2007 -- H 6379 SUBSTITUTE A
A N A C T
RELATING TO RHODE ISLAND CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES REPORTING
Introduced By: Representatives Slater, Lima, E Coderre, Almeida, and Williams
Date Introduced: May 09, 2007
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Sections 17-25-5 and 17-25-7.6 of the General Laws in Chapter 17-25
entitled "Rhode Island Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting" are hereby amended
to read as follows:
17-25-5. Duties and powers of the board of elections. -- (a) The board of elections is
authorized to perform any duties that are necessary to implement the provisions of this chapter.
Without limiting the generality of this provision, the board is authorized and empowered to:
(1) Develop forms for the making of the required reports to be filed with the board of
elections, which form shall contain a notice setting forth the times and dates when reports are
required to be filed;
(2) Prepare and publish a manual for all candidates, political party committees, political
action committees and ballot questions advocates prescribing the requirements of the law,
including uniform methods of bookkeeping and reporting and requirements as to the length of
time that any person required to keep any records pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall
retain these records, or any class or category of records, or any other documents;
(3) Adopt rules and regulations to carry out the purposes of this chapter;
(4)(i) Prepare and make available for public inspection, through the office of the board of
elections, summaries of all reports grouped according to candidates and political parties;
(ii) Make all campaign finance reports available electronically on the board of election's
website no later than two (2) business days after the reports are received by the board of
(iii) Take any steps that may be necessary or appropriate to make all campaign finance
reports available in an electronic searchable format on the board of election's website no later
than one business day after the reports are received by the board of elections commencing with
the first quarterly reporting period in 2010.
(5) Prepare and publish, prior to May 1 or as soon as practicable thereafter of each year,
an annual report to the general assembly;
(6) Ascertain whether candidates or political party committees, political action
committees or ballot questions advocates, have failed to file reports or have filed defective
reports; and may for good cause shown extend the dates upon which reports are required to be
(7) (i) Conduct confidential investigations and/or closed hearings in accordance with this
title relative to alleged violations of this chapter either on its own initiative or upon receipt of a
verified written complaint, which complaint shall, under pain and penalty of perjury, be based
upon actual knowledge and not merely on information and belief. Upon completion of its
investigation and/or hearings, if the board has reason to believe that a violation of this chapter has
occurred or that a complainant has willfully sworn or affirmed falsely, the chairperson of the
board of elections is authorized to and shall issue to the person found to be in violation of this
chapter a summons pursuant to section 12-7-11 to appear before the division of the district court
where the person resides and shall be prosecuted by the attorney general. Any action taken by the
board as a result of a written verified complaint shall, whenever possible, be completed no later
than five (5) business days after its receipt, and if no violation is found to exist, all records and
papers shall be kept confidential unless further legal proceedings are instituted.
(ii) The confidentiality of an audit, investigation, hearing, and/or findings may be waived
in writing only by the person or persons complained of or audited. However, once an audit is
complete and presented to the board, the audit will be a matter of public record.
(8) Conduct compliance reviews and audits of campaign accounts as necessary, and in a
manner consistent with the provisions of this chapter.
(b) The board of elections shall take any steps that may be necessary or appropriate to
furnish timely and adequate information, in appropriate printed summaries and in any other form
that it may see fit, to every candidate or prospective candidate for public office who becomes or is
likely to become subject to the provisions of this chapter, and to every treasurer duly designated
under the provisions of this chapter, informing them of their actual or prospective obligations and
responsibilities under this chapter.
(c) (1) The board of elections is authorized, upon written request, to render written
advisory opinions as to whether a given set of facts and circumstances set forth in the request
would constitute a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, or whether a given set of
facts and circumstances set forth in the request would render any person subject to any of the
reporting requirements of this chapter; provided, that the requirement for a written opinion may
be voluntarily waived by the candidate or committee.
(2) Unless an extension of time is consented to by any person who submits a written
request for an advisory opinion, the board of elections shall, whenever possible, render its written
advisory opinion within five (5) business days of receipt of the request.
(d) (1) For each quarterly report required to be filed, the board shall send a postcard by
regular mail to each person and entity required to file a report, which will notify the person or
entity that a report required to be filed is due within fourteen (14) days.
(2) The failure to receive this notice shall not absolve the person or entity of the
reporting requirements contained in this chapter.
17-25-7.6. Electronic reporting. -- (a) The filing of campaign finance reports to the
board of elections shall commence in accordance with the following schedule:
(1) Candidates for general office shall commence filing campaign finance reports
electronically beginning with the report required to be filed for the first quarterly reporting period
(2) All other candidates for public office and political parties, other than state political
parties, who raise or expend more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) annually, or whose report
shows a balance of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) or more in their campaign fund shall
filing campaign finance reports electronically beginning with the
reporting period in
2004 2008; provided, that all candidates may
campaign finance reports electronically beginning with the first report required to be filed for the
first quarterly reporting period in 2002.
(3) State political parties, political action committees and vendors required to file
campaign finance reports and who raise or expend more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000)
annually, or whose report shows a balance of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) or more in
their campaign fund shall do so commencing with the first report required to be filed for the first
quarterly reporting period in 2002.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions in subdivision (a)(2) of this section,
any candidate who
raises or expends more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) annually, or whose
report shows a
balance of five thousand dollars ($5,000) or more in his or her campaign fund
as of December 31st
of the previous year, shall file his or her campaign finance reports
electronically. (c) (b) The board of elections shall have the authority to adopt
regulations to implement
and administer the provisions of this section.
(d) (c) Notwithstanding anything else in this section and subject
to the implementation of
an electronic reporting and tracking system, the board of elections shall have the authority to
delay implementation of the requirements of this section by up to ninety (90) days.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.