HOUSE BILL NO. 822
AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENTS NO. 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9
AND SENATE AMENDMENTS NO. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13,
14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 and 36
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 15, DELAWARE CODE, BY ADDING THERETO A NEW PART VI DEALING WITH CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES WHICH PROVIDES FOR LIMITS ON CONTRIBUTIONS TO AND EXPENDITURES BY CANDIDATES AND POLITICAL COMMITTEES IN PRIMARY, GENERAL AND SPECIAL ELECTIONS, PRESCRIBES THE DUTIES OF CANDIDATES AND POLITICAL COMMITTEES, DIRECTS THE FILING OF REPORTS BY CANDIDATES AND COMMITTEES ON CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES, AND PROVIDES PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS THEREOF.
WHEREAS, it is essential that elections at all levels of government be carried out with a decent respect for the highest ideals of our representative form of government; and
WHEREAS, public knowledge of the receipt and distribution of political campaign funds will contribute to this goal, it is the intent of the law herein enacted to provide a method of auditing contributions and expenditures of election funds that will assure the public against the corrupt use of such funds.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:
Section 1. Amend Title 15, Delaware Code, by adding thereto a new Part VI to be designated as "Election Campaigns" which shall read as follows:
"PART VI. ELECTION CAMPAIGNS
Chapter 80. Limits on Campaign Contributions and Expenditures; Reporting and Disclosing of Contributions and Expenditures.
As used in this chapter:
(a) 'Candidate' means a person who seeks nomination for or election to an office which is required by law to be determined by an election, and who has taken action necessary under the law to qualify for nomination or election under the laws of the State or has authorized the solicitation of any contribution or the making of any expenditure in his behalf. Candidate shall not include those who seek office on elected school boards which pay no salaries, nor on town or city councils which pay no salaries. Any elective office which pays less than $1,000 per year shall be exempt from this Chapter.
(b) 'Contribution' means any advance, deposit, gift, or transfer of funds or any contract or obligation or anything of value to any candidate or political committee involved in an election; provided, however, this shall not be construed to include services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering a portion or all of their time on behalf of a candidate or political committee.
() 'Election' means the action by registered or otherwise qualified voters of the State of Delaware either to nominate by vote a candidate for public office or to select a candidate to fill a public office and shall include primary, general and special elections; provided, however, the term 'election' shall refer to a single election, whether primary, general, or special election.
(a) 'Expenditure' means any payment made or debt and/or obligation incurred by a candidate or political committee involved in an election.
(b) 'Campaign treasurer' means a person appointed by a candidate to assist the candidate with the duties and responsibilities imposed by this chapter.
(f) Commissioner' means the State Election Commissioner for the State of Delaware, or his designee.
(g) 'Committee treasurer' means a person designated to receive and disburse all funds received or used in any way by a political committee.
(h) 'Immediate family' means spouse, father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, parent-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law or daughter-in-law, stepparent or stepchild, uncle or aunt.
() 'Person' includes corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies and joint stock companies, as well as individuals.
(a) 'Political committee' means any organization or association, permanent or created for the purposes of a political campaign, which accepts contributions or makes expenditures for or against any candidate or candidates, with or without the knowledge of such candidate or candidates; and shall include the campaign committees of the permanently organized or temporarily organized political parties.
§8002. Duties and responsibilities of candidates
(a) It shall be the duty and responsibility of a candidate to keep full and complete records of all contributions received and all expenditures made by or on behalf of the candidate. Such records shall be retained for one full year following the election for which he or she was a candidate.
(b) It shall be the duty and responsibility of the candidate to file the reports required by Section 8008 of this chapter to be made to the State Election Commissioner.
(c) A candidate may designate a campaign treasurer to assist with the duties and responsibilities under this chapter; provided, nothing shall relieve the candidate from the responsibility for keeping the records and filing the reports required by this chapter.
It shall be the duty and responsibility of a candidate to report immediately to the State Election Commissioner any attempt to make a contribution or demand an expenditure prohibited by this chapter.
§8003. Duties and responsibilities of political committees
(a) It shall be the duty and responsibility of a political committee to file a list of its members in writing with the State Election Commissioner, which writing shall designate one person as committee treasurer. No contribution shall be accepted or expenditure made by or on behalf of the political committee until the committee has filed the list required by this Section.
(b) It shall be the duty and responsibility of the committee treasurer to keep full and complete records of all contributions made to the political committee, of all contributions made by the political committee to any candidate, and all expenditures made by the political committee. Such records shall be retained for one full year following the election in connection with which the contributions and expenditures were made.
(c) It shall be the duty and responsibility of the committee treasurer to file the reports required by Section 8008 of this chapter to be filed with the State Election Commissioner.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person other than a candidate or a member of such candidate's immediate family to make, and no candidate or any person acting in his or her behalf, or political committee member or committee treasurer shall accept any contribution that will cause the total amount contributed by such person in support of such candidate, including contributions to political committees supporting such candidate, to exceed, with respect to a single statewide election, $1,000, or in respect to a single election that is other than statewide, $500.00.
(b) The total amount which may be contributed to the campaign of any candidate, and all political committees supporting such candidate, by the immediate family of such candidate and such candidate, shall not exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) for any single election.
(d) It shall be unlawful for any person to make any contribution in excess of $50.00 in currency to a candidate or a political committee.
(e) It shall be unlawful for any person to make a contribution anonymously or in a fictitious name, or on behalf of or in the name of another person and no candidate or person acting on his or her behalf and no member of a political committee or committee treasurer shall knowingly accept a contribution made anonymously or in a fictitious name or by one person on behalf of or in the name of another person.
(f) It shall be unlawful for any candidate or political committee to make any expenditure except for the purposes enumerated in Section 8006 of this chapter.
(g) It shall be unlawful for any political committee to make any expenditure on behalf of a candidate or in support of his or her candidacy without having the written approval of such candidate; provided, that any such expenditure by a political committee shall be included in the expenditure limit imposed on a candidate by Section 8007 of this Chapter. Where an expenditure by a political committee benefits more than one candidate, such expenditure shall be prorated among the candidates benefited for purposes of the expenditure limit.
(h) It shall be unlawful for any person (other than a political committee or candidate) to make any contribution or expenditure, other than by contribution to a political committee or candidate, in an aggregate amount in excess of $100.00 in connection with any primary, general or special election campaign without having the written approval of such candidate. Any expenditure under this subsection which is approved by a candidate shall be included in the expenditure limit imposed on a candidate by Section 8007 of this Chapter and shall be included in the reports filed by the candidate with the State Election Commissioner pursuant to Section 8008 of this Chapter. Such contribution or expenditure under this subsection shall be deemed a contribution pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and shall be included within the limit imposed by that section on contributions by individuals.
§8006. Campaign expenditures
(1) the salaries of campaign managers, campaign treasurer and other staff;
(2) the travel expenses of the candidate and members of his staff;
(3) the payment of fees or charges for placing the name of the candidate on the ballot and for holding and making returns of the election;
(4) the hire of clerks, stenographers and office help and the cost of clerical and stenographic work and such other personnel costs as shall be deemed necessary;
(0) the costs of the telegraph and telephone services;
(1) the costs of postage, freight and express charges;
(2) printing and stationery;
(3) food, refreshments and related supplies;
(4) obtaining and preparing lists of voters;
(5) making canvasses of voters;
(6) employee election watchers;
(7) office rent and equipment;
(8) media advertising and publicity;
(9) holding political meetings, demonstrations and conventions; advertising same; paying speakers, musicians and others participating in such events;
(10) employing counsel who are licensed to practice law in the State of Delaware.
(b) All campaign literature or advertising, with the exception of such items as pins, buttons, badges, emblems, hats, bumper stickers, and similar materials, shall carry the statements: 'PAID FOR BY …………..' (name of candidate, political committee, organization or person paying for such literature or advertising).
§8007. Limits on expenditures
(a) In any primary election, the total expenditure of any candidate which shall include any expenditures made by a political committee on behalf of his or her candidacy shall not exceed:
for a candidate for statewide office, the product of 25 cents times the total number of persons in the state registered to vote in the most recent presidential election;
for a candidate for the state Senate, the product of 25 cents times the total number of persons registered to vote in the senatorial district at the most recent general election, or the amount of $4,000, whichever is more;
for a candidate for the state House of Representatives, the product of 25 cents times the total number of persons registered to vote in the representative district at the most recent general election, or the amount of $2,000, whichever is more;
for a candidate for county or municipal office, the product of 25 cents times the total number of persons registered to vote in the appropriate county or municipal district at the most recent election for such office.
(b) In any general or special election, the total expenditure of any candidate shall not exceed:
for a candidate for statewide office, the product of 50 cents times the total number of persons in the state registered to vote in the most recent presidential election;
for a candidate for the state Senate, the product of 50 cents times the total number of persons registered to vote in the senatorial district at the most recent general election, or the amount of $8,000, whichever is more;
for a candidate for the state House of Representatives, the product of 50 cents times the total number of persons registered to vote in the representative district at the most recent general election, or the amount of $4,000, whichever is more;
for a candidate for county or municipal office, the product of 50 cents times the total number of persons registered to vote in the appropriate county or municipal district at the most recent election for such office.
§8008. Reports and sworn statements
(a) Each candidate and each committee treasurer shall file with the State Election Commissioner reports of contributions and expenditures on forms prescribed by the Commissioner.
(b) Such reports shall be filed twenty days prior to the date of an election and by the 31st day of December of the year following the election. Reports shall also be filed by the 31st day of December following the election and each year thereafter by the 31st day of December until such time as contributions and expenditures are balanced and the fund closed; provided, however, that any surplus in the campaign fund of any candidate or political committee may be contributed to a tax-exempt charitable or political organization, if such donation is authorized by the candidate and noted in the required report.
() Each report under this section shall disclose:
(1) the amount of cash on hand at the beginning of the reporting period;
(2) the full name and mailing address of each person who has made one or more contributions to or for such candidate or political committee (including the purchase of tickets for events such as dinners, luncheons, rallies, and similar fundraising events) in connection with such campaign in an aggregate amount or value in excess of $100, together with the amount and date of such contributions;
(3) the total sum of individual contributions made to or for such committee or candidate during the reporting period and not reported under paragraph (2);
(4) the name and address of each candidate or political committee from which the reporting candidate or political committee received, or to which that committee or candidate made, any transfer of funds, together with the amounts and dates of all transfers;
(5) each loan to or from any person within the calendar year in an aggregate amount or value in excess of $100, together with the full names and mailing addresses of the lender and endorsers, if any, and the date and amount of such loans;
(6) the total amount of proceeds from (A) the sale of tickets to each dinner, luncheon, rally, and other fundraising events; (B) mass collections made at such events; and (C) sales of items such as political campaign pins, buttons, badges, flags, emblems, hats, banners, literature, and similar materials;
(7) each contribution, rebate, refund, or other receipt in excess of $100 not otherwise listed under paragraphs (2) through (6);
(8) the total sum of all receipts by or for such political committee or candidate during the reporting period;
(9) the full name and mailing address of each person to whom expenditures have been made by such committee or on behalf of such candidate or political committee in connection with such campaign in an aggregate amount or value in excess of $100, the amount, date, and purpose of each such expenditure and the name and address of, and office sought by, each candidate on whose behalf such expenditure was made;
(10) the full name and mailing address of each person to whom an expenditure for personal services, salaries, and reimbursed expenses in excess of $100 has been made, and which is not otherwise reported, including the amount, date, and purpose of such expenditure;
(11) the total sum of expenditures made by such political committee or candidate in connection with such campaign;
(12) the amount and nature of debts and obligations owed by or to the political committee, in such form as the Commissioner may prescribe and a continuous reporting of their debts and obligations after the election at such periods as the State Election Commissioner may require until such debts and obligations are extinguished; and
(d) The reports required to be filed by subsection (a) shall be cumulative for the campaign to which they relate, but where there has been no change in an item previously reported, only the amount need be carried forward.
(e) Each statement shall be accompanied by an affidavit verified by the candidate or committee treasurer and stating as follows:
'I do solemnly swear that the foregoing statement is in all things true and correct and discloses all contributions received and expenditures required by me under the Campaign Financing and Disclosure Act of 1974.'
(f) The State Election Commissioner shall mail, by certified mail, to every filed candidate and political committee, a copy of this Act and a concise explanation of its terms, responsibilities, and penalties not later than 15 days after filing by such candidate or political committee. The Election Commissioner shall send similar documents to the chairman of all legally recognized political party subdivisions down to the representative district level.
§8009. Public Disclosure
All reports made to the State Election Commissioner, or his designee under this law shall be public and shall, upon filing, be made immediately available during the customary office hours of the Office of the Commissioner for inspection and copying by the public. The candidate or Treasurer of such candidate shall upon filing such report be given an official receipt indicating the date and time of such filing and upon satisfactory compliance with the provisions of this act be relieved of all legal liability if such reports are not made public.
§8010. Certificate of election
No certificate of election shall be granted to any candidate until the Superior Court has certified that a candidate or treasurer of said candidate has filed with the Commissioner reports required by §8008 to be filed prior to election.
§8011. Civil remedies
For the purpose of any civil remedy, the Superior Courts of the State of Delaware shall have jurisdiction.
§8012. Violations and penalties; jurisdiction in Superior Court
(a) Any candidate, committee treasurer, or other person who makes or accepts an unlawful contribution in violation of Section 8003, 8004 or 8005 of this Chapter or who makes an unlawful expenditure in violation of Section 8003, 8004 or 8006 of this Chapter shall be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.
(b) Any candidate whose campaign expenditures shall exceed the expenditure limit set under Section 8007 of this Chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined an amount not less than twice the amount by which the expenditure limit was exceeded nor more than ten times the amount by which such limit was exceeded.
(c) Any candidate or committee treasurer who knowingly files any report required by Section 8008 that is false in any material respect, or fails to file any such report shall be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.
(d) The Superior Court shall have jurisdiction over all offenses under this Chapter.
§8013. Attorney General Candidates
(a) Whenever a complaint shall be brought against the candidate(s) for Attorney General of the State of Delaware, such complaint shall be directed to the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware, for action under the rules of the Court on the Judiciary.
() Complaints under the provisions of (a) may be initiated by any party in possession of information supporting, or tending to support, the complaint. All hearings before the Court of the Judiciary in connection with such complaint shall be private. Upon the vote of a majority of the members of the Court on the Judiciary, its findings and recommendations shall be directed to the appropriate enforcement authority for this Chapter and to the House of Representatives, in the case of a successful candidate for Attorney General, for such action as the House shall determine.
(a) Whenever it shall occur that an action before the courts of Delaware is initiated for or against the Attorney General of Delaware as a result of the provisions of this Chapter, the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware, by majority vote, shall appoint a special prosecutor, who shall be licensed to practice before the courts of Delaware and a registered decline on the voter registration rolls of the county in which said attorney resides. Such appointee shall be responsible for the State of Delaware's portion of such court action for or against the Attorney General.
§8014. Short title
This Act shall be known as the Campaign Financing and Disclosure Act of 1974."
Section 2. I If any provision of this Chapter, or of any rule, regulation, or order promulgated thereunder, or the application of any such provisions, regulation, or order to any person or circumstances shall be held invalid, the remainder of this Chapter or any regulations or order promulgated pursuant thereto or the application of such provisions, regulations, or order to persons or circumstances other than those to which it is held invalid, shall not be affected thereby.
Section 3. This Act shall take effect July 1, 1974.
Approved July 30, 1974.