Elections; Campaign Spending Reports
Requires all candidates for state senate and state house of representatives to file campaign financing reports electronically. Increases criminal penalties for candidates and committees that show a significant pattern of abuses and violations of the campaign spending statute.
TWENTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2003
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
relating to elections.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the campaign financial information of candidates who file their disclosure reports electronically are easily accessible to the electorate, while the reports of other candidates are significantly more difficult to retrieve. The public has to travel to downtown Honolulu to review hardcopy-only campaign finance reports and must pay twenty-five cents per page if they request a copy. Residents on the neighbor islands have the added and unreasonable burden of flying to the island of Oahu to get the same campaign information. Currently all candidates for major office, except candidates for the legislature, are required to file their campaign finance disclosure reports in electronic format.
The legislature further finds that public trust in Hawaii’s campaign finance system has diminished as the number of violations has increased, and that the relatively minor penalties for violating campaign spending statutes have not served as an effective deterrent to violators.
The purpose of this Act is to require candidates for the state senate and state house to file campaign finance reports by electronic means. A further purpose of this Act is to increase the administrative penalty assessed against organizations and associations that violate the provisions of the campaign spending statute, and increase the criminal penalties for candidates and committees that show a significant pattern of abuses and violations of the statute.
SECTION 2. Section 11-195, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (f) to read as follows:
"(f) For purposes of this subpart, whenever a report is required to be filed with the commission, "filed" means received in the office of the commission or county clerk, whichever is applicable, by the date and time specified for the filing of the report; except that a candidate or the committee of a candidate who is seeking election to the office of:
(2) Lieutenant governor;
(4) Prosecuting attorney; [
(5) County council;
(6) State senate; or
(7) State house of representatives;
shall file by electronic means in the manner prescribed by the commission. Candidates for the offices named in this subsection with contributions or expenditures of less than $5,000 need not file by electronic means."
SECTION 3. Section 11-228, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
"(a) In the performance of its required duties, the commission may render a decision or issue an order affecting any person violating any provision of this subpart or section 281-22 that shall provide for the assessment of an administrative fine in the manner prescribed as follows:
(1) If a natural person, an amount not to exceed $1,000 for each occurrence or an amount equivalent to three times the amount of an unlawful contribution or expenditure, whichever is greater; or
(2) If a corporation, organization, association, or labor union, it shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000 for each occurrence[
;] or an amount equivalent to three times the amount of an unlawful contribution or expenditure, whichever is greater; and
(3) Whenever a corporation, organization, association, or labor union violates this subpart, the violation shall be deemed to be also that of the individual directors, officers, or agents of the corporation, organization, association, or labor union, who have knowingly authorized, ordered, or done any of the acts constituting the violation."
SECTION 4. Section 11-229, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
"(a) Any person who knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly violates any provision of this subpart shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. A person who is convicted under this section shall be disqualified from holding elective public office for a period of four years from the date of conviction. Any person who intentionally or knowingly commits two or more violations of this subpart, where two or more of these violations are found to be part of a pattern intended to conceal an ongoing or past violations of this subpart, shall be guilty of a class C felony."
SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2003.