Cure Campaign Finance Reporting Deficiencies
Upon receipt of a complaint alleging that a campaign finance disclosure report alleging a failure to file other information required to be filed or disclosed pursuant to the campaign finance provisions of the state constitution or the 'Fair Campaign Practices Act' (FCPA), the bill requires the secretary of state to give notice to the particular committee by e-mail of the deficiencies alleged in the complaint.
Service of the notice does not toll or otherwise affect the 3-day period during which the secretary of state is required to refer a complaint to an administrative law judge under the state constitution. Upon receipt of the notice from the secretary of state, the committee may request from the appropriate officer a postponement of a hearing on the complaint and, if such request is timely submitted, has 15 business days from the date of the notice to file an addendum to the relevant report that cures any such deficiencies in the disclosure specified in the notice. The bill also requires the committee to also provide the complainant notice of the entity's intent to cure and a copy of the addendum on the same day that the addendum is filed with the secretary of state.
Where the committee files an addendum that cures all deficiencies alleged in the complaint before the expiration of the 15-day period specified in the bill, the bill prohibits the appropriate officer from assessing a penalty against the committee that otherwise would have been assessed for the deficiencies for the period from the first date of the alleged violation through the expiration of the cure period. Upon filing an addendum to the relevant report by the committee that cures all such deficiencies, the appropriate officer is required to set a hearing within 30 days of the notice to determine whether all issues raised by the complaint have been resolved. If the committee or party treasurer fails to cure any such discrepancy, any penalty imposed for such deficiency continues to accrue until further resolution of the matter.
The bill's requirements only apply in the case of a good faith effort by a committee to make timely disclosure in accordance with governing legal requirements or where the disclosure report is in substantial compliance with such legal requirements. The committee has the burden of demonstrating good faith or substantial compliance by a preponderance of the evidence at the hearing. Where the committee fails to satisfy its burden of demonstrating either good faith or substantial compliance, the bill requires the administrative law judge to impose a penalty of $50 per day for each day the committee has failed to file other information required to be filed or disclosed pursuant to the state constitution or the FCPA.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)