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No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
SB 1980 would update various statutes affected by the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010. This bill would redefine the term "political committee" as two or more persons acting in concert with a principal purpose of accepting political contributions or making political expenditures. It would clarify that a campaign expenditure does not constitute a contribution if the expenditure is made without the prior consent or approval of the candidate or officeholder on whose behalf the contribution was made.
Additionally, for purposes of determining whether a campaign expenditure qualifies as a direct campaign expenditure, communication between a person and a candidate or officeholder is not evidence that the person obtained the candidate or officeholder's consent or approval for a campaign expenditure made after the communication unless the communication establishes that: (1) the expenditure is incurred at the request or suggestion of the candidate; (2) the candidate is materially involved in decisions regarding the creation, production, or distribution of a campaign communication related to the expenditure; or (3) the candidate shares information about the candidate's plans or needs that is material to the creation, production, or distribution of a campaign communication related to the expenditure and is not available to the public.
This bill would also require a campaign treasurer appointment by a general-purpose or specific-purpose committee to include an affidavit stating certain information; specify that filing such an affidavit does not create any additional reporting requirements with regard to a direct campaign expenditure exceeding $100; authorize a corporation or labor organization making such an expenditure to make campaign contributions from its own property to a political committee that has filed such an affidavit; and include an expenditure for creating and maintaining a public web page of a general-purpose committee that does not contain political advertising among the permissible political expenditures a corporation may make, among other things.
Texas Action remains neutral on SB 1980 as it does not affect any of our liberty principles.