2001 Regular Session
To: Apportionment and Elections
By: Representative Horne
House Bill 498
AN ACT TO PROHIBIT ANY PERSON FROM RECEIVING, EXPENDING OR SOLICITING CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS BEFORE HE OR SHE HAS QUALIFIED AS A CANDIDATE; TO AMEND SECTIONS 23-15-801 AND 23-15-811, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY THERETO; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. No person shall receive, expend, or solicit campaign contributions with regard to a specific elected office until he or she has properly qualified as a candidate for such elected office under Sections 23-15-299 and 23-15-977.
SECTION 2. Section 23-15-801, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-801. (a) "Election" shall mean a general, special, primary or runoff election.
(b) "Candidate" shall mean an individual who seeks nomination for election, or election, to any elective office other than a federal elective office and for purposes of this article, an individual shall be deemed to seek nomination for election, or election, if such individual has properly qualified as a candidate under Sections 23-15-299 and 23-15-977; and
(i) * * * Has received contributions aggregating in excess of Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) or has made expenditures aggregating in excess of Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) * * *; or
(ii) * * * Has given his or her consent to another person to receive contributions or make expenditures on behalf of such individual and if such person has received such contributions aggregating in excess of Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) during a calendar year, or has made such expenditures aggregating in excess of Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) during a calendar year.
(c) "Political committee" shall mean any committee, party, club, association, political action committee, campaign committee or other groups of persons or affiliated organizations which receives contributions aggregating in excess of Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) during a calendar year or which makes expenditures aggregating in excess of Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) during a calendar year for the purpose of influencing or attempting to influence the action of voters for or against the nomination for election, or election, of one or more candidates, or balloted measures and shall, in addition, include each political party registered with the Secretary of State.
(d) "Affiliated organization" shall mean any organization which is not a political committee, but which directly or indirectly establishes, administers or financially supports a political committee.
(e) (i) "Contribution" shall include any gift, subscription, loan, advance or deposit of money or anything of value made by any person or political committee for the purpose of influencing any election for elective office or balloted measure;
(ii) "Contribution" shall not include the value of services provided without compensation by any individual who volunteers on behalf of a candidate or political committee; or the cost of any food or beverage for use in any candidate's campaign or for use by or on behalf of any political committee of a political party;
(iii) "Contribution to a political party" includes any gift, subscription, loan, advance or deposit of money or anything of value made by any person, political committee, or other organization to a political party and to any committee, subcommittee, campaign committee, political committee and other groups of persons and affiliated organizations of the political party;
(iv) "Contribution to a political party" shall not include the value of services provided without compensation by any individual who volunteers on behalf of a political party or a candidate of a political party.
(f) (i) "Expenditure" shall include any purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, gift of money or anything of value, made by any person or political committee for the purpose of influencing any balloted measure or election for elective office; and a written contract, promise, or agreement to make an expenditure;
(ii) "Expenditure" shall not include any news story, commentary or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, unless such facilities are owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate; or nonpartisan activity designed to encourage individuals to vote or to register to vote;
(iii) "Expenditure by a political party" includes 1. any purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, gift of money or anything of value, made by any political party and by any contractor, subcontractor, agent, and consultant to the political party; and 2. a written contract, promise, or agreement to make such an expenditure.
(g) The term "identification" shall mean:
(i) In the case of any individual, the name, the mailing address, and the occupation of such individual, as well as the name of his or her employer; and
(ii) In the case of any other person, the full name and address of such person.
(h) The term "political party" shall mean an association, committee or organization which nominates a candidate for election to any elective office whose name appears on the election ballot as the candidate of such association, committee or organization.
(i) The term "person" shall mean any individual, family, firm, corporation, partnership, association or other legal entity.
(j) The term "independent expenditure" shall mean an expenditure by a person expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate which is made without cooperation or consultation with any candidate or any authorized committee or agent of such candidate, and which is not made in concert with or at the request or suggestion of any candidate or any authorized committee or agent of such candidate.
(k) The term "clearly identified" shall mean that:
(i) The name of the candidate involved appears; or
(ii) A photograph or drawing of the candidate appears; or
(iii) The identity of the candidate is apparent by unambiguous reference.
SECTION 3. Section 23-15-811, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-811. (a) Any candidate or any other person who shall wilfully and deliberately and substantially violate the provisions and prohibitions of this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine in a sum not to exceed Three Thousand Dollars ($3,000.00) or imprisoned for not longer than six (6) months or by both fine and imprisonment. In addition to the penalty prescribed in this paragraph, any person who shall violate Section 1 of this act shall be required to pay any campaign contributions or other monies unlawfully received to the State Treasurer for immediate deposit in the State General Fund.
(b) In addition to the penalties provided in paragraph (a) of this section, any candidate or political committee which is required to file a statement or report which fails to file such statement or report on the date in which it is due may be compelled to file such statement or report by an action in the nature of a mandamus.
(c) No candidate shall be certified as nominated for election or as elected to office unless and until he files all reports required by this article due as of the date of certification.
(d) No candidate who is elected to office shall receive any salary or other remuneration for the office unless and until he files all reports required by this article due as of the date such salary or remuneration is payable.
(e) In the event that a candidate fails to timely file any report required pursuant to this article but subsequently files a report or reports containing all of the information required to be reported by him as of the date on which the sanctions of paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section would be applied to him, such candidate shall not be subject to the sanctions of said paragraphs (c) and (d).
SECTION 4. Section 1 of this act shall be codified in Article 23, Chapter 15, Title 23, Mississippi Code of 1972.
SECTION 5. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi shall submit this act, immediately upon approval by the Governor, or upon approval by the Legislature subsequent to a veto, to the Attorney General of the United States or to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in accordance with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.