Corporations Must Disclose Independent Expenditures in Maryland - State and Federal Communications

May 23, 2011  •  

Corporations Must Disclose Independent Expenditures in Maryland

Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law a bill which requires corporations to disclose to shareholders the dates and amounts of political independent expenditures and the candidate or ballot issue to which the expenses related, or post a link to this information from its homepage.

All entities making an aggregate independent expenditure of $10,000 or more in an election cycle will be required to file reports detailing information such as the identities of those making, or those exercising direction or control over those making, the independent expenditures. Included in the report must be the identity of each person who made cumulative donations in excess of $51 to the entity making the independent expenditure. Entities include corporations, partnerships, committees, associations, and labor organizations.

The law redefines independent expenditure to mean expressly advocating the success or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or ballot issue. Separate and distinct from the definition of independent expenditure, the law also defines electioneering communications to cover expenditures for broadcasts made within 60 days of an election. Based on the amount of money spent and the size of the audience of the broadcast, separate and additional disclosure reports may be required for electioneering communications.

The new law takes effect December 1.

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