84(R) - 2015
House State Affairs
House State Affairs
Relating to political contributions and political expenditures; providing civil penalties; creating criminal offenses.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
This legislation would amend campaign reporting within the Election Code in the following ways:
- Increases from $500 to $3,000 the caps on both the total
amount of political contributions that a committee may knowingly accept and the total amount of
political expenditures that such a committee may make or authorize at a time when a campaign
treasurer appointment for the committee is not in effect.
- Sets a lower cap of $1,000 on both the political contributions knowingly accepted and the political
expenditures made or authorized by a specific-purpose committee in a calendar year at a time
when a campaign treasurer appointment for the committee is not in effect.
- Extends from two years to four years the retention period for a candidate's or
officeholder's records of all reportable activity, including records of all political contributions,
political expenditures, or other activity required to be reported to the Texas Ethics Commission.
- Increases from $50 to $100 the minimum threshold on aggregated amounts of
certain political contributions, loans, or expenditures accepted by or made to or by a person,
committee, legislative caucus, or candidate for judicial office.
- Authorizes a report filed with an authority other than the commission to be filed
electronically by using computer software developed by the commission.
Vote Recommendation Notes
We oppose this legislation on the limited government, and personal responsibility principle. This bill would require campaigns and committees to keep records for at least four years, as opposed to the current two years. This often causes confusion and often wrong investigations of campaigns for Ethics violations based on laws that have been amended or adjusted within those four years. The government ends up citing campaigns and committees on technicalities rather than intentional violations of the Election Code.