ASSEMBLY, No. 2595

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 6, 2010

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  LINDA R. GREENSTEIN

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

Assemblyman  WAYNE P. DEANGELO

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

Assemblywoman  ANNETTE QUIJANO

District 20 (Union)

Assemblyman  RALPH R. CAPUTO

District 28 (Essex)

Assemblyman  PAUL D. MORIARTY

District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblymen Coughlin, Chiappone, Assemblywoman Watson Coleman, Assemblyman Gusciora and Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires certain issue advocacy organizations to disclose contribution and expenditure information.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act requiring certain issue advocacy groups to disclose contribution and expenditure information and amending various parts of the statutory law.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 3 of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-3) is amended to read as follows:

     3.    As used in this act, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:

     a.     (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1993, c.65.)

     b.    (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1993, c.65.)

     c.     The term "candidate" means: (1) an individual seeking election to a public office of the State or of a county, municipality or school district at an election; except that the term shall not include an individual seeking party office; (2) an individual who shall have been elected or failed of election to an office, other than a party office, for which he sought election and who receives contributions and makes expenditures for any of the purposes authorized by section 17 of P.L.1993, c.65 (C.19:44A-11.2) during the period of his service in that office; and (3) an individual who has received funds or other benefits or has made payments solely for the purpose of determining whether the individual should become a candidate as defined in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection.

     d.    The terms "contributions" and "expenditures" include all loans and transfers of money or other thing of value to or by any candidate, candidate committee, joint candidates committee, political committee, continuing political committee, political party committee or legislative leadership committee and all pledges or other commitments or assumptions of liability to make any such transfer; and for purposes of reports required under the provisions of this act shall be deemed to have been made upon the date when such commitment is made or liability assumed.

     e.     The term "election" means any election described in section 4 of this act.

     f.     The term "paid personal services" means personal, clerical, administrative or professional services of every kind and nature including, without limitation, public relations, research, legal, canvassing, telephone, speech writing or other such services, performed other than on a voluntary basis, the salary, cost or consideration for which is paid, borne or provided by someone other than the committee, candidate or organization for whom such services are rendered.  In determining the value, for the purpose of reports required under this act, of contributions made in the form of paid personal services, the person contributing such services shall furnish to the treasurer through whom such contribution is made a statement setting forth the actual amount of compensation paid by said contributor to the individuals actually performing said services for the performance thereof.  But if any individual or individuals actually performing such services also performed for the contributor other services during the same period, and the manner of payment was such that payment for the services contributed cannot readily be segregated from contemporary payment for the other services, the contributor shall in his statement to the treasurer so state and shall either (1) set forth his best estimate of the dollar amount of payment to each such individual which is attributable to the contribution of his paid personal services, and shall certify the substantial accuracy of the same, or (2) if unable to determine such amount with sufficient accuracy, set forth the total compensation paid by him to each such individual for the period of time during which the services contributed by him were performed.  If any candidate is a holder of public office to whom there is attached or assigned, by virtue of said office, any aide or aides whose services are of a personal or confidential nature in assisting him to carry out the duties of said office, and whose salary or other compensation is paid in whole or part out of public funds, the services of such aide or aides which are paid for out of public funds shall be for public purposes only; but they may contribute their personal services, on a voluntary basis, to such candidate for election campaign purposes.

     g.     (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1983, c.579.)

     h.     The term "political information" means any statement including, but not limited to, press releases, pamphlets, newsletters, advertisements, flyers, form letters, or radio or television programs or advertisements which reflects the opinion of the members of the organization on any candidate or candidates for public office, on any public question, or which contains facts on any such candidate, or public question whether or not such facts are within the personal knowledge of members of the organization.

     i.      The term "political committee" means any two or more persons acting jointly, or any corporation, partnership, or any other incorporated or unincorporated association which is organized to, or does, aid or promote the nomination, election or defeat of any candidate or candidates for public office, or which is organized to, or does, aid or promote the passage or defeat of a public question in any election, if the persons, corporation, partnership or incorporated or unincorporated association raises or expends $1,000.00 or more to so aid or promote the nomination, election or defeat of a candidate or candidates or the passage or defeat of a public question; provided that for the purposes of this act, the term "political committee" shall not include a "continuing political committee," as defined by subsection n. of this section, a "political party committee," as defined by subsection p. of this section, a "candidate committee," as defined by subsection q. of this section, a "joint candidates committee," as defined by subsection r. of this section or a "legislative leadership committee," as defined by subsection s. of this section.

     j.     The term "public solicitation" means any activity by or on behalf of any candidate, political committee, continuing political committee, candidate committee, joint candidates committee, legislative leadership committee or political party committee whereby either (1) members of the general public are personally solicited for cash contributions not exceeding $20.00 from each person so solicited and contributed on the spot by the person so solicited to a person soliciting or through a receptacle provided for the purpose of depositing contributions, or (2) members of the general public are personally solicited for the purchase of items having some tangible value as merchandise, at a price not exceeding $20.00 per item, which price is paid on the spot in cash by the person so solicited to the person so soliciting, when the net proceeds of such solicitation are to be used by or on behalf of such candidate, political committee, continuing political committee, candidate committee, joint candidates committee, legislative leadership committee or political party committee.

     k.    The term "testimonial affair" means an affair of any kind or nature including, without limitation, cocktail parties, breakfasts, luncheons, dinners, dances, picnics or similar affairs directly or indirectly intended to raise campaign funds in behalf of a person who holds, or who is or was a candidate for nomination or election to a public office in this State, or directly or indirectly intended to raise funds in behalf of any political party committee or in behalf of a political committee, continuing political committee, candidate committee, joint candidates committee or legislative leadership committee.

     l.      The term "other thing of value" means any item of real or personal property, tangible or intangible, but shall not be deemed to include personal services other than paid personal services.

     m.    The term "qualified candidate" means:

     (1)   Joint candidates for election to the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor whose names appear on the general election ballot; who have deposited and expended $150,000.00 pursuant to section 7 of P.L.1974, c.26 (C.19:44A-32); and who, not later than September 1 preceding a general election in which the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor are to be filled, (a) notify the Election Law Enforcement Commission in writing that the candidates intend that application will be made on the candidates' behalf for monies for general election campaign expenses under subsection b. of section 8 of P.L.1974, c.26 (C.19:44A-33), and (b) sign a statement of agreement, in a form to be prescribed by the commission, to participate in interactive gubernatorial election debates under the provisions of sections 9 through 11 of P.L.1989, c.4 (C.19:44A-45 through C.19:44A-47); or

     (2)   Joint candidates for election to the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor whose names do not appear on the general election ballot; who have deposited and expended $150,000.00 pursuant to section 7 of P.L.1974, c.26 (C.19:44A-32); and who, not later than September 1 preceding a general election in which the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor are to be filled, (a) notify the Election Law Enforcement Commission in writing that the candidates intend that application will be made on the candidates' behalf for monies for general election campaign expenses under subsection b. of section 8 of P.L.1974, c.26 (C.19:44A-33), and (b) sign a statement of agreement, in a form to be prescribed by the commission, to participate in interactive gubernatorial election debates under the provisions of sections 9 through 11 of P.L.1989, c.4 (C.19:44A-45 through C.19:44A-47); or

     (3)   Any candidate for nomination for election to the office of Governor whose name appears on the primary election ballot; who has deposited and expended $150,000.00 pursuant to section 7 of P.L.1974, c.26 (C.19:44A-32); and who, not later than the last day for filing petitions to nominate candidates to be voted upon in a primary election for a general election in which the office of Governor is to be filled, (a) notifies the Election Law Enforcement Commission in writing that the candidate intends that application will be made on the candidate's behalf for monies for primary election campaign expenses under subsection a. of section 8 of P.L.1974, c.26 (C.19:44A-33), and (b) signs a statement of agreement, in a form to be prescribed by the commission, to participate in two interactive gubernatorial primary debates under the provisions of sections 9 through 11 of P.L.1989, c.4 (C.19:44A-45 through C.19:44A-47); or

     (4)   Any candidate for nomination for election to the office of Governor whose name does not appear on the primary election ballot; who has deposited and expended $150,000.00 pursuant to section 7 of P.L.1974, c.26 (C.19:44A-32); and who, not later than the last day for filing petitions to nominate candidates to be voted upon in a primary election for a general election in which the office of Governor is to be filled, (a) notifies the Election Law Enforcement Commission in writing that the candidate intends that application will be made on the candidate's behalf for monies for primary election campaign expenses under subsection a. of section 8 of P.L.1974, c.26 (C.19:44A-33), and (b) signs a statement of agreement, in a form to be prescribed by the commission, to participate in two interactive gubernatorial primary debates under the provisions of sections 9 through 11 of P.L.1989, c.4 (C.19:44A-45 through C.19:44A-47).

     n.     The term "continuing political committee" means any group of two or more persons acting jointly, or any corporation, partnership, or any other incorporated or unincorporated association, including a political club, political action committee, civic association or other organization, which in any calendar year contributes or expects to contribute at least $2,500.00 to the aid or promotion of the candidacy of an individual, or of the candidacies of individuals, for elective public office, or the passage or defeat of a public question or public questions, and which may be expected to make contributions toward such aid or promotion or passage or defeat during a subsequent election, provided that the group, corporation, partnership, association or other organization has been determined to be a continuing political committee under subsection b. of section 8 of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-8); provided that for the purposes of this act, the term "continuing political committee" shall not include a "political party committee," as defined by subsection p. of this section, or a "legislative leadership committee," as defined by subsection s. of this section.

     o.    The term "statement of agreement" means a written declaration, by a candidate for nomination for election to the office of Governor, or by joint candidates for election to the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor who intend that application will be made on behalf of the candidate for the office of Governor to receive monies for the primary election or on behalf of the candidates for the office of Governor and the office of Lieutenant Governor for general election campaign expenses under subsection a. or subsection b., respectively, of section 8 of P.L.1974, c.26 (C.19:44A-33), that the candidates undertake to abide by the terms of any rules established by any private organization sponsoring a gubernatorial primary or general election debate, as appropriate, to be held under the provisions of sections 9 through 11 of P.L.1989, c.4 (C.19:44A-45 through C.19:44A-47) and in which the candidates are to participate. The statement of agreement shall include an acknowledgment of notice to the candidates who sign it that failure on the candidates' part to participate in any of the gubernatorial debates may be cause for the termination of the payment of such monies on the candidates' behalf and for the imposition of liability for the return to the commission of such monies as may previously have been so paid.

     p.    The term "political party committee" means the State committee of a political party, as organized pursuant to R.S.19:5-4, any county committee of a political party, as organized pursuant to R.S.19:5-3, or any municipal committee of a political party, as organized pursuant to R.S.19:5-2.

     q.    The term "candidate committee" means a committee established pursuant to subsection a. of section 9 of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-9) for the purpose of receiving contributions and making expenditures.

     r.     The term "joint candidates committee" means a committee established pursuant to subsection a. of section 9 of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-9) by at least two candidates for the same elective public offices in the same election in a legislative district, county, municipality or school district, but not more candidates than the total number of the same elective public offices to be filled in that election, for the purpose of receiving contributions and making expenditures. For the purpose of this subsection: the offices of member of the Senate and members of the General Assembly shall be deemed to be the same elective public offices in a legislative district; the offices of member of the board of chosen freeholders and county executive shall be deemed to be the same elective public offices in a county; and the offices of mayor and member of the municipal governing body shall be deemed to be the same elective public offices in a municipality.

     s.     The term "legislative leadership committee" means a committee established, authorized to be established, or designated by the President of the Senate, the Minority Leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the General Assembly or the Minority Leader of the General Assembly pursuant to section 16 of P.L.1993, c.65 (C.19:44A-10.1) for the purpose of receiving contributions and making expenditures.

     t.     The term “issue advocacy organization” means an organization organized under section 527 of the federal Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. s.527) or under paragraphs (3) or (4) of subsection c. of section 501 of the federal Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. s.501), that does not fall within the definition of any other committee subject to the provisions of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-1 et seq.), that engages in influencing or attempting to influence the outcome of any election or the selection, nomination, or election of any person to any State or local elective public office, or the passage or defeat of any public question, or in providing political information on any candidate or public question, and raises or expends $2,100. or more for any such purpose, but does not coordinate its activities with any candidate or political party.

(cf: P.L.2009, c.66, s.5)

 

     2.    Section 8 of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-8) is amended to read as follows:        

     8.    a.  (1) Each political committee shall make a full cumulative report, upon a form prescribed by the Election Law Enforcement Commission, of all contributions in the form of moneys, loans, paid personal services, or other things of value made to it and all expenditures made, incurred, or authorized by it in furtherance of the nomination, election or defeat of any candidate, or in aid of the passage or defeat of any public question, or to provide political information on any candidate or public question, during the period ending 48 hours preceding the date of the report and beginning on the date on which the first of those contributions was received or the first of those expenditures was made, whichever occurred first.  The cumulative report, except as hereinafter provided, shall contain the name and mailing address of each person or group from whom moneys, loans, paid personal services or other things of value have been contributed since 48 hours preceding the date on which the previous such report was made and the amount contributed by each person or group, and where the contributor is an individual, the report shall indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  In the case of any loan reported pursuant to this subsection, the report shall contain the name and mailing address of each person who has cosigned such loan since 48 hours preceding the date on which the previous such report was made, and where an individual has cosigned such loans, the report shall indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  The cumulative report shall also contain the name and address of each person, firm or organization to whom expenditures have been paid since 48 hours preceding the date on which the previous such report was made and the amount and purpose of each such expenditure.  The cumulative report shall be filed with the Election Law Enforcement Commission on the dates designated in section 16 hereof. 

     The campaign treasurer of the political committee reporting shall certify to the correctness of each report.

     Each campaign treasurer of a political committee shall file written notice with the commission of a contribution in excess of $500 received during the period between the 13th day prior to the election and the date of the election, and of an expenditure of money or other thing of value in excess of $500 made, incurred or authorized by the political committee to support or defeat a candidate in an election, or to aid the passage or defeat of any public question, during the period between the 13th day prior to the election and the date of the election.  The notice of a contribution shall be filed in writing or by telegram within 48 hours of the receipt of the contribution and shall set forth the amount and date of the contribution, the name and mailing address of the contributor, and where the contributor is an individual, the individual's occupation and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  The notice of an expenditure shall be filed in writing or by telegram within 48 hours of the making, incurring or authorization of the expenditure and shall set forth the name and mailing address of the person, firm or organization to whom or which the expenditure was paid and the amount and purpose of the expenditure.

     (2)   When a political committee or an individual seeking party office makes or authorizes an expenditure on behalf of a candidate, it shall provide immediate written notification to the candidate of the expenditure. 

     b.    (1) A group of two or more persons acting jointly, or any corporation, partnership, or any other incorporated or unincorporated association including a political club, political action committee, civic association or other organization, which in any calendar year contributes or expects to contribute at least $2,500.00 to the aid or promotion of the candidacy of an individual, or of the candidacies of individuals, for elective public office or the passage or defeat of a public question or public questions and which expects to make contributions toward such aid or promotion, or toward such passage or defeat, during a subsequent election shall certify that fact to the commission, and the commission, upon receiving that certification and on the basis of any information as it may require of the group, corporation, partnership, association or other organization, shall determine whether the group, corporation, partnership, association or other organization is a continuing political committee for the purposes of this act.  If the commission determines that the group, corporation, partnership, association or other organization is a continuing political committee, it shall so notify that continuing political committee. 

     No person serving as the chairman of a political party committee or a legislative leadership committee shall be eligible to be appointed or to serve as the chairman of a continuing political committee. 

     (2)   A continuing political committee shall file with the Election Law Enforcement Commission, not later than April 15, July 15, October 15 and January 15 of each calendar year, a cumulative quarterly report of all moneys, loans, paid personal services or other things of value contributed to it during the period ending on the 15th day preceding that date and commencing on January 1 of that calendar year or, in the case of the cumulative quarterly report to be filed not later than January 15, of the previous calendar year, and all expenditures made, incurred, or authorized by it during the period, whether or not such expenditures were made, incurred or authorized in furtherance of the election or defeat of any candidate, or in aid of the passage or defeat of any public question or to provide information on any candidate or public question.

     The cumulative quarterly report shall contain the name and mailing address of each person or group from whom moneys, loans, paid personal services or other things of value have been contributed and the amount contributed by each person or group, and where an individual has made such contributions, the report shall indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  In the case of any loan reported pursuant to this subsection, the report shall contain the name and address of each person who cosigns such loan, and where an individual has cosigned such loans, the report shall indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  The report shall also contain the name and address of each person, firm or organization to whom expenditures have been paid and the amount and purpose of each such expenditure. The treasurer of the continuing political committee reporting shall certify to the correctness of each cumulative quarterly report.

     Each continuing political committee shall provide immediate written notification to each candidate of all expenditures made or authorized on behalf of the candidate. 

     If any continuing political committee submitting cumulative quarterly reports as provided under this subsection receives a contribution from a single source of more than $500 after the final day of a quarterly reporting period and on or before a primary, general, municipal, school or special election which occurs after that final day but prior to the final day of the next reporting period it shall, in writing or by telegram, report that contribution to the commission within 48 hours of the receipt thereof, including in that report the amount and date of the contribution; the name and mailing address of the contributor; and where the contributor is an individual, the individual's occupation and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  If any continuing political committee makes or authorizes an expenditure of money or other thing of value in excess of $500, or incurs any obligation therefor, to support or defeat a candidate in an election, or to aid the passage or defeat of any public question, after March 31 and on or before the day of the primary election, or after September 30 and on or before the day of the general election, it shall, in writing or by telegram, report that expenditure to the commission within 48 hours of the making, authorizing or incurring thereof.

     A continuing political committee which ceases making contributions toward the aiding or promoting of the candidacy of an individual, or of the candidacies of individuals, for elective public office in this State or the passage or defeat of a public question or public questions in this State shall certify that fact in writing to the commission, and that certification shall be accompanied by a final accounting of any fund relating to such aiding or promoting including the final disposition of any balance in such fund at the time of dissolution.  Until that certification has been filed, the committee shall continue to file the quarterly reports as provided under this subsection.

     c.     Each political party committee and each legislative leadership committee shall file with the Election Law Enforcement Commission, not later than April 15, July 15, October 15 and January 15 of each calendar year, a cumulative quarterly report of all moneys, loans, paid personal services or other things of value contributed to it during the period ending on the 15th day preceding that date and commencing on January 1 of that calendar year or, in the case of the cumulative quarterly report to be filed not later than January 15, of the previous calendar year, and all expenditures made, incurred, or authorized by it during the period, whether or not such expenditures were made, incurred or authorized in furtherance of the election or defeat of any candidate, or in aid of the passage or defeat of any public question or to provide information on any candidate or public question.

     The cumulative quarterly report shall contain the name and mailing address of each person or group from whom moneys, loans, paid personal services or other things of value have been contributed and the amount contributed by each person or group, and where an individual has made such contributions, the report shall indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  In the case of any loan reported pursuant to this subsection, the report shall contain the name and address of each person who cosigns such loan, and where an individual has cosigned such loans, the report shall indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  The report shall also contain the name and address of each person, firm or organization to whom expenditures have been paid and the amount and purpose of each such expenditure. The treasurer of the political party committee or legislative leadership committee reporting shall certify to the correctness of each cumulative quarterly report.

     If a political party committee or a legislative leadership committee submitting cumulative quarterly reports as provided under this subsection receives a contribution from a single source of more than $500 after the final day of a quarterly reporting period and on or before a primary, general, municipal, school or special election which occurs after that final day but prior to the final day of the next reporting period it shall, in writing or by telegram, report that contribution to the commission within 48 hours of the receipt thereof, including in that report the amount and date of the contribution; the name and mailing address of the contributor; and where the contributor is an individual, the individual's occupation and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer. If a political party committee or a legislative leadership committee submitting cumulative quarterly reports as provided under this subsection makes or authorizes an expenditure of money or other thing of value in excess of $800, or incurs any obligation therefor, to support or defeat a candidate in an election, or to aid the passage or defeat of any public question, after March 31 and on or before the day of the primary election, or after September 30 and on or before the day of the general election, it shall, in writing or by telegram, report that expenditure to the commission within 48 hours of the making, authorizing or incurring thereof.

     d.    Each issue advocacy organization shall make a full cumulative report, upon a form prescribed by the Election Law Enforcement Commission, of all contributions in the form of moneys, loans, paid personal services, or other things of value made to it, and of all expenditures made, incurred, or authorized by it in influencing or attempting to influence the outcome of any election or the selection, nomination, or election of any person to State or local elective public office or the passage or defeat of any public question or providing political information on any candidate or public question, during the period ending 48 hours preceding the date of the report and beginning on the date on which the first of those contributions was received or the first of those expenditures was made, whichever occurred first.  The cumulative report, except as hereinafter provided, shall contain the name and mailing address of each person or group from whom moneys, loans, paid personal services or other things of value have been contributed since 48 hours preceding the date on which the previous such report was made and the amount contributed by each person or group, and where the contributor is an individual, the report shall indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  In the case of any loan reported pursuant to this subsection, the report shall contain the name and mailing address of each person who has cosigned such loan since 48 hours preceding the date on which the previous such report was made, and where an individual has cosigned such loans, the report shall indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  The cumulative report shall also contain the name and address of each person, firm or organization to whom expenditures have been paid since 48 hours preceding the date on which the previous such report was made and the amount and purpose of each such expenditure.  The cumulative report shall be filed with the Election Law Enforcement Commission on the dates designated in section 16 of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-16). 

     The treasurer of the issue advocacy organization reporting shall certify to the correctness of each report and shall maintain all records of contributions and expenditures for a period of not less than four years.

     Each treasurer of an issue advocacy organization shall file written notice with the commission of a contribution in excess of $1,200 received during the period between the 13th day prior to the election and the date of the election, and of an expenditure of money or other thing of value in excess of $1,200 made, incurred or authorized by the issue advocacy organization for the purpose of influencing or attempting to influence the outcome of any election or the nomination, or election of any person to State or local elective public office or the passage or defeat of any public question or providing political information on any candidate or public question, during the period between the 13th day prior to the election and the date of the election.  The notice shall be filed in writing or by telegram within 48 hours of the receipt of the contribution and shall set forth the amount and date of the contribution, the name and mailing address of the contributor, and where the contributor is an individual, the individual's occupation and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  The notice of an expenditure shall be filed in writing or by telegram within 48 hours of the making, incurring or authorization of the expenditure and shall set forth the name and mailing address of the person, firm or organization to whom or which the expenditure was paid and the amount and purpose of the expenditure.

     e.     In any report filed pursuant to the provisions of this section the organization or committee reporting may exclude from the report the name of and other information relating to any contributor whose contributions during the period covered by the report did not exceed $300, provided, however, that (1) such exclusion is unlawful if any person responsible for the preparation or filing of the report knew that it was made with respect to any person whose contributions relating to the same election or issue and made to the reporting organization or committee aggregate, in combination with the contribution in respect of which such exclusion is made, more than $300 and (2) any person who knowingly prepares, assists in preparing, files or acquiesces in the filing of any report from which the identification of a contributor has been excluded contrary to the provisions of this section is subject to the provisions of section 21 of this act, but (3) nothing in this proviso shall be construed as requiring any committee or organization reporting pursuant to this act to report the amounts, dates or other circumstantial data regarding contributions made to any other organization or political committee, political party committee or campaign organization of a candidate.

     Any report filed pursuant to the provisions of this section shall include an itemized accounting of all receipts and expenditures relative to any testimonial affairs held since the date of the most recent report filed, which accounting shall include the name and mailing address of each contributor in excess of $300 to such testimonial affair and the amount contributed by each; in the case of an individual contributor, the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer; the expenses incurred; and the disposition of the proceeds of such testimonial affair. 

     The $300 limit established in this subsection shall remain as stated in this subsection without further adjustment by the commission in the manner prescribed by section 22 of P.L.1993, c.65 (C.19:44A-7.2).

(cf: P.L.2004, c.33, s.1)

 

     3.    Section 21 of P.L.1993, c.65 (C.19:44A-8.1) is amended to read as follows:

     21.  a.  Each political committee, as defined in subsection i. of section 3 of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-3), which aids or promotes the nomination for election or the election of a candidate or the passage or defeat of a public question, each issue advocacy organization, as defined in subsection t. of section 3 of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-3), that engages in influencing or attempting to influence the outcome of any election or the selection, nomination, or election of any person to State or local elective public office or the passage or defeat of any public question or providing political information on any candidate or public question, each continuing political committee as defined in subsection n. of section 3 of P.L.1973, c.83, and each legislative leadership committee as defined in subsection s. of section 3 of P.L.1973, c.83, shall submit to the commission a statement of registration which includes: 

     (1) the complete name or identifying title of the committee or organization and the general category of entity or entities, including but not limited to business organizations, labor organizations, professional or trade associations, candidate for or holder of public office, political party, ideological grouping or civic association, the interests of which are shared by the leadership, members, or financial supporters of the committee or organization

     (2) the mailing address of the committee or organization and the name and resident address of a resident of this State who shall have been designated by the committee or organization as its agent to accept service of process; and 

     (3) a descriptive statement prepared by the organizers or officers of the committee or organization that identifies (a) the names and mailing addresses of the persons having control over the affairs of the committee or organization, including but not limited to persons in whose name or at whose direction or suggestion the committee or organization solicits funds, and persons participating in any decision to make a contribution of such funds to any candidate, political committee or continuing political committee or, in the case of an issue advocacy organization, any decision to expend funds for the purpose of influencing or attempting to influence the outcome of any election or the selection, nomination, or election of any person to State or local elective public office or the passage or defeat of any public question or  providing political information on any candidate or public question; (b) the name and mailing address of any person not included among the persons identified under subparagraph (a) of this paragraph who, directly or through an agent, participated in the initial organization of the committee or organization; (c) in the case of any person identified under subparagraph (a) or subparagraph (b) who is an individual, the occupation of that individual, the individual's home address, and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer, or, in the case of any such person which is a corporation, partnership, unincorporated association, or other organization, the name and mailing address of the organization; and (d) any other information which the Election Law Enforcement Commission may, under such regulations as it shall adopt pursuant to the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), require as being material to the fullest possible disclosure of the economic, political and other particular interests and objectives which the committee has been organized to or does advance.  The commission shall be informed, in writing, of any change in the information required by this paragraph within three days of the occurrence of the change.  Legislative leadership committees shall be exempt from the requirements of subparagraphs (a), (b) and (c) of this paragraph. 

     b.    After submission of a statement of registration to the commission pursuant to this section, the committee or organization shall use the complete name or identifying title on all documents submitted to the commission, in all solicitations for contributions, in all paid media advertisements purchased or paid for by the committee in support of or in opposition to any candidate or public question, and in all contributions made by the committee to candidates or other committees or, in the case an issue advocacy organization, any decision to expend funds for the purpose of influencing or attempting to influence the outcome of any election or the selection, nomination, or election of any person to State or local elective public office or the passage or defeat of any public question or providing political information on any candidate or public question

     c.     Each report of contributions under section 8 of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-8) by a political committee, issue advocacy organization, continuing political committee or legislative leadership committee required under subsection a. of this section to submit a statement of registration shall include, in the case of each contributor who is an individual, the home address of the individual if different from the individual's mailing address, or, in the case of any contributor which is an organization, any information, in addition to that otherwise required, which the Election Law Enforcement Commission may, under such regulations as it shall adopt pursuant to the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), require as being material to the fullest possible disclosure of the economic, political and other particular interests and objectives which the contributing organization has been organized to or does advance. 

     d.    Any political committee, issue advocacy organization, continuing political committee or legislative leadership committee may at any time apply to the commission for approval of an abbreviation or acronym of its complete, official name or title for its exclusive use on documents which it shall submit to the commission. Upon verification that the abbreviation or acronym has not been approved for such use by any other political committee, issue advocacy organization, continuing political committee or legislative leadership committee, the commission shall approve the abbreviation or acronym for such use by the applicant committee or organization, and the committee, and any individual, corporation, partnership, membership organization or incorporated or unincorporated association which, under the provisions of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-1 et al.), submits any documents to the commission containing a reference to that committee or organization, shall thereafter use that approved abbreviation or acronym in documents submitted to the commission. The commission shall, during its regular office hours, maintain for public inspection in its offices a current alphabetically arranged list of all such approved abbreviations and acronyms, indicating for each the name of the committee or organization for which it stands, and shall make copies of the list available upon request. 

(cf: P.L.1993, c.65, s.21)

 

     4.    Section 10 of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-10) is amended to read as follows:

     10.  Each political party committee shall, on or before July 1 in each year, designate a single organizational treasurer and an organizational depository and shall, not later than the tenth day after the designation of the organizational depository file the name and address of that depository, and of the organizational treasurer, with the Election Law Enforcement Commission.

     Every political committee may designate a chairman of the committee, but no person serving as the chairman of a political party committee or a legislative leadership committee shall be eligible to be appointed or to serve as the chairman of a political committee.  Every political committee shall, not later than the date on which it first receives any contribution or makes or incurs any expenditure in the furtherance or aid of the election or defeat of any candidate or the passage or defeat of any public question, appoint a single campaign treasurer and designate a campaign depository, but no person serving as the chairman of a political party committee or a legislative leadership committee shall be eligible to be appointed or to serve as the campaign treasurer of a political committee.  Not later than the tenth day after the initial designation of the campaign depository, the committee shall file the name and address of the depository, and of the campaign treasurer, with the Election Law Enforcement Commission.

     Every issue advocacy organization may designate a chairman of the committee, but no person serving as the chairman of a political party committee or a legislative leadership committee shall be eligible to be appointed or to serve as the chairman of an issue advocacy organization.  No candidate shall establish, authorize the establishment of, maintain, or participate directly or indirectly in the management or control of, any issue advocacy organization.  Every issue advocacy organization shall, not later than the date on which it first receives any contribution or makes or incurs any expenditure for the purpose of influencing or attempting to influence the outcome of any election or the  selection, nomination, or election of any person to State or local elective public office or the passage or defeat of any public question or providing political information on any candidate or public question, appoint a single campaign treasurer and designate a campaign depository, but no person serving as the chairman of a political party committee or a legislative leadership committee shall be eligible to be appointed or to serve as the campaign treasurer of an issue advocacy organization.  Not later than the tenth day after the initial designation of the campaign depository, the organization shall file the name and address of the depository, and of the campaign treasurer, with the Election Law Enforcement Commission.

     Every continuing political committee shall, not later than the date on which it first receives any contribution or makes or incurs any expenditure in the furtherance or aid of the election or defeat of any candidate or the passage or defeat of any public question, appoint a single organizational treasurer and designate an organizational depository, provided that no person who is the chairman of a political party committee or a legislative leadership committee shall be eligible to be appointed or to serve as the organizational treasurer of a continuing political committee.  Not later than the tenth day after the initial designation of the organizational depository, the committee shall file the name and address of the depository, and of the organizational treasurer, with the Election Law Enforcement Commission. 

     Every legislative leadership committee shall, not later than the date on which it first receives any contribution or makes or incurs any expenditure in the furtherance or aid of the election or defeat of any candidate or the passage or defeat of any public question, appoint a single organizational treasurer and designate an organizational depository.  Not later than the tenth day after the initial designation of the organizational depository, the committee shall file the name and address of the depository, and of the organizational treasurer, with the Election Law Enforcement Commission. 

     Each organizational treasurer of a State political party committee or a legislative leadership committee shall be a trained treasurer, pursuant to subsection g. of section 6 of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-6), or shall acquire such training within 90 days of appointment as an organizational treasurer .  An organizational treasurer of any other political party committee or a continuing political committee and a campaign treasurer of a political committee or issue advocacy organization may be a trained treasurer.

     An organizational treasurer of a political party committee, a continuing political committee, or a legislative leadership committee and a campaign treasurer of a political committee may appoint deputy organizational or campaign treasurers as may be required and may designate additional organizational or campaign depositories.  Such committees shall file the names and addresses of such deputy treasurers and additional depositories with the Election Law Enforcement Commission not later than the fifth day after their appointment or designation, respectively. 

     Any political party committee, any political committee, any issue advocacy organization, any continuing political committee and any legislative leadership committee may remove its organizational or campaign treasurer or deputy treasurer.  In the case of the death, resignation or removal of its organizational or campaign treasurer, the committee or organization shall appoint a successor as soon as practicable and shall file his name and address with the Election Law Enforcement Commission within three days. 

(cf: P.L.2004, c.22, s.3)

 

     5.    Section 2 of P.L.1995, c.391 (C.19:44A-22.3) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    a.  Whenever a candidate committee, joint candidates committee, political committee, continuing political committee, political party committee or legislative leadership committee, or any group other than such a committee, or any person makes, incurs or authorizes an expenditure for the purpose of financing a communication aiding or promoting the nomination, election or defeat of any candidate or providing political information on any candidate, or whenever an issue advocacy organization makes, incurs or authorizes an expenditure for the purpose of influencing or attempting to influence the outcome of any election or the selection, nomination, or election of any person to State or local elective public office or the passage or defeat of any public question, or of providing political information on any candidate or public question, which is an expenditure that the committee, organization, group or person is required to report to the Election Law Enforcement Commission pursuant to P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-1 et seq.), the communication shall clearly state the name and business or residence address of the committee, organization, group or person, as that information appears on reports filed with the commission, and that the communication has been financed by that committee, organization, group or person.

     b.    Whenever a candidate committee, joint candidates committee, political committee, issue advocacy organization, continuing political committee, political party committee or legislative leadership committee, or any group other than such a committee, or any person makes, incurs or authorizes an expenditure for the purpose of financing a communication aiding the passage or defeat of any public question or providing political information on any public question which is an expenditure that the committee, group or person is required to report to the Election Law Enforcement Commission pursuant to P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-1 et seq.), the communication shall clearly state the name and business or residence address of the committee, organization, group or person, as that information appears on reports filed with the commission, and that the communication has been financed by that committee, organization, group or person.

     c.     A communication that is financed by any person or issue advocacy organization, not acting in concert with a candidate or any person or committee acting on behalf of a candidate, shall contain a clear and conspicuous statement that the expenditure was not made with the cooperation or prior consent of, or in consultation with or at the request or suggestion of, any such candidate, person or committee.

     d.    Any person who accepts compensation from a committee, organization, group or individual described in subsection a. or b. of this section for the purpose of printing, broadcasting, or otherwise disseminating to the electorate a communication shall maintain a record of the transaction which shall include an exact copy of the communication and a statement of the number of copies made or the dates and times that the communication was broadcast or otherwise transmitted, and the name and address of the committee, organization, group or individual paying for the communication.  The record shall be maintained on file at the principal office of the person accepting the communication for at least two years and shall be available for public inspection during normal business hours.

     e.     As used in this section, "communication" means a press release, pamphlet, flyer, form letter, sign, billboard, paid advertisement printed in any newspaper or other publication or broadcast on radio or television, or telephone call featuring a recorded message, or any other form of advertising directed to the electorate.

     f.     The provisions of this section shall not be construed to apply to any bona fide news item or editorial contained in any publication of bona fide general circulation.

     g.     (1) A person who violates a provision of this section shall be subject to the civil penalties provided in section 22 of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-22).

     (2)   A person who, with intent to injure anyone or to conceal wrongdoing, purposely falsifies, conceals or misrepresents information required by this section to be disclosed or maintained on file is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

     h.     The Election Law Enforcement Commission shall promulgate rules and regulations pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) to effectuate the purpose of this section.  The commission may, by regulation, exempt from the provisions of this section small, tangible items of de minimis value which are commonly used in campaigns to convey a political message, including, but not limited to, buttons, combs, and nail files.  The commission may also, by regulation, exempt from the provisions of this section advertising space purchased by a candidate committee, joint candidates committee, political committee, issue advocacy organization, continuing political committee, political party committee, legislative leadership committee or other person, in a political program book distributed at a fund-raising event if the financial transaction is otherwise subject to disclosure.  An exemption granted by the commission with respect to any item shall not relieve the committee, organization, group or individual making an expenditure therefor from any applicable campaign finance reporting requirements.

     In addition, the commission shall have the authority to provide, by regulation, that a communication need not include the address of the committee, organization, group or person financing the communication in circumstances where the name of a committee, organization, group or person would be sufficient to identify it from the commission's records.

(cf: P.L.2004, c.30, s.1)

 

     6.    This act shall take effect 120 days after enactment, but the Election Law Enforcement Commission may take such anticipatory administrative action in advance as may be necessary for the implementation of the act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would impose disclosure and disclaimer requirements on issue advocacy organizations that raise funds or make expenditures to influence the electoral process in this State.  These organizations have been called “stealth PACs” because they are often formed by wealthy individuals or trade groups in an effort to influence the outcome of elections while masking their funding sources.

     The bill would apply to any organization organized under section 527, or under paragraphs (3) or (4) of subsection c. of section 501, of the federal Internal Revenue Code that engages in influencing or attempting to influence the outcome of any election or the selection, nomination, or election of any person to any State or local elective public office or the passage or defeat of any public question, or in providing political information on any candidate or public question, and raises or expends $2,100. or more for any such purpose.  It would require these organizations to report contribution and expenditure information to the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) and to include certain information that identifies the organization on any communication paid for by the organization which attempts to influence a candidate election or the adoption or defeat of a public question, or which provides political information.  The bill would prohibit a candidate from establishing, authorizing the establishment of, maintaining, or participating directly or indirectly in the management or control of, any issue advocacy organization.

     The bill would take effect 120 days after enactment but the Election Law Enforcement Commission is authorized to take such anticipatory administrative action in advance as may be necessary for the bill’s implementation.