May 23, 2019

HB 17-1155: Allowing Cure of Campaign Finance Disclosure Violations Without Penalty

On February 6, 2017, Rep. Dan Thurlow and Sen. Bob Gardner introduced HB 17-1155, “Concerning the Ability to Cure Campaign Finance Reporting Deficiencies without Penalty.”

Upon receipt of a complaint alleging that a campaign finance disclosure report contains errors or omissions, the bill requires the secretary of state to give notice to the committee or party treasurer by e-mail of the deficiencies alleged in the complaint. Upon receipt of the notice from the secretary of state, the committee or party treasurer may request from the appropriate officer a postponement of a hearing on the complaint and, if such request is timely submitted, has 15 business days from the date of the notice to file an addendum to the relevant report that cures any such deficiencies.

Where the committee or party treasurer files an addendum that cures all deficiencies alleged in the complaint before the expiration of the 15-day period specified in the bill, the bill prohibits the appropriate officer from assessing a penalty against the committee or treasurer that otherwise would have been assessed for the for the deficiencies for the period from the first date of the alleged violation through the expiration of the cure period. Upon filing an addendum to the relevant report by the committee or party treasurer that cures all such deficiencies, the appropriate officer is required to set a hearing to determine whether all issues raised by the complaint have been resolved. If the committee or party treasurer fails to cure any such discrepancy, any penalty imposed for such deficiency continues to accrue until further resolution of the matter.

The bill’s requirements only apply in the case of a good faith effort by a committee or party treasurer, as applicable, to make timely disclosure or where the disclosure report is in substantial compliance with governing legal requirements.

The bill was introduced in House and assigned to the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee. It is scheduled to be heard in committee on February 23 upon adjournment.

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