Campaign Finance Updates - State and Federal Communications

August 1, 2013  •  

Campaign Finance Updates

You Should KnowHawaii and Iowa will be seeing some changes in their campaign finance laws as a result of passed bills and court decisions.

In Iowa, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the state’s law requiring groups making independent expenditures to disclose information about their spending, but struck down the part of the law requiring those same groups to file supplemental reports. Under the old law, if a group spent more than $750 on independent expenditures it would be required to file a report within 48 hours, and if the group spent more than $1,000 in expenditures it would be required to file a supplemental report on the 19th of January, May, July, and October. However, in Iowa Right to Life Committee, Inc. v. Tooker, the court held the supplemental reports to be “additional, redundant, and more burdensome.” Therefore, groups making independent expenditures are no longer required to file supplemental reports.

In Hawaii, Governor Neil Abercrombie signed two bills into law. Senate Bill 31 changes the way noncandidate committees, corporations, and other associations active in elections disclose their political spending. In the past, those groups were required to file supplemental reports on January 31 and July 31 only in years following an election. Under the new law, which took effect immediately upon Abercrombie’s signature, the January 31 supplemental report must be filed every year. The bill also requires those groups, when filing the reports, to make a distinction between contributions made and contributions received.

Abercrombie also signed House Bill 1147 into law. This bill, which takes effect November 5, 2014, requires noncandidate committees making only independent expenditures to include, in a prominent location, the names of the top three contributors making the highest aggregate contributions to the noncandidate committee for the purpose of the advertisement. This requirement only applies to advertisements which are broadcasted, televised, circulated, or published, and are of a duration so as not to create a hardship to the committee. The bill also requires a noncandidate committee making an independent expenditure in the last two weeks before an election exceeding $500 to file a late expenditure report.

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