ASSEMBLY, No. 4431

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

221st LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 20, 2024

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  GREGORY P. MCGUCKIN

District 10 (Monmouth and Ocean)

Assemblyman  JOHN DIMAIO

District 23 (Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren)

Assemblyman  PAUL KANITRA

District 10 (Monmouth and Ocean)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman Dunn, Assemblymen Azzariti Jr., Peterson, Rumpf and Myhre

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires enhanced reporting by independent expenditure committees; extends statute of limitations for campaign finance violations; exempts reports filed with Election Law Enforcement Commission from certain document redaction requirements.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning the reporting and disclosure requirements for campaign contributions and expenditures and the statute of limitations for campaign law violations and amending P.L.1973, c.83, P.L.2023, c.30, and P.L.2021, c.371.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  Section 8 of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-8) is amended to read as follows: 

     8. a. (1) Each political committee shall make a full cumulative report, upon a form prescribed by the Election Law Enforcement Commission, of all contributions in excess of $200 in the form of moneys, loans, paid personal services, or other things of value made to it and all expenditures made, incurred, or authorized by it in furtherance of the nomination, election, or defeat of any candidate, or in aid of the passage or defeat of any public question, or to provide political information on any candidate or public question, during the period ending 48 hours preceding the date of the report and beginning on the date on which the first of those contributions was received or the first of those expenditures was made, whichever occurred first.  The cumulative report, except as hereinafter provided, shall contain the name and mailing address of each person or group from whom moneys, loans, paid personal services or other things of value in excess of $200 have been contributed since 48 hours preceding the date on which the previous such report was made and the amount contributed by each person or group, and where the contributor is an individual, the report shall indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  In the case of any loan reported pursuant to this subsection, the report shall contain the name and mailing address of each person who has cosigned such loan since 48 hours preceding the date on which the previous such report was made, and where an individual has cosigned such loans, the report shall indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  The cumulative report shall also contain the name and address of each person, firm or organization to whom expenditures have been paid since 48 hours preceding the date on which the previous such report was made and the amount and purpose of each such expenditure.  The cumulative report shall be filed with the Election Law Enforcement Commission on the dates designated in section 16 hereof. 

     The campaign treasurer of the political committee reporting shall certify to the correctness of each report.

     Each campaign treasurer of a political committee shall file written notice with the commission of a contribution in excess of $200 received during the period between the 13th day prior to the election and the date of the election, and of an expenditure of money or other thing of value in excess of $200 made, incurred or authorized by the political committee to support or defeat a candidate in an election, or to aid the passage or defeat of any public question, during the period between the 13th day prior to the election and the date of the election.  The notice of a contribution shall be filed in writing or by electronic transmission within 72 hours of the receipt of the contribution when the contribution is received between the 13th day and the eighth day prior to the election, or within 24 hours of the receipt of the contribution when the contribution is received between the seventh day prior to the election and the date of the election.  The notice shall set forth the amount and date of the contribution, the name and mailing address of the contributor, and where the contributor is an individual, the individual's occupation and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  The notice of an expenditure shall be filed in writing or by electronic transmission within 72 hours of the making, incurring or authorization of the expenditure when the expenditure is made, incurred, or authorized between the 13th day and the eighth day prior to the election, or within 24 hours when the expenditure is made, incurred, or authorized between the seventh day prior to the election and the date of the election.  The notice shall set forth the name and mailing address of the person, firm or organization to whom or which the expenditure was paid and the amount and purpose of the expenditure.

     (2) When a political committee or an individual seeking party office makes or authorizes an expenditure on behalf of a candidate, it shall provide immediate written notification to the candidate of the expenditure.

     b. (1) A group of two or more persons acting jointly, or any corporation, partnership, or any other incorporated or unincorporated association including a political club, political action committee, civic association or other organization, which in any calendar year contributes or expects to contribute at least $2,500.00 to the aid or promotion of the candidacy of an individual, or of the candidacies of individuals, for elective public office or the passage or defeat of a public question or public questions and which expects to make contributions toward such aid or promotion, or toward such passage or defeat, during a subsequent election shall certify that fact to the commission, and the commission, upon receiving that certification and on the basis of any information as it may require of the group, corporation, partnership, association or other organization, shall determine whether the group, corporation, partnership, association or other organization is a continuing political committee for the purposes of this act.  If the commission determines that the group, corporation, partnership, association or other organization is a continuing political committee, it shall so notify that continuing political committee.

     No person serving as the chairman of a political party committee or a legislative leadership committee shall be eligible to be appointed or to serve as the chairman of a continuing political committee.

     (2) A continuing political committee shall file with the Election Law Enforcement Commission, not later than April 15, July 15, October 15 and January 15 of each calendar year, a cumulative quarterly report of all moneys, loans, paid personal services or other things of value in excess of $200 contributed to it during the period ending on the 15th day preceding that date and commencing on January 1 of that calendar year or, in the case of the cumulative quarterly report to be filed not later than January 15, of the previous calendar year, and all expenditures made, incurred, or authorized by it during the period, whether or not such expenditures were made, incurred or authorized in furtherance of the election or defeat of any candidate, or in aid of the passage or defeat of any public question or to provide information on any candidate or public question.

     The cumulative quarterly report shall contain the name and mailing address of each person or group from whom moneys, loans, paid personal services or other things of value in excess of $200 have been contributed and the amount contributed by each person or group, and where an individual has made such contributions, the report shall indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  In the case of any loan reported pursuant to this subsection, the report shall contain the name and address of each person who cosigns such loan, and where an individual has cosigned such loans, the report shall indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  The report shall also contain the name and address of each person, firm or organization to whom expenditures have been paid and the amount and purpose of each such expenditure.  The treasurer of the continuing political committee reporting shall certify to the correctness of each cumulative quarterly report.

     Each continuing political committee shall provide immediate written notification to each candidate of all expenditures made or authorized on behalf of the candidate.

     If any continuing political committee submitting cumulative quarterly reports as provided under this subsection receives a contribution from a single source of more than $200 after the final day of a quarterly reporting period and on or before a primary, general, municipal, school or special election which occurs after that final day but prior to the final day of the next reporting period it shall, in writing or by electronic transmission, report that contribution to the commission within 72 hours of the receipt thereof if that contribution is received between the 15th day prior to that election and the day of the election, except that a contribution received between the seventh day prior to the election and the date of the election shall be reported within 24 hours of the receipt thereof, including in that report the amount and date of the contribution; the name and mailing address of the contributor; and where the contributor is an individual, the individual's occupation and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  If any continuing political committee makes or authorizes an expenditure of money or other thing of value in excess of $200, or incurs any obligation therefor, to support or defeat a candidate in an election, or to aid the passage or defeat of any public question, between the 15th day prior to the day of the primary election and the day of the primary election, or between the 15th day prior to the day of the general election and the day of the general election, it shall, in writing or by electronic transmission, report that expenditure to the commission within 72 hours of the making, authorizing or incurring thereof, except that an expenditure made, authorized, or incurred between the seventh day prior to the election and the date of the election shall be reported within 24 hours of the making, authorizing, or incurring thereof.

     A continuing political committee which ceases making contributions toward the aiding or promoting of the candidacy of an individual, or of the candidacies of individuals, for elective public office in this State or the passage or defeat of a public question or public questions in this State shall certify that fact in writing to the commission, and that certification shall be accompanied by a final accounting of any fund relating to such aiding or promoting including the final disposition of any balance in such fund at the time of dissolution.  Until that certification has been filed, the committee shall continue to file the quarterly reports as provided under this subsection.

     c.     Each political party committee and each legislative leadership committee shall file with the Election Law Enforcement Commission, not later than April 15, July 15, October 15 and January 15 of each calendar year, a cumulative quarterly report of all moneys, loans, paid personal services or other things of value in excess of $200 contributed to it during the period ending on the 15th day preceding that date and commencing on January 1 of that calendar year or, in the case of the cumulative quarterly report to be filed not later than January 15, of the previous calendar year, and all expenditures made, incurred, or authorized by it during the period, whether or not such expenditures were made, incurred or authorized in furtherance of the election or defeat of any candidate, or in aid of the passage or defeat of any public question or to provide information on any candidate or public question.

     The cumulative quarterly report shall contain the name and mailing address of each person or group from whom moneys, loans, paid personal services or other things of value in excess of $200 have been contributed and the amount contributed by each person or group, and where an individual has made such contributions, the report shall indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  In the case of any loan reported pursuant to this subsection, the report shall contain the name and address of each person who cosigns such loan, and where an individual has cosigned such loans, the report shall indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  The report shall also contain the name and address of each person, firm or organization to whom expenditures have been paid and the amount and purpose of each such expenditure.  The treasurer of the political party committee or legislative leadership committee reporting shall certify to the correctness of each cumulative quarterly report.

     d. (1) Each independent expenditure committee making an electioneering communication pertaining to a primary election shall file with the Election Law Enforcement Commission a cumulative report on the 11th day preceding the primary election, and after the primary election file a report on the 20th day following the election, upon a form prescribed by the Election Law Enforcement Commission, of all contributions received in excess of $7,500 in the form of moneys, loans, paid personal services, or other things of value made to it for the purpose of furthering the independent expenditure, and of all independent expenditures made, incurred, or authorized by it beginning on the first day of the preceding calendar year and ending on the reporting date. Each independent expenditure committee making an electioneering communication pertaining to a municipal, runoff, school board, special, or general election shall file with the Election Law Enforcement Commission a cumulative report on the 29th day preceding the election, a report on the 11th day preceding the election, and after the election file a report on the 20th day following the election, upon a form prescribed by the Election Law Enforcement Commission, of all contributions received in excess of $7,500 in the form of moneys, loans, paid personal services, or other things of value made to it for the purpose of furthering the independent expenditure, and of all independent expenditures made, incurred, or authorized by it beginning on the first day of the preceding calendar year and ending on the reporting date.  The report, except as hereinafter provided, shall contain the name and mailing address of each person or group from whom moneys, loans, paid personal services or other things of value have been contributed since 48 hours preceding the date on which such previous report was made and the amount contributed by each person or group in excess of $7,500, and when the contributor is an individual, the report shall indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  In the case of any loan reported pursuant to this subsection, the report shall contain the name and mailing address of each person who has cosigned such loan since 48 hours preceding the date on which the previous such report was made, and when an individual has cosigned such loans, the report shall indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  The report shall also contain the name and address of each person, firm, or organization to whom expenditures have been paid since 48 hours preceding the date on which the previous such report was made and the amount and purpose of each such expenditure.

     (2) When an independent expenditure committee receives a contribution from a single source of more than $7,500 after the final day of a cumulative reporting period and on or before a primary, municipal, runoff, school board, special, or general election which occurs after that final day but prior to the final day of the next reporting period it shall, in writing or by electronic transmission, report that contribution to the commission within 72 hours of the receipt thereof if that contribution is received between the 15th day prior to that election and the day of the election, except that a contribution received between the seventh day prior to the election and the date of the election shall be reported within 24 hours of the receipt thereof, including in that report the amount and date of the contribution; the name and mailing address of the contributor; and, where the contributor is an individual, the individual’s occupation and the name and mailing address of the individual’s employer.  When an independent expenditure committee makes or authorizes an independent expenditure of more than $200, or incurs any obligation therefor, between the 15th day prior to the day of a primary, municipal, runoff, school board, special, or general election and the day of that election, it shall, in writing or by electronic transmission, report that independent expenditure to the commission within 72 hours of the making, authorizing, or incurring thereof, except that an independent expenditure made, authorized, or incurred between the seventh day prior to the election and the date of the election shall be reported within 24 hours of the making, authorizing, or incurring thereof.

     (3) Each independent expenditure committee required to file the reports specified under paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection shall also file with the Election Law Enforcement Commission, following each election but not later than April 15, July 15, October 15 and January 15 of each calendar year, a cumulative quarterly report of all moneys, loans, paid personal services or other things of value in excess of $7,500 contributed to it during the period ending on the 15th day preceding that date and commencing on January 1 of that calendar year or, in the case of the cumulative quarterly report to be filed not later than January 15, of the previous calendar year, and all expenditures made, incurred, or authorized by it during the period. The cumulative quarterly report shall contain the name and mailing address of each person or group from whom moneys, loans, paid personal services or other things of value in excess of $7,500 have been contributed and the amount contributed by each person or group, and where an individual has made such contributions, the report shall indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  In the case of any loan reported pursuant to this subsection, the report shall contain the name and address of each person who cosigns such loan, and where an individual has cosigned such loans, the report shall indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  The report shall also contain the name and address of each person, firm or organization to whom expenditures have been paid and the amount and purpose of each such expenditure.  The treasurer of the independent expenditure committee reporting shall certify to the correctness of each cumulative quarterly report. Each independent expenditure committee shall continue to file the post-election quarterly reports required under this paragraph until the closure of the committee’s campaign depository account.  

     (4) The treasurer of the reporting independent expenditure committee shall certify the correctness of each report and shall maintain all records of contributions and expenditures for a period of not less than four years.

     The $7,500 contribution amount shall remain as stated in this subsection without further adjustment by the commission pursuant to section 22 of P.L.1993, c.65 (C.19:44A-7.2).

     e.     When a political party committee or legislative leadership committee receives a contribution from a single source of more than $200 after the final day of a quarterly reporting period and on or before a primary, general, municipal, school, or special election which occurs after that final day but prior to the final day of the next reporting period it shall, in writing or by electronic transmission, report that contribution to the commission within 72 hours of the receipt thereof if that contribution is received between the 15th day prior to that election and the day of the election, except that a contribution received between the seventh day prior to the election and the date of the election shall be reported within 24 hours of the receipt thereof, including in that report the amount and date of the contribution; the name and mailing address of the contributor; and where the contributor is an individual, the individual's occupation and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer.  When a political party committee or legislative leadership committee makes or authorizes an expenditure of money or other thing of value in excess of $800, or incurs any obligation therefor, to support or defeat a candidate in an election, or to aid the passage or defeat of any public question, between the 15th day prior to the day of the primary election and the day of the primary election, or between the 15th day prior to the day of the general election and the day of the general election, it shall, in writing or by electronic transmission, report that expenditure to the commission within 72 hours of the making, authorizing or incurring thereof, except that an expenditure made, authorized, or incurred between the seventh day prior to the election and the date of the election shall be reported within 24 hours of the making, authorizing, or incurring thereof.

     f.     In any report filed pursuant to the provisions of this section the organization or committee reporting may exclude from the report the name of and other information relating to any contributor whose contributions during the period covered by the report did not exceed $200, provided, however, that (1) such exclusion is unlawful if any person responsible for the preparation or filing of the report knew that it was made with respect to any person whose contributions relating to the same election or issue and made to the reporting organization or committee aggregate, in combination with the contribution in respect of which such exclusion is made, more than $200 and (2) any person who knowingly prepares, assists in preparing, files or acquiesces in the filing of any report from which the identification of a contributor has been excluded contrary to the provisions of this section is subject to the provisions of section 21 of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-21), but (3) nothing in this proviso shall be construed as requiring any committee or organization reporting pursuant to this act to report the amounts, dates or other circumstantial data regarding contributions made to any other organization or political committee, political party committee or campaign organization of a candidate.

     g.    Any report filed pursuant to the provisions of this section shall include an itemized accounting of all receipts and expenditures relative to any testimonial affairs held since the date of the most recent report filed, which accounting shall include the name and mailing address of each contributor in excess of $200 to such testimonial affair and the amount contributed by each; in the case of an individual contributor, the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual's employer; the expenses incurred; and the disposition of the proceeds of such testimonial affair.

     The $200 limit established in this subsection shall remain as stated in this subsection without further adjustment by the commission in the manner prescribed by section 22 of P.L.1993, c.65 (C.19:44A-7.2).

(cf: P.L.2023, c.30, s.4)

 

     2.  Section 35 of P.L.2023, c.30 (C.19:44A-6a) is amended to read as follows:

     35.  Any enforcement action brought by the Election Law Enforcement Commission for any violations of P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-1 et seq.) shall be subject to a statute of limitations of [two] four years following the [occurrence of] date of the election for which the alleged violation occurred. The statute of limitations provided in this section shall apply [retroactively] to any alleged violations occurring [prior to] following the effective date of this act, [P.L.2023, c.30 (C.19:44A-20.10a et al.)] P.L.   , c.   (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

(cf: P.L.2023, c.30, s.35)

 

     3.  Section 3 of P.L.2021, c.371 (C.47:1B-3) is amended to read as follows:

     3.    a.  The following exceptions shall apply to the requirement to redact, and the prohibition against the disclosure of, a home address pursuant to section 2 of P.L.2021, c.371 (C.47:1B-2) in accordance with section 2 of P.L.2015, c.226 (C.47:1-17), section 1 of P.L.1995, c.23 (C.47:1A-1.1), or section 6 of P.L.2001, c.404 (C.47:1A-5):

     (1)  Copies of voter registration files maintained in the Statewide voter registration system pursuant to section 2 of P.L.2005, c.145 (C.19:31-32) and maintained by the commissioner of registration in each county pursuant to R.S.19:31-3 shall be provided as redacted pursuant to section 2 of P.L.2021, c.371 (C.47:1B-2), except that copies of the files as unredacted pursuant thereto shall be provided to the following individuals, upon the individual's signing of an affidavit attesting to the individual's qualifying status pursuant hereto:

     (a)   the chairperson of the county or municipal committee of a political party, as appropriate under R.S.19:7-1, or a designee thereof, for distribution to any person authorized to serve as a challenger pursuant to R.S.19:7-1 or section 2 of P.L.2021, c.40 (C.19:15A-2), subject to the limitations in section 1 of P.L.1960, c.82 (C.19:7-6.1); and the unredacted copies may only be used for the purpose specified in R.S.19:7-5;

     (b)   a candidate, or a designee thereof, for distribution to a challenger appointed thereby pursuant to section 2 of P.L.2021, c.40 (C.19:15A-2) for the person's use in accordance with R.S.19:7-5;

     (c)   a candidate acting as a challenger pursuant to R.S.19:7-2 or the other person appointed thereunder, for use in accordance with R.S.19:7-5;

     (d)   any vendor, contractor, or organization carrying out a function of a county or of the State concerning the administration or conduct of elections; and

     (e)   upon order of a judge of the Superior Court after a finding that the unredacted copy is necessary to determine the merits of a petition filed in accordance with R.S.19:29-3, a person filing such petition or the respondent or both.

     This paragraph shall apply to registry lists as described in section 2 of P.L.1947, c.347 (C.19:31-18.1).

     (2)  Other than as provided in subparagraphs (d) and (e) of paragraph (4) of this subsection, a document affecting the title to real property, as defined by N.J.S.46:26A-2, recorded and indexed by a county recording officer, or as otherwise held or maintained by the Division of Taxation, a county board of taxation, a county tax administrator, or a county or municipal tax assessor, that contains an address subject to redaction or nondisclosure consistent with this act, P.L.2021, c.371 (C.47:1B-1 et al.):

     may instead or in addition include the redaction and nondisclosure of the names or other information of approved covered persons, as specified by the Director of the Division of Taxation, which redaction and nondisclosure may include masking of such names or other information, and

     shall be provided as unredacted to the following persons when requested in such person's ordinary course of business:

     (a)   a title insurance company, a title insurance agent, or an approved attorney, as defined in section 1 of P.L.1975, c.106 (C.17:46B-1);

     (b)   a mortgage guarantee insurance company, as described in section 4 of P.L.1968, c.248 (C.17:46A-4);

     (c)   a mortgage loan originator, as defined in section 3 of P.L.2009, c.53 (C.17:11C-53);

     (d)   a registered title search business entity, as defined in section 4 of P.L.2021, c.371 (C.17:46B-1.1);

     (e)   a real estate broker, a real estate salesperson, a real estate broker-salesperson, a real estate salesperson licensed with a real estate referral company, or a real estate referral company, as such terms are defined in R.S.45:15-3; and

     (f)  an individual or business that has made or received an offer for the purchase of real estate and real property, or any portion thereof, to or from a covered person whose address is subject to redaction or nondisclosure pursuant to section 2 of P.L.2021, c.371 (C.47:1B-2).

     This act shall not be construed to prohibit a county recording officer from returning a document as unredacted to any person who submitted the document for recordation.

     (3)  A home address as unredacted may be provided by a public agency to the majority representative of such agency's employees.

     (4)  The following shall not be subject to redaction or nondisclosure pursuant to section 2 of P.L.2021, c.371 (C.47:1B-2):

     (a)  records and documents, including Uniform Commercial Code filings and financing statements, maintained by the Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services in the Department of the Treasury;

     (b)  petitions naming candidates for office pursuant to R.S.19:13-1 and R.S.19:13-4;

     (c)  petitions signed in accordance with R.S.19:13-6;

     (d)   records evidencing any lien, judgement, or other encumbrance upon real or other property;

     (e)   assessment lists subject to inspection pursuant to R.S.54:4-38 when inspected in person;

     (f)  the index of all recorded documents maintained by a county recording officer as under N.J.S.46:26A-8 when inspected in person; [and]

     (g)  property that is presumed abandoned under the "Uniform Unclaimed Property Act," P.L.1989, c.58 (C.46:30B-1 et seq.); and

     (h)  any reports concerning campaign contributions and expenditures required to be filed with the Election Law Enforcement Commission by any individual, candidate, campaign, committee, or other entity pursuant to "The New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act," P.L.1973, c.83 (C.19:44A-1 et seq.).

     (5)  A public agency may share unredacted information with any vendor, contractor, or organization to carry out the purposes for which the public agency entered into an agreement with the vendor, contractor, or organization. The vendor, contractor, or organization shall not use such information in any manner other than as necessary to carry out the purposes of the agreement.

     (6)  For a record or other document containing a home address required to be redacted pursuant to section 2 of P.L.2021, c.371 (C.47:1B-2) that, because of the characteristics or properties of the record or document, is only available to be viewed in person, a custodian or other government official shall make every reasonable effort to hide such address when allowing an individual without authority to view such address as unredacted to view the record or document.

     b.  Nothing in this act shall be construed to require redaction or nondisclosure of any information in any document, record, information, or database shared with or otherwise provided to any other government entity.

     c.  Information otherwise subject to redaction or nondisclosure pursuant to section 2 of P.L.2021, c.371 (C.47:1B-2) may be provided as unredacted upon order of a judge of the Superior Court or of any other court of competent jurisdiction.

     d.  This section shall not be construed to require a record to be made available that is not otherwise required to be made available under any other law or regulation.

     e.  The Director of the Division of Taxation may issue any guidance, guidelines, or rules and regulations necessary to effectuate the purposes of this section. The rules and regulations shall be effective immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law for a period not to exceed 18 months, and shall, thereafter, be amended, adopted, or readopted in accordance with
the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968,c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).

(cf: P.L.2021, c.371, s.3)

 

     4.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires enhanced reporting by independent expenditure committees, extends the statute of limitations for campaign finance violations, and exempts reports of contributions and expenditures required to be filed with the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) from certain redaction and nondisclosure requirements. This bill would enact the three recommendations made by ELEC in its 2023 annual report.

 

Enhanced Reporting by Independent Expenditure Committees

 

     This bill requires independent expenditure committees, the so-called “dark money” groups, to promptly report campaign contributions and expenditures in the days before an election. This bill also requires such committees to file post-election quarterly reports until the closure of their campaign depository accounts.

     Under current law, independent expenditure committees are required to file with the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) a cumulative report on the 11th day preceding the primary election, and on the 20th day following the primary election, of all contributions received in excess of $7,500 in the form of moneys, loans, paid personal services, or other things of value made to it for the purpose of furthering the independent expenditure. They are also required to report all independent expenditures made, incurred, or authorized by it. In addition, each independent expenditure committee making an electioneering communication pertaining to a municipal, runoff, school board, special, or general election is required to file with ELEC a cumulative report on the 29th day preceding the election, a report on the 11th day preceding the election, and on the 20th day following the election, of all contributions received in excess of $7,500 in the form of moneys, loans, paid personal services, or other things of value made to it for the purpose of furthering the independent expenditure, and of all independent expenditures made, incurred, or authorized by it. The reporting period begins on the first day of the preceding calendar year and ends on the reporting date. However, under current law, independent expenditure committees are not required to report contributions received and expenditures made in the period between the filing of the 11th-day pre-election report and the day of the election, thereby creating a transparency loophole. 

     Under this bill, when an independent expenditure committee receives a contribution from a single source of more than $7,500 after the final day of a cumulative reporting period and on or before a primary, municipal, runoff, school board, special, or general election which occurs after that final day but prior to the final day of the next reporting period it will be required, in writing or by electronic transmission, to report that contribution to ELEC within 72 hours of receiving it, if that contribution is received between the 15th day prior to that election and the day of the election. However, a contribution received between the seventh day prior to that election and the day of the election would be required to be reported within 24 hours of receiving it. The bill requires the committee to report the amount and date of the contribution; the name and mailing address of the contributor; and where the contributor is an individual, the individual’s occupation and the name and mailing address of the individual’s employer. 

     In addition, when an independent expenditure committee makes or authorizes any independent expenditure of more than $200, or incurs any obligation therefor, between the 15th day prior to the day of a primary, municipal, runoff, school board, special, or general election and the day of that election, it will be required to report, in writing or by electronic transmission, that independent expenditure to the commission within 72 hours of making, authorizing, or incurring it. However, an independent expenditure made, authorized, or incurred between the seventh day prior to the election and the day of the election would be required to be reported within 24 hours of making, authorizing, or incurring it.

     Under current law, independent expenditure committees do not have to file post-election quarterly reports. This bill would require each independent expenditure committee required to file reports to also file with the Election Law Enforcement Commission, following each election but not later than April 15, July 15, October 15 and January 15 of each calendar year, a cumulative quarterly report of all moneys, loans, paid personal services or other things of value in excess of $7,500 contributed to it during the period ending on the 15th day preceding that date and commencing on January 1 of that calendar year or, in the case of the cumulative quarterly report to be filed not later than January 15, of the previous calendar year, and all expenditures made, incurred, or authorized by it during the period. The cumulative quarterly report would contain the name and mailing address of each person or group from whom moneys, loans, paid personal services or other things of value in excess of $7,500 have been contributed and the amount contributed by each person or group, and where an individual has made such contributions, the report would indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual’s employer.  In the case of any loan reported, the report would contain the name and address of each person who cosigns such loan, and where an individual has cosigned such loans, the report would indicate the occupation of the individual and the name and mailing address of the individual’s employer. The report would also contain the name and address of each person, firm or organization to whom expenditures have been paid and the amount and purpose of each such expenditure. The treasurer of the independent expenditure committee reporting would certify to the correctness of each cumulative quarterly report. Each independent expenditure committee would continue to file the post-election quarterly reports until the closure of the committee’s campaign depository account.

 

Statute of Limitations for Violations

 

     This bill extends the statute of limitations for campaign finance violations. Under current law, any enforcement action brought by ELEC for any violations of campaign finance laws is subject to a statute of limitations of two years following the occurrence of the alleged violation. Under this bill, the statute of limitations would be four years following the date of the election for which the alleged violation occurred. The new four-year statute of limitations will apply to any violations that take place after the enactment of this bill.

 

Exemption from Redaction and Nondisclosure

 

     This bill exempts reports filed with ELEC from certain document redaction and nondisclosure requirements. Under current law, certain public officials and employees, such as judges and law enforcement officers, are entitled to have their personal information redacted or subject to nondisclosure when such information is present on a public record. However, there are certain exceptions when an individual’s personal information may still be disclosed, even if they are otherwise entitled to redaction or nondisclosure.

     This bill would add reports required to be filed with ELEC regarding election-related financing to the list of current exceptions.  This exception would apply to all reports filed by any individual, candidate, campaign, committee, or other entity under “The New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act.”