2007 Regular Session
To: Apportionment and Elections
By: Representative Reynolds
AN ACT TO PROHIBIT A CANDIDATE FROM USING ANY CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION RECEIVED BY SUCH CANDIDATE FROM ANY SOURCE FOR ANY PERSONAL PURPOSE OR FOR ANY REASON UNRELATED TO THE CANDIDATE'S CAMPAIGN TO SEEK ELECTION OR REELECTION TO AN OFFICE; TO REQUIRE THAT A CANDIDATE TURN OVER UNEXPENDED CAMPAIGN FUNDS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The following shall be codified as Section 23-15-802, Mississippi Code of 1972:
23-15-802. It shall be unlawful for a candidate to use any campaign contribution received by such candidate from any source for any personal purpose or for any reason unrelated to the candidate's campaign to seek election or reelection to an office. A candidate who uses campaign contributions to fulfill any commitment, obligation or expense that would exist regardless of the candidate's campaign shall be deemed to have taken campaign contributions for a personal purpose. For purposes of this section, "unexpended contributions" means any campaign contributions remaining after payment of all campaign expenditures.
(a) Within thirty (30) days following the end of the month in which an election is held, a candidate who is not declared duly elected shall turn over unexpended campaign funds to either: (i) campaign contributors on a prorated basis, (ii) a nonprofit organization which is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or (iii) an organized political party of the candidate's choice. However, no candidate is required to distribute to a campaign contributor an amount that exceeds the amount of the contribution made by such contributor to the candidate.
(b) A candidate that is declared duly elected for the office for which the candidate was on the ballot shall deposit all unexpended contributions in an account separate from any personal accounts. The unexpended contributions shall only be used by such candidate for expenses related to the office for which the candidate was declared duly elected, which include but shall not be limited to, constituent services and charitable donations.
(c) Any person found guilty of violating the provisions of this subsection shall be fined up to Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) per day of violation over the time period provided in subparagraph (a), imprisoned for up to six (6) months, or both.
SECTION 2. 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 3. 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.