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2004 Regular Session Highlights

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Ethics

by: Tabitha Irvin-Gray
(225) 342-0645

CAMPAIGN FINANCE / ETHICS

As part of the Governorís agenda House Bill 530 by Representative Charles Lancaster (Act 115) and companion bill Senate Bill 580 by Senator Charles Jones (pending S&GA) prohibits a person making a campaign contribution in the name of another person. A penalty of the amount of the contribution plus 10% is imposed for a person who unknowingly violates the prohibition, and for a penalty of twice the amount of the contribution for any person who knowingly and willfully violates the prohibition. The definition of knowing and willful for purposes of this bill means any conduct which could have been avoided through the exercise of due diligence.

House Bill 1015 by Representative Charles Lancaster(Act 783) was encouraged by the governor to promote good government which prohibits legislators and the governor from accepting and depositing certain campaign contributions, campaign loans, or transfers of funds during a regular session, to prevent the appearance of undue influence on decision-making by certain persons who may have a particular substantial economic interest in legislation. Any campaign contributions, campaign loans, or transfer of funds received during a regular session must be returned within 10 days after its receipt. A legislator or the governor may obtain a loan by a financial institution or certain depository institutions for his own campaign during a regular session if the official is the sole endorser and guarantor. If a legislator or the governor seeks election to an office other than the office he currently holds and accepts and deposits campaign contributions, loans, or transfer of funds during a regular session, the official must return all monies raised but not expended or otherwise encumbered for election to the office if he withdraws form the election. The money is permitted to reduce the balance of or pay off a loan obtained for the officialís campaign. A legislator or the governor who is a candidate for U.S. Congress or an office to be filled by an election occurring during the regular session or within 60 days after such regular session adjourns or an office other than the office held by the official. The acceptance and deposit of campaign contributions is prohibited in the regular session of the legislature occurring in the year of the regular legislative or gubernatorial election.

From the perspective of ethics and good government, Governor Blanco supported House Bill 1126 by Representative Edwin Murray (Acat 862) which required persons who make independent expenditures in support or opposition to a candidate to the same reporting standard required for candidates and political committees participating in the election of a candidate. Candidates and political committees participating in the election of a candidate is required to file 48-hour reports of contributions and expenditures in excess of certain amounts in the 20 days prior to the election. Persons making independent expenditures or who accept contributions other than to or from a candidate or political committee file regularly scheduled campaign finance reports of such expenditures and contributions exceed $500. Persons who make independent expenditures in support or opposition to a candidate to file 48-hour reports in the 20 days prior to an election if the independent expenditures are in excess of $1,000 for major office; $500 for district office; and $500 for any other office.



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