Key Campaign Finance Reform Provisions in Budget Repair Bill

Campaign finance reform provision in the 2002 budget repair bill. Key Campaign Finance Reform Provisions in Budget Repair Bill

As enacted July 26, 2002

July 29, 2003

Provides public grants to candidates
Qualifying for grants
Spending limits
Initial grants
Supplemental grants
Funding source for grants

Limits campaign spending

Enhances disclosure of election-related activities

Other provisions
State Elections Boad reform
"Pay to Play"
Public broadcasting
Declaratory action
Nonseverability

Provides public grants to candidates

Qualifying for grants  

  • Requires legislative candidates to raise 6% of the spending limit ($3,000 for Assembly and $6,000 for Senate) in individual contributions of $100 or less, 45% of which must come from counties included in the district. All other candidates must raise 5% of the spending limit.
  • Candidates must win their primary with at least 6% of the total votes cast.
  • If a candidate has a campaign account balance that equals or exceeds 100% of the spending limit, the candidate is not eligible for a grant.

Spending limits

  • $2 million for Governor
  • $500,000 for Lieutenant Governor
  • $700,000 for Attorney General
  • $300,000 for Supreme Court Justice
  • $250,000 for Secretary of State, Treasurer and Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • $100,000 for State Senate
  • $50,000 for State Assembly

Initial grants

  • Candidates for Governor receive a supplement equal to 35% of the spending limit, while all other candidates receive 40% of the limit. Supreme Court Justice candidates get first draw on available grant funds.

Supplemental grants

  • Candidates receive a supplement equal to a non-grant opponent’s spending over the disbursement limit.
  • Candidates receive a grant equal to the value of any independent or issue ad spending exceeding 5% of the spending limit for that office, to be administered to candidates by the political parties.

Funding source for grants

  • Increases the current $1 income tax check-off to $20, with the option to designate the funds for any eligible candidates or only for candidates of a political party with ballot status, as defined by receiving 1% of the vote during the last statewide election.

Limits campaign spending

  • Bans PAC-to-PAC transfers, except between poltical party committees and between affiliated entities of the same organization.
  • Grant candidates may not accept PAC money.
  • Individual and committee contribution limits are reduced by 50% for non-grant candidates.
  • Bans incumbent fundraising during the state budget process and during floorperiods, special or extraordinary sessions.
  • Eliminates the leadership-controlled legislative campaign committees.

Enhances disclosure of election-related activities

  • On the 30th day before an election, independent expenditure and issue ad groups must report their intended activities for the next 30 days. 60 days prior to the election, groups must report within 24 hours of making any disbursements or incurring obligations exceeding $250.

Other provisions

State Elections Board reform

  • Adds one full-time campaign finance investigator and one full-time auditor to the board’s staff to strengthen its investigatory functions.

“Pay to Play”

  • Makes it explicitly illegal to exchange legislative action or inaction for campaign contributions.

Public broadcasting

  • Requires public TV stations to provide a minimum amount of free air time to candidates for state office.

Declaratory action

  • The Attorney General must commence a declaratory action within 60 days of enactment of the budget repair bill, asking the court to determine if the campaign finance reform provisions are constitutional.

Nonseverability

  • If a court finds any part of the proposals except for public broadcasting unconstitutional, then the entire proposal is void.