Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 24.2. Elections
Chapter 9.3. Campaign Finance Disclosure Act of 2006
11/29/2021

Article 2. State Board and Local Electoral Board Responsibilities.

§ 24.2-946. Summary of election laws; forms; instructions.

A. The State Board shall summarize the provisions of the election laws relating to the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act of 2006 and provide for distribution of this summary and prescribed forms to each candidate, person, or committee on request or upon their first filing with the State Board pursuant to this chapter, whichever occurs first.

B. The Board shall designate the forms required for complying with this chapter which shall be the only such forms used in complying with the provisions of this chapter.

C. The Board shall provide, with the summary required by this section, instructions for persons filing reports pursuant to this chapter to assist them in completing the reports. The instructions shall include directions for the reporting of filing fees for any party nomination method.

D. The Board shall provide instructions for candidates who seek election for successive terms in the same office for the filing of reports within each appropriate election cycle for the office and for the aggregation of contributions within each election cycle.

E. The Board shall provide, with the summary required by this section, to each candidate, person, or committee on request or upon their first filing with the State Board pursuant to this chapter, whichever occurs first, a copy of a written explanation prepared by the Attorney General of the provisions of the Act that prohibit the personal use of campaign funds. The explanation shall cover the provisions that prohibit the personal use of campaign funds and shall delineate the differences between prohibited personal uses of campaign funds and permitted uses of the funds.

1970, c. 462, § 24.1-252; 1975, c. 515; 1983, c. 119; 1992, c. 447; 1993, c. 641, § 24.2-903; 1996, c. 405; 2006, cc. 787, 892; 2010, c. 268.

§ 24.2-946.1. Standards and requirements for electronic preparation and transmittal of campaign finance disclosure reports; database.

A. The State Board shall review or cause to be developed and shall approve standards for the preparation, production, and transmittal by computer or electronic means of campaign finance reports required by this chapter. The State Board may prescribe the method of execution and certification of and the procedures for receiving electronically filed campaign finance reports required by this chapter in the office of the State Board or any local electoral board. The State Board may provide campaign finance report-creation software to filers without charge or at a reasonable cost.

B. The State Board shall accept any campaign finance report filed by candidates for the General Assembly and statewide office by computer or electronic means in accordance with the standards approved by the Board and using software meeting standards approved by it. This information shall be made available to the public promptly by the Board through the Internet.

C. The State Board of Elections shall develop and implement a centralized system to accept reports from candidates for local and constitutional offices. Such reports shall be filed in accordance with, and using software that meets, standards approved by the State Board. The State Board shall promptly notify the general registrar of the locality in which a candidate resides and make the information contained in the report available to the general registrar. In the case of a former candidate who is no longer seeking election but has not yet filed a final report as required by § 24.2-948.4, the State Board shall promptly notify the general registrar of the locality in which he sought office and make the information contained in the report available to such general registrar.

D. The State Board shall enter or cause to be entered into a campaign finance database, available to the public through the Internet, the information from required campaign finance reports filed by computer, electronic, or other means by candidates for the General Assembly and statewide office.

E. Other campaign finance reports required by this chapter to be filed by a committee with the State Board or a general registrar, or both, may be filed electronically on terms agreed to by the committee and the Board.

1996, c. 687, § 24.2-914.1; 1997, cc. 364, 392; 1998, c. 416; 1999, c. 864; 2000, cc. 511, 555; 2003, c. 242; 2006, cc. 787, 892; 2007, cc. 151, 286; 2015, cc. 644, 645; 2018, c. 683; 2020, c. 769.

§ 24.2-946.2. Custody of reports; inspection and copying; exception for certain information.

A. All campaign finance reports required to be filed under this chapter shall be open to inspection by any person during the business hours of the office in which they are filed. Copies shall be produced for any person requesting them who shall pay the reasonable cost of the copies. Copies of such reports certified by the principal administrative officer in whose office they are kept shall be evidence in all courts to the same extent as the original report would be if produced and proved.

Upon request from an individual granted protected voter status under the provisions of subsection B of § 24.2-418, the State Board shall replace the individual's residence address in copies of campaign finance reports available to the public with the individual's alternative mailing address found in the Virginia voter registration system.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to grant public access to information not required to be entered into the campaign finance database under this chapter that candidates or committees may include in campaign finance report-creation software managed by or for the State Board.

B. The following applies to campaign finance reports filed by candidate campaign committees:

1. Every officer or general registrar, with whom reports are required to be filed by this chapter, shall file and preserve such reports and keep them as part of the office's records for at least one year after the final report is filed, or through the next general election for the office to which they pertain, whichever is later; or in the case of a candidate who has not filed a final report and seeks election to the same office in a successive election, through the next general election for the office to which they pertain.

2. The State Board shall file and preserve as part of its records the reports required to be filed with it by this chapter for at least one year after the final report is filed, or through the next general election for the office to which they pertain, whichever is later; or in the case of a candidate who has not filed a final report and seeks election to the same office in a successive election, through the next general election for the office to which they pertain. Thereafter, the State Board shall forward the reports it preserves to The Library of Virginia for preservation under the Virginia Public Records Act (§ 42.1-76 et seq.).

C. The following applies to campaign finance reports filed by political committees:

1. Every officer or general registrar, with whom reports are required to be filed by this chapter, shall file and preserve such reports as part of the office's records for at least four years after the reporting deadline or one year after the final report is filed.

2. The State Board shall file and preserve as part of its records the reports required to be filed with it by this chapter for at least four years after the reporting deadline or one year after the final report is filed. Thereafter, the State Board shall forward the reports it preserves to The Library of Virginia for preservation under the Virginia Public Records Act (§ 42.1-76 et seq.).

1970, c. 462, § 24.1-261; 1980, c. 639; 1982, c. 650; 1983, c. 119; 1993, cc. 396, 641, § 24.2-926; 1994, c. 64; 1996, c. 6; 2004, c. 457; 2006, cc. 787, 892; 2010, c. 297; 2012, c. 527; 2015, cc. 644, 645.

§ 24.2-946.3. Reporting of certain violations; penalties.

A. It shall be the duty of the State Board to report any violation of the provisions of this chapter to the appropriate attorney for the Commonwealth. The State Board shall report to the attorney for the Commonwealth of the City of Richmond in the case of reporting requirements for campaign committees for statewide office and to the attorney for the Commonwealth of the county or city of the residence of a candidate for the General Assembly. For political committees, the State Board shall report the violation to the attorney for the Commonwealth of the City of Richmond. If all the officers of a political committee are residents of one county or city as shown on the statement of organization required by this chapter, the State Board shall report violations for that political committee to the attorney for the Commonwealth of that county or city.

B. It shall be the duty of the general registrar of a county or city to report any violation of the provisions of this chapter relating to the filing of campaign finance reports required to be filed with the general registrar to the attorney for the Commonwealth for the county or city in which the general registrar has jurisdiction.

C. In order to fulfill the duty to report violations pursuant to subsections A and B, the Board shall establish and implement a system for receiving, cataloging, and reviewing reports filed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and for verifying that reports are complete and submitted on time. As part of the system referred to in this subsection, the general registrar for each county and city shall be required, in accordance with instructions provided by the Board, to receive, catalog, and review the reports filed with the general registrar and to verify that the reports are complete and submitted on time.

D. The State Board, and the general registrar in accordance with the instructions of the State Board, (i) shall assess and collect the civil penalties provided in Article 8 (§ 24.2-953 et seq.) and (ii) if unable to collect the penalty, shall report the violation to the appropriate attorney for the Commonwealth for enforcement.

E. The State Board, or the general registrar in accordance with the instructions of the State Board, shall notify, no later than 21 days after the report due date, any person submitting an incomplete report of the need for additional information. The State Board, or the general registrar in accordance with the instructions of the State Board, may request additional information to correct obvious mathematical errors and to fulfill the requirements for information on the reports.

F. Upon notice of a violation of this chapter, the State Board or the general registrar shall within 90 days of the report deadline notify the appropriate attorney for the Commonwealth, who shall initiate civil proceedings to enforce the civil penalties assessed by the State Board or the general registrar as provided herein. Any civil penalties collected pursuant to action by the State Board shall be payable to the State Treasurer for deposit to the general fund, and any civil penalties collected pursuant to action by a general registrar shall be payable to the treasurer of the locality for deposit to its general fund.

G. In the case of any political committee that is required to file a statement of organization pursuant to this chapter, the State Board shall be authorized to waive a penalty that has been assessed if the filer demonstrates that there exists good cause to waive the penalty.

H. The State Board shall notify the public through its official Internet website of any violation based on the failure to file a required report by a candidate for statewide office or the General Assembly and the identity of the violator.

I. The State Board shall determine the schedule of civil penalties required to be followed by its staff and general registrars in assessing penalties under this chapter. No election official or staff may waive or reduce such penalties, except as provided in § 24.2-946.4.

1975, c. 515, § 24.1-262; 1979, c. 370, § 24.1-263; 1990, c. 976; 1991, c. 709; 1993, cc. 393, 641, §§ 24.2-928, 24.2-929; 1994, cc. 752, 903; 1995, c. 785; 1996, cc. 395, 405; 1998, c. 153; 2000, cc. 511, 555; 2001, cc. 620, 635, 648; 2002, c. 468; 2004, cc. 457, 480; 2005, cc. 9, 371, 676, 745; 2006, cc. 787, 892; 2015, cc. 644, 645.

§ 24.2-946.4. Right to grant extensions in special circumstances.

A. The State Board shall provide instructions to filers for delivery of campaign finance reports within the time periods prescribed by law.

B. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any candidate or treasurer required to file a report pursuant to this chapter shall be entitled to a 72-hour extension of the filing deadline if his spouse, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, or sibling died within the 72 hours before the deadline. The State Board or the general registrar shall be authorized to grant an extension of the filing deadline for a period not to exceed five days for good cause shown by the filer and found by the Board or registrar sufficient to justify the granting of the extension.

C. The Commissioner of Elections shall have additional authority to extend a deadline established in this chapter for filing reports in emergency situations that interfere with the timely filing of reports. The extension shall be limited in scope to the areas and times affected by the emergency. The provisions of this subsection shall be applicable only in the case of an emergency declared by the Governor pursuant to Chapter 3.2 (§ 44-146.13 et seq.) of Title 44 or declared by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Governor by executive order as an emergency for the purposes of this subsection.

D. The Commissioner of Elections shall have additional authority to extend a deadline established in this chapter for filing reports for a reasonable period for a candidate who serves as his own campaign treasurer and who is a member of a uniformed service of the United States called to active duty during a reporting period.

E. The State Board shall have authority to extend any deadline applicable to reports required to be filed by computer or electronic means in the event of a failure of the computer or electronic filing system that prevents timely filing. The extension shall not exceed a period of up to five days after restoration of the filing system to operating order.

F. The State Board shall have authority also to grant extensions as provided in §§ 24.2-503 and 24.2-948.3.

1975, c. 515, § 24.1-262; 1984, c. 480, § 24.1-257.1; 1986, c. 558, § 24.1-257.2; 1988, c. 734; 1990, c. 976; 1991, cc. 9, 709; 1993, c. 641, §§ 24.2-927, 24.2-929; 1994, c. 752; 1995, c. 785; 1996, c. 687, § 24.2-914.1; 1997, cc. 364, 392; 1998, c. 416; 1999, c. 864; 2000, cc. 234, 511, 555; 2001, cc. 620, 635, 648; 2002, cc. 468, 652; 2003, cc. 242, 726; 2004, cc. 457, 480; 2005, cc. 9, 371, 676, 745; 2006, cc. 787, 892; 2013, c. 542; 2015, cc. 644, 645.

§ 24.2-946.5. Dormant committees.

A. The State Board or the general registrar of any county or city may close the file of any candidate campaign committee or political committee required to file with it provided the committee has not filed a final report and the Board or registrar cannot locate either the candidate or his campaign treasurer, or in the case of any political committee, the Board or registrar cannot locate the treasurer or custodian of the books of the committee. A candidate campaign committee file shall not be closed if the candidate has filed a report with the Board or registrar for any campaign for any office within the prior five years. A political committee file shall not be closed if the committee has filed a report within the prior five years.

B. Once the committee's file has been closed, no more reports will be due and no additional penalties for failure to file will accrue. However, if the whereabouts of the candidate or his campaign treasurer, or in the case of any political committee, the treasurer or custodian of the books of the committee, later becomes known to the Board or registrar, it may reopen the file and send notice to the candidate, or in the case of any political committee, the treasurer or custodian of the books of the committee, requesting that he file the appropriate reports and pay any penalties that were levied before the file was closed by it.

1975, c. 515, § 24.1-262; 1984, c. 480, § 24.1-257.1; 1986, c. 558, § 24.1-257.2; 1988, c. 734; 1990, c. 976; 1991, c. 709; 1993, c. 641, § 24.2-929; 1994, c. 752; 1995, c. 785; 2000, cc. 233, 511, 555, §§ 24.2-920.1, 24.2-923.1; 2001, cc. 620, 635, 648; 2004, cc. 457, 480; 2005, cc. 9, 371, 676, 745; 2006, cc. 787, 892; 2015, cc. 644, 645.