STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1282
RE: H.B. No. 162
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2019
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred H.B. No. 162, H.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO VIOLATIONS OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAW,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to:
(1) Amend the allowable administrative fines for campaign finance violations committed by certain noncandidate committees making only independent expenditures; and
(2) Prohibit the establishment of noncandidate committees that only make independent expenditures within fourteen days of an election.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the League of Women Voters Hawaii. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of the Attorney General and Campaign Spending Commission.
Your Committee finds that campaign spending laws are often extremely difficult to enforce against large political action committees. Your Committee further finds that the structure and considerable financial resources of these organizations insulates them from effective enforcement in many situations. This measure increases the ability of the Campaign Spending Commission to assess effective penalties against large political action committees for violations of campaign spending laws. However, your Committee additionally finds that restricting the formation of noncandidate committees within fourteen days of an election may be subject to constitutional challenge as a violation of protected political speech under the First Amendment.
Accordingly, your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Removing the prohibition on the establishment of noncandidate committees that only make independent expenditures within fourteen days of an election;
(2) Expanding language that allowed certain noncandidate committee expenditures to be deemed a violation against the individual directors, officers, or agents of a noncandidate committee that makes only independent expenditures to apply to all noncandidate committees regardless of whether they only make independent expenditures; and
(3) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Judiciary that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 162, H.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 162, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary,
KARL RHOADS, Chair