CSC Newsletter – January 2014, Vol. 20, No. 1

Posted on Jan 6, 2014 in Newsletter

REMEMBER TO CHECK-OFF $3 ON YOUR STATE TAX RETURN

The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission operates from a trust fund called the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund.  This fund depends on Hawaii taxpayers checking off the box on their state income tax form which permits $3 from state funds (or $6 if married and filing a joint return) to be allocated to our trust fund.  Tax filers are informed that participation is voluntary and does not increase their tax or reduce their refund.  Monies in this fund help to provide accountability, transparency and integrity by providing partial public funding to candidates and paying the operational expenses of the Commission.

REMINDER – SUPPLEMENTAL REPORT DUE FOR CANDIDATE COMMITTEES, NONCANDIDATE COMMITTEES, AND CORPORATIONS ON JANUARY 31, 2014

The next report due for candidate committees, noncandidate committees, and corporations is the Supplemental Report which must be electronically filed on your respective filing system no later than 11:59 p.m. Hawaiian standard time on January 31, 2014.  This report should cover the period July 1 through December 31, 2013.  Failure to file this report by the deadline may result in a fine.

2014 ELECTION REPORTING SCHEDULES

Reporting schedules for the 2014 election are available here:

Candidate CommitteesNoncandidate CommitteesCorporations

HAWAII COUNTY COUNCIL COMPREHENSIVE PUBLIC FUNDING PROGRAM (Act 244, SLH 2008) – INSUFFICIENT FUNDS FOR THE 2014 ELECTION

Pursuant to Act 244, SLH 2008 (Section 3), the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund has insufficient funds to provide comprehensive public funding to Hawaii County Council candidates in the 2014 election.  Hawaii County Council candidates running in the 2014 election may however consider participating in the partial public funding option.

COMMISSION LAUNCHES NEW DATA VISUALIZATION APPLICATION

In November 2013, a new data visualization application went live on our website which permits anyone to see how candidates running for state and county offices are spending their campaign funds and who is contributing to their campaign.  In partnership with the state’s Office of Information Management and Technology, the state’s Information & Communication Services Division, and Socrata, the Commission unveiled its newest tool at the 2013 Hawaii Digital Government Summit at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.  Highlights of the new application include colorful charts and graphics with detailed information on:

  • Percentage of how contributions are funded by source (i.e., by individuals, noncandidate committees, political parties, immediate family members, etc.)
  • Percentage of candidate contributions received in-state versus out-of-state
  • Contributions by geographical location presented on an in-state geo-map and an out-of-state geo-map with the ability to click on any point on the map where a contribution came from to view the details of the contribution (i.e., contributor’s name, the date, and the amount of the contribution)
  • Percentage of candidate contributions from which states and zip codes
  • Percentage of candidate contributions that are $1,000 or less versus those that are more than $1,000
  • Percentage of expenditures by category
  • Percentage of expenditures made in-state versus out-of-state
  • Percentage of other receipts and loans by category

The data is derived from the candidates’ reports which are filed electronically with the Commission from the last 6 and half years.  This application was conceived to provide greater transparency and accountability in government and to enable the public to follow the money of candidates running for state and county offices in Hawaii.

“TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY:  OPEN GOVERNMENT” AWARD

At the 2013 Hawaii Digital Government Summit on November 21, 2013, the Chief Information Officer of the State of Hawaii presented a “Transparency and Accountability:  Open Government” award to the Commission for its open data efforts and the new data visualization application.  The Commission would like to acknowledge Karen Higa and Jennifer Silva from the state’s Information & Communication Services Division, and Adrian Laurenzi from Socrata for helping us with this project.

NEW GUIDEBOOKS & MANUALS

We have revised our guidebooks and manuals for committees in anticipation of the 2014 election.  These resources are intended to assist you in understanding campaign finance laws and rules as well as how to file your disclosure reports electronically using the candidate filing system (CFS) and the noncandidate committee filing system (NCFS).

The new guidebooks and manuals are available here:

Candidate CommitteesNoncandidate Committees

2014 PROPOSED LEGISLATION

For the 2014 legislative session, the Commission has submitted four (4) measures to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House for introduction in the Senate and House.  Proposal CSC-01 (14) seeks to amend HRS §11-334(a)(4) to require supplemental reports to be filed by candidate committees on January 31st regardless of whether it is an election year or not (i.e., removing “after an election year” from the January 31st due date).  This comports with present practice since candidates already file reports on January 31st of each and every year.  The amendment will also conform the filing date of this supplemental report for candidate committees with the language contained in the section applicable to noncandidate committees.

Proposal CSC-02 (14) seeks to amend HRS §11-426 by replacing the Chief Elections Officer with the Office of Elections as the entity who must be notified if a candidate who filed an affidavit agreeing to limit expenditures exceeds that expenditure limit.  The requirement that a candidate reports to the office rather than the officer is more practical.  This proposal also deletes the requirement for such candidates to notify their contributors because the tax deduction for contributions to candidates who file the affidavit is no longer available to taxpayers.

Proposal CSC-03 (14) seeks to amend HRS §11-156 to clarify that certificates of election shall not be delivered to candidates who have not filed disclosure reports with the Commission and further adds the requirement that candidates must have paid all outstanding fines owed to the Commission.

Proposal CSC-04 (14) seeks to amend HRS §11-359 by replacing §11-355 (government contractors ban) with §11-357 (contribution limits for offices) as the section that contributions from immediate family are exempt.

REVISING HAWAII ADMINISTRATIVE RULES FOR THE COMMISSION

The Commission is seeking the approval of the Governor to conduct a public hearing on proposed amendments to Chapter 3-160 (Election Campaign Contributions and Expenditures) and Chapter 3-161 (Administrative Practice and Procedures Before the Commission) of the Hawaii Administrative Rules.  The proposed amendments for the most part updates obsolete references to the HRS and makes technical and grammatical corrections.  It also proposes a new section that implements section 2 of Act 112, Session Laws of Hawaii 2013, which requires SuperPacs to identify its top contributors in their advertisements.  The proposed rules will be posted on the Commission’s website once the Commission receives approval from the Governor to proceed with a public hearing.

UPDATE ON YAMADA V. SNIPES, Civ. No. 10-00497 JMS (3/21/12)

On March 21, 2012, the Federal District Court for the District of Hawaii ruled that:  (1) the $1,000 per election contribution limit applicable to noncandidate committees under HRS §11-358 cannot be constitutionally applied to noncandidate committees that solely make independent expenditures; (2) the definitions of “noncandidate committee” and “expenditure” in HRS §11-302 are not unconstitutionally vague or overbroad, and are constitutional disclosure rules under the First Amendment; (3) the Plaintiff A-1 A-lectrician was properly subject to noncandidate committee status; (4) A-1 A-lectrician did not have standing to challenge the electioneering communications registration requirements because by administrative rule, the contractor, as a noncandidate committee, reported its electioneering communications in its regular noncandidate committee reports, and was not required to file separate statements of information about its electioneering communications; (5) the definition of advertisement and the disclaimer required for advertisements (indicating whether the ad was coordinated with any candidate) are not unconstitutionally vague, and are constitutional disclosure rules; and (6) the ban on government contractors making contributions to candidates for offices (contained in HRS §11-355, so-called “pay to play”) is a constitutional means of preventing corruption and the appearance of corruption.

The order was appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  On October 9, 2013, the 9th Circuit heard oral argument at the UH Richardson School of Law.  After hearing arguments by counsels, the court took the matter under advisement.  The Commission awaits a written decision from the appellate court.

ANNUAL ON-LINE SURVEY RESULTS

Mahalo to everyone who responded to our online survey.  Your responses are available for viewing on our website.  View the On-line Survey Results.

ANNUAL REPORT FOR FY 2013

The Commission’s Annual Report for fiscal year 2013 has been posted on our websIte. View the FY 2013 Annual Report.

2014 MEETING SCHEDULE

The Commission’s 2014 Meeting Schedule has been posted on our website.  View the 2014 Meeting Schedule.

MODIFICATIONS TO THE NONCANDIDATE COMMITTEE FILING SYSTEM (NCFS)

To increase transparency in the reporting of independent expenditures, the 2013 Legislature passed S.B. 31 which Governor Neil Abercrombie signed into law on June 14, 2013 as Act 111.  One change in the law requires noncandidate committees making independent expenditures to report the name(s) of the candidate(s) and whether an independent expenditure is in support or opposition to the candidate(s).  As a result of this new reporting requirement, the Commission with the assistance from the state’s Information & Communication Services Division, modified the NCFS to allow for the reporting of this information by noncandidate committees.

REPEAL OF THE CORPORATE REPORTING SYSTEM

Effective November 5, 2014 (or the day after the 2014 General Election), Act 112, Session Laws of Hawaii 2013, repealed the Corporate Reporting System.  Therefore, this electronic filing system will no longer be available after the effective date.  Corporations engaging in political activity regulated by the Commission will be required to register as noncandidate committees and report their activities on the noncandidate committee filing system (NCFS).

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