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Campaign finance requirements for Florida ballot measures

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Campaign finance requirements for Florida ballot measures are promulgated by the Florida Secretary of State's Division of Elections. The Election Division oversees all reporting and administrative functions of Florida's campaign finance laws.

The Elections Division maintains a disclosure database on the financial activities of political committees in support or opposition of ballot questions in Florida.

If any person feels a person or committee violated campaign finance laws, the first step is to file a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission. It is up to the Elections Commission to fully investigate all complaints[1]. If someone is found in violation of campaign finance law, a civil fine is imposed in most cases[2]. All criminal complaints are referred to the District Attorney in the county where alleged violation happened[3].

General requirements

Electioneering communications organization

Florida has a separate designation for independent expenditure campaigns involving advertising. An Electioneering communications organization is defined as any group, other than a political committee, in which their activities are intended to making expenditures or receiving contributions for the purpose of making electioneering communications[4].

Political committee

A group in support or opposition to a ballot measure are considered to be political committees[5].

Statement of Organization

A political committee that plans to receive contributions or make expenditures of $500 or more must file a statement of organization within 10 days of forming a committee or meeting the $500 threshold, whichever is earlier[6].

Electioneering communications organizations that plan to receive contributions or make expenditures must file a statement of organization by expedited delivery within 24 hours after its inception or after the date it has the expectation of meeting the criteria as an organization[7].

Campaign finance requirements

$50 cash limit

Under Florida law, there is a $50 cash limit for any contribution made via cash, coin, or cashiers check[8].

Accepting contributions from 501(c)4/527

A electioneering communications committee may not accept any money from a organization that is listed as a 527 or a 501(c)4 organization under the United States Internal Revenue Code[9]. This is in relation for any organization funding advertisements under this designation.

Campaign expenditures

Expenditures must be made from a separate depository account located at a bank or credit union in Florida. Also, all expenditures must be made with a bank check or a debit card[10]. Florida law defines a legal bank check with the title of the check as the "Campaign Account of (name of candidate or political committee)," the exact amount of the expenditure, the campaign's account number and the name of the bank, the purpose of the expenditure, and the person making the expenditure[11]. Debit cards must be part of the campaign's bank account and only the campaign treasurer along with other recognized staffers can hold possession of a debit card[12].

Contribution limits

There are no campaign contribution limits for campaigns in support or opposition of a ballot measure in Florida.

Filing reports

Any registered committee with the Secretary of State's election division must file all applicable campaign finance reports[13].

Mandatory electronic reporting

All political committees in Florida are required to file their campaign finance reports electronically[14].

Reporting requirements and reports

Florida EFS

Florida is different from other states as they do all their campaign finance reporting online through the Florida EFS system. The EFS eliminates the need for separate campaign finance reporting forms[15]. The EFS is considered an all-in-one campaign finance reporting system. A campaign must use an approved vendor to file campaign finance reports using the EFS[16].

Reporting deadlines

Quarterly reports are due on the 10th day following the end of each calendar quarter. This begins after a campaign appoints a treasurer[17]. During an election cycle, pre-election reports for political committees are due eighteen days and four days before the election[18].

Campaign advertising restrictions

If a campaign is paid through an electioneering communications organization, which is considered an independent expenditure, the following disclaimer must state: "Paid political advertisement paid for by (Name and address of person paying for advertisement) independently of any (candidate or committee)"[19]. Any other political advertisement not paid through a electioneering communication organization must have the disclaimer as: "Paid electioneering communication paid for by (Name and address of person paying for the communication)"[20].

Terminating a committee

Any political committee can disband after they have the expectation of no longer receiving contributions or making expenditures of $500 or more. A committee must notify the respective filing officer of their intentions to terminate[21]. There are no restrictions on how surplus funds can be disbursed.

External links

References

  1. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.25(4) Florida Statutes)
  2. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.27(2)) Florida Statutes)
  3. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.27(1)) Florida Statutes)
  4. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.011.(19) Florida Statutes)
  5. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.011.(1)(a)1 Florida Statutes)
  6. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.03 (1)(a) Florida Statutes)
  7. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.03 (b) Florida Statutes)
  8. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.09(1))
  9. "Florida Senate" Florida Campaign Finance Law(Referenced Statute 106.08 (5)(d))
  10. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.11)
  11. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.11(1)(b))
  12. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.11(2)(a)(2),(4))
  13. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.07)
  14. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.0705(2)(b))
  15. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.07 (1)(d)2)
  16. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.0706 (2)(b))
  17. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.07(1))
  18. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.07 (1)(d)2)
  19. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.071(2))
  20. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.1439(1))
  21. Florida Senate, "Florida Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 106.03(5))