As state legislatures start to adjourn from their sessions, this time of year usually brings to light campaign finance legislation that was passed and signed into law. This summer is no exception!
Many states raised their campaign contribution limits this year. Most of these increases were based on the rising cost of living as some states include indexing contribution limits for inflation in their campaign finance statutes. However, in some states like New York, the contribution limits were lowered slightly.
Several states enacted legislation this year that changes their existing campaign finance reporting rules. For instance, Virginia previously required state PACs to file campaign finance reports on a quarterly basis. Going forward, PACs will instead file five reports per year as well as additional reports due within 24 hours if a PAC receives or spends $1,000 or more close to an election. Tennessee eliminated the requirement for state-registered PACs to register and file campaign finance reports in any county where they make county or local political contributions. All reporting going forward will be done at the state level only through the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance. In Wyoming, Federal PACs will once again be required to register and file campaign finance reports with the state when making contributions to Wyoming non-federal candidates.
There is also a growing trend in state legislatures to introduce bills that prohibit “foreign participation” in state elections. At the Federal level, foreign nationals have been banned from participating in the political process for a long time. Some states are simply codifying the Federal ban into their state laws. While others are taking it a step further. This year, Minnesota enacted a ban on political spending by foreign-influenced corporations and LLCs. A legal challenge to the law is likely with the definition of “foreign influence” at the center of the debate. This ban appears to impact many publicly traded companies who have foreign shareholders through the sale of company stock on the exchanges.
When you choose PASS for your federal and state PAC compliance needs, you can rest assured we’ve got you covered. PASS will continue watching closely as states consider and enact campaign finance legislation.