SB534 (2024) Detail

Relative to campaign finance.


SB 534-FN - AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE

 

04/05/2024   1217s

2024 SESSION

24-3079

08/05

 

SENATE BILL 534-FN

 

AN ACT relative to campaign finance.

 

SPONSORS: Sen. Gray, Dist 6

 

COMMITTEE: Election Law and Municipal Affairs

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill makes various changes to the laws that regulate the financing of political campaigns.

 

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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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

04/05/2024   1217s 24-3079

08/05

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty Four

 

AN ACT relative to campaign finance.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  Applicability of Chapter; Political Expenditures and Contributions.  Amend RSA 664:1 to read as follows:

664:1 Applicability of Chapter.

The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all state primary, general, and special elections, but shall only apply to presidential preference primaries as provided in this section. The provisions relating to political advertising, push polling, and enforcement, RSA 664:14 through RSA 664:22, shall additionally apply to presidential primary, city, town, school district[, and] or village district meetings or elections.

2  Definitions; Political Expenditures and Contributions.  RSA 664:2 and 664:3 are repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

664:2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

I. "Election" means any general biennial or special election, political party primary, or presidential preference primary as provided in RSA 664:1.

II. "Candidate" means any person publicly declared as such and for whom votes are sought in an election.

III.(a) "Political committee" means: Any organization of 2 or more persons that promotes the success or defeat of a candidate or candidates or measure or measures.  Types of political committees:

(1)  Candidate committee created by a candidate running for office;

(2)  Political advocacy organization to promote issues and ideas that may influence voters' choices on the ballot as further defined in RSA 664:2, XXII;

(3)  Political committee of a political party as further defined in RSA 664:2, V to support candidates of the party running for office;

(4)  The committee of a segregated fund established by any organization with a separate legal existence the purpose of which is to promote the success or defeat of a candidate or candidates or measure or measures; or

(5)  Committee not created by a candidate and does not fall within RSA 664:2, III, (b) through (d)

(b)  As used in this paragraph, "organization includes, but is not limited to, 2 or more natural persons; entities formed under state law, except those entities qualified under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1986; committees formed by a candidate exploratory campaign, or political party; and any other association of natural persons or entities formed under state law that is not registered as a business entity.

IV.  "Political party" or "party" means any political organization or number of persons which can nominate candidates in any manner prescribed by law and has done so for the current election.  The definition of the word "party" contained in RSA 652:11 shall not apply to this chapter.

V.  "Political committee of a political party" means a state, county, regional, city, ward, or town committee of a political party.  A regional committee shall be composed only of members who are residents of towns or cities that form a contiguous land area, and shall have been created and approved by the state committee of the political party.  To establish regional committees, a party shall amend its by-laws to authorize them in principle; a copy of the by-law authorization and evidence of the approval for each regional committee by the state committee shall be filed by the political party with the secretary of state before the first Wednesday in June immediately following the amendment.

VI.  "Political advertising" means any communication by any medium or in any format, including buttons or printed material attached to motor vehicles, which expressly advocates the success or defeat of any party, measure, candidate, or person at any election.

VII.  "Communication" shall include, but not be limited to, publication in any newspaper or other periodical or on any Internet Site, broadcasting on radio, television, or over any public address system, transmission by telephone or facsimile, placement on any billboards, outdoor facilities, window displays, posters, cards, pamphlets, leaflets, flyers, or other circulars, or in any direct mailing.

VIII.  "Contribution" means a payment, gift, subscription, assessment, contract, payment for services, dues advance, forbearance, or loan to a candidate or political committee made for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of any candidate.  "Contributions" shall include the use of any thing of value, but shall not include the services of volunteers who receive no pay therefor or the use of personal resources by a candidate on behalf of his or her candidacy.  Contributions may be used by candidates for expenses incurred by a candidate for child care.

IX.  "Expenditure" means the disbursement of money or thing of value or the making of a legally binding commitment to make such a disbursement in the future; or the transfer of funds by a political committee to another political committee or to a candidate for the purposes of promoting the success or defeat of a candidate or candidates or measure or measures.  "Expenditure" includes disbursements constituting independent expenditures, as defined in paragraph XI, and expenses incurred by a candidate for child care.  Travel and subsistence expenditures related to constituent service or to an office sought or held are permissible. “Expenditure” does not include:

(a)  The candidate's expenses for non-campaign travel and subsistence;

(b)  Activity designed to encourage individuals to register to vote or to vote, if that activity or communication does not mention a clearly identified candidate;

(c)  Any communication by any membership organization or corporation to its members or stockholders, if the primary purpose of that membership organization or corporation is not for the purpose of promoting the success or defeat of a candidate or candidates and measure or measures; or

(d)  Any communication by any political committee member that is not made for the purpose of promoting the success or defeat of a candidate or candidates or measure or measures.

(e)  Payment for incidental items, such as auto expenses and child care that the candidate chooses to pay for with personal funds.

X.  "Measure" shall mean any constitutional amendment or question that is submitted or intended to be submitted to a popular vote at an election.

XI.  "Independent expenditures" means expenditures that pay for the development and distribution of a communication that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or candidates or the success or defeat of a measure or measures, which are made without cooperation or consultation with any candidate, or any authorized committee or agent of such candidate, and which are not made in concert with, or at the request or suggestion of any candidate, or any authorized committee or agent of such candidate.

XII.  "Full name" means an individual's full first name, middle name or initial, if any, and full legal last name, making the identity of the contributor apparent by unambiguous reference.

XIII.  "Individual's post office address" means an individual or contributor's street address of their domicile or their post office box, if any, city, state, and zip code.  "Individual's post office address" shall not mean:

(a)  An individual's business address.

(b)  An individual's vacation home address or rental property address when the home or rental property is owned, but not occupied by the contributor.

(c)  Any address not that of the contributor.

XIV.  "Occupation" means an individual's official job title resulting from employment at or ownership of any agency or organization or other entity.

XV.  "Principal place of business" means the primary organization or employer from which an individual's principal income is derived and shall include the employer's official name and the employer's post office address.

XVI.  "Business organization" means any enterprise, whether corporation, partnership, limited liability company, proprietorship, association, business trust, real estate trust, or other form of organization, organized for gain or profit, and includes any enterprise which is expressly made exempt from income taxation under the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1986.  It does not include a political committee of a political party as defined in RSA 664:2, III.

XVII.  "Push-polling" means:

(a)  Communications with voters promoting the success or defeat of any candidate for public office or measure by any means, including telephone, text, via the Internet, through social media, or digitally; and

(b)  Asking questions related to opposing candidates for public office which state, imply, or convey information about the candidate's character, status, or political stance or record; and

(c)  Conducting such communication in a manner which is likely to be construed by the voter to be a survey or poll to gather statistical data for entities or organizations which are acting independent of any particular political party, candidate, measure, or interest group as part of a series of like communication that consist of more than 2,000 connected calls that last less than 2 minutes in presidential, gubernatorial, United States senatorial, or United States congressional elections; or conducting such calling as part of a series of like telephone calls that consist of more than 500 connected calls that last less than 2 minutes in executive council, state senate, city, town, school district, or village district elections; or conducting such calling as part of a series of like telephone calls that consist of more than 200 connected calls that last less than 2 minutes in state representative elections; and

(d)  Conducting such communication for purposes other than bona fide survey and opinion research.

XVIII.  "Bona fide survey and opinion research" means the collection and analysis of data regarding opinions, needs, awareness, knowledge, views, experiences, and behaviors of a population, through the development and administration of surveys, interviews, focus groups, polls, observation, or other research methodologies, in which no sales, promotional, or marketing efforts are involved, and through which there is no attempt to influence a participant's attitudes or behavior.  Bona fide survey and opinion research includes message testing, which is the study for research purposes of how randomly-selected individuals react to positive or negative information on a candidate, elected public official, or ballot question.

XIX.  "Receipts" shall mean the receipt of money or thing of value or the receipt of a legally binding commitment to receive money or thing of value in the future for the purpose of promoting the success or defeat of a candidate or candidates or a measure or measures.  Receipts shall not include amounts received by a political committee in commercial transactions in the ordinary course of any trade or business conducted by the political committee or in the form of investments in the political committee or amounts received by the political committee from payors who, at the time of payment, prohibited, in writing, the use of the payment as an expenditure.

XX.  "Segregated fund" shall mean a segregated account of money that consists of funds that were paid directly to such account by persons other than the covered political committee that controls the account from which only expenditures defined in paragraph IX are made.

XXI.  "Clearly identified candidate" means that the name of the candidate involved appears; a photograph or drawing of the candidate appears; or the identity of the candidate is otherwise apparent.

XXII.  "Political advocacy organization" means any entity that makes expenditures of $1000 or more an election cycle for communication that is functionally equivalent to express advocacy such that, when taken as a whole, such communication is likely to be interpreted, all or in part, by a reasonable person as promoting the success or defeat of a candidate or candidates, of a measure or measures, taking into account whether the communication involved mentions a candidacy, a political party, or takes a position on a candidate's character, qualifications, or fitness for office.  For the purposes of this chapter, a contribution from a political advocacy organization to a candidate or other political committee is communication that is functionally equivalent to express advocacy.

XXIII.  “Election cycle” means the period of time beginning on the twenty-second day after a state general election through 21 days after the next state general election.  For special elections, the election cycle shall be the period of time from when a vacancy is created through 21 days after the special election.

XXIV.  "Success or defeat" means the support, praise, opposition, promotion, or attack of a candidate or candidates or a measure or measures.

664:3  Registration of Political Committees.

I.(a)  Any political committee, except the political committee of a political party, shall register with the secretary of state as provided in this section.  Registration shall be made through the secretary of state's online campaign finance system.  A political committee may register at any time during the election cycle, but the committee's registration shall be received by the secretary of state not later than 48 hours after the committee meets at least one of the criteria under RSA 664:2, III.  The registration shall be accompanied by an itemized statement of the receipts and expenditures, if any, made by the political committee in the current election cycle prior to registration.  Such itemization shall be made pursuant to the manner set forth in RSA 664:6.  The registration shall also be accompanied by an administration fee of $50, unless exempt pursuant to subparagraph (c), which shall be deposited by the secretary of state into the general fund.

(b)  Each political committee shall designate a treasurer who is a citizen of this state and who is authorized to receive all process and other legal documents on behalf of the political committee, and through whom may be obtained access to all books and records of the political committee.  The political committee shall file with the secretary of state a statement of the purpose of the committee and shall indicate whether the committee will be making independent expenditures.  The registration shall also include a statement of the name, address, occupation, and principal place of business of its chairperson and treasurer and the names and address of other officers.  The committee shall file an amendment to its registration within 14 days of any change in the officers or purpose of the committee.

(c)  The political committee of a candidate or a political committee of a political party that registers under this chapter shall not be required to pay the $50 administration fee provided in subparagraph (a).

II.  No member of a political committee which is required to register under RSA 664:3, I, shall do any act directly or indirectly on behalf of the committee to promote the success or defeat of a political party, a measure, or a candidate, unless the requirements of RSA 664:3, I are met.

III.  All political committees' registrations under this chapter shall be valid from the date of registration through 21 days after the primary or general election, whichever is appropriate, unless terminated sooner, in writing, by the chairperson and the treasurer of the political committee.  However, any political committee which has a continuing obligation to report as required under RSA 664:6 shall have its registration automatically renewed according to RSA 664:6, V.

IV.  Any political committee that is exempt from taxation under sections 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5), or 501(c)(6) of the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1986 may disclose, but shall not be required to disclose in its itemized statement of receipts, the identity of its donors.  Any political committee affected by this section who chooses not to disclose the identity of its donors shall place the following disclosure on all communications to voters:  “This organization has an exemption under federal law and is not required, and chooses not, to disclose its donors.”

V.  For purposes of filing campaign finance reports pursuant to RSA 664:6 and RSA 664:7, a candidate for office may choose to file as a candidate or, if such candidate creates a candidate committee, as a candidate committee.

3  Prohibited Political Contributions.  RSA 664:4 is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

664:4  Prohibited Political Contributions.

No contribution, whether tangible or intangible, shall be made to a candidate, a political committee, or political party, or in behalf of a candidate or political committee or political party, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of promoting the success or defeat of any candidate or political party during any state election cycle:

I.  By any partnership as such or by any partner acting in behalf of such partnership.

II.  By any labor union or group of labor unions, or by any officer, director, executive, agent, or employee acting on behalf of such union or group of unions, or by any organization representing or affiliated with any such union or group of unions, or by any officer, director, executive, agent, or employee acting on behalf of such organization.

III.  By any person:

(a)  If made anonymously or under a name not that of the donor.

(b)  If made in the guise of a loan.

(c)  If any other manner concealed.

(d)  In excess of the limits established in paragraph IV.

IV.  By an individual or corporation in excess of the following amounts per election cycle:

Contributed to: Maximum amount of contributions:

Candidate or candidate committee $15,000

Any other political committee or political party $30,000

Political advocacy organization Unlimited

V. By any candidate or political committee in excess of the following amounts:

Contributed to: Maximum amount of contributions:

Candidate or candidate committee Unlimited

Any other political committee or political party Unlimited

Political advocacy organization Unlimited

VI.  A partnership or labor organization may establish its own political committee, which may make contributions to a candidate, political committee, or political party, so long as the funds used by the political committee are separate from the other partnership or labor organization funds.

4  Prohibited Coercion of Political Contributions.  Amend RSA 664:4-a, I to read as follows:

I. No person shall knowingly coerce, or attempt to coerce, any classified state employee to give or withhold a contribution to any political campaign or political committee, or to any candidate, party or cause, for the purpose of promoting the success or defeat of any candidate or political party.

5  Surplus Campaign Contributions and Deficits.  Amend RSA 664:4-b to read as follows:

664:4-b Surplus Campaign Contributions and Deficits.

Surplus campaign contributions and deficits at the end of an election cycle shall be reported as the opening balance in the next election cycle's first statement.  Surplus contributions may be used [after a general or special election] for fund raising activities and any other politically related activity sponsored by the candidate, or for donations to charitable organizations. Such surplus campaign contributions, however, shall not be used for personal purposes or other prohibited expenditures under RSA 664:5.  All expenditures shall be reported according to RSA 664:6 through RSA 664:9.  Special election cycle surpluses and deficits shall continue to be reported according to RSA 664:6 until a zero balance is reported.

6  Prohibited Political Expenditures.  Amend RSA 664:5 to read as follows:

664:5 Prohibited Political Expenditures.

No expenditure or use of a contribution, tangible or intangible, shall be made for the purpose of promoting the success or defeat of any political party, measure, or candidate:

I. By a political committee[, except the political committee of a political party,] unless the political committee meets the requirements of RSA 664:3, I.

II. [By a political committee which is organized to support a candidate in any election, or to such candidate or the candidate's fiscal agent unless the committee secures and files the written consent of the candidate or the candidate's fiscal agent with the secretary of state in accordance with RSA 664:3, III.

III.] By any person, candidate, or political committee, for political advertising in newspaper, periodical, or on a radio or television broadcast, or on a billboard, if at a rate more or less than the applicable rates to be filed with the secretary of state.

[IV, V. [Repealed.] ]

[VI.] III. By any foreign national, as defined in 52 U.S.C. section 30121(b) and 11 C.F.R. section 110.20(a)(3), for any purpose, including for the use of telephones, facsimile machines, vehicles, and computers, for electioneering. For the purposes of this paragraph, "electioneering" means to act in any way specifically designed to influence the vote of a voter on any question or office.

7  Reporting by Political Committee.  RSA 664:6 is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

664:6 Reporting by Political Committees.

I.  Any political committee whose receipts or expenditures exceed $1,000 in an election cycle, shall file with the secretary of state an itemized statement, in the form prescribed by the secretary of state, signed by its chairman and treasurer. The $1,000 threshold shall not apply to political committees renewed under RSA 664:6, V; these political committees shall continue to file until a zero balance is reported. The statement shall detail the full name and postal address of each contributor in alphabetical order, the amount of the contribution, the date it was received, and the aggregate total for each election cycle.  For contributors who, in the aggregate, donate $50 or less in an election cycle, their personal identifying information shall not be publicly available in the secretary of state’s campaign finance system, and their personal identifying information shall be exempt from disclosure under RSA 91-A. Any receipts from a contributor with aggregate receipts of $50 or under shall appear on the statements as unitemized receipts. Any receipt that exceeds a contributor’s aggregate total of $200 for each election cycle shall be reported with the contributor's occupation, the name of the contributor's employer, and the city or town of the contributor's principal place of business, if any. The statement shall also show each expenditure with the full name and postal address of the payee or promisee of payment, the date paid or obligated, whichever occurred first, and the specific nature and amount of each expenditure. Statements shall cover the period beginning the day after the last day covered in the prior statement period up to and including the Sunday before the statement is due. For a candidate or candidate political committee, as defined in RSA 664, where the candidate has not filed a declaration of candidacy or intent, as defined in RSA 655, for the current election cycle, only subparagraphs (a), (b), (c), and (i) apply.  Statements shall be filed not later than 5 PM according to the following schedule:

(a)  First Wednesday in June after the state general election;

(b)  First Wednesday in December one year after the state general election;

(c)  Wednesday 12 weeks before primary election;

(d)  Wednesday 3 weeks before primary election;

(e)  Wednesday before primary election;

(f)  Second Wednesday after the primary election;

(g)  Wednesday 3 weeks before general election;

(h)  Wednesday before general election;

(i)  Fourth Wednesday after the general election.

II. Any political committee whose receipts or expenditures do not exceed $1,000 for an election cycle need not file. However, when a committee's accumulated receipts or expenditures for an election cycle exceed $1,000 the committee shall file a statement, inclusive of all receipts and expenditures for the election cycle, at the next reporting deadline, and shall continue to file at each reporting deadline.

III.  Any political committee whose independent expenditures, in aggregate, exceed $1,000 shall file an itemized statement with the secretary of state which shall be received by the secretary of state not later than 48 hours after such expenditures are made, and thereafter each time a further $1,000 is expended.  Such itemized statements shall cover the period during which independent expenditures totaling $1,000 were made.  Each statement shall include a certification by the chairman of the political committee that the independent expenditure meets the definition in RSA 664:2, XI.  Each statement shall contain the date of each independent expenditure; the name and address of the person to whom the expenditure was made; the name of the candidate on whose behalf or against whom each independent expenditure was made; the amount of each expenditure; the purpose of each expenditure, and the aggregate amount of all previous independent expenditures.  If the independent expenditure is made in support of or in opposition to more than one candidate, the statement made under this paragraph shall allocate the way in which the expenditure was made among the candidates on a reasonable basis.  For the purposes of this paragraph, "reasonable basis" means a statement that reflects the benefit, or the burden reasonably expected to be derived or suffered by each candidate.  The filing requirements of this paragraph shall be in addition to all other filing requirements under this section, and shall not be limited to the filing periods during which expenditures must otherwise be reported.

IV. Any political committee not subject to a registration fee under RSA 664:3 which has any outstanding debt, obligation, or surplus following the election cycle shall have its registration automatically renewed for the next election cycle. All other registered political committees will be conditionally renewed pending receipt by the secretary of state of the registration fee required under RSA 664:3.  Political committees that report a zero balance and notify the secretary of state that they are filing their final statement will expire. Statements shall continue to be filed according to RSA 664:6, I until a zero balance is reported.  

V.  Any national political party committee of a party as defined in RSA 652:11 may make contributions or expenditures on behalf of state candidates without complying with the requirements of paragraphs I through IV, provided that the total contribution or expenditure made in behalf of a candidate or political committee in this state whether directly or indirectly does not exceed the limit for personal contributions in RSA 664:4.

VI.  The provisions of this section shall apply to a political committee for an individual candidate who is seeking a federal office whose holder is chosen by the voters of this state only.  Such a committee which is required by federal law to file with the federal government reports relative to receipts and expenditures in support of such one candidate may choose to voluntarily file with the secretary of state copies of reports made to the federal government in accordance with the timetable established by federal laws for such reports.

VII.  Any political committee that is exempt from taxation under sections 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5), or 501(c)(6) of the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1986 may disclose, but shall not be required to disclose in its itemized statement of receipts, the identity of its donors.  Any political committee affected by this section who chooses not to disclose the identity of its donors shall place the following disclosure on all communications to voters:  “This organization has an exemption under the federal law and is not required, and chooses not, to disclose its donors.”

8  Registering and Reporting by Candidates.  Amend RSA 664:7 to read as follows:

664:7  Registering and Reporting by Candidates.  Prior to filing any campaign finance statements, each [Each] candidate at the primary or general election for governor, councilor, state senator, state representative [to general court], or county officer shall register with the secretary of state through the secretary of state's online campaign finance system.  Additionally, any candidate, who has receipts or expenditures exceeding $1,000 in an election cycle, shall file statements as required in RSA 664:9-b before and after an election in like manner and detail as prescribed in RSA 664:6, I-VI [II, II-a, III, IV, and V, excepting, however, the expenditures of political committees of the party to which the candidate belongs in elections other than primaries].  

9  Statement Retention.  Amend RSA 664:7-a to read as follows:

664:7-a  Statement Retention.  Statements or reports required to be filed under RSA 664:6 and 664:7 shall be held in original form for 6 years from the election for which they are filed, after which time they may be destroyed.  The secretary of state shall be responsible for the retention of the original form of statements filed using the campaign finance system.

10  Reporting by Candidates for Speaker of the House of Representatives.  Amend RSA 664:7-b to read as follows:

664:7-b  Reporting by Candidates for Speaker of the House of Representatives.

I.  Each candidate seeking election to the office of speaker of the house of representatives shall:

(a)  File statements before and after such election in like manner and detail prescribed in RSA 664:6, [II, II-a, and III] I-III, except that the date of the respective election, rather than the date of the primary or general election, shall determine the dates of such statements; and

(b)  Register as a political committee, pursuant to RSA 664:3, on the date that such person becomes a candidate for speaker of the house of representatives, notwithstanding the definition of the term "political committee" in RSA 664:2, III.

II.  In this section, and notwithstanding RSA 664:2, II, the term "candidate" means a person who seeks nomination for election, or election, to the office of the speaker of the house of representatives, and for purposes of this section, a person shall be deemed to seek nomination for election, or election if such person:

(a)  Has received gifts or contributions for such purposes; or

(b)  Has given [his or her] consent to another person to receive gifts or contributions or make expenditures on behalf of such person and if such other person has received such gifts or contributions for such purposes.

III.  No candidate shall be entitled to the office of speaker of the house of representatives until the sworn itemized statements, [required to be filed by the candidate or on the candidate's behalf] except for the final statement required to be filed after the election, have been filed as required by this section.

11  Statements of Receipts and Expenditures Filed Electronically.  RSA 664:9-b is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

664:9-b  Statements of Receipts and Expenditures Filed Electronically.

A political committee or a candidate shall electronically file their statements of receipts and expenditures, as required by RSA 664:6, 664:7, and 664:7-b, by uploading the statement to the secretary of state's campaign finance system through its website.  The committee or candidate may publicly release receipt and expenditure information under this section more frequently than is required by RSA 664:6, 664:7, and 664:7-b provided the receipt and expenditure report is up to date when due.  Statements of receipts and expenditures, as required by RSA 664:6, 664:7, and 664:7-b, may also be filed by delivering the report to the secretary of state's office, by U.S. Mail, or [means of] electronic mail to elections@sos.nh.gov through the end of the 2024 election cycle.  Statements filed via the campaign finance system shall be publicly available on the secretary of state’s website.  Statements filed via electronic mail shall be publicly available on the secretary of state’s website within 7 days after the statement is filed.

12  Public Inspection, Treasurers.  Amend RSA 664:11-13 to read as follows:

664:11  Public Inspection.  All statements[, assents,] and registrations filed by [state committees,] candidates[,] and political committees shall be open to public inspection.  Such statements and registrations shall be published on [The] the website of the secretary of state[ shall publish on the Internet information on all contributions reported under this chapter, including the name of the contributor, the contributor's home state, and the date of the contribution].

664:12  [Fiscal Agent] Treasurer.

As part of the declaration of candidacies filed by candidates for governor, councilor, state senator, state representative, and county officer [and other primary candidacies], every such candidate shall designate some person, who may be the individual candidate [himself], as [his financial agent] the treasurer for the purpose of the primary and general election campaign.  If [his] candidacy for such office is established by a primary petition or nomination petitions, there shall be filed together with such petitions the name of the [fiscal agent] treasurer for such candidate.  A candidate who is nominated by write-in vote at the primary shall, prior to making any campaign expenditures, file with the secretary of state the name of [his fiscal agent] the treasurer.  [All] The treasurer shall approve all sums expended or contracted for payment in the [primary or general election campaign in behalf of such candidate shall be reported by the candidate or his political committee or both to his fiscal agent, and the candidate or his fiscal agent shall make or approve all disbursements in behalf of his candidate subsequent to his designation as fiscal agent] election cycle and join with the candidate in making and filing the statements required by this chapter.

664:13  Committee Treasurer.

If [a political committee has no treasurer, or if] the treasurer fails to make a report, it shall be the duty of each member of said committee who received or pays out any money in behalf of said committee to make such a report or to cause the same to be made.  No member of such committee shall make or permit any unlawful expenditure or act by said committee, in whole or in part, or consent thereto, or aid, abet or conspire to make or permit the same.

13  Signature, Identification, and Lack of Authorization.  RSA 664:14 is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

664:14  Signature, Identification and Lack of Authorization.

I.  All political advertising shall be signed at the beginning or the end.  The signature shall state, “Paid for by (name of the candidate or political committee), (address of the candidate or political committee), (name of the treasurer) treasurer or (name of chairman) chairman”.  Political advertising in the form of signs or placards may contain an Internet address in lieu of the signature requirements of this section, if the Internet address is printed or written in a size of type or lettering large enough to be clearly legible and the website immediately and prominently displays all of the information required by this section through the election cycle.  In the case of political advertising or communication made on behalf of a political committee registered with the secretary of state pursuant to RSA 664:3, the name and address on the advertisement shall match the name and address registered with the secretary of state.

II.  Political advertising to promote the success or defeat of a measure by a business organization, labor union, or other enterprise or organization shall be signed.  The name of the enterprise or organization shall be indicated, and the chairman or treasurer of the enterprise or organization shall sign his or her name and the address of the signer.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit contributions which are prohibited under RSA 664:4.

III.  For the purposes of RSA 664:14, political advertising shall include any communication, including, but not limited to, yard signs, leaflets, and mailed or e-mailed messages, which expressly advocate the success or defeat of a warrant article to be voted on at a town, school district, or village district meeting or election.

IV.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to apply to a lone individual who independently authors, produces, and distributes political advertising in the form of a leaflet, pamphlet, and handbill.

V.  In the case of printed or written matter, the signature and address of the signer shall be printed or written in a size of type or lettering large enough to be clearly legible.

VI.(a)  In the case of political advertising broadcast on radio, television, the Internet, or any public address system, the name and address of the signer shall be clearly identified.

(b)  All political advertising broadcast on television or the Internet shall identify the name of the candidate who pays for the advertisement or whose advertisement is paid for by a political committee.  Such identification shall be made both aurally and visually.  The visual presentation shall be clearly legible and shall use letters equal to or greater than 12 percent of the vertical picture height and shall air for not less than 4 seconds at the conclusion of the broadcast.

VII.  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, buttons or any printed or written political advertising which is attached to or displayed on any clothing or motor vehicle need not be signed if equal to or smaller than 72 square inches.

VIII.  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, any advertising in support of or in opposition to a candidate by a political committee shall comply with this paragraph.  If the advertising is not authorized by the candidate or candidate committee, the advertising shall so state and shall identify the sponsor of the advertisement.  All such political advertising shall include the statement: "This advertisement has been paid for by (name of sponsor) and has not been authorized by any candidate." Such statement shall be made both aurally and visually if broadcast on television.  The visual presentation on television shall be clearly legible and shall use letters equal to or greater than 12 percent of the vertical picture height and shall be broadcast for not less than 4 seconds at the conclusion of the advertisement.

IX.  Any advertising which mentions or depicts a candidate shall include the statement: "This advertisement has been paid for by (name of sponsor) and has not been authorized by any candidate."

X.  Physical political advertisements purchased prior to January 1, 2025 may use the term fiscal agent in place of treasurer as required in this chapter.

14  Prerecorded Political Messages.  Amend RSA 664:14-a, I-II to read as follows:

I.  In this section, "prerecorded political message" means a prerecorded audio message delivered [by] to a telephone by:

(a)  A candidate or political committee; or

(b)  Any person when the content of the message expressly or implicitly advocates the success or defeat of any party, measure, or person at any election, or contains information about any candidate or party.

II.  No person shall deliver or knowingly cause to be delivered a prerecorded political message unless the message contains, or a live operator provides, within the first 30 seconds of the message, the following information:

(a)  The name of the candidate or of any organization or organizations the person is calling on behalf of.

(b)  The name of the person or organization paying for the delivery of the message and the name of the [fiscal agent] treasurer, if applicable.

15  Approval of Candidate or Treasurer.  Amend RSA 664:15 to read as follows:

664:15  Approval of Candidate or [Fiscal Agent] Treasurer.

A person or business organization publishing a newspaper or periodical or selling billboard space or operating a radio or television station or public address system shall not publish, print, or broadcast any political advertising by or in behalf of a candidate in an election unless the same shall be signed by or authorized in writing by the candidate or [his fiscal agent] treasurer.

16  Subpoena Power.  Amend RSA 664:20 to read as follows:

664:20  Subpoena Power.

In the exercise of [his] the powers and duties of the attorney general under this chapter, the attorney general is authorized to require the appearance of individuals and to secure testimony and evidence by use of a subpoena duces tecum.

17  Penalty; Cross Reference Removed.  Amend RSA 664:21, IX to read as follows:

IX.  Any individual, committee, or organization responsible for reporting under RSA 664:6[, 664:6-a,] and 664:7 that files a report with illegible material content shall receive a written warning for a first offense and shall be charged a civil penalty of $1,000 per offense for any subsequent offenses.

18  Repeal.  The following are repealed:

I.  RSA 664:3-a, relative to registration of political advocacy organizations.

II.  RSA 664:6-a, relative to reporting by political advocacy organizations.

III.  RSA 664:9-a, relative to itemized statements filed by facsimile transmission.

IV.  RSA 664:10, relative to social activities.

19  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2025.

 

LBA

24-3079

Revised 12/29/23

 

SB 534-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODCUED

 

AN ACT relative to campaign finance.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:

The Office of Legislative Budget Assistant is unable to complete a fiscal note for this bill, as introduced, as it is awaiting information from the Department of State.  The Department of State indicates they will need more time to provide the fiscal note worksheet as they are currently occupied with preparations for the presidential primaries.  When completed, the fiscal note will be forwarded to the Senate Clerk's Office.

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Department of State

 

Amendments

Date Amendment
March 19, 2024 2024-1217s

Links


Date Body Type
Jan. 30, 2024 Senate Hearing
April 4, 2024 Senate Floor Vote
April 24, 2024 House Hearing
April 24, 2024 House Exec Session

Bill Text Revisions

SB534 Revision: 41539 Date: April 5, 2024, 11:14 a.m.
SB534 Revision: 41263 Date: March 19, 2024, 1:51 p.m.
SB534 Revision: 40370 Date: Dec. 29, 2023, 12:28 p.m.

Docket


April 17, 2024: Executive Session: 04/24/2024 11:00 am LOB 301-303


April 17, 2024: Public Hearing: 04/24/2024 10:30 am LOB 301-303


April 10, 2024: Introduced (in recess of) 03/28/2024 and referred to Election Law HJ 11


April 5, 2024: Ought to Pass with Amendment 2024-1217s, MA, VV; OT3rdg; 04/05/2024; SJ 8


April 5, 2024: Committee Amendment # 2024-1217s, AA, VV; 04/05/2024; SJ 8


March 19, 2024: Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2024-1217s, 04/05/2024; Vote 5-0; CC; SC 13


Jan. 24, 2024: Hearing: 01/30/2024, Room 103, LOB, 09:45 am; SC 5


Dec. 14, 2023: To Be Introduced 01/03/2024 and Referred to Election Law and Municipal Affairs; SJ 1