Campaign Contributions and Expenditures; Reports; Electronic Filing
Requires all candidates for the state senate and the state house of representatives to file electronic campaign financing reports. Provides an exception for candidates who lack reasonable access to an Internet-ready computer or the capability to electronically file. Increases criminal penalties for candidates and committees that show a significant pattern of abuse and violation of campaign spending laws. (SD1)
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 disclosure of campaign finances to the electorate is enhanced considerably when financial disclosures are electronically transmitted directly through the Internet. The Internet provides instantaneous disclosure by the candidate to the public, with no human intervention or attendant human errors created in the transfer of information. The candidate has the knowledge that the information provided to the public is timely and accurate. The federal government and many states are moving towards utilizing the latest technology by requiring candidates to file reports electronically. Hawaii requires all candidates for major offices, except candidates for the legislature, to file electronically in a set format.
The legislature further finds that the campaign spending statutes are often ignored because of the relatively minor penalty and the very difficult task of prosecuting minor violations. Public trust diminishes as a result of continual abuses.
The purpose of this Act is to improve public access to and ensure accountability in the elections process by facilitating public access to campaign financing information, by:
(1) Requiring candidates for the state senate and the state house of representatives to file campaign financing reports by electronic means; and
(2) Increasing administrative and criminal penalties for candidates, committees, and entities that violate the provisions of the campaign spending statutes or show a significant pattern of campaign spending abuse and violations.
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, and candidates who do not have reasonable access to an Internet-ready computer or lack the capability to electronically file 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 upon its approval.