating in a financial way to aid or take part in the
nomination or election of any candidate for public office, or to
aid or promote the success or defeat of any political party at any
(14) "Fund-raising event" means an event such as a dinner, reception, testimonial, cocktail party, auction or similar affair
through which contributions are solicited or received by such means
as the purchase of a ticket, payment of an attendance fee or by the
purchase of goods or services.
(15) "Independent expenditure" means an expenditure by a
(A) Expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly
identified candidate; and
(B) That is not made in concert or cooperation with or at the
request or suggestion of such candidate, his or her agents, the
candidate's authorized political committee or a political party
committee or its agents.
Supporting or opposing the election of a clearly identified
candidate includes supporting or opposing the candidates of a
political party. An expenditure which does not meet the criteria
for an independent expenditure is considered a contribution.
(16) "Membership organization" means a group that grants bona
fide rights and privileges, such as the right to vote, to elect
officers or directors and the ability to hold office, to its
members and which uses a majority of its membership dues for
purposes other than political purposes. "Membership organization"
does not include organizations that grant membership upon receiving
(17) "Name" means the full first name, middle name or initial,
if any, and full legal last name of an individual and the full name
of any association, corporation, committee or other organization of individuals, making the identity of any person who makes a
contribution apparent by unambiguous reference.
(18) "Person" means an individual, corporation, partnership,
committee, association and any other organization or group of
(19) "Political action committee" means a committee organized
by one or more persons for the purpose of supporting or opposing
the nomination or election of one or more candidates. The
following are types of political action committees:
(A) A corporate political action committee, as that term is
defined by subdivision (8) of this section;
(B) A membership organization, as that term is defined by
subdivision(18) of this section;
(C) An unaffiliated political action committee, as that term
is defined by subdivision (29) of this section.
(20) "Political committee" means any candidate committee,
political action committee or political party committee.
(20) "Political party" means a political party as that term is
defined by section eight, article one of this chapter or any
committee established, financed, maintained or controlled by the
party, including any subsidiary, branch or local unit thereof and
including national or regional affiliates of the party.
(22) "Political party committee" means a committee established
by a political party or political party caucus for the purposes of
engaging in the influencing of the election, nomination or defeat
of a candidate in any election.
(23) "Political purposes" means supporting or opposing the
nomination, election or defeat of one or more candidates or the
passage or defeat of a ballot issue, supporting the retirement of
the debt of a candidate or political committee or the
administration or activities of an established political party or
an organization which has declared itself a political party and
determining the advisability of becoming a candidate under the
precandidacy financing provisions of this chapter.
(24) "Targeted to the relevant electorate" means a
communication which refers to a clearly identified candidate for
statewide office or the Legislature and which can be received by
one hundred forty thousand or more individuals in the state in the
case of a candidacy for statewide office, eight thousand two
hundred twenty or more individuals in the district in the case of
a candidacy for the State Senate and two thousand four hundred ten
or more individuals in the district in the case of a candidacy for
the House of Delegates.
(25) "Two-year election cycle" means the twenty-four month
period that begins the day after a general election and ends on the
day of the subsequent general election.
(26) "Unaffiliated political action committee" means a
political action committee that is not affiliated with a
corporation or a membership organization.
§3-8-2. Accounts for receipts and expenditures in elections;
requirements for reporting independent expenditures.
(a) Except for: (1) Candidates for party committeeman and committeewoman; and (2) federal committees required to file under
the provisions of 2 U.S.C.§434, all candidates for nomination or
election and all persons supporting, aiding or opposing the
nomination, election or defeat of any candidate shall keep for a
period of six months records of receipts and expenditures which are
made for political purposes. All of the receipts and expenditures
are subject to regulation by the provisions of this article.
Verified financial statements of the records and expenditures shall
be made and filed as public records by all candidates and by their
financial agents, representatives or any person acting for and on
behalf of any candidate and by the treasurers of all political
(b) (1) In addition to any other reporting required by the
provisions of this chapter,, any person who makes independent
expenditures in an aggregate amount or value in excess of $1,000
during a calendar year shall file a disclosure statement, on a form
prescribed by the Secretary of State, that contains all of the
(A) The name of (i) the person making the expenditure; (ii)
the name of any person sharing or exercising direction or control
over the activities of the person making the expenditure; and (iii)
the name of the custodian of the books and accounts of the person
making the expenditure;
(B) If the person making the expenditure is not an individual,
the principal place of business of the partnership, corporation,
committee, association, organization or group which made the expenditure;
(C) The amount of each expenditure of more than $1,000 made
during the period covered by the statement and the name of the
person to whom the expenditure was made;
(D) The elections to which the independent expenditure
pertain, the names, if known, of the candidates referred to or to
be referred to therein, whether the expenditure is intended to
support or oppose the identified candidates and the amount of the
total expenditure reported pursuant to paragraph (C) of this
subdivision spent to support or oppose each of the identified
(E) The name and address of any person who contributed a total
of more than $250 between the first day of the preceding calendar
year, and the disclosure date, and whose contributions were made
for the purpose of furthering the expenditure.
(F) With regard to the contributors required to be listed
pursuant to paragraph (E) of this subdivision, the statement shall
(i) The month, day and year that the contributions of any
single contributor exceeded $250;
(ii) If the contributor is a political action committee, the
name and address the political action committee registered with the
Secretary of State, county clerk or municipal clerk;
(iii) If the contributor is an individual, the name and
address of the individual, his or her occupation, the name and
address of the individual's current employer, if any, or, if the individual is self-employed, the name and address of the
individual's business, if any;
(iv) A description of the contribution, if other than money;
(v) The value in dollars and cents of the contribution.
(G)(1) A certification that such independent expenditure was
not made in cooperation, consultation, or concert, with, or at the
request or suggestion of, any candidate or any authorized committee
or agent of such candidate.
(2) Any person who makes a contribution for the purpose of
funding an independent expenditure under this subsection shall, at
the time the contribution is made, provide his or her name,
address, occupation, his or her current employer, if any, or, if
the individual is self-employed, the name of his or her business,
if any, to the recipient of the contribution.
(3) The Secretary of State shall expeditiously prepare indices
setting forth, on a candidate-by-candidate basis, all independent
expenditures separately, made by, or on behalf of, or for, or
against each candidate, as reported under this subsection, and for
periodically publishing such indices on a timely pre-election
(c) (1) A person, including a political committee, who makes
or contracts to make independent expenditures aggregating $1,000 or
more for any statewide, legislative or multi-county judicial
candidate or $500 or more for any county office, single-county
judicial candidate, committee supporting or opposing a candidate on the ballot in more than one county, or any municipal candidate on
a municipal election ballot, after the fifteenth day, but more than
twelve hours, before the date of an election, shall file a report
on a form prescribed by the Secretary of State, describing the
expenditures within twenty-four hours: Provided, That a person
making expenditures in the amount of $1,000 or more for any
statewide or legislative candidate on or after the fifteenth day but
more than twelve hours before the day of any election shall report
such expenditures in accordance with section two-b of this article
and shall not file an additional report as provided herein.
(2) Any person who files a report under subdivision (1) of this
subsection, shall file an additional report within twenty-four hours
after each time the person makes or contracts to make independent
expenditures aggregating an additional $500 with respect to the same
election, for any county office, single-county judicial candidate,
committee supporting or opposing a candidate on the ballot in more
than one county, or any municipal candidate on a municipal election
ballot, as that to which the initial report relates.
(d) (1) A person, including a political committee, who makes
or contracts to make independent expenditures aggregating $10,000
or more at any time up to and including the fifteenth day before the
date of an election shall file a report on a form prescribed by the
Secretary of State, describing the expenditures within forty-eight
(2) A person who files a report under subdivision (1) of this
subsection, the person shall file an additional report within forty-eight hours after each time the person makes or contracts to
make independent expenditures aggregating an additional $10,000 with
respect to the same election as that to which the initial report
(e) Any communication paid for by an independent expenditure
must include a clear and conspicuous public notice that:
(1) Clearly states that the communication is not authorized by
the candidate or the candidate's committee; and
(2) Clearly identifies the person making the expenditure:
Provided, That if the communication appears on or is disseminated
by broadcast, cable or satellite transmission, the statement
required by this subsection must be both spoken clearly and appear
in clearly readable writing at the end of the communication.
(f) Any person who has spent a total of $5,000 or more for the
direct costs of purchasing, producing or disseminating
electioneering communications during any calendar year shall
maintain all financial records and receipts related to such
expenditure for a period of six months following the filing of a
disclosure pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and, upon
request, shall make such records and receipts available to the
Secretary of State or county clerk for the purpose of an audit as
provided in section seven of this article.
(g) Any person who willfully fails to comply with this section
is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be
fined not less than $500, or confined in jail for not more than one
year, or both fined and confined.
(h) (1) Any person who is required to file a statement under
this section may file the statement by facsimile device or
electronic mail, in accordance with such rules as the Secretary of
State may promulgate.
(2) The Secretary of State shall make any document filed
electronically pursuant to this subsection accessible to the public
on the internet not later than twenty-four hours after the document
is received by the secretary.
(3) In promulgating a rule under this subsection, the secretary
shall provide methods, other than requiring a signature on the
document being filed, for verifying the documents covered by the
rule. Any document verified under any of the methods shall be
treated for all purposes, including penalties for perjury, in the
same manner as a document verified by signature.
(i) This section does not apply to candidates for federal
(j) The Secretary of State may promulgate emergency and
legislative rules, in accordance with the provisions of chapter
twenty-nine-a of this code, to establish guidelines for the
administration of this section.
§3-8-8. Corporation contributions forbidden; exceptions; penalties;
promulgation of rules; additional powers of State
(a) An officer, agent or person acting on behalf of any
corporation, whether incorporated under the laws of this or any other state or of a foreign country, may not pay, give, lend or
authorize to be paid, any money or other thing of value belonging
to the corporation to any candidate
or candidate's campaign for
nomination or election to any statewide office or any other elective
office in the state or any of its subdivisions.
(b) A person may not solicit or receive any payment,
contribution or other thing from any corporation or from any
officer, agent or other person acting on behalf of the corporation
to any candidate or candidate's campaign for nomination or election
to any statewide office or any other elective office in the state
or any of its subdivisions.
(c)(1) The provisions of this section do not prohibit a
corporation from soliciting, through any officer, agent or person
acting on behalf of the corporation, contributions to a separate
segregated fund to be used for political purposes. Any separate
segregated fund is considered a political action committee for the
purpose of this article and is subject to all reporting requirements
applicable to political action committees;
(2) It is unlawful for:
(A) A corporation or separate segregated fund to make a primary
or other election contribution or expenditure by using money or
anything of value secured: (i) By physical force, job discrimination
or financial reprisal; (ii) by the threat of force, job
discrimination or financial reprisal; or (iii) as a condition of
(B) Any person soliciting a stockholder or executive or administrative personnel and members of their families for a
contribution to a corporation or separate segregated fund to fail
to inform the person solicited of the political purposes of the
separate segregated fund at the time of the solicitation;
(C) Any person soliciting any other person for a contribution
to a corporation or separate segregated fund to fail to inform the
person solicited at the time of the solicitation of his or her right
to refuse to contribute without any reprisal;
(D) A separate segregated fund established by a corporation:
(i) To solicit contributions to the fund from any person other than
the corporation's stockholders and their families and its executive
or administrative personnel and their families; or (ii) to
contribute any corporate funds;
(E) A separate segregated fund established by a corporation to
receive contributions to the fund from any person other than the
corporation's stockholders and their immediate families and its
executive or administrative personnel and their immediate families;
(F) A corporation to engage in job discrimination or to
discriminate in job promotion or transfer because of an employee's
failure to make a contribution to the corporation or a separate
(G) A separate segregated fund to make any contribution,
directly or indirectly, in excess of $1,000 in connection with or
on behalf of any campaign for nomination or election to any elective
office in the state or any of its subdivisions, or in connection
with or on behalf of any committee or other organization or person engaged in furthering, advancing, supporting or aiding the
nomination or election of any candidate for any such office;
(H) A corporation to pay, give or lend or to authorize payment,
giving or lending of any moneys or other things of value belonging
to the corporation to a separate segregated fund for the purpose of
making a contribution to a candidate or a candidate's committee.
This provision does not prohibit a separate segregated fund from
using the property, real or personal, facilities and equipment of
a corporation solely to establish, administer and solicit
contributions to the fund, subject to the rules of the State
Election Commission as provided in subsection (d) of this section:
Provided, That any such corporation shall also permit any group of
its employees represented by a bona fide political action committee
to use the real property of the corporation solely to establish,
administer and solicit contributions to the fund of the political
action committee, subject to the rules of the State Election
Commission promulgated in accordance with said subsection.
(3) For the purposes of this section, the term "executive or
administrative personnel" means individuals employed by a
corporation who are paid on a salary rather than hourly basis and
who have policy-making, managerial, professional or supervisory
(d) Any person or corporation violating any provision of this
section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof,
shall be fined not more than $10,000. A corporation may not
reimburse any person the amount of any fine imposed pursuant to this section.
(e) To ensure uniform administration and application of the
provisions of this section and of those of the Federal Election
Campaign Act Amendments of 1976 relating to corporate contributions,
the State Election Commission shall propose rules for legislative
approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter
twenty-nine-a of this code to implement the provisions of this
section consistent, insofar as practicable, with the rules and
regulations promulgated by the Federal Election Commission to carry
out similar or identical provisions of 2 U.S.C. §441b.
(f) In addition to the powers and duties set forth in article
one-a of this chapter, the State Election Commission has the
following powers and duties:
(1) To investigate, upon complaint or on its own initiative,
any alleged violations or irregularities of this article.
(2) To administer oaths and affirmations, issue subpoenas for
the attendance of witnesses, issue subpoenas duces tecum to compel
the production of books, papers, records and all other evidence
necessary to any investigation.
(3) To involve the aid of any circuit court in the execution
of its subpoena power.
(4) To report any alleged violations of this article to the
appropriate prosecuting attorney having jurisdiction, which
prosecuting attorney shall present to the grand jury such alleged
violations, together with all evidence relating thereto, no later
than the next term of court after receiving the report.
(g) The Attorney General shall, when requested, provide legal
and investigative assistance to the State Election Commission.
(h) Any investigation, either upon complaint or initiative,
shall be conducted in an executive session of the State Election
Commission and shall remain undisclosed except upon an indictment
by a grand jury.
(i) Any person who discloses the fact of any complaint,
investigation or report or any part thereof, or any proceedings
thereon, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof,
shall be fined not less than $1,000, nor more than $5,000, and shall
be confined in jail not less than six months nor more than one year.
(j) The amendments to this section enacted during the second
extraordinary session of 2008 are intended to conform to the
existing proscription to constitutionally permissible limits and not
to create a new offense or offenses.
(k) The effective date of the amendments to this section
enacted during the second extraordinary legislative session of 2008
is October 1, 2008.
§3-8-12. Additional acts forbidden; circulation of written matter;
newspaper advertising; solicitation of contributions;
intimidation and coercion of employees; promise of
employment or other benefits; limitations on
contributions; public contractors; penalty.
(a) A person may not publish, issue or circulate, or cause to
be published, issued or circulated, any anonymous letter, circular, placard, radio or television advertisement or other publication
supporting or aiding the election or defeat of a clearly identified
(b) An owner, publisher, editor or employee of a newspaper or
other periodical may not insert, either in its advertising or
reading columns, any matter, paid for or to be paid for, which tends
to influence the voting at any election, unless directly designating
it as a paid advertisement and stating the name of the person
authorizing its publication and the candidate in whose behalf it is
(c) A person may not, in any room or building occupied for the
discharge of official duties by any officer or employee of the state
or a political subdivision of the state, solicit orally or by
written communication delivered within the room or building, or in
any other manner, any contribution of money or other thing of value
for any party or political purpose, from any postmaster or any other
officer or employee of the federal government, or officer or
employee of the State, or a political subdivision of the State. An
officer, agent, clerk or employee of the federal government, or of
this state, or any political subdivision of the state, who may have
charge or control of any building, office or room, occupied for any
official purpose, may not knowingly permit any person to enter any
building, office or room, occupied for any official purpose for the
purpose of soliciting or receiving any political assessments from,
or delivering or giving written solicitations for, or any notice of,
any political assessments to, any officer or employee of the state, or a political subdivision of the state.
(d) Except as provided in section eight of this article, a
person entering into any contract with the state or its
subdivisions, or any department or agency of the state, either for
rendition of personal services or furnishing any material, supplies
or equipment or selling any land or building to the state, or its
subdivisions, or any department or agency of the state, if payment
for the performance of the contract or payment for the material,
supplies, equipment, land or building is to be made, in whole or in
part, from public funds may not, during the period of negotiation
for or performance under the contract or furnishing of materials,
supplies, equipment, land or buildings, directly or indirectly, make
any contribution to any political party, committee or candidate for
public office or to any person for political purposes or use; nor
may any person or firm solicit any contributions for any purpose
during any period.
(e) A person may not, directly or indirectly, promise any
employment, position, work, compensation or other benefit provided
for, or made possible, in whole or in part, by act of the
Legislature, to any person as consideration, favor or reward for any
political activity for the support of or opposition to any
candidate, or any political party in any election.
(f) Except as provided in section eight of this article, a
person may not, directly or indirectly, make any contribution in
excess of the value of $1,000 in connection with any campaign for
nomination or election to or on behalf of any statewide office, in connection with any other campaign for nomination or election to or
on behalf of any other elective office in the state or any of its
subdivisions, or in connection with or on behalf of any person
engaged in furthering, advancing, supporting or aiding the
nomination or election of any candidate for any of the offices.
(g) A political organization (as defined in Section 527(e)(1)
of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) may not solicit or accept
contributions until it has notified the Secretary of State of its
existence and of the purposes for which it was formed. During the
two-year election cycle, a political organization (as defined in
Section 527 (e) (1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) may not
accept contributions totaling more than $1,000 from any one person
prior to the primary election and contributions totaling more than
$1,000 from any one person after the primary and before the general
(h) It is unlawful for any person to create, establish or
organize more than one political organization (as defined in Section
527(e)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) with the intent to
avoid or evade the contribution limitations contained in subsection
(g) of this section.
(i) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (f) of this
section to the contrary, a person may not, directly or indirectly,
make contributions to a state party executive committee or state
party legislative caucus committee which, in the aggregate, exceed
the value of $1,000 in any calendar year.
(j) The limitations on contributions contained in this section do not apply to transfers between and among a state party executive
committee or a state party's legislative caucus political committee
from national committees of the same political party: Provided,
That transfers permitted by this subsection may not exceed $50,000
in the aggregate in any calendar year to any state party executive
committee or state party legislative caucus political committee:
Provided, however, That the moneys transferred may only be used for
voter registration and get-out-the-vote activities of the state
(k) A person may not solicit any contribution, other than
contributions to a campaign for or against a county or local
government ballot issue, from any nonelective salaried employee of
the state government or of any of its subdivisions: Provided, That
in no event may any person acting in a supervisory role solicit a
person who is a subordinate employee for any contribution. A person
may not coerce or intimidate any nonelective salaried employee into
making a contribution. a person may not coerce or intimidate any
nonsalaried employee of the state government or any of its
subdivisions into engaging in any form of political activity. The
provisions of this subsection may not be construed to prevent any
employee from making a contribution or from engaging in political
activity voluntarily without coercion, intimidation or solicitation.
(l) A person may not solicit a contribution from any other
person without informing the other person at the time of the
solicitation of the amount of any commission, remuneration or other
compensation that the solicitor or any other person will receive or expect to receive as a direct result of the contribution being
successfully collected. Nothing in this subsection may be construed
to apply to solicitations of contributions made by any person
serving as an unpaid volunteer.
(m) A person may not place any letter, circular, flyer,
advertisement, election paraphernalia, solicitation material or
other printed or published item tending to influence voting at any
election in a roadside receptacle unless it is: (1) Approved for
placement into a roadside receptacle by the business or entity
owning the receptacle; and (2) contains a written acknowledgment of
the approval. This subdivision does not apply to any printed
material contained in a newspaper or periodical published or
distributed by the owner of the receptacle. The term "roadside
receptacle" means any container placed by a newspaper or periodical
business or entity to facilitate home or personal delivery of a
designated newspaper or periodical to its customers.
(n) Any person violating any provision of this section is
guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined
not more than $1,000, or confined in jail for not more than one
year, or, both fined and confined.
(o) The provisions of subsection (k) of this section,
permitting contributions to a campaign for or against a county or
local government ballot issue shall become operable on and after
January 1, 2005.
(p) The limitations on contributions established by subsection
(g) of this section do not apply to contributions made for the purpose of supporting or opposing a ballot issue, including a