Campaign finance requirements for Pennsylvania ballot measures

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

The Pennsylvania Secretary of State has authority under the law for all administrative and campaign finance reporting functions. The Attorney General oversees all enforcement of the state's campaign finance laws[1]. If someone feels if a person violated Pennsylvania campaign finance laws, the first step is to file a complaint with the Secretary of State[2]

General requirements

Political Committee designation

Any group in support or opposition of a ballot measure is known as a Political Committee[3].

Statement of organization

All groups in support or opposition of a referendum must file a statement of organization within 20 days of reaching $250 or more in aggregate contributions[4]

Campaign finance requirements

Anonymous contributions

Pennsylvania prohibits all anonymous contributions. Anonymous contributions must be returned to the Pennsylvania Treasurer in 20 days of receipt[5].

Cash contributions

Pennsylvania limits contributions made with cash to $100[6].

Corporate/labor union contributions

Pennsylvania law prohibits all corporate contributions to candidates[7]. However, corporations and national banks can donate to a political committee registered in support or opposition of a ballot question[8].

Filing reports

All political committees must file campaign finance reports if they receive contributions or make more than $250 in expenditures[9].

Reporting requirements and reports

Pennsylvania uses a pre-election, post-election, and cumulative reporting system. Regardless if a ballot measure is held during the year, each committee files four reports.

Sixth Tuesday Pre-Election

The sixth Tuesday pre-election report covers all campaign finance activity from when a ballot measure first qualified till the seventh Monday before the election. The report is due the sixth Monday before the election[10].

Second Friday Pre-Election

The second Friday pre-election report covers all campaign finance activity from the day after the sixth Tuesday reporting period ends to the second Monday before the election. The report is due the second Friday before the election[10].

Thirty Day Post-Election

The thirty-day post-election report covers all campaign finance activity from the day after the second Friday reporting period to twenty days after the election. The report is due thirty days after the election[10].

Annual report

The annual report is a cumulative report that covers all campaign finance activity from January 1 to December 31 in a calendar year. The report is due on January 31st of the following year[10].

Campaign advertising restrictions

All groups in support or opposition of a ballot measure must disclose who authorized the advertisement. The advertisement must disclose the name of the person paying for the advertisement if it comes from a independent expenditure, not authorized by a political committee[11].

In the last eight days of an election, no advertisements can be placed in the newspaper unless the opposing campaign sees the ad[12]. The same rule applies to broadcast advertisements only during the last 120 hours before an election[12].

Terminating a committee

Under Pennsylvania law, a political committee may file a termination report when there is a zero balance and no unpaid debts or obligations[13]. Residual funds can be used for returning contributions back to donors[14].

External links

References

  1. Pennsylvania Secretary of State "Pennsylvania Campaign Finance Reporting Law"(Referenced Statute Section 1642 (25 P.S. § 3260b), Pennsylvania Election Code)
  2. [Contacted the Pennsylvania Secretary of State on 3.18.2010 to verify]
  3. Pennsylvania Secretary of State "Pennsylvania Campaign Finance Reporting Law"(Referenced Statute 25 P.S. § 3241(H), Pennsylvania Election Code)
  4. Pennsylvania Secretary of State "Pennsylvania Campaign Finance Reporting Law"(Referenced Statute Section 1624 (25 P.S. § 3244), Pennsylvania Election Code)
  5. Pennsylvania Secretary of State "Pennsylvania Campaign Finance Reporting Law"(Referenced Statute Section 1634 (25 P.S. § 3254)(b)) Pennsylvania Election Code)
  6. Pennsylvania Secretary of State "Pennsylvania Campaign Finance Reporting Law"(Referenced Statute Section 1634 (25 P.S. § 3254)(c)) Pennsylvania Election Code)
  7. Pennsylvania Secretary of State "Pennsylvania Campaign Finance Reporting Law"(Referenced Statute Section 1843 (25 P.S. § 3543), Pennsylvania Election Code)
  8. Pennsylvania Secretary of State "Pennsylvania Campaign Finance Reporting Law"(Referenced Statute Section 1633 (25 P.S. § 3253 (a)), Pennsylvania Election Code)
  9. Pennsylvania Secretary of State "Pennsylvania Campaign Finance Reporting Law"(Referenced Statute Section 1626 (25 P.S. § 3246), Pennsylvania Election Code)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Pennsylvania Secretary of State "2010 Campaign Finance Reporting Dates"
  11. Pennsylvania Secretary of State "Pennsylvania Campaign Finance Reporting Law"(Referenced Statute Section 1638 (25 P.S. § 3258 (a)(1-2)), Pennsylvania Election Code)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Pennsylvania Secretary of State "Pennsylvania Campaign Finance Reporting Law"(Referenced Statute Section 1638 (25 P.S. § 3258 (b)), Pennsylvania Election Code)
  13. Pennsylvania Secretary of State "Pennsylvania Campaign Finance Reporting Law(Referenced Section, Page 8)
  14. Pennsylvania Secretary of State "Pennsylvania Campaign Finance Reporting Law(Referenced Section, Section 1630 (25 P.S. § 3250(2)))