Campaign finance requirements for New Jersey ballot measures

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Campaign finance requirements for New Jersey ballot measures are promulgated by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC). The ELEC is responsible for enforcing campaign finance laws in New Jersey. All campaign finance reports can be viewed online in a searchable database.

If anyone feels that a person or committee violated New Jersey campaign finance laws, the first step is to file a complaint with Election Law Enforcement Commission. The ELEC reviews and verifies all complaints along with conducting investigations[1][2]. If a person or a committee is found guilty of violating campaign finance laws, a monetary fine can be imposed[3]. Any campaign finance violations that involve criminal laws or not in the ELEC's jurisdiction are referred to the prosecuting attorney in the county where the offense happened or to the Attorney General on a case-by-case basis[4].

General requirements

Approval of campaign acronyms

Any group that plans to have a acronym used in connection with their campaign must get approval from the ELEC. The only restriction on acronyms is if a another committee is using the same acronym[5].

Continuing political committee

All groups aimed at the passage or defeat of a ballot question is considered to be a "Continuing Political Committee." New Jersey law also defines a Continuing Political Committee as a group that expects to contribute at least $4,900 or more to aid in the passage or defeat of a ballot question[6].

New Jersey ELEC Certification

All groups aimed at the passage or defeat of a ballot question must be registered and approved by ELEC. Once registered with the ELEC, a group must be approved before starting any campaign activity[7].

Statement of Organization

Within ten days of approval from the ELEC, a group must file a two part Statement of Organization. The two parts include a registration statement and a designation of depository form (Form D-4). The D-4 form contains information where the committee deposits its funds received[8].

The "48 Hours" rule

All continuing political committees must abide by the "48 Hours" rule. Under the rule, groups must report to the ELEC any contributor who has made more than $1,200 in one-time or aggregate contributions on the day of or before the election. This must be reported within 48 hours of receipt[9]. When counting aggregate contributions, all campaign finance activity up to thirteen days before the election must be considered before a 48 hour report is submitted[10].

Also, the "48 Hours" rule applies to campaign expenditures made the day before or after the election totaling over $1,200[11].

Campaign finance requirements

Contribution limits

Continuing Political Committees in support or opposition of a ballot question can accept contributions without limit[12]. Also, Continuing Political Committees influencing ballot questions can make contributions without limit to another political committee[13].

Filing reports

All Continuing Political Committees must keep orderly financial records and report all campaign contributions[14]. All campaign finance reporting for Continuing Political Committees is done on a quarterly basis[15].

Retention clause

All campaign finance reports must be kept on hand for exactly four years from after the date of the election or transaction (whichever is longer)[16].

Reporting requirements and types

In New Jersey, all ballot question groups must file campaign finance reports on a quarterly basis as they are treated differently from candidates and candidate committees on reporting deadlines.

April 15 report

The April 15 report is the first campaign finance report for Continuing Political Committees. The report takes into account all campaign finance activity from January 1st to March 31st. The first report is due on April 15th[17].

July 15 report

The July 15 report is the second campaign finance report for Continuing Political Committees. The report takes into account all activity from April 1st to June 30th. The report is due on July 15th[18].

October 15 Pre-Election report

The October 15 pre-election report is the last campaign finance report for Continuing Political Committees before an election. The report takes into account all activity from July 1st to September 30th. The report is due on October 15th[19].

January 15 Post-Election report

The January 15 post-election report is the last campaign finance report for a continuing political committee after the election. The report takes into account all activity from October 1st to December 31st. The report is due on January 15th[20].

Campaign advertising restrictions

All campaign advertisements must disclose who paid for the ad on the bottom of the advertisement. All Continuing Political Committees are required to maintain advertising records for at least two years with the person or agency creating the ads. When disclosing advertising expenditures in campaign finance reports, the committee must disclose the contact information of the agency that created the ad. The registered bank that stored the funds to pay for the ad must be disclosed[21].

Terminating a committee

Under New Jersey law, a committee can be disbanded if:

  • The committee ceased making contributions to aid or promote the passage or defeat of any ballot question.
  • The final quarterly report makes a final accounting of any funds used or relating to aiding the passage or defeat of a ballot question, including the final disposition of any remaining balance.
  • The committee is dissolved.

The campaign chairperson and candidate must certify this in the final report[22].

External links

References

  1. New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, "New Jersey Campaign Finance Regulations"(Referenced Statutes 19:25-16.48(a)-(1))
  2. New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission" New Jersey Campaign Finance Regulations(Referenced Statutes 19:25-17.1)
  3. New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, "New Jersey Campaign Finance Regulations"(Referenced Statutes 19:25-20.18(c))
  4. [Confirmed with NJ ELEC staff on 4-26-2010]
  5. New Jersey ELEC "New Jersey Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute New Jersey Administrative Code 19:25-4.8)
  6. New Jersey ELEC "New Jersey Campaign Finance Law"( New Jersey Administrative Code 19:25-1.7 Under "Continuing Political Committee definition")
  7. New Jersey ELEC "New Jersey Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 19:25-4.5(a), New Jersey Administrative Code)
  8. New Jersey ELEC "New Jersey Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute New Jersey Administrative Code 19:25-4.5(b))
  9. New Jersey ELEC "New Jersey Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute New Jersey Administrative Code 19:25-9.3(a))
  10. New Jersey ELEC "New Jersey Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute New Jersey Administrative Code 19:25-9.3(b))
  11. New Jersey ELEC "New Jersey Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute New Jersey Administrative Code 19:25-9.4)
  12. New Jersey ELEC "New Jersey Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute New Jersey Administrative Code 19:25-11.2)
  13. New Jersey ELEC "New Jersey Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute New Jersey Administrative Code 19:25-11.6)
  14. New Jersey ELEC "New Jersey Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute New Jersey Administrative Code 19:25-7.1)
  15. New Jersey ELEC "New Jersey Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute New Jersey Administrative Code 19:25-9.1(a))
  16. New Jersey ELEC "New Jersey Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute New Jersey Administrative Code 19:25-7.3)
  17. New Jersey ELEC "New Jersey Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute New Jersey Administrative Code 19:25-9.1(a)(1))
  18. New Jersey ELEC "New Jersey Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute New Jersey Administrative Code 19:25-9.1(a)(2))
  19. New Jersey ELEC "New Jersey Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute New Jersey Administrative Code 19:25-9.1(a)(3))
  20. New Jersey ELEC "New Jersey Campaign Finance Law"](Referenced Statute New Jersey Administrative Code 19:25-9.1(a)(4))
  21. New Jersey ELEC "New Jersey Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute New Jersey Administrative Code 19:25-13.2(a)(b))
  22. New Jersey ELEC "New Jersey Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute New Jersey Administrative Code 19:25-9.5))