Campaign finance requirements for Virginia ballot measures

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Campaign finance requirements for Virginia ballot measures are promulgated by the Virginia Board of Elections. The Virginia State Board of Elections is responsible for all administrative and reporting functions under the state's campaign finance laws.

In the event a person feels someone violated Virginia's campaign finance laws, the first step in filing a complaint is to file with the Virginia Board of Elections. The Board of Elections refers all complaints to the Virginia Attorney General for prosecution[1].

General requirements

Referendum Committee-PAC

Virginia law designates any group in support or opposition of a referendum as a referendum committee, listed under the laws governing Political Action Committees (PAC's)[2].

Statement of Organization

Under Virginia law, any organization that has a 501c(3), c(4), or c(6) designation can register as a referendum committee if a statewide referendum campaign expects to spend $10,000 or more in expenditures for a statewide campaign, $5,000 for a county campaign defined as two or more municipalities, or $1,000 for a single municipality[3]. The Referendum Committee must file after they have a referendum qualified on the ballot within ten (10) days of qualifiying[4].

The $10,000 rule

Under Virginia law, all referendum committees must report contributions of $10,000 or more which must be reported in 72 hours[5]. This goes to contributions made one-time or reaching an aggregate total of $10,000[6].

Campaign finance requirements

Contribution limits

There are no limits on campaign contributions in the State of Virginia to referendum committees[7].

Corporate/labor union contributions

Corporations and labor unions are permitted to donate to referendum committees in Virginia[8].

Electronic filing

Under Virginia law, all referendum committees must file their campaign finance reports electronically if they have raised $10,000 or more or made more than $10,000 in expenditures[9].

Reporting requirements and reports

Virginia is different from other states in which they have three different calendars depending on when the referendum is placed on the ballot.

May elections

For May elections, referendum committees must file reports on.

  • 8 Day pre-election report-This report covers all campaign finance activity from when a referendum first qualified until eleven (11) days before the May election. The report is due on eight (8) days before the election.
  • June 15th post-election-The first post-election report covers all campaign finance activity from ten (10) days before the election until June 10th which the report is due on June 15th.
  • July 15th post-election-The second post-election report covers all campaign finance activity from June 11th to June 30thh which the report is due on July 15th[10].

November elections

For November elections, referendum committees must file reports on.

  • Off-year reports-All referendum committees that qualified the year before the November election must file off-year reports beginning after the referendum was first qualified. Up to two reports are mandated depending when the referendum qualified in the off-year. The first reporting period is from January 1 to June 30th which is due on July 15th. The second off-year reporting period July 1 to December 31st in which is due on January 15th.
  • April 15th report-For all campaign finance activity from January 1 to March 31st. Due on April 15th.
  • July 15th report-For all campaign finance activity from April 1st to June 30th. Due on July 15th.
  • September 15th report-For all campaign finance activity from July 1st to August 31st. Due on September 15th.
  • 8 Day Pre-Election report-For all campaign finance activity from September 1 until thirteen (13) days before the election. The report is due eight (8) days before the election.
  • 30 Day Post-Election report-For all campaign finance activity from twelve (12) days before the election until twenty-three (23) days after the November election. The report is due thirty (30) days after the election.
  • January 15th report-This reports covers all activity after the 30 day post-election deadline until December 31st. The report is due on January 15th[11].

Special elections

Under Virginia law, the following reports for special elections must be filed on

  • 8 day pre-election report-This report covers all campaign finance activity from when the referendum first qualified until eleven (11) days before the election. The report is due eight days before the election.
  • 30 day post-election report-This report covers all campaign finance activity from ten (10) days before the election until thirty days after the election which is due thirty days after the election[12].

Campaign advertising restrictions

There are no campaign advertisement or disclosure restrictions in Virginia as referendum committees are exempt from all political advertisement regulations[13].

Terminating a committee

Under Virginia law, any Referendum committee that plans to terminate must not report new receipts of funds received or expenditures made, a retirement of all outstanding debts, and a disposition of how surplus funds must be spent[14].

Surplus funds can be used for returning of funds to contributors not exceeding the original amounts donated, donating the excess to any charity, to one or more registered political committees, or to defray unreimbursed expenses[15].

The deadline to file a termination report is due six months after the date the election is held[16] [17] [18].

External links

References

  1. [Contacted VA Board of Elections on January 26, 2010 to confirm this information]
  2. "Virginia Legislature" Virginia Campaign Disclosure Act of 2006(Referenced Statute 24.2-945.1 Virginia Code)
  3. "Virginia State Board of Elections" Virginia Referendum Committee Summary(See Section 2.1, Page 13)
  4. "Virginia State Board of Elections" Virginia Referendum Committee Summary(See Section 2.2, Page 13)
  5. "Virginia Legislature" Virginia Campaign Disclosure Act of 2006(Referenced Section 24.2-951.7, Virginia Code)
  6. "Virginia Legislature" Virginia Campaign Disclosure Act of 2006(Referenced Section 24.2-951.7 (3), Virginia Code)
  7. "Virginia State Board of Elections" Virginia Referendum Committee Summary(See Section 3.1, Page 18)
  8. "Virginia State Board of Elections" Virginia Referendum Committee Summary(See Section 3.1, Page 18)
  9. "Virginia Legislature" Virginia Campaign Disclosure Act of 2006(Referenced Statute 24.2-951.8(B))
  10. "Virginia Legislature" Virginia Campaign Disclosure Act of 2006(Referenced Statute 24.2-951.5 (A)-(1-3))
  11. "Virginia Legislature" Virginia Campaign Disclosure Act of 2006(Referenced Statute 24.2-951.4 (A)-(1-10))
  12. "Virginia Legislature" Virginia Campaign Disclosure Act of 2006(Referenced Statute 24.2-951.6 (A)-(1-2))
  13. [http://198.246.135.1/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+24.2-951 "Virginia Legislature" Virginia Campaign Disclosure Act of 2006 (Referenced Statute 24.2-951(B), Virginia Code)
  14. "Virginia Legislature" Virginia Campaign Disclosure Act of 2006(Referenced Statute 24.2-951.9.(A))
  15. "Virginia Legislature" Virginia Campaign Disclosure Act of 2006(Referenced Statute 24.2-951.9.(B))
  16. Virginia Campaign Disclosure Act of 2006(Referenced Statute 24.2-951.6(B))
  17. Virginia Campaign Disclosure Act of 2006(Referenced Statute 24.2-951.5(B))
  18. Virginia Campaign Disclosure Act of 2006(Referenced Statute 24.2-951.4(B))