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Campaign finance requirements for Tennessee ballot measures

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Campaign finance requirements for Tennessee ballot measures are promulgated by the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance.

The Registry of Election Finance is responsible for all administrative and reporting functions of the state's campaign finance laws[1]. The Registry maintains an online disclosure database listing all campaigns involved in support or opposition of a referendum.

If a person feels that a person or committee violated Tennessee campaign finance law, the first step is to file a complaint with the Registry of Election Finance. All complaints must be sworn before the Registry can accept them[2]. The Registry forwards all complaints to the District Attorney General for investigation regardless if it inolves civil or criminal law violations[3].

General requirements

Multi-candidate political campaign committee

Tennessee law defines any group in support or opposition of two or more referendums as a Multi-Candidate Political Campaign Committee[4].

Political Campaign Committee

Any corporation in support or opposition of any number of referendums are defined as a Political Campaign Committee[5].

Single Measure Political Campaign Committee

Any group (excluding corporations) in support or opposition of one referendum inas a Single Measure Political Campaign Committee[6].

Treasurer certification

Tennessee requires all Single Measure Political Campaign Committees to certify the name and address of their treasurer before accepting any contributions and making expenditures[7].

Campaign finance requirements

Best efforts clause

All committees in support or opposition of a referendum must comply by a best efforts clause. Under the clause, a committee must identify the occupation and employer in addition to the contact information for a donor that contributes more than $100 to a committee[8].

Contribution limits

There are no contribution limits on referendums in the State of Tennessee[9].

Corporate/labor contributions

Tennessee allows all corporations and labor unions to donate to Single Measure Political Campaign Committees[5]. Tennessee bans all corporations from contributing to candidates, candidate committees, and party organizations[10].

Reporting requirements and reports

Tennessee uses a quarterly reporting system for all campaigns involved in the support or opposition of referendums along with a pre-election report. All quarterly reports are due ten days after the end of the reporting deadline[11].

March 31st report

The March 31st report covers all campaign finance activity from January 1 to March 31st. The report is due on April 10th[11].

June 30th report

The June 30th report covers all campaign finance activity from April 1 to June 30th. The report is due on July 10th for campaigns that have referendums placed on the general election ballot[11].

Pre-Primary report

The pre-primary report covers all campaign finance activity from July 1st to ten days before the statewide primary which is on the First Tuesday in August. The report is due seven days before the primary[11].

September 30th report

The September 30th report covers all campaign finance activity from July 1 to September 30th for campaigns with referendums on the general election ballot. For campaigns with referendums on the statewide primary ballot, the report covers all activity from nine days before the primary up to September 30th. The report is due on October 10th regardless if the referendum was on the primary or general election ballot[11].

Pre-general report

The pre-general election report covers all campaign finance activity from October 1st to ten days before the general election. The report is due seven days before the general election[11].

January 15th report

The January 15th reporting period differs on where a referendum is placed on the ballot. For campaigns with referendums placed on the general election ballot, the reporting period is from nine days before the general election to December 31st. For campaigns with referendums placed on the statewide primary ballot, the reporting period is from October 1st to December 31st. The report is due on January 15th[11].

Campaign advertising restrictions

Any campaign advertisement regardless for who paid for the ad must have a clearly disclosed disclaimer. All disclaimers must state if the ad was authorized and paid for by a committee, another person authorized by a committee, or if it's not authorized by any committee only if the ad opposes the measure[12].

The disclaimer requirement is not required for small items such as bumper stickers, pens, pins, etc[13].

Terminating a committee

All committees in support or opposition of a referendum can terminate once all debts are retired, all funds are expended, and a balance showing zero[14].

Surplus funds can be disbursed by donating the funds to any charity registered under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, to any scholarship program, or to another committee. Committees can also return excess funds to contributors on a pro-rated basis[15].

External links

References

  1. Tennessee Secretary of State "Tennessee Campaign Finance Disclosure Law"(Referenced Statute 2-10-106, Tennessee Code)
  2. Tennessee Secretary of State "Tennessee Campaign Finance Disclosure Law"(Referenced Statute 2-10-108(c), Tennessee Code)
  3. Tennessee Secretary of State "Tennessee Campaign Finance Disclosure Law"(Referenced Statute 2-10-109(b)1, Tennessee Code)
  4. Tennessee Secretary of State "Tennessee Campaign Finance Disclosure Law"(Referenced Statute 2-10-402(2), Tennessee Election Code)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Tennessee Secretary of State "Tennessee Campaign Finance Disclosure Law"(Referenced Statute 2-10-102(12))
  6. Tennessee Secretary of State "Rules of the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance"(Referenced Section 0530-1-1-.01(6), TREF Rules)
  7. Tennessee Secretary of State "Rules of the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance"(Referenced Section 0530-1-1-.08(1), TREF Rules)
  8. Tennessee Registry of Campaign Finance" "Campaign Financial Disclosure Rules"(Referenced Rule 0530-1-1-.02(9)a-c)
  9. Tennessee Secretary of State "Tennessee Campaign Finance Disclosure Law"(Referenced Statute 2-10-302)
  10. Michie "Tennessee Election Code"(Referenced Statute 2-19-132(a), Tennessee Code)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 Tennessee Secretary of State "Tennessee Campaign Finance Disclosure Law"(Referenced Statute, 2-10-105(c)1, Tennessee Election Code)
  12. Michie "Tennessee Election Code"(Referenced Statute 2-19-120(a)1-3)
  13. Michie "Tennessee Election Code"(Referenced Statute 2-19-120(a)1-4(B))
  14. Tennessee Secretary of State "Tennessee Campaign Finance Disclosure Law"(Referenced Statute 2-10-107(2)(b), Tennessee Election Code)
  15. Tennessee Secretary of State "Tennessee Campaign Finance Disclosure Law"(Referenced Statute 2-10-114(a)1-8, Tennessee Election Code)