Whether through deliberate intentions, neglect or ignorance, some candidates were not filing reports on time – and there were no consequences. Representative Hall, an advocate for ethics, openness and transparency, ran a bill to close that loophole.
Because of HB246, members of the public can more readily access campaign contribution information with a new button on the legislative website. (Right now, you can go to the current disclosure website and click on any candidate whose financial donations you wish to peruse.)
Candidates must also report donations within 3 business days if they are within the 30 day reporting period before a contested election. No more holding on to donations until after an election, just so people can’t see one’s donors.
There are also some teeth to the bill. Candidates are fined $50 or 15% of the contribution being reported past the deadline, whether in dollars or in kind. That money goes to the general fund.
There is also increased transparency into the lobbyists on the Hill. They are now required to:
*Notify legislators which entities they representing as they begin communicating about a bill or issue.
*Wear name tags at the Capitol, at least 18-point font.
This bill was one of the most substantive pieces of legislation dealing with campaign finance in several years. The Lt Governor’s office sent a personal letter to Rep Hall thanking him for the time and effort he put into the bill and in collaboration with the Lt Governor’s office. The letter said in part:
Your work on the campaign financial disclosures bill was a huge step forward in making sure we have a more closely-regulated disclosures system.
The ceremonial bill signing for this and the election law reforms sponsored by Rep Jim Dunnigan will be in the Gold Room at the Capitol on Friday, May 16 at 3:20 pm.
(Originally published on HollyontheHill.com)
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