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S.F. No. 205 - Campaign Finance Omnibus Bill (As Enacted)
 
Author: Senator Jim Carlson
 
Prepared By: Alexis C. Stangl, Senate Counsel (651/296-4397)
 
Date: May 27, 2015



 

S.F. No. 205 was signed by the Governor on May 22, 2015, and became session law, chapter 73.

Section 1 modifies certain standards related to Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board investigations, including procedures upon receipt of a complaint.  The Board is required to issue findings within 60 days after making a determination of probable cause.  Previously, the Board had to issue findings within 60 days after a complaint is filed.  This section also requires individuals or associations to preserve evidence related to an investigation once they are notified of the investigation.

Section 2 deletes the ten-day grace period in filing a lobbyist registration form. The Board may impose a late filing fee of $25 per day (up from $5 per day), not to exceed $1,000 (up from $100), starting the day after the form was due.  The Board may impose the existing additional civil penalty of up to $1,000 seven days after the notice is mailed to the lobbyist, instead of 14 days.

Section 3 deletes the ten-day grace period in filing a disclosure of a public official’s representation of certain clients. The board may impose a late filing fee of $25 per day (up from $5 per day), not to exceed $1,000 (up from $100), starting the day after the disclosure was due.

Section 4 requires each individual who is required to file a statement of economic interest to file an annual statement each year. The statement must be filed by the last Monday in January.  The annual statement covers the previous calendar year.  This is in place of the current supplementary statement, which is only required if information on the statement has changed.  This section is effective August 1, 2015.

Section 5 specifies that all data related to an audit are confidential.

Section 6 adds a new triggering date for the first registration of a political committee.  The new trigger requires both the registration and report to be filed by the report due date if the $750 reporting threshold is met.

Section 7 specifies that an independent expenditure or ballot question political committee or fund must register with the Board by the earliest of three dates.  A new triggering date is added that requires both the registration and report to be filed by the report due date if the $750 reporting threshold is met.

Section 8 deletes the ten-day grace period for filing a first registration form. The late filing fee is $25 per day (up from $5 per day) not to exceed $1,000 (up from $100).

Section 9 specifies that the disclosure statement for independent expenditures does not apply to individuals or associations that are not required to register or report under Chapter 10A.  Further, the disclosure statement requirements do not apply to small items where it is inconvenient to print the disclaimer; to advertisements where the inclusion of a disclaimer would be impracticable; or to online banner ads that link directly to an online page that includes the disclaimer.

Section 10 specifies that if a political committee or fund, campaign committee or party unit receives or spends $750 on or before the last date included in a reporting period, the entity must both register with the Board and file a report for that reporting period.

Section 11 provides that a candidate who did not file for office is not required to file the campaign report due June 14.

Section 12 requires a filer of a campaign report to include the board registration number (if there is one) of individuals and entities.

Section 13 specifies whether the expenditure limit is for the election segment or election cycle.

Section 14 amends contribution limits for judges. The contribution limit for a candidate for judicial office is $2,500 in both the election segment and nonelection segment.  The current limits are $2,500 in an election segment and $1,000 in a nonelection segment.

Section 15 removes aggregate limits for large contributors.

Section 16 removes party limits from the prohibition on contributions to candidates during a legislative session.

Section 17 clarifies that the entire first and last days of each annual session are included in the definition of "regular session" of the legislature.

Section 18 states that the willful issuance of an official refund receipt form to a contributor by a candidate who did not sign a spending limit agreement is subject to a civil penalty of up to $3,000.  The willful issuance of an official refund receipt to an individual not eligible to claim a refund is also subject to a civil penalty of up to $3,000. A violation is a misdemeanor.

Section 19 specifies that, unless otherwise provided, the board may impose a civil penalty of up to $3,000 for a violation of Chapter 211B under the Board’s jurisdiction.

Section 20 adds a cross reference in the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act to the board data provisions in section 5.

Section 21 deletes language that is replaced by the new language in section 19.

Section 22 modifies some of the disclaimers required on campaign literature.  New language is added to specify that the disclosure requirements do not apply to small items where it is inconvenient to print the disclaimer; to advertisements where the inclusion of a disclaimer would be impracticable; or to online banner ads that link directly to an online page that includes the disclaimer.

Section 23 adds political committees, political funds, and party units to the exception that allows entities to give more than $100 to a charity if the committee dissolves within one year after the contribution.

Section 25 requires that the costs of complaints related to statewide ballot questions or an election for a statewide legislative office be paid from appropriations to the Office of Adminstrative Hearings for this purpose, rather than from the state-elections campaign account.  This modification brings the payment procedures for these types of complaints in line with the procedures for other types of fair campaign practices complaints to the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Section 24 specifies that a political party, organization, committee or individual may not accept a contribution from a corporation that is prohibited from making contributions.

Section 26 reorganizes existing statutory language into other subdivisions or into a newly create statutory section.

Section 27 repeals Minnesota Statutes, section 10A.20, subd. 1c (reports of certain political party units) and Rules part 4503.1500, subpart 2 (unpaid year-end balance of loans).

Section 28 provides an immediate effective date.

 ACS/syl

 
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