Campaign finance requirements for Colorado ballot measures

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Campaign finance requirements for Colorado ballot measures are promulgated by the Colorado Secretary of State-Elections Division. They are responsible for enforcing all campaign finance laws in the State of Colorado.

The Elections division maintains a database of all groups in support or opposition to ballot measures in terms of their fund-raising activity.

If someone feels a person or committee is violating Colorado campaign finance laws, the first step is to file a complaint with the Secretary of State. Once a complaint is received, an administrative law judge must determine if a violation has happened. If someone is found guilty of violating campaign finance laws, the judge in charge of the case can order appropriate sanctions and or fines[1]. If a complaint is filed against a candidate for Secretary of State, the Attorney General is responsible for prosecuting the complaint[2]. All criminal prosecution of campaign finance laws are handled by the District Attorney in the county where the offense happened[3].

General requirements

Issue Committee

All groups in support or opposition of a ballot measure are considered to be issue committees[4].

Statement of organization

All issue committees that plan to advocate the passage or defeat a ballot measure must register with the appropriate filing officer before accepting any contributions[5].

Campaign finance requirements

$100 cash limit

All issue committees cannot accept more than $100 in campaign contributions made with cash or coins[6].

Bank account requirement

Under Colorado law, all funds received by issue committees must be deposited in separate bank accounts with the title of the account being the legal name of the committee. All issue committees must keep their bank account records on hand for 180 days after the election[7].

Contribution limits

There are no contribution limits to issue committees in support or opposition of a ballot measure[8]. Any individual, labor union, organization, or corporation can donate unlimited sums of money to a issue committee.

Corporate/labor union contributions

Colorado law prohibits all corporations and labor unions from donating to a candidate, candidate committee, along with state or local party organizations[9].

Corporations and labor unions are allowed to donate to issue committees in support or opposition of a ballot question[9].

Filing reports

Under Colorado law, all registered issue committees must file campaign finance reports for any and all contributions of $20 or more[10].

Reporting requirements and reports

Off-year reporting

For groups beginning their campaign in an off-year meaning the odd numbered year before the election, they are required to file campaign finance reports on a quarterly basis. The reporting period for the first quarter is from December 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009, the second quarter is from April 1 to June 30, 2009, the third quarter is from July 1 to September 30, 2009, while the last quarter reporting period is from October 1, 2009 to December 31st, 2009. The reports are due on April 15th for the First Quarter, July 15th for the Second Quarter, October 15th for the Third Quarter, and January 15th for the Fourth Quarter[11] [12].

Election-year reporting

For reports in an election year, issue committees are required to have their first campaign finance reports of the election year on file by the May 1st due date[13] . The first report of the election year that is due on May 1st covers campaign finance activity from January 1 to April 25th[14]. All other monthly reports during the election year are due on the first of the following month. Beginning in the first Monday in September, all groups are required to file reports on a bi-weekly basis (every two weeks) before the election[15]. Also, a special post-election campaign finance report is due 30 days after the election[16].

Campaign advertising restrictions

Under Colorado law, groups in opposition or support to a ballot measure are required to file reports with the Secretary of State on how much advertising dollars are spent. If any group or person spends a $1,000 or more on advertising in a calendar year, they are required to report this informations[17]. Colorado law prohibits any corporation or labor union from spending money on advertisements to influence the victory or defeat of a ballot question[18]

Terminating a committee

A issue committee may only terminate by filing a report to the Secretary of State indicating a "zero" balance of contributions and expenditures[19].

Any group in opposition or support of a ballot measure when dissolved can donate surplus funds to any charitable organization recognized by the IRS[20].

See also

External links

References

  1. Colorado Constitution "Campaign Finance"(Referenced Section Article XXVIII, Section 9(2)(a))
  2. Colorado Constitution "Campaign Finance"(Referenced Section Article XXVIII Section 9(2)(b))
  3. [Confirmed with CO Secretary of State via email on May 5, 2010]
  4. Colorado Constitution "Campaign Finance"(Referenced Section Article XXVIII, Section 2 (10)(A)(i))
  5. Colorado Constitution "Campaign Finance"(Referenced Section Article 145.108(3), Fair Campaign Practices Act of 1974)
  6. "Colorado Constitution" Campaign Finance laws(Referenced Section Article XXVIII, Section 3 (10))
  7. Colorado Constitution "Campaign Finance"(Referenced Section Article XXVIII, Section 3(9))
  8. Colorado Constitution "Campaign Finance"(Referenced Section Article XVIII, Section 3)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Colorado Constitution "Colorado Campaign Finance Laws"(Referenced Section, Article XVIII, Section 3, Subsection 4a)
  10. Colorado Fair Campaign Practices Act of 1974 "Colorado Campaign Finance Laws"(Referenced Statute Section 1-45-108)
  11. "Colorado Fair Campaign Practices Act of 1974" Colorado Campaign Finance laws(Referenced Statute Section 1-45-108 (2)(A))
  12. "Colorado Elections" 2009 Campaign Finance Reporting Calendar
  13. "Colorado Fair Campaign Practices Act of 1974" Colorado Campaign Finance laws(Referenced Statute Section 1-45-108 (2)(C))
  14. "Colorado Secretary of State" Campaign Finance Reporting Deadlines-Election Year
  15. "Colorado Fair Campaign Practices Act of 1974" Colorado Campaign Finance laws(Referenced Statute Section 1-45-108 (2)(D))
  16. "Colorado Fair Campaign Practices Act of 1974" Colorado Campaign Finance laws(Referenced Statute Section 1-45-108 (2)(E))
  17. "Colorado Constitution" Campaign Finance laws(Referenced Section Article XXVIII Section 6(1))
  18. "Colorado Constitution" Campaign Finance laws(Referenced Section Article XXVIII Section 6(2))
  19. "Colorado Secretary of State" State Campaign Finance Maunal(See Page 32)
  20. "Colorado Secretary of State" Campaign Finance laws(Referenced Section 1-45-106 of the Fair Campaign Practices Act of 1974)