- Requires ballot question committees and political action to register and specifies the timing and content of such registration. Specifies the duties of treasurers of such committees.
- Permits a clerk of a town or city that is governed by this chapter pursuant to Title 30-A, section 2502 who becomes aware of a potential violation of this chapter that the clerk considers to be substantial, to refer the matter to the commission for enforcement. Substantial violations include, but are not limited to, accepting contributions in excess of the limitations of section 1015 and failing to file a report that substantially complies with the disclosure requirements of section 1017. The commission has the discretion to conduct an investigation if the information referred by the municipal clerk shows sufficient grounds for believing that a violation may have occurred. After conducting the investigation, if the commission determines that a violation of this chapter has occurred, the commission may assess penalties provided in this chapter.
- Increases from $100 to $250 the cumulative value of the use of real or personal property and the cost of invitations, food and beverages, voluntarily provided by an individual to a candidate in rendering voluntary personal services for candidate-related activities that does not constitute a contribution.
- Specifies that limited liability companies that are owned or controlled by the same majority member or members shall be treated as a single entity for purposes of calculating limits on contributions.
- Specifies that if an individual receives funds, goods or services for the purpose of deciding whether to become a candidate, the funds, goods or services may not exceed the limitations in section 1015, subsections 1 and 2. The individual shall keep an account of such funds, goods or services received and all payments and obligations incurred in deciding whether to become a candidate. If the individual becomes a candidate, the funds, goods and services received are contributions and the payments and obligations are expenditures. The candidate shall disclose the contributions and expenditures in the first report filed by the candidate or the candidate's authorized campaign committee, in accordance with the commission's procedures.
- Specifies the following duties and liabilities of a candidate and treasurer:
- 1. Keeping required records. The candidate or treasurer shall keep records of contributions and expenditures as required by section 1016, chapter 14 and the commission's rules. If the candidate keeps the records, the candidate shall provide the treasurer or deputy treasurer with access to the records for the purpose of filing complete and accurate campaign finance reports. The candidate and treasurer are jointly responsible for ensuring that the campaign keeps all records required by law.
- 2. Filing campaign finance reports. The treasurer shall file complete and accurate campaign finance reports as required by section 1017. The treasurer may delegate the filing of the reports to the deputy treasurer.
- 3. Liability for violations. The commission may hold the candidate and treasurer jointly and severally liable for any penalties assessed for violations of the financial reporting or record-keeping requirements of this chapter, chapter 14 and the commission's rules. If the deputy treasurer files reports for the campaign, the commission may hold the deputy treasurer jointly and severally liable for any penalties related to reports filed by the deputy treasurer.
- Changes threshold that triggers a late report by a state committee political party and political action committees from any expenditure of $500 to any single contribution of $5,000 or more received or any single expenditure of $1,000.
- Provides that donations received for a recount must be within the limitations of section 1015, except that no limitation applies to donations from party committees and caucus campaign committees and from attorneys, consultants and their firms that are donating their services without reimbursement.
- Permits the commission to adopt procedures requiring the electronic filing of an independent expenditure report, as long as the commission receives the statement made under oath or affirmation set out in paragraph B by the filing deadline and the commission adopts an exception for persons who lack access to the required technology or the technological ability to file reports electronically. The commission may adopt procedures allowing for the signed statement to be provisionally filed by facsimile or electronic mail, as long as the report is not considered complete without the filing of the original signed statement.
- Creates a new statute: §1055-A. Political communications to influence a ballot question:
- 1. Communications to influence ballot question elections. Whenever a person makes an expenditure exceeding $500 expressly advocating through broadcasting stations, cable television systems, newspapers, magazines, campaign signs or other outdoor advertising facilities, publicly accessible sites on the Internet, direct mails or other similar types of general public political advertising or through flyers, handbills, bumper stickers and other nonperiodical publications, for or against an initiative or referendum that is on the ballot, the communication must clearly and conspicuously state the name and address of the person who made or financed the expenditure for the communication.
- 2. Exceptions. The following forms of political communication do not require the name and address of the person who made or financed the expenditure for the communication because the name or address would be so small as to be illegible or infeasible: clothing, envelopes and stationery, small promotional items, tickets to fundraisers and electronic media advertisements where compliance with this section would be impracticable due to size or character limitations and similar items determined by the commission to be too small and unnecessary for the disclosures required by this section. "Small promotional items" includes but is not limited to ashtrays, badges and badge holders, balloons, campaign buttons, coasters, combs, emery boards, erasers, glasses, key rings, letter openers, matchbooks, nail files, noisemakers, paper and plastic cups, pencils, pens, plastic tableware, 12-inch or shorter rulers and swizzle sticks.
- Specifies that a committee that fails to keep required records may be assessed a fine of up to $2,500. In assessing a fine, the commission shall consider, among other things, whether the violation was intentional, whether the violation occurred as the result of an error by someone outside the control of the committee, whether the committee intended to conceal its financial activity, the amount of financial activity that was not documented and the level of experience of the committee's volunteers and staff.