Difference between revisions of "Campaign finance requirements for Alabama ballot measures"

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===Corporate/labor contributions===
 
===Corporate/labor contributions===
  
Under a opinion published in 1981 by the [[Alabama Attorney General]], corporations are prohibited to publish an advertisement in its own name to advocate the support or defeat of a ballot question<ref>[http://www.ago.alabama.gov/oldopinions/8200088.pdf ''Office of the Alabama Attorney General'' "Attorney General Opinion #82-088", November 19, 1981](See Page 4)</ref>.  However, corporations and labor unions can donate to a Political Action Committee in support or opposition of a ballot question<ref>[http://www.ago.alabama.gov/oldopinions/8200088.pdf ''Office of the Alabama Attorney General'' "Attorney General Opinion #82-088", November 19, 1981](See Pages 4, 5)</ref>.
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Under a opinion published in 1981 by the [[Alabama Attorney General]], corporations are prohibited to publish an advertisement in its own name to advocate the support or defeat of a ballot question<ref>[http://www.ago.alabama.gov/oldopinions/8200088.pdf ''Office of the Alabama Attorney General'' "Attorney General Opinion #82-088," November 19, 1981](See Page 4)</ref>.  However, corporations and labor unions can donate to a Political Action Committee in support or opposition of a ballot question<ref>[http://www.ago.alabama.gov/oldopinions/8200088.pdf ''Office of the Alabama Attorney General'' "Attorney General Opinion #82-088," November 19, 1981](See Pages 4, 5)</ref>.
  
 
===Filing Reports===  
 
===Filing Reports===  

Revision as of 07:34, 18 March 2014

Campaign finance requirements for Alabama ballot measures are promulgated by the Elections Division of the Alabama Secretary of State.

The Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act governs most campaign finance laws under the Supervision of the Secretary of State's Office. If anyone feels a person or committee violated Alabama campaign finance laws, the first step is to file a complaint with the Alabama Attorney General. The Attorney General has full enforcement powers over campaign finance laws. Once a complaint is filed, it's up to the Attorney General to investigate the complaint and prosecute any violations[1].

General requirements

Annual report mandatory

All Political Action Committees must file the Annual Report that is due by January 31 each year in addition to the normal campaign finance reports[2].

PAC designation

Any group that is influencing the passage or defeat of a referendum is considered to be a Political Action Committee (PAC's). Alabama law defines a PAC as a club, association, political party, or other group of one or more persons which receives or anticipates receiving contributions or makes or anticipates making expenditures to or on behalf of any elected official, proposition, candidate, principal campaign committee or other political action committee[3].

Statement of Organization

If a PAC receives contributions or makes expenditures in excess of $1,000, the committee must file a Statement of Organization Form within 10 days of reaching that threshold or forming the committee to the Secretary of State[4]. The statement and subsequent campaign finance reports are filed with the Secretary of State if the PAC supports statewide ballot measures. All reports are filed with the local probate judge if the PAC supports local ballot measures[4].

Tax exemption clause

Some ballot measure groups in Alabama may be exempt from state taxes.

Campaign finance requirements

Blackout on fundraising

Alabama law mandates from January 12-31, 2010 that no fund-raising activities of any kind can take place. This means no contributions or solicitations[5].

Campaign fund account separation

The Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act requires all campaign funds raised by PAC's to be kept in separate accounts. Staffers, members, or officers of PAC's are prohibited from using personal money to fund a PAC influencing a referendum[6].

Canceled check clause

PAC's are required to keep receipts and canceled checks on file for two years after the date of expenditure[7].

Corporate/labor contributions

Under a opinion published in 1981 by the Alabama Attorney General, corporations are prohibited to publish an advertisement in its own name to advocate the support or defeat of a ballot question[8]. However, corporations and labor unions can donate to a Political Action Committee in support or opposition of a ballot question[9].

Filing Reports

After exceeding the threshold amount in either contributions or expenditures, a PAC is required to file reports at specific times[10].

Reporting requirements and reports

Alabama uses a pre and post-election reporting system in addition to annual reports. During an election year, pre-election reports are required before an election with a referendum on the ballot. The report should include the amount of cash on hand at the beginning of the reporting period, a total of all contributions and expenditures made during the reporting period, and the ending balance on the summary page. Contributions and expenditures over $100 that were received or expended during the reporting period should be itemized on the following pages of the report[11].

Primary 50/45 report

The Primary 50/45 is the first campaign report for a PAC. The 50/45 report for the 2009-2010 election cycle takes all contributions and expenditures from June 1, 2009 to April 19, 2010. The report is due on April 19, 2010. Report submissions begin on April 12, 2010[5].

Primary 10/5 report

The Primary 10/5 report is the second campaign report for a PAC. The 10/5 report for the 2009-2010 election cycle covers all campaign finance activity from May 20 to May 25, 2010. The report is due via certified mail on May 25, 2010 before the June 1, 2010 primary[5].

General 50/45 report

The General 50/45 report is the third campaign report for a PAC. The 50/45 report for the 2009-2010 election cycle covers all campaign finance activity from May 25 to September 20, 2010. The report is due on September 20, 2010 via certified mail. Reports submissions begin on September 13, 2010[5].

General 10/5 report

The general 10/5 report is the last report before the general election for a PAC. The report covers all campaign finance activity from September 21 to October 28, 2010. The report is due on October 28, 2010, while all other reports submitted via certified mail are due on October 26, 2010. Report submissions begin on October 25, 2010.[5].

Annual report

The annual report covers all campaign finance activity from October 29, 2010 up to January 11, 2011. The report is due on January 31, 2011[5].

Restrictions on advertising

The Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act requires: ”any paid political advertisement appearing in any print media or broadcast on any electronic media shall be clearly identified or marked as a paid political advertisement and provide the identification required by Alabama Law"[12]. Identification of advertisements are defined as the full name and complete address of the PAC[13].

Also, all print advertisements, cards, pamphlets, and buttons must have the name of the PAC identified on the material[14].

Terminating a committee

The chairman or treasurer of the PAC should submit a Statement of Dissolution Form to the secretary of state or local probate judge to dissolve a committee. The statement must be accompanied by a final report detailing contributions and expenditures not previously reported. Also, a disposition must be stated on how excess funds would be distributed[15].

Unused campaign funds can be used for:

  • Necessary and ordinary expenditures of the campaign.
  • Expenditures related to performing the duties of the office elected to. This is defined as expenses related to performing the duties of the office and not for legislative per diems (living expenses).
  • Donations to the State General Fund (state budget), the Alabama Education Trust Fund, or equivalent county or municipal funds.
  • Donations to an organization to which a federal income tax deduction is permitted under sub-paragraph (A) of paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or any other charitable, educational, or eleemosynary cause of Section 501 of Title 26 of the U. S. Code.
  • Legal Transfers to another political committee.
  • Inaugural or transitional expenses[16].

Have Questions or Need Forms?


Contact the Elections Division:
Elections Division
P.O. Box 5616 Montgomery, AL 36103-5616
Telephone:
1-800-274-VOTE
1-800-274-8683
1-334-242-7210

The Elections Division is located in the State Capitol at 600 Dexter Avenue in Montgomery, Alabama.

External links

References

  1. [Contacted Alabama Attorney General on October 5, 2009 to confirm enforcement authority]
  2. Alabama Legislature "Alabama Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 17-5-8 Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act, Section (b))
  3. "Alabama Legislature "Alabama Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 17-5-2 Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act, Section 10)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Alabama Legislature "Alabama Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 17-5-5 Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act, Section 10)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Alabama Secretary of State's Office, "2010 Election Fundraising deadlines"
  6. Alabama Legislature "Alabama Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 17-5-3 Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act, Section (b))
  7. Alabama Legislature "Alabama Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 17-5-3 Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act, Section (d))
  8. Office of the Alabama Attorney General "Attorney General Opinion #82-088," November 19, 1981(See Page 4)
  9. Office of the Alabama Attorney General "Attorney General Opinion #82-088," November 19, 1981(See Pages 4, 5)
  10. Alabama Legislature "Alabama Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 17-5-8(a)(1) Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act, Section (a)(1))
  11. Alabama Legislature "Alabama Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 17-5-9 FCPA)
  12. Alabama Legislature "Alabama Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 17-5-12 FCPA)
  13. Alabama Legislature "Alabama Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 17-5-13 FCPA)
  14. Alabama Legislature "Alabama Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 17-5-13 FCPA)
  15. Alabama Legislature "Alabama Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 17-5-5(d) Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act)
  16. "Alabama Legislature" Alabama Campaign Finance Law(Referenced Statute 17-5-7 Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act)