2010 Florida Statutes
Electioneering communications organizations; reporting requirements; certification and filing; penalties.
Electioneering communications organizations; reporting requirements; certification and filing; penalties.—
Each electioneering communications organization shall file regular reports of all contributions received and all expenditures made by or on behalf of the organization. Reports shall be filed on the 10th day following the end of each calendar quarter from the time the organization is registered. However, if the 10th day following the end of a calendar quarter occurs on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the report shall be filed on the next following day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday. Quarterly reports shall include all contributions received and expenditures made during the calendar quarter that have not otherwise been reported pursuant to this section.
Following the last day of candidates qualifying for office, the reports shall be filed on the 32nd, 18th, and 4th days immediately preceding the primary election and on the 46th, 32nd, 18th, and 4th days immediately preceding the general election.
When a special election is called to fill a vacancy in office, all electioneering communications organizations making contributions or expenditures to influence the results of the special election shall file reports with the filing officer on the dates set by the Department of State pursuant to s. 100.111.
In addition, an electioneering communications organization that is registered with the Department of State and that makes a contribution or expenditure to influence the results of a county or municipal election that is not being held at the same time as a state or federal election must file reports with the county or municipal filing officer on the same dates as county or municipal candidates or committees for that election. The electioneering communications organization must also include the expenditure in the next report filed with the Division of Elections pursuant to this section following the county or municipal election.
The filing officer shall make available to each electioneering communications organization a schedule designating the beginning and end of reporting periods as well as the corresponding designated due dates.
Except as provided in s. 106.0705, the reports required of an electioneering communications organization shall be filed with the filing officer not later than 5 p.m. of the day designated. However, any report postmarked by the United States Postal Service no later than midnight of the day designated shall be deemed to have been filed in a timely manner. Any report received by the filing officer within 5 days after the designated due date that was delivered by the United States Postal Service shall be deemed timely filed unless it has a postmark that indicates that the report was mailed after the designated due date. A certificate of mailing obtained from and dated by the United States Postal Service at the time of mailing, or a receipt from an established courier company, which bears a date on or before the date on which the report is due, shall be proof of mailing in a timely manner. Reports shall contain information of all previously unreported contributions received and expenditures made as of the preceding Friday, except that the report filed on the Friday immediately preceding the election shall contain information of all previously unreported contributions received and expenditures made as of the day preceding the designated due date. All such reports shall be open to public inspection.
Any report that is deemed to be incomplete by the officer with whom the electioneering communications organization files shall be accepted on a conditional basis. The treasurer of the electioneering communications organization shall be notified, by certified mail or other common carrier that can establish proof of delivery for the notice, as to why the report is incomplete. Within 7 days after receipt of such notice, the treasurer must file an addendum to the report providing all information necessary to complete the report in compliance with this section. Failure to file a complete report after such notice constitutes a violation of this chapter.
Notice is deemed sufficient upon proof of delivery of written notice to the mailing or street address of the treasurer or registered agent of the electioneering communication organization on record with the filing officer.
Each report required by this section must contain:
The full name, address, and occupation, if any, of each person who has made one or more contributions to or for such electioneering communications organization within the reporting period, together with the amount and date of such contributions. For corporations, the report must provide as clear a description as practicable of the principal type of business conducted by the corporation. However, if the contribution is $100 or less, the occupation of the contributor or the principal type of business need not be listed.
The name and address of each political committee from which or to which the reporting electioneering communications organization made any transfer of funds, together with the amounts and dates of all transfers.
Each loan for electioneering communication purposes to or from any person or political committee within the reporting period, together with the full names, addresses, and occupations and principal places of business, if any, of the lender and endorsers, if any, and the date and amount of such loans.
A statement of each contribution, rebate, refund, or other receipt not otherwise listed under subparagraphs 1.-3.
The total sums of all loans, in-kind contributions, and other receipts by or for such electioneering communications organization during the reporting period. The reporting forms shall be designed to elicit separate totals for in-kind contributions, loans, and other receipts.
The full name and address of each person to whom expenditures have been made by or on behalf of the electioneering communications organization within the reporting period and the amount, date, and purpose of each expenditure.
The full name and address of each person to whom an expenditure for personal services, salary, or reimbursement for expenses has been made and that is not otherwise reported, including the amount, date, and purpose of the expenditure.
The total sum of expenditures made by the electioneering communications organization during the reporting period.
The amount and nature of debts and obligations owed by or to the electioneering communications organization that relate to the conduct of any electioneering communication.
The amount and nature of any separate interest-bearing accounts or certificates of deposit and identification of the financial institution in which such accounts or certificates of deposit are located.
The primary purposes of an expenditure made indirectly through an electioneering communications organization for goods and services, such as communications media placement or procurement services and other expenditures that include multiple components as part of the expenditure. The primary purpose of an expenditure shall be that purpose, including integral and directly related components, that comprises 80 percent of such expenditure.
The filing officer shall make available to any electioneering communications organization a reporting form which the electioneering communications organization may use to indicate contributions received by the electioneering communications organization but returned to the contributor before deposit.
The treasurer of the electioneering communications organization shall certify as to the correctness of each report, and each person so certifying shall bear the responsibility for the accuracy and veracity of each report. Any treasurer who willfully certifies the correctness of any report while knowing that such report is incorrect, false, or incomplete commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
The electioneering communications organization depository shall provide statements reflecting deposits and expenditures from the account to the treasurer, who shall retain the records pursuant to s. 106.06. The records maintained by the depository with respect to the account shall be subject to inspection by an agent of the Division of Elections or the Florida Elections Commission at any time during normal banking hours, and such depository shall furnish certified copies of any such records to the Division of Elections or the Florida Elections Commission upon request.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, in any reporting period during which an electioneering communications organization has not received funds, made any contributions, or expended any reportable funds, the treasurer shall file a written report with the filing officer by the prescribed reporting date that no reportable contributions or expenditures were made during the reporting period.
Any electioneering communications organization failing to file a report on the designated due date shall be subject to a fine as provided in paragraph (b) for each late day. The fine shall be assessed by the filing officer and the moneys collected shall be deposited:
In the General Revenue Fund, in the case of an electioneering communications organization that registers with the Division of Elections; or
In the general revenue fund of the political subdivision, in the case of an electioneering communications organization that registers with an officer of a political subdivision.
No separate fine shall be assessed for failure to file a copy of any report required by this section.
Upon determining that a report is late, the filing officer shall immediately notify the electioneering communications organization as to the failure to file a report by the designated due date and that a fine is being assessed for each late day. The fine shall be $50 per day for the first 3 days late and, thereafter, $500 per day for each late day, not to exceed 25 percent of the total receipts or expenditures, whichever is greater, for the period covered by the late report. However, for the reports immediately preceding each primary and general election, the fine shall be $500 per day for each late day, not to exceed 25 percent of the total receipts or expenditures, whichever is greater, for the period covered by the late report. Upon receipt of the report, the filing officer shall determine the amount of the fine which is due and shall notify the electioneering communications organization. The filing officer shall determine the amount of the fine due based upon the earliest of the following:
When the report is actually received by such officer.
When the report is postmarked.
When the certificate of mailing is dated.
When the receipt from an established courier company is dated.
When the electronic receipt issued pursuant to s. 106.0705 or other electronic filing system authorized in this section is dated.
Such fine shall be paid to the filing officer within 20 days after receipt of the notice of payment due, unless appeal is made to the Florida Elections Commission pursuant to paragraph (c). Notice is deemed sufficient upon proof of delivery of written notice to the mailing or street address on record with the filing officer. An officer or member of an electioneering communications organization shall not be personally liable for such fine.
The treasurer of an electioneering communications organization may appeal or dispute the fine, based upon, but not limited to, unusual circumstances surrounding the failure to file on the designated due date, and may request and shall be entitled to a hearing before the Florida Elections Commission, which shall have the authority to waive the fine in whole or in part. The Florida Elections Commission must consider the mitigating and aggravating circumstances contained in s. 106.265(1) when determining the amount of a fine, if any, to be waived. Any such request shall be made within 20 days after receipt of the notice of payment due. In such case, the treasurer of the electioneering communications organization shall, within the 20-day period, notify the filing officer in writing of his or her intention to bring the matter before the commission.
The appropriate filing officer shall notify the Florida Elections Commission of the repeated late filing by an electioneering communications organization, the failure of an electioneering communications organization to file a report after notice, or the failure to pay the fine imposed. The commission shall investigate only those alleged late filing violations specifically identified by the filing officer and as set forth in the notification. Any other alleged violations must be stated separately and reported by the division to the commission under s. 106.25(2).
An electioneering communications organization shall, within 2 days after receiving its initial password or secure sign-on from the Department of State allowing confidential access to the department’s electronic campaign finance filing system, electronically file the periodic reports that would have been required pursuant to this section for reportable activities that occurred since the date of the last general election.
Electioneering communications organizations shall not use credit cards.
s. 7, ch. 2006-300; s. 23, ch. 2010-167.