CSC Newsletter – July 2013, Vol. 19, No. 2Posted on Jul 3, 2013 in Newsletter
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 July 31, 2013. The Supplemental Report should cover the period January 1 through June 30, 2013. Failure to file this report by the deadline may result in a fine.
Reporting schedules for the 2014 election are available here:
HAWAII COUNTY 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. The Commission will be making a determination on September 1, 2013, that the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund does not have the minimum $3.5 million and that the program will be inoperative. Pursuant to Act 244, SLH 2008 (Section 11), certified candidates who were elected to office in the 2012 election shall not accept private contributions from any person until that date. Hawaii County Council candidates running in the 2014 election may also consider participating in the partial public funding option.
We are pleased to inform you that we revamped the Commission’s website. We created a website that is intended to be a more efficient and user friendly navigation tool which includes a searchable database of all the open data filed by the committees. The new website was launched on May 9, 2013, and the website address is still www.hawaii.gov/campaign.
NEW SEARCHABLE DATABASE
On the Commission’s website, you can now more readily search data filed by the committees. If you click on either “Candidate Committees” or “Noncandidate Committees” on the right hand side of the home page, you will find a link called “View Searchable Data.” By clicking on this link, you can search for information such as names of contributors who gave money to candidates or noncandidate committees and how much they gave, how candidates and noncandidate committees spent/expended their money, who made loans to candidates and how much the loan was for, and much more. We hope you take advantage of this tool! View the searchable data for Candidate Committees and for Noncandidate Committees.
2013-2018 STRATEGIC PLAN & NEW MISSION STATEMENT
The Commission approved its next 5-year strategic plan for 2013-2018 and revised its Mission Statement. The plan identifies the following goals: To simplify and clarify campaign finance laws in order to improve implementation and compliance; to increase public education, awareness, and access; increase the technological capacity to improve access, reduce paperwork, and increase compliance; upgrade the training for and ability of the committees to comply with campaign finance laws; encourage compliance; and increase and stabilize the Commission’s institutional capacity to carry out its mission. View the Strategic Plan.
The Commission’s new Mission Statement provides: “ Our mission is to maintain the integrity and transparency of the campaign finance process by enforcing the law, educating the public, administering public financing, and training campaign committees in order to encourage timely compliance.”
NEW CAMPAIGN SPENDING COMMISSIONER
The Commission is composed of five volunteers representing the general public who are appointed by the governor from a list of ten nominees submitted by the judicial council. Recently, Adrienne Yoshihara was appointed to serve on the Commission.
Adrienne is a partner with the firm of Chun Kerr where she practices in the areas of tax, commercial transactions and estate planning. Prior to her career in the law, she worked for Lion Coffee as its marketing, operations and general manager for 13 years. She received her BA in International Relations from Claremont McKenna College, a JD from the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii, and a LLM in Taxation from New York University. Adrienne has served on the boards of a number of community and charitable organizations. Her four-year term expires on June 30, 2017.
MAHALO TO COMMISSIONER MICHAEL WEAVER
After serving 8 years on the Commission, Commissioner Michael Weaver completed his term on June 30, 2013. We extend our deepest gratitude for his dedication, support, and guidance in improving campaign finance in the State of Hawaii.
ADVISORY OPINION 13-02
On February 13, 2013, the Commission advised the General Contractors Association of Hawaii (GCA) that it could form a noncandidate committee so long as GCA members, who are also government contractors (state or local), do not provide funds that are to be used by the GCA noncandidate committee for contributions to candidate or noncandidate committees. View the Advisory Opinion.
$3 TAX CHECK-OFF
REMEMBER TO CHECK-OFF $3 ON YOUR STATE TAX RETURN
The 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 campaign fund help to provide accountability, transparency and integrity by providing full and partial public funding to candidates and paying operational expenses of the Commission. We understand that the state tax filing deadline has already passed but we are including this reminder for tax filers that have requested an extension or are affected by some other matter that would cause them to file their tax return after the deadline.
2013 LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Governor Neil Abercrombie signed S.B. 30 (Act 63) into law on April 30, 2013. Act 63 takes effect as of the signing date and amends Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) §11-423(b) to require candidates to file the affidavit to abide by statutory expenditure limits no later than the time to file nomination papers. This timeline is contained in HRS §12-6(e) and was provided for in the prior campaign spending law (HRS §11-208(c) (2009 Replacement)). This allows the Commission to better implement the partial public financing program and achieve compliance with state election laws. Act 63 also amends the expenditure limits provided in subsection (d) of HRS §11-423 by adding “prosecuting attorney” to paragraph (4) thereby permitting the prosecuting attorney, along with state senators, state representatives, and county council members participating in the partial public financing program, to spend $1.40 multiplied by the number of registered voters in the voting district. This amendment reinstates language deleted by Act 203, SLH 2005 which forced the Commission to place the prosecuting attorney in the “all other offices” category of spending limit (i.e., 20 cents multiplied by the number of registered voters in the voting district) which seemed unreasonable given the fact that the prosecuting attorney is a county-wide office.
Governor Neil Abercrombie signed S.B. 31 (Act 111) into law on June 14, 2013. Act 111 takes effect as of the signing date and amends HRS §11-335 (noncandidate committee reports) by separating the reporting of contributions into contributions received and contributions made by noncandidate committees, and requiring noncandidate committees to identify the candidate supported or opposed by the committees’ independent expenditures. This will align the statute with the reality that noncandidate committees both make and receive contributions and report them, and to promote transparency of spending on independent expenditures.
Act 111 also amends HRS §11-336 (time for noncandidate committee to file preliminary, final, and supplemental reports) to more clearly align the law with present practice. Presently, every noncandidate committee files the Supplemental Report that is due on January 31st every year and not just on January 31st after an election year. This bill does not require an additional or new report. That is, under the Commission’s electronic filing system, every noncandidate committee (as well as every candidate) files the Supplemental Report on January 31st of every year. This bill would simply align the law with present practice by deleting “after an election year” from the statutory provision and provide that the Supplemental Report is due on “January 31 of each year.”
The Commission proposed a bill (H.B. No. 201) that, in addition to the amendment to HRS §11-336 set forth in Act 111 concerning the January 31st Supplemental Report filed by noncandidate committees, would have made the same amendment to the Supplemental Report filed by candidate committees in HRS §11-334 (time for candidate committee to file preliminary, final, and supplemental reports). The Commission’s proposal was not passed by the Legislature this session, but we will continue our efforts in the next session to seek passage of the amendment for candidate committees to ensure that all entities that are required to file disclosure reports with the Commission file the January 31st Supplemental Report each and every year.
Governor Neil Abercrombie signed H.B. 1147 (Act 112) into law on June 14, 2013. Act 112 substantially enhances disclosure requirements pertaining to noncandidate committees and thus further promotes transparency in the campaign finance process. For instance, Act 112 adds a new section to HRS chapter 11 that requires a SuperPac (that is, a noncandidate committee that solely makes independent expenditures) to identify up to three top contributors to the SuperPac’s political advertisement in the advertisement itself. If the SuperPac cannot identify any top contributors to its advertisement, then the SuperPac must disclose its three top contributors in general. A “top contributor” is defined as a contributor who has contributed in the aggregate $10,000 or more to the Super Pac.
Act 112 requires the filing of a new report called the Late Expenditure Report. Section 6 amends HRS §11-337 by requiring candidates and noncandidate committees to report expenditures that are rendered during the last three days prior an election in a late expenditure report as provided in HRS §11-338. Section 7 amends §11-338 by requiring SuperPacs to report expenditures that aggregate more than $500 within the period between fourteen and four calendar days prior to an election to file a late expenditure report with the commission on the third calendar day prior to the election.
Section 9 amends HRS §11-341 (Electioneering Communications). This amendment increases the information that needs to be disclosed in the statement of information filed with the Commission. The statement must identify the names and titles of the executives or board of directors who authorized the expenditure for the electioneering communication as well as the state of formation and address of the noncandidate committee, business entity, or organization that made the expenditure. If an individual made the expenditure, the occupation and employer of the individual must be disclosed. Section 9 also expends the definition of “electioneering communication” by adding advertisements conveyed “by electronic means.” Similarly, section 10 of the bill amends HRS §11-391 (Advertisements) by expressly including advertisements conveyed “by electronic means.”
Act 112 requires that information contained in disclosure reports be made available to the public on the Commission’s website in a searchable database which the Commission has provided on its website to all users and the public.
Lastly, section 11 repeals HRS §11-332 which enacted the corporate reporting system. The noncandidate committee reporting system (HRS §11-335) already includes corporations that incur expenditures exceeding $1,000 in an election period and that reporting system requires more disclosure than did the corporate reporting system.
Finally, the effective date of the Act is November 5, 2014, the day after the 2014 general election. Therefore, existing law will apply to the 2014 elections.
The Commission’s bills were H.B. 201 and its companion bill, S.B. 555. H.B. 201 included the provisions of S.B. 30 (Act 63) and S.B. 31 (Act 111). H.B. 201 also included a definition of “matching payment period” that is relevant to the partial public financing program and, similar to the amendment to HRS §11-336 set forth in S.B. 31, concerning the January 31st Supplemental Report filed by noncandidate committees, would have made the same amendment to the same report filed by candidate committees in HRS §11-334 (time for candidate committee to file preliminary, final, and supplemental reports). The House passed H.B. 201. Unfortunately, the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee declined to hear H.B. 201 after the bill crossed over, and declined to hear its companion bill, S.B. 555.
The Commission will seek to adopt the definition of “matching payment period” through the administrative rule making process, and the Commission will again ask the Legislature next session to amend HRS §11-334 to ensure that candidate committees, along with noncandidate committees, file the January 31 Supplemental Report each and every year.
Be on the lookout for the following events which we will post on our website and Facebook accounts, eblast to subscribers, and tweet when they are available.
1 – The Commission’s Annual Online Survey for 2013 has been posted on our website. Please take a moment to complete this survey as it will help us improve our services as well as give us a chance to hear from you. The results of the online survey will then be posted on our website.
2 – New Guidebooks & Manuals – We are rewriting our guidebooks and manuals for committees. 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).
3 – New E-Learning Videos – We are reediting our e-learning videos so that you have a resource 24/7 to view and listen to on how to file your disclosure reports electronically using your respective filing system.
4 – FY 2013 Annual Report – We will post and publish our annual report for fiscal year 2013 once we have obtained Commissioners’ approval in September 2013.
TWITTER, FACEBOOK & AUTOMATED EMAIL SYSTEM
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