HJR 213/SJR 80

Joint Subcommittee to Study Campaign Finance Reform

November 29, 2000, Richmond
December 11, 2000, Richmond

The subcommittee reviewed and modified working drafts of legislation to revise disclosure requirements and agreed to recommend three bills.

1. A bill to amend the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act by providing for a compliance review of statewide campaign reports and a percentage of General Assembly campaign reports. The bill:

  • adds the requirement that the State Board of Elections review the campaign finance reports of candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and 10 percent of the candidates for the General Assembly, selected at random;
  • provides that the review shall be for the purposes of (a) reconciling the balance in the campaign depository with the amounts reported in the candidate's reports of receipts and expenditures and (b) reviewing the reports for mathematical accuracy and factual completeness, including the reporting of specific information required by law;
  • requires that the board meet publicly to select on a random basis by a drawing the General Assembly candidate campaigns to review;
  • exempts any campaign committee from review if it has received less than $25,000 in contributions; and
  • requires the campaign treasurer to retain, and provide on request by the board, the bank statements and copies of checks issued on campaign depositories and receipts for campaign fund expenditures greater than $500.

2. A bill to tighten a number of provisions in the disclosure requirements of the act. The bill:

  • requires reports to be typed or computer-printed and eliminates handwritten reports except for campaign committees receiving less than $2,500 during a campaign and in certain emergencies;
  • clarifies the information required on occupation and place of business for individuals and other contributors;
  • requires specific information on expenditures made by credit card payments;
  • requires on and after January 1, 2003, that General Assembly candidates file electronically if they have received more than $10,000 in contributions; and
  • requires General Assembly reports to be received by the State Board by the filing deadline and allows the mailing of reports postmarked by the filing deadline only if the candidate has received less than $2,500 in contributions during a campaign.

3. A bill to clarify several violation and penalty provisions in the act. The bill:

  • authorizes the State Board and the appropriate local election official to review disclosure reports for completeness and request additional information;
  • provides for the jurisdiction of the appropriate attorney for the Commonwealth for statewide and other campaigns;
  • authorizes the State Board or appropriate local election official to assess and collect the civil penalty for violations of the reporting requirements before referring the violation to the attorney for the Commonwealth;
  • provides for payment of civil penalties collected at the local level to the locality; and
  • provides for public notice on the Internet of violations by candidates for statewide office or the General Assembly involving the failure to file a required report by the required deadline.

The subcommittee agreed to recommend the continuation of the study to hold hearings on campaign contribution limits, expenditure limits, and public financing options and further reforms in the Commonwealth's campaign finance laws. It will be issuing its report in advance of the 2001 Session.

The Honorable S. Chris Jones, Chairman
Legislative Services contact: Mary Spain