HB 1676-FN-A – AS INTRODUCED
HOUSE BILL 1676-FN-A
This bill establishes a pilot program to provide campaign financing for eligible candidates for state senator from districts chosen by lot by the secretary of state. Candidates qualify for the financing by collecting a requisite number of contributions and complying with other provisions of the financing law. The candidate will then use money received from the fund instead of private contributions to finance the candidate’s campaign.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [
in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twelve
AN ACT relative to campaign contributions and expenditures.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 New Subparagraph; Application of Receipts; General Revenue Exceptions; Clean Elections Fund. Amend RSA 6:12, I(b) by inserting after subparagraph (307) the following new subparagraph:
(308) Moneys deposited in the New Hampshire clean elections fund established in RSA 664-A:2.
664-A:1 Definitions. In this chapter:
I. “Fund” means the New Hampshire clean elections fund established in RSA 664-A:2.
II. “General election campaign period” means the period beginning the day after the state primary election and ending the day of the state general election.
III. “Participating candidate” means a candidate for state senate from one of the 5 districts chosen by lot by the secretary of state for that election cycle and who receives clean elections funding pursuant to this chapter.
IV. “Primary election” means a state primary election. For purposes of this chapter, primary election shall include only those elections held to nominate candidates of a party, as defined by RSA 652:11.
V. “Primary election campaign period” means the period beginning the day of the filing deadline in RSA 655:14 and ending the day of the state primary election.
VI. “Qualifying contribution” means a contribution meeting the requirements of RSA 664-A:4.
VII. “Qualifying form” means a form completed by a contributor that acknowledges a qualifying contribution and meets the requirements of RSA 664-A:4.
VIII. “Qualifying period” means the period beginning January 1 of the year of the state general election and ending 60 days from the date on which the candidate files for office.
IX. “Seed money contribution” means a contribution meeting the requirements of RSA 664-A:5.
664-A:2 New Hampshire Clean Elections Fund Established.
I. There is established the New Hampshire clean elections fund to be used for the purposes of providing public financing for the primary and general election campaigns of participating candidates and paying for the administrative and enforcement costs of this chapter.
II. This nonlapsing, revolving special fund, which shall not exceed $6,000,000 on June 30 of each year, is hereby continually appropriated to be expended by the secretary of state in accordance with RSA 664-A. The state treasurer shall invest the moneys deposited in the fund as provided by law. Interest received on investments made by the state treasurer shall also be credited to the fund.
III. The following moneys shall be deposited in the fund:
(a) Voluntary donations made directly to the fund.
(b) Unspent seed money contributions and qualifying contributions remaining at the end of the qualifying period.
(c) Money distributed from the fund and returned by a participating candidate who does not remain a candidate until the primary or general election for which the money was distributed.
(d) Money distributed from the fund which is returned by the participating candidate because it is not spent by the date of the primary or general election for which the money was distributed.
(e) Interest generated by the fund.
(f) Any money appropriated from the general fund by biennium budgetary appropriations.
664-A:3 Qualifications of Participating Candidates.
I. A candidate qualifies as a participating candidate for the primary election campaign period if the candidate collects the required number of qualifying contributions and files an affidavit of registration, signed by the candidate and the candidate’s fiscal agent, with the secretary of state indicating that the candidate has complied and shall comply with the requirements of this chapter.
II. A candidate qualifies as a participating candidate for the general election campaign period if the candidate was a participating candidate for the primary election campaign period and:
(a) Has been declared nominated; or
(b) Did not have a primary contest.
III. A candidate shall not qualify as a participating candidate if the candidate accepted any private contributions other than seed money contributions or qualifying contributions prior to the primary election campaign period.
664-A:4 Qualifying Contribution Requirements.
I. A candidate shall collect at least 450 contributions.
II. Each qualifying contribution shall be acknowledged by a qualifying form signed under penalty of perjury by the contributor. The form shall include the contributor’s printed name and domicile for voting purposes, the name of the candidate, and a certification that the purpose of the contribution is to help the candidate qualify for clean elections funding.
III. Qualifying forms shall be submitted to the secretary of state in bulk by the close of the qualifying period.
IV. The candidate shall retain copies of the qualifying forms.
V. Qualifying contributions shall be made by check or money order payable to the candidate.
VI. Qualifying contributions shall be made from personal moneys by individuals who are registered to vote and qualified to vote for the candidate.
VII. Qualifying contributions shall be for $5 and must be received by the candidate during the qualifying period.
664-A:5 Seed Money Contributions.
I. Seed money contributions shall not exceed $100.
II. Seed money contributions may be made by any individual adult, including the candidate and the candidate’s family, who is not prohibited from making contributions by RSA 664:4.
III. Total seed money contributions accepted by the candidate shall not exceed $2,500.
IV. A candidate who accepts seed money contributions exceeding the amount in paragraph III shall not be eligible for funding from the clean elections fund.
V. Seed money contributions may only be expended during the qualifying period.
VI. The candidate shall itemize all seed money contributions in reports filed pursuant to RSA 664:7. For seed money contributions of $25 or less, the candidate shall list the name of the contributor and the contributor’s voting domicile. Candidates shall not accept seed money contributions without the required disclosure information.
664-A:6 Contributions and Expenditures.
I. During the primary and general election campaign periods, a participating candidate shall not accept private contributions from any source.
II. Participating candidates shall include seed money contributions and qualifying contributions in their reports filed pursuant to RSA 664:7.
III. Participating candidates shall cooperate with any audit or examination by the state.
IV. Participating candidates shall not accept any nonmonetary contributions except the volunteer donations permitted by this paragraph. A volunteer may donate up to $100 worth of goods and services to a participating candidate per month. A volunteer’s time or voluntary use of personal vehicles shall not be considered a donation for purposes of this paragraph.
V. Funding from the clean elections fund shall not be used for any purpose other than campaign expenses for the period for which it is allocated.
664-A:7 Objection to Registration. The registration of a candidate in accordance with the provisions of this chapter shall be regarded as valid and shall be received by the secretary of state unless an objection is made in writing to the ballot law commission no later than 7 days following the last day of the qualifying period. Upon receipt of the objection, the commission shall notify the candidate in writing of the time and place for its hearing. The ballot law commission shall determine whether a candidate qualifies as a participating candidate within 7 days of receiving the objection. If the ballot law commission determines that the candidate does not meet the requirements of this chapter, it may revoke the candidate’s eligibility and order the candidate to return to the fund any payments received pursuant to this chapter.
664-A:8 Clean Elections Fund Financing.
I. A participating candidate shall be eligible for the following amounts from the fund:
(a) $35,000 for a contested primary election.
(b) $10,000 for an uncontested primary election.
(c) $10,000 for the primary election campaign period if the candidate is not seeking the nomination of a party, as defined in RSA 652:11.
(d) $75,000 for a contested general election.
II. A participating candidate shall receive payments from the fund according to the following schedule:
(a) Fifteen percent of the funding for the primary election period by the close of the business day immediately following fulfillment of the qualification requirements and certification of such by the secretary of state.
(b) Eighty-five percent of the funding for the primary election period 2 weeks after the end of the qualifying period.
(c) Funding for the general election upon qualification for general election funding.
III.(a) Not more than 60 percent of the money in the fund at the close of the qualifying period shall be disbursed for the primary election period.
(b) Not more than 40 percent of the money in the fund at the close of the qualifying period shall be disbursed for the general election period.
664-A:9 Reports. In addition to the reports required by RSA 664:6 and RSA 664:7, a nonparticipating candidate whose total expenditures for either the primary election campaign period or the general election campaign period exceeds $20,000 for state senator shall file the following additional reports in the form required by RSA 664:6, I:
I. Weekly reports to be filed every Friday of the election campaign period by 4 o’clock in the afternoon until 20 days before the election date.
II. Daily reports during the 20 days preceding the election date to be filed by 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
664-A:10 Shortfall in Fund. In the event that the fund does not have sufficient money to fund all participating candidates in accordance with RSA 664-A:8, payments to participating candidates shall be pro-rated so that each qualifying candidate receives a proportional share based on the amount to which the candidate would have been entitled under RSA 664-A:8. A participating candidate may supplement the pro-rated payments with private contributions up to an amount equal to the difference between the pro-rated payment amount and the amount to which the candidate would have been entitled.
664-A:11 Administration. The secretary of state shall prepare and distribute all forms required by this chapter. The secretary of state shall also prepare a manual for clean election, which shall be written in nontechnical language and shall include simple instructions on qualifying as a participating candidate.
664-A:12 Reports to Legislature. The secretary of state shall report to the general court after each election cycle regarding the clean elections fund. The report shall include a detailed summary of all seed money contributions, qualifying contributions, payments from the fund, and expenditures made by all participating candidates. The report shall also include a summary and evaluation of the secretary of state’s activities, and recommendations relative to the implementation and administration of this chapter.
664-A:13 Fines for Excess Expenditures. Any participating candidate who spends or obligates to spend more than the clean elections funding permitted by this chapter shall be subject to a fine in an amount equal to 10 times the excess expenditures. The fine shall be paid from the candidate’s personal assets into the clean elections fund.
664-A:14 Clean Elections Funding Commission; Public Information.
I. There is established a clean elections funding commission. The members of the commission shall be as follows:
(a) Two members appointed by the president of the senate.
(b) Two members appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives.
(c) Two members appointed by the governor.
(d) Five members representing the executive council districts; each member of the executive council shall appoint one member from his or her district.
(e) One member appointed by the secretary of state.
II. No person may serve on the commission who is a candidate for office. No member of the commission may publicly endorse any candidate for office or financially contribute to a candidate for office while serving on the commission.
III. The members of the commission shall elect a chairman from among the members.
IV.(a) The commission shall evaluate and implement strategies for soliciting voluntary donations to the New Hampshire clean elections fund established in RSA 664-A:2. The commission shall develop solicitation strategies targeting individuals, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and political organizations.
(b) The commission shall develop printed material to be enclosed with mailings under paragraph V that explains the New Hampshire clean elections financing system and instructs recipients on how to donate to the New Hampshire clean elections fund.
(c) The commission shall evaluate methods for encouraging donated advertising that may, consistent with state and federal law, be distributed on an equal basis to participating candidates. Such advertising may include broadcast media, print media, and donated services from printers, mailing services, and consultants.
V. All state agencies, and political subdivisions acting on behalf of any state agency, sending any tax bill, tax form, registration form, or license or certificate application or renewal by mail shall enclose, upon request of the commission, a copy of the material developed under subparagraph IV(b) with each bill, form, or application mailed.
3 Repeal. The following are repealed:
I. RSA 6:12, I(b)(308), relative to the New Hampshire clean elections fund.
II. RSA 664-A, relative to clean elections financing.
4 Effective Date.
I. Section 3 of this act shall take effect January 1, 2018.
II. The remainder of this act shall take effect upon its passage.
HB 1676-FN-A - FISCAL NOTE
AN ACT relative to campaign contributions and expenditures.
The Office of Legislative Budget Assistant is unable to complete a fiscal note for this bill as it is awaiting information from the Department of State. When completed, the fiscal note will be forwarded to the House Clerk's Office.