CSC Newsletter – July 2011, Vol. 17, No. 2Posted in Newsletter
REMINDER – Supplemental Report Due for Candidate Committees, Noncandidate Committees, and Corporations. The next report due for Candidate Committees, Noncandidate Committees, and Corporations is the Supplemental Report covering the period January 1 through June 30, 2011. The Supplemental Report must be electronically filed on your respective filing system (i.e., Candidate Filing System (CFS), Noncandidate Committee Filing System (NCFS), and Corporate Reporting System (CRS)) and is due no later than 11:59 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time onAugust 1, 2011. Reporting schedules are available on the Commission’s website.
CORPORATE REPORTING SYSTEM (CRS)
Effective January 1, 2011, corporations are required to file a report with the Commission for contributions from its own treasury that aggregate more than $1,000 per two year election period made directly to a candidate or candidate committee. See, HRS §11-332(a). Accordingly, the Commission has developed the CRS which launched on March 31, 2011. No training classes will be scheduled but a Corporate Administrator-User Guide is available on our website. The CRS is modeled after the Candidate Filing System and the Noncandidate Committee Filing System. Corporations currently registered as noncandidate committees are encouraged to determine whether they can terminate their noncandidate committee registration and file reports with the Commission as a corporation.
COURT ENFORCEMENT OF COMMISSION ORDERS FOR NONCOMPLIANCE
The Commission has been issuing orders assessing fines to candidate and noncandidate committees who did not file their reports or filed their reports late in the 2010 election. If these fines are not paid, the Commission has been seeking court enforcement of these orders pursuant to HRS §11-410(d). Failure to obey the court order may result in a contempt of court order.
IMPORTANT REMINDER TO FILE ON TIME
The Commission would like to remind you that a “Notice of Intent to Hold a Fundraiser” form must be filed before the fundraiser and amendments to Organizational Reports must be filed within 10 days of the change. Effective July 1, 2011, fines will be assessed for noncompliance.
COMPLIANCE WITH CONCILIATION AGREEMENTS
If you have settled any fines or disputes with the Commission via a Conciliation Agreement, failure to pay the reduced fine or comply with the agreement will be considered a breach and any original fines will be sought by a formalized process.
MAHALO TO COMMISSIONERS KURAMOTO & GABRIO
After serving 8 years on the Commission, Chairperson Paul Kuramoto and Commissioner Gino Gabrio will be leaving the Commission. We extend our deepest gratitude for their dedication, support, guidance, commitment, and efforts in improving campaign finance in the State of Hawaii. We would also like to congratulate new Chairperson Michael Weaver and Vice-Chair Dean Robb as they lead the Commission forward.
NEW GENERAL COUNSEL GARY KAM
In February 2011, the Commission hired Gary Kam as General Counsel. Previously, Gary was a Deputy Attorney General with the Education Division for 10 years where he represented the Department of Education in federal and state litigation, administrative hearings, and rule making as well as provided advice and counsel to the Commission for 4 years.
ELECTIONS ASSISTANT LINDA TAKUSHI RETIRES
Linda Takushi officially retired as the Commission’s Elections Assistant on June 30, 2011. She has served with the Commission since its inception in 1973. We would like to thank her for her 37 years of service and wish her the best in her well-deserved retirement years.
Next report due for:
Supplemental-August 1, 2011
Supplemental-August 1, 2011
July 13, 2011
August 10, 2011
September 14, 2011
October 12, 2011
November 9, 2011
December 14, 2011
YAMADA V. KURAMOTO, CIVIL NO. CV 10-0497
An appeal to the 9th Circuit Court concerning U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright’s order enjoining the Commission from enforcing contribution limits to a noncandidate committee making only independent expenditures was withdrawn on June 9, 2011 as a result of a 9th Circuit Court decision in Thalheimer v. City of San Diego issued that same day. Essentially, Thalheimer held that restricting independent expenditures on political speech has a chilling effect extending well beyond the government’s interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption. It therefore foreclosed the argument that the State has a justifiable interest in preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption in regulating independent expenditures. Accordingly, for now, there are no contribution limits to noncandidate committees making solely independent expenditures. Notwithstanding the dismissal of this issue, there will be further litigation to resolve remaining matters in this lawsuit including another order issued by Judge Seabright denying plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction concerning disclosure requirements applicable to noncandidate committees and a challenge to the state contractor provision.
2012 HAWAII COUNTY COUNCIL PUBLIC FUNDING PROGRAM
On June 27, 2011, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v, Bennett Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v, Bennett, 564 U.S. ___ (2011). At issue in that case was the matching funds provision of the Arizona public campaign financing law. In a 5 to 4 vote, the Court held that Arizona’s matching funds program violated the First Amendment because it substantially burdened protected political speech of privately financed candidates and independent spending groups without serving a compelling state interest. The Arizona Free Enterprise case calls into question the legality of the equalizing funds provision in the Pilot Comprehensive Public Funding for Elections to the Hawaii County Council, Act 244 (2008).
2011 LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
HB 257, H.D. 2, S.D. 1 sought to make technical revisions for purposes of clarity, consistency, and style as well as seeking substantive changes such as regulating automated phone calls, changing reporting deadlines, requiring noncandidate committees to specify in disclosure reports the name of the candidate that is supported or opposed by an independent expenditure of the committee, reinstating partial public funding for prosecuting attorney candidates, providing monetary ceilings on the price of fundraiser tickets that may be purchased with campaign funds, and imposing fines for designated reports or notices untimely filed (or unfiled). This bill is stalled in conference with the House Judiciary Committee. When legislative session commences, we will seek to open conference on this bill again. The Commission’s remaining two bills which proposed changes to the report filing deadlines and an additional report by committees as well as prohibiting a candidate from using contributions to pursue nomination and election to another state or county office without the contributor’s written consent, did not pass this session.
HAWAII ELECTION CAMPAIGN (HECF) STATUS
The Commission’s operating expenses and public financing programs are funded by the HECF which is a trust fund within the state treasury. Revenue sources for the HECF are generated from the $3 state income tax check-off, the interest generated from the principal, and any funds that escheat to the HECF pursuant to campaign finance laws. Prior to the 2008 Legislature, another revenue stream was fines imposed by the Commission but the law was amended so that these fines are now deposited into the general fund rather than the HECF.
ADVISORY OPINION 11-01 ISSUED TO ACTBLUE
ActBlue, a political committee registered with the FEC, requested an advisory opinion seeking the Commission’s guidance on the acceptance, disbursement, and reporting of earmarked contributions as a noncandidate committee. The Commission responded that ActBlue may accept and disburse earmarked contributions subject to the $1,000 per person per election limit; that the earmarked contributions count towards the individual contributors’ contribution limits; and that ActBlue must report the earmarked contributions on Schedule A and the disbursement to candidates on Schedule B1.
FACEBOOK AND TWITTER
The Commission is hoping to employ in the near future social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. The Commission recognizes the value of social media and seeks to leverage its capabilities to increase, enhance, and supplement our communication efforts to inform you of important and time sensitive campaign finance information.
STATUS OF E-MAIL SUBSCRIBE/UNSUBSCRIBE
ICSD is now in the process of testing the Commission’s e-mail subscribe/unsubscribe system. We hope it will soon become another means in which we can communicate and share important information with you.