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ง 13-307. Electioneering Communication Report

ง 13-307. Electioneering communication report

   (a) Definitions. --

   (1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.

   (2) (i) "Donation" means the gift or transfer, or promise of gift or transfer, of money or other thing of value to a person that makes disbursements for electioneering communications.

      (ii) "Donation" does not include any amount of money or any other thing of value:

         1. received by a person in the ordinary course of any trade or business conducted by the person, whether for profit or not for profit, or in the form of investments in the person's business; or

         2. A. that the donor and the person receiving the money or thing of value expressly agree in writing may not be used for electioneering communications; and

            B. in the case of a monetary donation, is deposited in a separate bank account that is never used for electioneering communications.

   (3) (i) "Electioneering communication" means a broadcast television or radio communication, a cable television communication, a satellite television or radio communication, a mass mailing, an e-mail blast, a text blast, a telephone bank, or an advertisement in a print publication that:

         1. refers to a clearly identified candidate or ballot issue;

         2. is made within 60 days of an election day on which the candidate or ballot issue is on the ballot;

         3. is capable of being received by:

            A. 50,000 or more individuals in the constituency where the candidate or ballot issue is on the ballot, if the communication is transmitted by television or radio; or

            B. 5,000 or more individuals in the constituency where the candidate or ballot issue is on the ballot, if the communication is a mass mailing, an e-mail blast, a text blast, a telephone bank, or an advertisement in a print publication; and

         4. is not made in coordination with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, a campaign finance entity of a candidate, an agent of a candidate, or a ballot issue committee.

      (ii) "Electioneering communication" does not include:

         1. an independent expenditure;

         2. a news story, a commentary, or an editorial disseminated by a broadcasting station, including a cable television operator, programmer, or producer, or satellite television or radio provider that is not controlled by a candidate or political party;

         3. a candidate debate or forum;

         4. an internal membership communication by a business or other entity to its stockholders or members and executive and administrative personnel and their immediate families, or by a membership entity, as defined under ง 13-243 of this title, to its members, executive and administrative personnel and their immediate families; or

         5. a communication that proposes a commercial transaction.

      (iii) For purposes of this paragraph, "clearly identified" means:

         1. the name of a candidate appears;

         2. a photograph or drawing of a candidate appears; or

         3. the identity of a candidate or ballot issue is apparent by unambiguous reference.

   (4) "E-mail blast" means a transmission of electronic mail messages of an identical or substantially similar nature to 5,000 or more e-mail accounts simultaneously.

   (5) "Mass mailing" means a mailing by United States mail or facsimile of more than 5,000 pieces of mail matter of an identical or substantially similar nature within any 30-day period.

   (6) (i) "Person" includes an individual, a partnership, a committee, an association, a corporation, a labor organization, or any other organization or group of persons.

      (ii) "Person" does not include a campaign finance entity organized under Subtitle 2, Part II of this title.

   (7) "Telephone bank" means more than 5,000 telephone calls of an identical or substantially similar nature within any 30-day period.

   (8) "Text blast" means a transmission of text messages of an identical or substantially similar nature to 5,000 or more telephone numbers simultaneously.

(b) In general -- Disbursements of $5,000 or more. -- Within 48 hours after a person makes aggregate disbursements of $ 5,000 or more in an election cycle for electioneering communications, the person shall file a registration form with the State Board.

(c) In general -- Disbursements of $10,000 or more. -- Within 48 hours after a day on which a person makes aggregate disbursements of $ 10,000 or more in an election cycle for electioneering communications, the person shall file an electioneering communication report with the State Board.

(d) Additional report. -- A person who files an electioneering communication report under subsection (c) of this section shall file an additional electioneering communication report with the State Board within 48 hours after a day on which the person makes aggregate disbursements of $ 10,000 or more for electioneering communications following the closing date of the person's previous electioneering communication report.

(e) Contents. -- An electioneering communication report shall include the following information:

   (1) the identity of the person making disbursements for electioneering communications and of any person exercising direction or control over the activities of the person making the disbursements for electioneering communications;

   (2) the business address of the person making the disbursements for electioneering communications;

   (3) the amount and date of each disbursement for electioneering communications during the period covered by the report and the person to whom the disbursement was made;

   (4) the candidate or ballot issue to which the electioneering communications relate;

   (5) the identity of each person who made cumulative donations of $ 6,000 or more to the person making the disbursements for electioneering communications during the period covered by the report.

(f) Execution of contract to make independent expenditure. --

   (1) For purposes of this section, a person shall be considered to have made a disbursement for an electioneering communication if the person has executed a contract to make a disbursement for an electioneering communication.

   (2) A person who makes a contribution to a campaign finance entity may not be considered to have made a disbursement for electioneering communications under this section because of the contribution.

(g) Cost of communications. -- The cost of creating and disseminating electioneering communications, including any design and production costs, shall be considered in determining the aggregate amount of disbursements for electioneering communications made by a person under this section.

(h) Who shall sign and file report. -- The treasurer or other individual designated by an entity required to file an electioneering communication report under this section:

   (1) shall sign each electioneering communication report; and

   (2) is responsible for filing electioneering communication reports in full and accurate detail.

(i) Failure to file; penalties. --

   (1) A person who fails to provide on an electioneering communication report all of the information required by this section shall file an amended report as provided in ง 13-327(b) of this subtitle.

   (2) (i) Except as provided in subparagraph (ii) of this paragraph, in addition to any other sanction provided by law, the State Board may assess a civil penalty for failure to file properly an electioneering communication report or an amended electioneering communication report in an amount not exceeding the greater of:

         1. $ 1,000 for each day or part of a day that an electioneering communication report or amended electioneering communication report is overdue; or

         2. 10% of the amount of the donations or disbursements for electioneering communications that were not reported in a timely manner.

      (ii) If the failure to file properly an electioneering communication report or an amended electioneering communication report occurs more than 28 days before the day of a primary or general election, the State Board may assess a civil penalty in an amount not exceeding the greater of:

         1. $ 100 for each day or part of a day that an electioneering communication report or amended electioneering communication report is overdue; or

         2. 10% of the amount of the donations or disbursements for electioneering communications that were not reported in a timely manner.

   (3) A penalty under paragraph (2) of this subsection shall be:

      (i) assessed in the manner specified in ง 13-604.1 of this title; and

      (ii) distributed to the Fair Campaign Financing Fund established under ง 15-103 of this article.

   (4) A person who fails to file properly an electioneering communication report or amended electioneering communication report under this section may seek relief from a penalty under paragraph (2) of this subsection for just cause as provided in ง 13-337 of this subtitle.

(j) Additional requirements. --

   (1) An entity required to file an electioneering communication report under this section shall do at least one of the following, unless neither are applicable to the entity:

      (i) if the entity submits regular, periodic reports to its shareholders, members, or donors, include in each report in a clear and conspicuous manner, the information specified in subsection (e)(3) through (5) of this section for each disbursement for electioneering communications made during the period covered by the report that must be included in an electioneering communication report; or

      (ii) if the entity maintains an Internet site, post on that Internet site a hyperlink from its homepage to the Internet site where the entity's electioneering communication report information is publicly available.

   (2) (i) An entity shall post the hyperlink required under paragraph (1)(ii) of this subsection within 24 hours of the entity's electioneering communication report information being made publicly available on the Internet.

      (ii) The hyperlink shall remain posted on the entity's Internet site until the end of the election cycle during which the entity filed an electioneering communication report.

(k) Detailed and accurate records. --

   (1) A person required to file an electioneering communication report under this section shall keep detailed and accurate records of:

      (i) all disbursements for electioneering communications made by the person; and

      (ii) all donations received by the person.

   (2) Records required to be kept under this subsection shall be preserved until 2 years after the end of the election cycle in which the person filed the electioneering communication report to which the records relate.

(l) Regulations. -- The State Board may adopt regulations as necessary to implement the requirements of this section.

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Local Government
Maryland
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Larry Hogan
Larry Hogan
January 21, 2015 -
Republican
1-410-974-3400
100 State Circle, Annapolis, MD, 21401

Keywords
communication
election
electioneering
report
file
communications
disbursement
entity
disbursements
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