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AB-1141 Political Reform Act of 1974: misuse of funds.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 03/26/2019 09:00 PM
AB1141:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 26, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1141


Introduced by Assembly Member Melendez

February 21, 2019


An act to amend Section 82013 of add Section 85300.5 the Government Code, relating to the Political Reform Act of 1974.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1141, as amended, Melendez. Political Reform Act of 1974: committees. misuse of funds.
Existing law prohibits the use of public resources for a campaign activity or personal or other purposes that are not authorized by law. Existing law subjects a person who intentionally or negligently violates this prohibition to a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 for each day on which a violation occurs, plus 3 times the value of the unlawful use of public resources.
The Political Reform Act of 1974 establishes the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) as the agency responsible for enforcing the act. The act generally prohibits a public officer from expending, and a candidate from accepting, public moneys for the purpose of seeking elective office. The act authorizes the Commission to seek and impose administrative and civil penalties against persons who violate the act, as prescribed.
This bill would amend the Political Reform Act of 1974 to prohibit any elected state or local officer, including any state or local appointee, employee, consultant, or agency, from using or permitting others to use public resources for a campaign activity. The bill would authorize the FPPC to impose an administrative or civil penalty against a person for a misuse of public resources for campaign activity, not to exceed $1,000 for each day on which a violation occurs, plus 3 times the value of the unlawful use of public resources.
The Political Reform Act of 1974, an initiative measure, provides that the Legislature may amend the act to further the act’s purposes upon a 2/3 vote of each house of the Legislature and compliance with specified procedural requirements.
This bill would declare that it furthers the purposes of the act.

The Political Reform Act of 1974 provides for the comprehensive regulation of campaign financing, including requiring the reporting of campaign contributions and expenditures and imposing other reporting and recordkeeping requirements on campaign committees, as defined.

This bill would make technical, nonsubstantive changes to the definition of “committee” for these purposes.

Vote: MAJORITY2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 85300.5 is added to the Government Code, to read:

85300.5.
 (a) It is unlawful for any elected state or local officer, including any state or local appointee, employee, consultant, or agency, to use or permit others to use public resources for a campaign activity.
(b) For purposes of this section:
(1) “Campaign activity” means an activity constituting a contribution as defined in Section 82015 or an expenditure as defined in Section 82025. “Campaign activity” does not include the incidental and minimal use of public resources, such as equipment or office space, for campaign purposes, including the referral of unsolicited political mail, telephone calls, and visitors to private political entities.
(2) “Public resources” means any property or asset owned by the state or any local agency, including, but not limited to, land, buildings, facilities, funds, equipment, supplies, telephones, computers, vehicles, travel, and state-compensated time.
(3) “Use” means a use of public resources that is substantial enough to result in a gain or advantage to the user or a loss to the state or any local agency for which a monetary value may be estimated.
(c) (1)   In lieu of any other penalty under this title, any person who intentionally or negligently violates this section is liable for an administrative or civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each day on which a violation occurs, plus three times the value of the unlawful use of public resources. If two or more persons are responsible for any violation, they shall be jointly and severally liable for the penalty.
(2) The moneys recovered shall be paid into the General Fund.
(3) A civil or administrative action alleging a violation of this section shall not be commenced more than four years after the date the alleged violation occurred.
(d) This section does not prohibit the use of public resources for providing information to the public about the possible effects of any bond issue or other ballot measure on state activities, operations, or policies, if (1) the informational activities are otherwise authorized by the constitution or laws of this state, and (2) the information provided constitutes a fair and impartial presentation of relevant facts to aid the electorate in reaching an informed judgment regarding the bond issue or ballot measure.

SEC. 2.

 The Legislature finds and declares that this bill furthers the purposes of the Political Reform Act of 1974 within the meaning of subdivision (a) of Section 81012 of the Government Code.
SECTION 1.Section 82013 of the Government Code is amended to read:
82013.

“Committee” means any person or combination of persons who directly or indirectly does any of the following:

(a)Receives contributions totaling two thousand dollars ($2,000) or more in a calendar year.

(b)Makes independent expenditures totaling one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more in a calendar year.

(c)Makes contributions totaling ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more in a calendar year to or at the behest of candidates or committees.

A person or combination of persons that becomes a committee shall retain its status as a committee until that status is terminated pursuant to Section 84214.