HBA-RBT H.B. 2225 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2225 By: Uher Elections 3/14/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The cost of running a political campaign in Texas has increased in recent years. The Election Code contains provisions that limit cash contributions to candidates and officeholders, but contributions by check are unlimited. There is a perception in the media, the public, and elsewhere that a few wealthy interests are funding most of the costly political campaigns in Texas. Special interest groups make single contributions to a single candidate that exceed the average Texan's yearly income. Businesses and Political Action Committees (PACs) directly contributed 62 percent ($9 million) of all the itemized contributions that house members received in the last election. H.B. 2225 places limits on campaign contributions to candidates, PACs, and political parties that can influence state legislative races in Texas. This bill places both individual and aggregate limits on how much individuals and PACs can spend. This bill has provisions that treat multiple entities as a single entity in certain situations, and places additional reporting requirements on candidates and officeholders. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Chapter 253, Election Code, by adding Subchapter G, as follows: SUBCHAPTER G. CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES FOR LEGISLATIVE OFFICE Sec. 253.201. APPLICABILITY OF SUBCHAPTER. Provides that this subchapter applies only to a political contribution or political expenditure in connection with the office of state senator or state representative. Sec. 253.202. DEFINITIONS. Defines "authorized committee," "coordinated contribution," "election cycle," "express advocacy," "independent campaign expenditure," "provided in coordination with a candidate," and "with respect to an election cycle." Sec. 253.203. LIMITS ON CONTRIBUTIONS TO CANDIDATES AND OFFICEHOLDERS. Prohibits a person from knowingly making or authorizing political contributions to a candidate or officeholder that in the aggregate exceed $2,000 for the office of state senator or $1,000 for state representative in an election cycle. Prohibits a person from knowingly accepting a political contribution, and requires a person to refuse a political contribution that is received in excess of those limits. Provides that the limits do not apply to contributions made by a candidate to the candidate's own campaign nor to a contribution made by a political party committee or legislative caucus committee to a candidate. Sec. 253.204. LIMITS ON CONTRIBUTIONS TO POLITICAL COMMITTEES. Prohibits a person from knowingly making or authorizing political contributions that in the aggregate exceed $5,000 to a political committee established by a apolitical party or a legislative caucus committee and $1,000 to any other political committee in an election cycle.. Sec. 253.205. AGGREGATE CONTRIBUTION LIMITS. Prohibits a person other than a political committee from knowingly making or authorizing political contributions to candidates, officeholders, and specific-purpose committees for supporting or opposing candidates or assisting officeholders that in the aggregate exceed $25,000 in an election cycle. Prohibits a political committee from knowingly making or authorizing political contributions to candidates, officeholders, and specific-purpose committees for supporting or opposing candidates or assisting officeholders that in the aggregate exceed $200,000 in an election cycle. Sec. 253.206. AGGREGATION OF CONTRIBUTIONS BY POLITICAL COMMITTEES. Provides that for the purposes of Sections 253.203, 253.204, and 253.205, all political contributions made by a political committee whose political activity is financed, maintained, or controlled by a corporation, labor organization, association, or political party are aggregated with political contributions made by a political committee whose political activity is financed, maintained, or controlled by a parent, subsidiary, branch, division, department, or local unit of the corporation, labor organization, association, or political party. Sets forth the factors which determine whether two or more entities are treated as a single entity. Provides that each specific-purpose committee for supporting a candidate or opposing the candidate's opponent is treated as a single committee if each committee includes the candidate or a member of the candidate's immediate family. Sec. 253.207. ATTRIBUTION OF CONTRIBUTIONS MADE BY MINORS. Provides that a political contribution by a person under 18 years of age who has not had the disabilities of minority removed is considered to be a contribution by the person's parents. Attributes 50 percent to each parent, unless there is only one custodial parent, in which case the contribution is attributed 100 percent to that parent. Sec. 253.208. COORDINATED CONTRIBUTION CONSIDERED CONTRIBUTION TO CANDIDATE OR OFFICEHOLDER. Provides that for purposes of Sections 253.203, 253.204, and 253.205, a political contribution that is a coordinated contribution to a specificpurpose committee for supporting a candidate, opposing the candidate's opponent, or assisting the candidate as an officeholder is considered to be a political contribution to the candidate or officeholder. Sec. 253.209. AFFIDAVIT REQUIRED IN CONNECTION WITH INDEPENDENT CAMPAIGN EXPENDITURE. Provides that a person who makes an independent campaign expenditure in connection with a campaign for legislative office must file an affidavit with the commission stating that the expenditure was not provided in coordination with a candidate or a candidate's agent or a person who is coordinating with a candidate or a candidate's agent. Provides that the affidavit must be filed with the report under Chapter 254 in which the independent campaign expenditure is required to be reported. Sec. 253.210. RETURN OF EXCESS CONTRIBUTION. Requires a person who receives a political contribution, the acceptance of which would violate Section 253.203 or 253.204, to return the contribution to the contributor within 10 days of receipt. Provides that if the contribution is not returned within 10 days, it is considered to be accepted. Sec. 253.211. NOTICE OF COORDINATED CONTRIBUTION OR INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURE BY POLITICAL COMMITTEE. Requires the campaign treasurer of a political committee to notify each candidate in the race and the Texas Ethics Commission (commission) of a coordinated contribution or independent campaign expenditure supporting or opposing a candidate within two days. Sets forth the required contents of the notice. SECTION 2. Amends Section 253.003(c), Election Code, to exempt Subchapter G from the provisions of this section. SECTION 3. Amends Section 253.004(b), Election Code, to exempt Subchapter G from the provisions of this section. SECTION 4. Amends Section 253.132, Election Code, to provide that a person who knowingly makes a political contribution to a political committee in violation of Section 253.204 is liable for damages as provided by this section to each political committee of opposing interest in the election in connection with which the contribution is made. Redefines "damages." Redesignates Subsection (c) to (d). SECTION 5. Amends Section 254.034, Election Code, by adding Subsection (f), which provides that this section applies to a political contribution covered by Subchapter G, Chapter 253, except as provided by Section 253.210. SECTION 6. Amends Subchapter C, Chapter 254, Election Code, by adding Section 254.0612, as follows: Sec. 254.0612. ADDITIONAL CONTENTS OF REPORTS BY CANDIDATES FOR LEGISLATIVE OFFICE. Sets forth additional information which must be included in reports by candidates for offices covered by Subchapter G, Chapter 253. SECTION 7. Amends Subchapter D, Chapter 254, Election Code, by adding Section 254.0912, as follows: Sec. 254.0912. ADDITIONAL CONTENTS OF REPORTS BY LEGISLATIVE OFFICEHOLDERS. Sets forth additional information which must be included in reports by officeholders of offices covered by Subchapter G, Chapter 253 for each coordinated contribution of which the officeholder receives notice under Section 253.211. SECTION 8. Amends Subchapter E, Chapter r254, Election Code, by adding Section 254.1212, as follows: Sec. 254.1212. ADDITIONAL CONTENTS OF REPORTS OF CERTAIN COMMITTEES. Sets forth additional information which must be included in reports by a political committee for supporting or opposing a candidate for or assisting a holder of an office covered by Subchapter G, Chapter 253, for each coordinated contribution of which the committee is required to give notice under Section 253.211. SECTION 9. Amends Subchapter F, Chapter 254, Election Code, by adding Section 254.1541, as follows: Sec. 254.1541. ADDITIONAL REPORTS OF EXPENDITURES IN CONNECTION WITH CAMPAIGNS FOR LEGISLATIVE OFFICE. Requires a political committee which makes a political expenditure supporting or opposing a candidate for a legislative office to file a report with the commission within 48 hours of making the expenditure. Sets forth the contents which must be included in the report. SECTION 10. Effective date: September 1, 1999. Makes application of this Act prospective. SECTION 11. Emergency clause.