TITLE 17
Elections

CHAPTER 17-25.3
Independent Expenditures and Electioneering Communications

SECTION 17-25.3-1


§ 17-25.3-1 Independent expenditures and electioneering communications for elections.

(a) It shall be lawful for any person, business entity or political action committee, not otherwise prohibited by law and not acting in coordination with a candidate, authorized candidate campaign committee, political action committee, or political party committee, to expend personally from that person's own funds a sum which is not to be repaid to him or her for any purpose not prohibited by law to support or defeat a candidate or referendum. Whether a person, business entity or political action committee is "acting in coordination with a candidate, authorized candidate campaign committee, political action committee or political party committee" for the purposes of this subsection shall be determined by application of the standards set forth in § 17-25-23. All terms used in this chapter shall have the same meaning as defined in § 17-25-3.

(b) Any person, business entity or political action committee making independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers shall report all such campaign finance expenditures and expenses to the board of elections, provided the total of the money so expended exceeds one thousand dollars ($1000) within a calendar year, to the board of elections within seven (7) days of making the expenditure.

(c) A person, business entity or political action committee who makes or contracts to make independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers with an aggregate value of one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more shall electronically file a campaign finance report to the board of elections describing the expenditures.

(d) After a person, business entity or political action committee files a report under subsection (b), the person, business entity or political action committee shall file an additional report after each time the person, business entity or political action committee makes or contracts to make independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers aggregating an additional one thousand dollars ($1,000) with respect to the same election as that to which the initial report relates.

(e) When a report is required by subsection (c) or (d) of this section within thirty (30) days prior to the election to which the expenditure was directed, it shall be filed with twenty-four (24) hours of the expenditure. When such a report is required at any other time, it shall be filed within seven (7) days after the expenditure.

(f) Reports of independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers by a person shall contain the name, street address, city, state, zip code, occupation, employer (if self-employed, the name and place of business), of the person responsible for the expenditure, the name, street address, city, state, and zip code of the person receiving the expenditure the date and amount of each expenditure, and the year to date total.

(g) The report shall also include a statement identifying the candidate or referendum that the independent expenditure or electioneering communication is intended to promote the success or defeat, and affirm under penalty of false statement that the expenditure is not coordinated with the campaign in question, and provide any information that the board of elections requires to facilitate compliance with the provisions of this chapter.

(h) Reports of independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers by a person, business entity or political action committee shall also disclose the identity of all donors of an aggregate of one thousand dollars ($1000) or more to such person, business entity or committee within the current election cycle, if applicable, unless the person, business entity or political action committee has established a separate campaign-related account for independent expenditures, electioneering communications, and covered transfers as detailed in § 17-25.3-2 in which case this paragraph applies only to donors to the person's, business entity's or political action committee's separate campaign-related account; provided that no person, business entity, or political action committee shall be required to disclose in a report to the board of elections the identity, which includes name, address, place of employment, and donation amount, of any donor who makes no donation to such person, business entity, or political action committee after the date of enactment of this section.

(i) If a person, business entity or political action committee and a donor mutually agree, at the time a donation, payment, or transfer to the person, business entity or political action committee which is required to disclose the identification under subsection (f) that the person, business entity or political action committee will not use the donation, payment, or transfer for independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers, then not later than thirty (30) days after the person, business entity or political action committee receives the donation, payment, or transfer the person, business entity or political action committee shall transmit to the donor a written certification by the chief financial officer of the person, business entity or political action committee (or, if the organization does not have a chief financial officer, the highest ranking financial official of the organization) that:

(1) The person, business entity or political action committee will not use the donation, payment, or transfer for independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers; and

(2) The person, business entity or political action committee will not include any information on the donor in any report filed by the person, business entity or political action committee under this section with respect to independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or covered transfers, so that the donor will not be required to appear in the list of donors.

(3) Exception for payments made pursuant to commercial activities. Subsections (e) and (f) do not apply with respect to any payment or transfer made pursuant to commercial activities in the regular course of a person's, business entity's or political action committee's business.

(j) For the purposes of this chapter, two (2) or more entities (other than an exempt nonprofit as defined in § 17-25-3 or an organization described in § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or any subsequent corresponding internal revenue code of the United States, as amended from time to time) are treated as a single entity if the entities:

(1) Share the majority of members on their boards of directors;

(2) Share two (2) or more officers;

(3) A candidate committee and a political committee other than a candidate committee are for the purposes of this section treated as a single committee if the committees both have the candidate or a member of the candidate's immediate family as an officer;

(4) Are owned or controlled by the same majority shareholder or shareholders or persons;

(5) Are in a parent-subsidiary relationship; or

(6) Have bylaws so stating.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2012, ch. 446, § 3.)