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2014 Independent Expenditure Reform

April, 22, 2014

Independent expenditure reform was included in the final budget; the reforms focused on disclosure and defining independent expenditure activity.

Independent Expenditure: Expenditure made and conveyed to 500+ members of a general public audience. Significant carve-outs are included for labor organizations that give them an advantage over business interests. While business interests are permitted to communicate with their employees (or a trade association with their members) without triggering any independent expenditure reporting, the universe for labor organizations goes well beyond their membership to also include retirees, staff of the organization and member households.

All Independent Expenditure committees must file with the State Board of Elections and in addition to being required to file the same periodic financial disclosures as other political committees they would also be required to file daily or weekly for certain contributions and expenditures.

Financial reports for Independent Expenditure committees are required to include the name, address, occupation and employer of the contributor, similar to federal financial disclosures.

In the expense section of these reports, Independent Expenditure committees must specify which election an expense pertained to.

All political communication from an Independent Expenditure committee must include “Paid by…” information, statement of non-cooperation with any candidate or other political committee, and a copy must be filed with the State Board of Elections.

There are civil penalties of at least $1,000 for violations or non-compliance with reporting requirements.

The State Board of Elections will provide guidance and more information on Independent Expenditure Reporting on their website.