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					                                   South Carolina General Assembly
                                       117th Session, 2007-2008

S. 205

STATUS INFORMATION

General Bill
Sponsors: Senator Pinckney
Document Path: l:\council\bills\swb\5049dw07.doc
Companion/Similar bill(s): 3118

Introduced in the Senate on January 9, 2007
Currently residing in the Senate

Summary: Clean Elections Act


HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS

    Date     Body     Action Description with journal page number
12/13/2006   Senate   Prefiled
12/13/2006   Senate   Referred to Committee on Judiciary
  1/9/2007   Senate   Introduced and read first time SJ-120
  1/9/2007   Senate   Referred to Committee on Judiciary SJ-120
 1/17/2007   Senate   Referred to Subcommittee: Moore (ch), Ford, Mescher, Rankin, Scott
 5/23/2007   Senate   Committee report: Favorable with amendment Judiciary SJ-48
 5/24/2007            Scrivener's error corrected

View the latest legislative information at the LPITS web site


VERSIONS OF THIS BILL

12/13/2006
5/23/2007
5/24/2007
 1 COMMITTEE REPORT
 2 May 23, 2007
 3
 4                                                         S. 205
 5
 6                    Introduced by Senator Pinckney
 7
 8   S. Printed 5/23/07--S.                    [SEC 5/24/07 1:49 PM]
 9   Read the first time January 9, 2007.
10
11
12                 THE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
13      To whom was referred a Bill (S. 205) to amend the Code of
14   Laws of South Carolina, 1976, by adding Chapter 14 to Title 8 so
15   as to enact the “South Carolina Clean Elections Act”, to provide,
16   etc., respectfully
17                              REPORT:
18      That they have duly and carefully considered the same and
19   recommend that the same do pass with amendment:
20
21      Amend the bill, as and if amended, by striking all after the
22   enacting words and inserting:
23      / SECTION 1. (A)(1) A South Carolina Clean Elections Study
24   Committee is created to study other states‟ systems of publicly
25   financed campaigns.
26        (2) The study committee must make a report of its findings
27   to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the
28   House of Representatives. In preparing its report, the study
29   committee must consider:
30           (a) statutes, pending legislation, case law, and pilot
31   programs in other states; and
32           (b) information solicited from or provided by experts,
33   studies, and scholarly articles regarding publicly financed
34   campaigns.
35      (B) The study committee must be composed of six members to
36   be appointed as follows:
37        (1) three members of the Senate to be appointed by the
38   President Pro Tempore of the Senate; and
39        (2) three members of the House of Representatives to be
40   appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.



     [205-1]
 1      (C) The President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker
 2   of the House of Representatives shall provide staffing for the study
 3   committee.
 4      (D) The study committee must render its report and
 5   recommendations to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and
 6   the Speaker of the House no later than January 15, 2010, at which
 7   time the study committee must be dissolved.
 8      SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the
 9   Governor.
10   / Amend title to conform.
11
12   THOMAS L. MOORE for Committee.
13




     [205-2]
 1
 2
 3
 4
 5
 6
 7
 8
 9                               A BILL
10
11   TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA,
12   1976, BY ADDING CHAPTER 14 TO TITLE 8 SO AS TO
13   ENACT THE “SOUTH CAROLINA CLEAN ELECTIONS
14   ACT”, TO PROVIDE A PROCEDURE BY WHICH CERTAIN
15   CANDIDATES FOR OFFICE WHO AGREE TO LIMITATIONS
16   ON CONTRIBUTIONS TO RECEIVE A PREDETERMINED
17   AMOUNT OF PUBLIC FUNDS FOR CAMPAIGNS AND TO
18   REQUIRE ELECTRONIC DISCLOSURES FOR ALL
19   CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS TO CANDIDATES AND
20   POLITICAL COMMITTEES.
21
22   Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South
23   Carolina:
24
25   SECTION 1. (A) The General Assembly finds that the current
26   system of privately financed campaigns for election to statewide
27   and legislative offices undermines democracy in this State in the
28   following principal ways:
29        (1) violates the democratic principle of “one person, one
30   vote” and diminishes the meaning of the right to vote by allowing
31   large contributions to have a deleterious influence on the political
32   process;
33        (2) violates the rights of all citizens to equal and meaningful
34   participation in the democratic process;
35        (3) diminishes the free-speech rights of nonwealthy voters
36   and candidates whose voices are drowned out by those who can
37   afford to monopolize the arena of paid political communications;
38        (4) undermines the First Amendment right of voters and
39   candidates to be heard in the political process, undermines the First
40   Amendment right of voters to hear all candidates‟ speeches, and
41   undermines the core First Amendment value of open and robust
42   debate in the political process;

     [205]                             1
 1         (5) fuels the public perception of corruption and undermines
 2   public confidence in the democratic process and democratic
 3   institutions;
 4         (6) diminishes elected officials‟ accountability to their
 5   constituents by compelling them to be disproportionately
 6   accountable to the major contributors who finance their election
 7   campaigns;
 8         (7) creates a danger of actual corruption by encouraging
 9   elected officials to take money from private interests that are
10   directly affected by governmental actions;
11         (8) costs taxpayers millions of dollars for the legislative and
12   regulatory decisions made by elected officials on behalf of major
13   campaign contributors;
14         (9) drives up the cost of election campaigns, making it
15   difficult for qualified candidates without access to large
16   contributors or personal fortunes to mount competitive campaigns;
17         (10) disadvantages challengers, because large campaign
18   contributors tend to give their money to incumbents, thus causing
19   elections to be less competitive;
20         (11) inhibits communication with the electorate by candidates
21   without access to large sums of campaign money; and
22         (12) burdens candidates with the incessant rigors of
23   fundraising and thus decreases the time available to carry out their
24   public responsibilities.
25      (B) The General Assembly finds that providing a voluntary
26   clean elections campaign finance system for all primary, general,
27   and run-off elections would enhance democracy in this State. It
28   would:
29         (1) help eliminate the deleterious influence of large
30   contributions on the political process, remove access to wealth as a
31   major determinant of a citizen‟s influence within the political
32   process, and restore meaning to the principle of “one person, one
33   vote”;
34         (2) help restore the rights of all citizens to equal and
35   meaningful participation in the democratic process;
36         (3) restore the free-speech rights of nonwealthy candidates
37   and voters by providing candidates with the equal resources with
38   which to communicate with the voters;
39         (4) help restore the First Amendment right of voters and
40   candidates to be heard in the political process, restore the First
41   Amendment right of voters to hear all candidates‟ speeches, and
42   restore the core First Amendment value of open and robust debate
43   in the political process;

     [205]                             2
 1        (5) diminish the public perception of corruption and
 2   strengthen public confidence in the democratic process and
 3   democratic institutions;
 4        (6) increase the accountability of elected officials to the
 5   constituents who elect them;
 6        (7) eliminate the danger of actual corruption caused by the
 7   private financing of the election campaigns of public officials, thus
 8   restoring public confidence in the fairness of the electoral and
 9   legislative processes;
10        (8) save taxpayers millions of dollars now wasted due to
11   legislative and regulatory decisions made on behalf of major
12   campaign contributors;
13        (9) halt and reverse the escalating cost of elections;
14        (10) create a more level playing field for incumbents and
15   challengers, create genuine opportunities for qualified residents of
16   this State to run for statewide or legislative offices, and encourage
17   more competitive elections;
18        (11) facilitate communication with the electorate by
19   candidates, regardless of their access to large sums of campaign
20   money; and
21        (12) free candidates from the incessant rigors of raising
22   money, and allow officeholders more time to carry out their
23   official duties.
24      (C) The General Assembly further finds and declares that the
25   unique factual circumstances in this State require that the
26   provisions of this act be enacted to promote the compelling state
27   interests listed in subsection (B) of this section.
28
29   SECTION 2. This act may be known as the “South Carolina
30   Clean Elections Act”.
31
32   SECTION 3. Title 8 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
33
34                             “CHAPTER 14
35
36                   South Carolina Clean Elections Act
37
38      Section 8-14-10. As used in this chapter:
39      (1) „Allowable contribution‟ means a qualifying contribution,
40   or a seed money contribution, or a limited in-kind contribution to a
41   participating candidate from that candidate‟s political party as
42   specified in Section 8-14-250.


     [205]                             3
 1      (2) „Coordination‟, as used in Sections 8-14-200 and 8-14-210,
 2   means a payment made for a communication or anything of value
 3   that is for the purpose of influencing the outcome of a state
 4   election and that is made:
 5        (a) by a person in cooperation, consultation, or concert with,
 6   at the request or suggestion of, or pursuant to a particular
 7   understanding with a candidate, a candidate‟s authorized
 8   committee, or an agent acting on behalf of a candidate or
 9   authorized committee;
10        (b) by a person for the dissemination, distribution, or
11   republication, in whole or in part, of any broadcast or any written,
12   graphic, or other form of campaign material prepared by a
13   candidate, a candidate‟s authorized committee, or an agent of a
14   candidate or authorized committee;
15        (c) based on specific information about the candidate‟s
16   plans, projects, or needs provided to the person making the
17   payment by the candidate or the candidate‟s agent who provides
18   the information with a view toward having the payment made;
19        (d) by a person if, in the same election cycle in which the
20   payment is made, the person making the payment is serving or has
21   served as a member, employee, fundraiser, or agent of the
22   candidate‟s authorized committee in an executive or policymaking
23   position;
24        (e) by a person if the person making the payment has served
25   in any formal policy or advisory position with the candidate‟s
26   campaign or has participated in strategic or policymaking
27   discussions with the candidate‟s campaign relating to the
28   candidate‟s pursuit of nomination for election, or election to a state
29   office, in the same election cycle as the election cycle in which the
30   payment is made; and
31        (f) by a person if the person making the payment retains the
32   professional services of an individual or person who, in a
33   nonministerial capacity, has provided or is providing
34   campaign-related services in the same election cycle to a candidate
35   who is pursuing the same nomination or election as any of the
36   candidates to whom the communication refers.               The term
37   „professional services‟ includes services in support of a candidate‟s
38   pursuit of nomination for election, or election to state office such
39   as polling, media advice, direct mail, fundraising, or campaign
40   research.
41      (3) „Commission‟ means the State Election Commission.
42      (4) „Excess expenditure amount‟ means the amount of money
43   spent or obligated to be spent by a nonparticipating candidate in

     [205]                             4
 1   excess of the clean elections amount available to a participating
 2   candidate running for the same office.
 3      (5) „Exploratory period‟ means the period beginning the day
 4   following the previous general election for that office and ending
 5   on the last day of the qualifying period. This is the period during
 6   which candidates who wish to become eligible for clean elections
 7   funding for the next elections are permitted to raise and spend a
 8   limited amount of private seed money, in contributions of up to
 9   one hundred dollars for each individual, for the purpose of testing
10   the waters and fulfilling the clean elections eligibility
11   requirements. The exploratory period begins before, but extends to
12   the end of, the qualifying period.
13      (6) „General election campaign period‟ means the period
14   beginning the day after the primary election and ending on the day
15   of the general election.
16      (7) „Independent candidate‟ means a candidate who does not
17   represent a political party that has been granted ballot status and
18   holds a primary election to choose its nominee for the general
19   election.
20      (8)(a) „Independent expenditure‟ means an expenditure made
21   by a person or group other than a candidate or candidate‟s
22   authorized committee that:
23             (i) advocates the election or defeat of a candidate; and
24            (ii) is made without the participation or cooperation of and
25   without coordination with a candidate or candidate committee.
26         (b) „Independent expenditure‟ does not include any:
27             (i) news story, commentary, or editorial by a broadcasting
28   station, newspaper, magazine, or other publication, provided such
29   entity is not owned by or affiliated with any candidate or candidate
30   committee; or
31            (ii) newsletter or other communication whose circulation
32   is limited to an organization‟s members, employees, shareholders,
33   other affiliated individuals and those who request or purchase the
34   internal publication.
35      (9) „Mailings‟ are mass mailings of two hundred or more
36   identical or nearly identical pieces of mail sent by candidates or
37   elected officials to the voters, residents, or postal box-holders
38   within the jurisdiction candidates are seeking to represent. These
39   mailings, consisting of substantially identical letters, newsletters,
40   pamphlets, brochures, or other written material are distinct from
41   and exempt from this definition:
42         (a) mailings made in direct response to communications
43   from persons or groups to whom the matter is mailed;

     [205]                             5
 1         (b) mailings to federal, state, or local government officials;
 2   and
 3         (c) news releases to the communications media.
 4      (10) „Nonparticipating candidate‟ means a candidate who is on
 5   the ballot but has chosen not to apply for clean elections campaign
 6   funding, or a candidate who is on the ballot and has applied but has
 7   not satisfied the requirements for receiving clean elections funding.
 8      (11) „Participating candidate‟ means a candidate who qualifies
 9   for clean elections campaign funding. A participating candidate is
10   eligible to receive clean elections funding during primary, general,
11   and run-off election campaign periods.
12      (12) „Party candidate‟ means a candidate who represents a
13   political party that has been granted ballot status and holds a
14   primary election to choose its nominee for the general election.
15      (13) „Person‟ means an individual, proprietorship, firm,
16   partnership, joint venture, syndicate, business trust, company,
17   corporation, limited liability company, association, committee, and
18   any other organization or group of persons acting in concert.
19      (14) „Primary election campaign period‟ means the period
20   beginning ninety days before the primary election and ending on
21   the day of the primary election.
22      (15) „Qualifying contribution‟ means either a contribution of
23   five dollars that is received during the designated qualifying period
24   by a candidate seeking to become eligible for clean elections
25   campaign funding or a signed affidavit of indigence, to be made
26   available to candidates by the commission, stating that the signer is
27   unable to afford a five-dollar contribution. Contributors, including
28   persons who sign affidavits of indigence, must be legal adult
29   residents of the electoral district or state in which the candidate is
30   running. A five-dollar qualifying contribution must be made in
31   cash, or by personal check or money order, made out to the
32   candidate‟s campaign committee. All qualifying contribution
33   monies must be submitted by the candidate‟s campaign committee
34   to the election committee for deposit in the clean elections fund.
35      (16) „Qualifying period‟ means the period during which a
36   candidate is permitted to collect qualifying contributions in order
37   to qualify for clean elections funding. It begins ninety days before
38   the beginning of the primary election campaign period and ends
39   thirty days before the day of the primary election.
40      (17) „Run-off election campaign period‟ means the period
41   beginning the day after the primary or general election that
42   resulted in the need for a run-off election, and ending on the day of
43   the run-off election.

     [205]                             6
 1      (18) „Seed money contribution‟ means a contribution of no more
 2   than one hundred dollars made by an individual adult during the
 3   exploratory period.
 4      (19) „Soft money‟ means money raised by political parties that
 5   is unregulated by state law as to source and size of contributions.
 6   Soft money may not be used to advocate the election or defeat of
 7   particular candidates.
 8
 9      Section 8-14-20. (A) A party candidate qualifies as a
10   participating candidate for the primary election campaign period if:
11        (1) he files a declaration with the commission that he has
12   complied and will comply with all of the requirements of this
13   chapter, including the requirement that during the exploratory
14   period and the qualifying period the candidate not accept or spend
15   private contributions from any source other than seed money
16   contributions and clean elections qualifying contributions, unless
17   the provisions of Section 8-14-40 apply; and
18        (2) he meets the following qualifying contribution
19   requirements before the close of the qualifying period:
20           (a) a party candidate shall collect at least the following
21   number of qualifying contributions:
22                (i) two hundred qualifying contributions for a
23   candidate running for the office of the South Carolina House of
24   Representatives;
25               (ii) four hundred qualifying contributions for a
26   candidate running for the office of the South Carolina Senate;
27              (iii) one thousand five hundred qualifying contributions
28   for candidates running for the office of Comptroller General,
29   Treasurer, Adjutant General, and Secretary of State;
30              (iv) two thousand five hundred qualifying contributions
31   for candidates running for the offices of Superintendent of
32   Education, Attorney General, and Lieutenant Governor; and
33               (v) four thousand qualifying contributions for
34   Governor;
35           (b) each qualifying contribution must be acknowledged by
36   a receipt to the contributor, with a copy submitted to the
37   commission by the candidate. The receipt must include the
38   contributor‟s signature, printed name, home address, and telephone
39   number, and the name of the candidate on whose behalf the
40   contribution is made. In addition, the receipt must indicate
41   whether the qualifying contribution is in the form of five dollars,
42   and by the contributor‟s signature the receipt must indicate that the
43   contributor understands that the purpose of the qualifying

     [205]                             7
 1   contribution is to help the candidate qualify for clean elections
 2   campaign funding and that the contribution is made without
 3   coercion or reimbursement;
 4            (c) a contribution submitted as a qualifying contribution
 5   that does not include a signed and fully completed receipt may not
 6   be counted as a qualifying contribution;
 7            (d) all five-dollar qualifying contributions, whether in the
 8   form of cash, checks, or money orders made out to the candidate‟s
 9   campaign account, must be deposited by the candidate in his
10   campaign account; and
11            (e) all qualifying contribution receipts must be sent to the
12   commission for deposit in the clean elections fund and must be
13   accompanied by a check from the candidate‟s campaign account
14   for the total amount of qualifying contribution monies received.
15   This submission must be accompanied by a signed statement from
16   the candidate indicating that all of the information on the
17   qualifying contribution receipt is complete and accurate to the best
18   of the candidate‟s knowledge and that the amount of the enclosed
19   check is equal to the sum of all the five-dollar qualifying
20   contributions the candidate has received.
21      (B) A party candidate qualifies as a participating candidate for
22   the general election campaign period if:
23         (1) he met all of the applicable requirements and filed a
24   declaration with the commission that he has fulfilled and will
25   fulfill all of the requirements of a participating candidate as stated
26   in this chapter; and
27         (2) as a participating candidate during the primary election
28   campaign period, he had the highest number of votes of the
29   candidates contesting the primary election from his respective
30   party which won him the party‟s nomination.
31
32      Section 8-14-30. (A) An independent candidate qualifies as a
33   participating candidate for the primary election campaign period if:
34        (1) he files a declaration with the commission that he has
35   complied and will comply with all of the requirements of this
36   legislation, including the requirement that during the exploratory
37   period and the qualifying period the candidate not accept or spend
38   private contributions from any source other than seed money
39   contributions and clean elections qualifying contributions unless
40   the provisions of Section 8-14-40 apply; and
41        (2) he meets the following qualifying contribution
42   requirements before the close of the qualifying period:


     [205]                             8
 1            (a) an independent candidate shall collect the same
 2   number of qualifying contributions as a party candidate shall
 3   collect for the same office; and
 4            (b) each qualifying contribution must be:
 5                (i) acknowledged by a receipt to the contributor, with a
 6   copy submitted to the commission by the candidate. The receipt
 7   must indicate, by the contributor‟s signature, that the contributor
 8   understands that the purpose of the contribution is to help the
 9   candidate qualify for clean elections campaign funding. The
10   receipt must include the contributor‟s signature, printed name,
11   home address, and telephone number, and the name of the
12   candidate on whose behalf the contribution is made; and
13               (ii) submitted, with a signed and completed receipt, to
14   the commission according to a schedule and procedure to be
15   determined by the commission. A contribution submitted as a
16   qualifying contribution that does not include a signed and fully
17   completed receipt may not be counted as a qualifying contribution.
18      (B) An independent candidate qualifies as a participating
19   candidate for the general election campaign period if:
20         (1) before the primary election he has met all of the
21   applicable requirements of this legislation and filed a declaration
22   with the commission that he has fulfilled and will fulfill all of the
23   requirements of a participating candidate as stated in this
24   legislation; and
25         (2) during the primary election campaign period, he has
26   fulfilled all the requirements of a participating candidate as stated
27   in this legislation.
28
29      Section 8-14-40. During the first election cycle that occurs after
30   the effective date of this chapter, a candidate may be certified as a
31   participating candidate, notwithstanding the acceptance of
32   contributions or making of expenditures from private funds before
33   the date of enactment that would, absent this section, disqualify the
34   candidate as a participating candidate provided that any private
35   funds accepted but not expended before the effective date of this
36   chapter must be:
37      (1) returned to the contributor;
38      (2) held in a special campaign account and used only for
39   retiring a debt from a previous campaign; or
40      (3) submitted to the commission for deposit in the clean
41   elections fund.
42


     [205]                             9
 1     Section 8-14-50. A participating candidate who accepts benefits
 2   during the primary election campaign period shall comply with all
 3   the requirements of this legislation through the general election
 4   campaign period whether he continues to accept benefits or not.
 5
 6      Section 8-14-60. (A) During the primary, general, and run-off
 7   election campaign periods, a participating candidate who has
 8   voluntarily agreed to participate in, and has become eligible for,
 9   clean elections benefits, shall not accept private contributions from
10   any source other than the candidate‟s political party as specified in
11   Section 8-14-250.
12      (B) During the primary, general, and run-off election campaign
13   periods, a participating candidate who has voluntarily agreed to
14   participate in, and has become eligible for, clean elections benefits,
15   shall not solicit or receive political contributions for any other
16   candidate or for any political party or other political committee.
17      (C) A person shall not make a contribution in the name of
18   another person. A participating candidate who receives a
19   qualifying contribution or a seed money contribution that is not
20   from the person listed on the receipt required by Section
21   8-14-20(A)(2) and Section 8-14-100(C) is liable to pay the
22   commission the entire amount of the inaccurately identified
23   contribution, in addition to any penalties.
24      (D) During the primary, general, and run-off election campaign
25   periods, a participating candidate shall pay for all of his campaign
26   expenditures, except petty cash expenditures, by means of a „clean
27   elections debit card‟ issued by the commission, as authorized by
28   Section 8-14-240.
29      (E) An eligible candidate shall furnish complete campaign
30   records, including all records of seed money contributions and
31   qualifying contributions, to the commission at regular filing times,
32   or on request by the commission. A candidate shall cooperate with
33   any audit or examination by the commission.
34
35     Section 8-14-70. (A) During an          election cycle,    each
36   participating candidate shall conduct all campaign financial
37   activities through a single campaign account.
38     (B) A participating candidate may maintain a campaign account
39   other than the campaign account described in subsection (A) if the
40   other campaign account is for the purpose of retiring a campaign
41   debt that was incurred during a previous election campaign in
42   which the candidate was not a participating candidate.


     [205]                             10
 1      (C) Contributions for the purposes of retiring a previous
 2   campaign debt that are deposited in the kind of „other campaign
 3   account‟ described in subsection (B) may not be considered
 4   contributions to the candidate‟s current campaign.
 5      (D) A participating candidate shall file reports of financial
 6   activity related to the current election cycle separately from reports
 7   of financial activity related to previous election cycles.
 8
 9      Section 8-14-80. (A) A participating candidate shall use his
10   clean elections funds only for direct campaign purposes.
11   Expenditures for direct campaign purposes include but are not
12   limited to:
13         (1) written materials, pins, bumper stickers, handbills,
14   brochures, posters, yard signs, newsletters, and tabloids;
15         (2) travel expenses including mileage reimbursement and
16   lodging when out of town;
17         (3) communication expenses, advertising, purchase of media
18   space and time, direct mail services, postage, telephone banks and
19   calling services, and long distance charges;
20         (4) headquarters expenses, including lease and utility
21   expenses;
22         (5) expenses of volunteers, food for staff and volunteers, and
23   staff salaries and other compensation;
24         (6) office supplies;
25         (7) accounting, reporting, clerical, campaign advisory, and
26   other consulting services; and
27         (8) public relations expenses.
28      (B) A participating candidate may not use clean elections funds
29   for:
30         (1) costs of legal defense in any campaign law enforcement
31   proceeding pursuant to the provisions of this chapter;
32         (2) indirect campaign purposes including, but not limited to:
33           (a) the candidate‟s personal support or compensation to
34   the candidate or the candidate‟s family;
35           (b) the candidate‟s personal appearance;
36           (c) capital assets having a value in excess of five hundred
37   dollars and useful life extending beyond the end of the current
38   election period determined in accordance with generally accepted
39   accounting principles;
40           (d) a contribution or loan to the campaign committee of
41   another candidate or to a party committee or other political
42   committee;
43           (e) an independent expenditure;

     [205]                             11
 1           (f) a gift in excess of twenty-five dollars for each person;
 2   and
 3          (g) a payment or transfer for which compensating value is
 4   not received.
 5      (C) Upon written request from a participating candidate, the
 6   commission shall determine whether a planned campaign
 7   expenditure or fundraising activity is a permissible expenditure of
 8   clean elections funds pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. To
 9   make a request, a candidate shall submit a description of the
10   planned expenditure or activity to the commission.               The
11   commission shall inform the candidate whether an enforcement
12   action is necessary if the candidate carries out the planned
13   expenditure or activity. The commission shall ensure that the
14   candidate may rely on a „no action‟ letter. A „no action‟ letter
15   applies only to the candidate who requested it.
16
17      Section 8-14-90. (A) Personal funds contributed as seed money
18   by a candidate seeking to become eligible as a participating
19   candidate or adult members of his family may not exceed the
20   maximum of one hundred dollars for each contributor.
21      (B) Personal funds may not be used to meet the qualifying
22   contribution requirement except for one five-dollar contribution
23   from the candidate himself and one five-dollar contribution from
24   the candidate‟s spouse, provided that the candidate and his spouse
25   are registered voters who reside in the candidate‟s electoral
26   district.
27
28      Section 8-14-100. (A) The only private contributions a
29   candidate seeking to become eligible for clean elections funding
30   shall accept, other than qualifying contributions and limited
31   in-kind contributions from the candidate‟s political party as
32   specified in Section 8-14-250, are seed money contributions
33   contributed by individual adults before the end of the qualifying
34   period.
35      (B) A seed money contribution may not exceed one hundred
36   dollars for each donor, and the aggregate amount of seed money
37   contributions accepted by a candidate seeking to become eligible
38   for clean elections funding may not exceed:
39        (1) one thousand dollars for a candidate running for the
40   office of the South Carolina House of Representatives;
41        (2) three thousand dollars for a candidate running for the
42   office of the South Carolina Senate;


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 1        (3) fifteen thousand dollars for candidates running for the
 2   offices of Comptroller General, Treasurer, Adjutant General, and
 3   Secretary of State;
 4        (4) twenty thousand dollars for candidates running for the
 5   offices of Superintendent of Education, Attorney General, and
 6   Lieutenant Governor; and
 7        (5) thirty thousand dollars for a candidate running for
 8   Governor.
 9      (C) A receipt for seed money contributions under twenty-five
10   dollars must only include the contributor‟s signature, printed name,
11   and address.      A receipt for seed money contributions of
12   twenty-five dollars or more must include the contributor‟s
13   signature, printed name, street address and zip code, telephone
14   number, occupation, and name of employer. A contribution may
15   not be accepted if the required disclosure information is not
16   received.
17      (D) Seed money must be spent only during the exploratory and
18   qualifying periods. Seed money may not be spent during the
19   primary, general, or run-off election campaign periods.
20      (E) Within forty-eight hours after the close of the qualifying
21   period, a candidate seeking to become eligible for clean elections
22   funding shall:
23        (1) fully disclose all seed money contributions and
24   expenditures to the commission using the electronic filing method
25   required by this chapter; and
26        (2) turn over to the commission for deposit in the clean
27   elections fund any seed money he has raised during the exploratory
28   period that exceeds the aggregate seed money limit.
29
30     Section 8-14-110. All broadcast and print advertisements
31   placed by a participating candidate or his committees must include
32   a clear written or spoken statement indicating that the candidate
33   has approved of the contents of the advertisement.
34
35      Section 8-14-120. (A) No more than five days after a
36   candidate applies for clean elections benefits, the commission shall
37   certify that the candidate is or is not eligible. Eligibility is revoked
38   if the candidate violates the requirements of this chapter, in which
39   case all clean elections funds must be repaid.
40      (B) The candidate‟s request for certification must be signed by
41   the candidate and his campaign treasurer under penalty of perjury.



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 1     (C) The commission‟s determination is final except that it is
 2   subject to examination and audit by an outside agency and to a
 3   prompt judicial review.
 4
 5      Section 8-14-130. (A) A candidate who qualifies for clean
 6   elections funding for primary and general elections shall receive:
 7        (1) clean elections funding from the commission for each
 8   election, the amount of which is specified in Section 8-14-150.
 9   This funding may be used to finance any and all campaign
10   expenses during the particular campaign period for which it was
11   allocated;
12        (2) additional clean elections funding to match any excess
13   expenditure amount spent by a nonparticipating candidate, as
14   specified in Section 8-14-180(D); and
15        (3) additional clean elections funding to match any
16   independent expenditure made in opposition to their candidacies or
17   in support of their opponents‟ candidacies, as specified in Section
18   8-14-210, provided that the dollar value of the independent
19   expenditure, combined with the amount raised or received thus far
20   by any opposing candidate who benefits from the independent
21   expenditure, exceeds the original clean elections funding amount
22   received by the participating candidate.
23      (B) The maximum aggregate amount of additional funding a
24   participating candidate shall receive to match independent
25   expenditures and excess expenditures of a nonparticipating
26   candidate must be two hundred percent of the original amount of
27   clean elections funding allocated to a participating candidate for a
28   particular primary, general, or run-off election campaign period.
29
30      Section 8-14-140. (A) An eligible party candidate shall receive
31   his clean elections funding for the primary election campaign
32   period on the date on which the commission certifies the candidate
33   as a participating candidate. This certification must take place no
34   later than five days after the candidate has submitted the required
35   number of qualifying contribution receipts, a check for the total
36   amount of qualifying contributions collected, and a declaration
37   stating that he has complied with all other requirements for
38   eligibility as a participating candidate, but no earlier than the
39   beginning of the primary election campaign period.
40      (B) An eligible party candidate shall receive his clean elections
41   funding for the general election campaign period within forty-eight
42   hours after certification of the primary election results. An eligible
43   party candidate shall receive his clean elections funding for a

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 1   run-off election campaign period within forty-eight hours after
 2   certification of the general election results.
 3      (C) An eligible independent candidate shall receive his clean
 4   elections funding for the primary election campaign period on the
 5   date on which the commission certifies the candidate as a
 6   participating candidate. This certification must take place no later
 7   than five days after the candidate has submitted the required
 8   number of qualifying contribution receipts, a check for the total
 9   amount of qualifying contributions collected, and a declaration
10   stating that he has complied with all other requirements for
11   eligibility as a participating candidate, but no earlier than the
12   beginning of the primary election campaign period.
13      (D) An eligible independent candidate shall receive his clean
14   elections funding for the general election campaign period within
15   forty-eight hours after certification of the primary election results.
16   An eligible independent candidate shall receive his clean elections
17   funding for a run-off election campaign period within forty-eight
18   hours after certification of the general election results.
19
20       Section 8-14-150. (A) The amount of clean elections funding
21   for an eligible party candidate in a contested primary election is:
22         (1) ten thousand dollars for a candidate running for the
23   office of the South Carolina House of Representatives;
24         (2) thirty thousand dollars for a candidate running for the
25   office of South Carolina Senate; and
26         (3) forty percent of the average amount spent to win the
27   respective seat in the past two general elections for candidates
28   running for the offices of Comptroller General, Treasurer, Adjutant
29   General, Secretary of State, State Superintendent of Education,
30   Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor, and Governor.
31       (B) The clean elections funding amount for an eligible party
32   candidate in an uncontested primary election is twenty-five percent
33   of the amount provided in a contested primary election.
34       (C) In a contested general election, if an eligible party
35   candidate or all of the candidates of his party combined received at
36   least twenty percent of the total number of votes cast for all
37   candidates seeking that office in the just-held primary election or
38   in the previous general election, the candidate shall receive the full
39   amount of clean elections funding for the general election, which
40   is:
41         (1) fifteen thousand dollars for a candidate running for the
42   office of the South Carolina House of Representatives;


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 1        (2) forty-five thousand dollars for a candidate running for
 2   the office of the South Carolina Senate; and
 3        (3) sixty percent of the average amount spent to win the
 4   respective seat in the past two general elections for the offices of
 5   Comptroller General, Treasurer, Adjutant General, Secretary of
 6   State, State Superintendent of Education, Attorney General,
 7   Lieutenant Governor, and Governor.
 8      (D) In a contested general election, if an eligible party
 9   candidate or all of the candidates of his party combined received at
10   least five percent but less than twenty percent of the total number
11   of votes cast for all candidates seeking that office in the just-held
12   primary election or in the previous general election, the candidate
13   shall receive a portion of the full amount of clean elections funding
14   based on the ratio that their vote percentage is to twenty percent.
15   If an eligible party candidate or all of the candidates of his party
16   combined received less than five percent of the total number of
17   votes cast for all candidates seeking that office in the just-held
18   primary election or in the previous general election, the candidate
19   shall receive no clean elections funding.
20      (E) The clean elections funding amount for an eligible party
21   candidate in an uncontested general election is ten percent of the
22   amount provided in a contested general election for the same
23   office.
24      (F) The clean elections funding amount for an eligible party
25   candidate in a run-off election is twenty-five percent of the amount
26   provided in the preceding primary or general election that resulted
27   in the need for a run-off election.
28      (G) The clean elections funding amount for an eligible
29   independent candidate in:
30        (1) a primary election is twenty-five percent of the amount
31   received by a party candidate in a contested primary election; and
32        (2) the general election is the same as the full amount
33   received by a party candidate in the general election.
34      (H) After the first election cycle as provided by the South
35   Carolina Clean Elections Act, the commission shall modify all
36   clean elections funding amounts based on the rate of inflation as
37   measured by increases in the Consumer Price Index.
38
39     Section 8-14-160. (A) The clean elections funding received by
40   a participating candidate must be used only for the purpose of
41   defraying that candidate‟s campaign-related expenses during the
42   particular election campaign period for which the clean elections
43   funding was allotted.

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 1     (B) Payments may not be used:
 2        (1) in violation of the law; and
 3        (2) to make any personal, family, or business expenditures
 4   or loans, or to repay any personal, family, or business loans or
 5   debts.
 6
 7      Section 8-14-170. (A) During an election cycle, each
 8   nonparticipating candidate shall conduct all campaign financial
 9   activities through a single campaign account.
10      (B) A nonparticipating candidate may maintain a campaign
11   account other than the campaign account in subsection (A) if the
12   other campaign account is for the purpose of retiring a campaign
13   debt that was incurred during a previous election campaign in
14   which the candidate was not a participating candidate.
15      (C) Contributions for the purposes of retiring a previous
16   campaign debt that are deposited in the kind of „other campaign
17   account‟ described in subsection (B) are considered „contributions‟
18   to the candidate‟s current campaign.
19
20      Section 8-14-180. (A) If a nonparticipating candidate‟s total
21   expenditures or obligations to make expenditures exceed the
22   amount of clean elections funding allocated to his clean elections
23   opponent or opponents, he shall declare every excess expenditure
24   amount which, in the aggregate, is more than one thousand dollars
25   to the commission within forty-eight hours.
26      (B) During the last twenty days before the end of the relevant
27   campaign period, a nonparticipating candidate shall declare to the
28   commission each excess expenditure amount over five hundred
29   dollars within twenty-four hours of when the expenditure is made
30   or obligated to be made.
31      (C) The commission may make its own determination as to
32   whether excess expenditures have been made by a nonparticipating
33   candidate.
34      (D) Upon receiving an excess expenditure declaration or
35   determining that an excess expenditure has been made, the
36   commission immediately shall release additional clean elections
37   funding to the opposing participating candidates equal to the
38   excess expenditure amount the nonparticipating candidate has
39   spent or has obligated to spend, subject to the limit provided in
40   Section 8-14-130.
41
42     Section 8-14-190. All broadcast and print advertisements
43   placed by nonparticipating candidates or their committees must

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 1   include a clear written or spoken statement indicating that the
 2   candidate has approved of the contents of the advertisement.
 3
 4      Section 8-14-200. (A) An expenditure that „advocates the
 5   election or defeat of a candidate‟ include all costs of designing,
 6   producing, or disseminating a communication that contains phrases
 7   such as „vote for‟, „re-elect‟, „support‟, „cast your ballot for‟,
 8   „(name of candidate) for (name of office)‟, „(name of candidate) in
 9   (year)‟, „vote against‟, „defeat‟, „reject‟, or contains campaign
10   slogans or individual words that in context can have no reasonable
11   meaning other than to recommend the election or defeat of one or
12   more clearly identified candidates, such as posters, bumper
13   stickers, advertisements that use a candidate‟s name in a
14   promotional manner, such as „Nixon‟s the One‟, „Carter „76‟,
15   „Reagan/Bush‟, or „Mondale‟.
16      (B) Any cost incurred in designing, producing, or
17   disseminating a communication is presumed to „advocate the
18   election or defeat of a candidate‟ if the communication names or
19   depicts one or more clearly identified candidates, is disseminated
20   during the forty-five calendar days before a primary election or
21   during the sixty calendar days before a general election, and the
22   costs exceed one thousand dollars.
23      (C) In any proceeding to enforce compliance with requirements
24   pertaining to expenditures, an individual or entity presumed to
25   have made an expenditure advocating the election or defeat of a
26   candidate pursuant to the provisions of subsection (B) shall have
27   an opportunity to rebut the presumption, and the commission bears
28   the burden of proof.
29      (D) An individual or entity intending to disseminate a
30   communication during the forty-five calendar days before a
31   primary election or during the sixty calendar days before a general
32   election that names or depicts one or more clearly identified
33   candidates and costs in excess of one thousand dollars may submit
34   the communication to the commission in advance of its
35   dissemination, with a request for an advisory opinion as to whether
36   the commission is likely to consider the communication an
37   independent expenditure. The commission shall issue the advisory
38   opinion within three days of receiving the request.
39
40     Section 8-14-210. (A) Subject to the exception in subsection
41   (C), a person who makes or obligates to make an independent
42   expenditure during a primary, general, or run-off election
43   campaign period which, in the aggregate, exceeds one thousand

     [205]                           18
 1   dollars shall report each expenditure within seven days to the
 2   commission.
 3      (B) The report to the commission must include a signed
 4   statement by the person making the independent expenditure
 5   identifying the candidate or candidates whom the independent
 6   expenditure is intended to help elect or defeat and affirming that
 7   the expenditure is totally independent and involves no cooperation
 8   or coordination with a candidate or a political party.
 9         (1) An individual or organization may file a complaint with
10   the commission if he or the organization believes that the
11   statement is false. The commission shall make a prompt
12   determination about the complaint.
13         (2) An individual or organization that fails to file the
14   required report to the commission or provides materially false
15   information in that report may be fined up to three times the
16   amount of the independent expenditure. The criminal penalties
17   contained in Section 8-14-310 do not apply to any violations of
18   this section.
19      (C) A person who makes or obligates to make an independent
20   expenditure during the last twenty days before the end of the
21   relevant campaign period which, in the aggregate, exceeds five
22   hundred dollars shall report each expenditure within twenty-four
23   hours to the commission.
24      (D) Upon receiving a report that an independent expenditure
25   has been made or obligated to be made, the commission
26   immediately shall release additional clean elections funding, equal
27   in amount to the cost of the independent expenditure, to all
28   participating candidates whom the independent expenditure is
29   intended to oppose or defeat, as provided in subsections (B) and
30   (C).
31         (1) the dollar value of the independent expenditure,
32   combined with the amount raised or received thus far by an
33   opposing candidate who benefits from the independent
34   expenditure, exceeds the original clean elections funding amount
35   received by the participating candidate.
36         (2) the maximum aggregate amount of additional funding a
37   participating candidate shall receive to match independent
38   expenditures and the excess expenditures of a nonparticipating
39   candidate is no more than two hundred percent of the participating
40   candidate‟s initial clean elections funding allocation for the
41   relevant office.
42


     [205]                           19
 1      Section 8-14-220. (A) A special, dedicated, nonlapsing clean
 2   elections fund is established by the General Assembly for the
 3   purpose of:
 4         (1) providing public financing for the election campaign of a
 5   certified participating candidate during primary, general, and
 6   run-off campaign periods; and
 7         (2) paying for the administrative and enforcement costs of
 8   the commission related to this chapter.
 9
10      Section 8-14-230. (A) The General Assembly shall appropriate
11   funds which, when added to the revenue outlined in subsection (B)
12   are sufficient to fully carry out the provisions of this chapter.
13   These appropriated funds must be deposited in the clean elections
14   fund.
15      (B) Other sources of revenue to be deposited in the fund must
16   include:
17         (1) the qualifying contributions required of a candidate
18   seeking to become certified as a participating candidate according
19   to the provisions of Section 8-14-20 and candidates‟ excess
20   qualifying contributions;
21         (2) the excess seed money contributions of a candidate
22   seeking to become certified as a participating candidate, as defined
23   in Section 8-14-100;
24         (3) unspent funds distributed to any participating candidate
25   who does not remain a candidate until the primary, general, or
26   run-off election for which they were distributed, or those funds that
27   remain unspent by a participating candidate following the date of
28   the primary, general, or run-off election for which they were
29   distributed;
30         (4) fines levied by the commission against candidates for
31   violation of election laws;
32         (5) voluntary donations made directly to the clean elections
33   fund;
34         (6) funds appropriated by the General Assembly;
35         (7) any interest generated by the fund; and
36         (8) any other sources of revenue determined as necessary by
37   the General Assembly.
38
39      Section 8-14-240. (A) Upon determination that a candidate has
40   met all the requirements for becoming a participating candidate as
41   provided for in this chapter, the commission shall issue to the
42   candidate a card, known as the „clean elections debit card‟, and a
43   „line of debit‟ entitling the candidates and members of the

     [205]                            20
 1   candidate‟s staff to draw clean elections funds from a commission
 2   account to pay for all campaign costs and expenses up to the
 3   amount of clean elections funding the candidate has received.
 4     (B) Neither a participating candidate nor any other person on
 5   behalf of a participating candidate shall pay campaign costs by
 6   cash, check, money order, loan, or by any other financial means
 7   besides the clean elections debit card.
 8     (C) Cash amounts of one hundred dollars or less for each day
 9   may be drawn on the clean elections debit card and used to pay
10   expenses of no more than twenty-five dollars each. Records of all
11   such expenditures must be maintained and reported to the
12   commission.
13
14      Section 8-14-250. (A) A participating candidate may accept
15   monetary or in-kind contributions from political parties provided
16   that the aggregate amount of the contributions from all political
17   party committees combined does not exceed the equivalent of five
18   percent of the original clean elections financing allotment for that
19   office for that election.
20      (B) In-kind contributions made during a general election
21   campaign period on behalf of a group of the party‟s candidates
22   may not be considered an improper party contribution or count
23   against the five percent limit established in subsection (A)
24   provided that this group includes at least three candidates, or
25   fifty-one percent of the total number of candidates, whichever is
26   more, whose names will appear on the general election ballot in
27   the political subdivision represented by the party committee
28   making such in-kind contributions.
29      (C) An expenditure by a political party that is made to or on
30   behalf of one or more of the party‟s candidates during primary,
31   general, and run-off campaign periods must be reported to the
32   commission by the party committee making the expenditure.
33      (D) Nothing in this chapter prevents political party funds from
34   being used for:
35         (1) general operating expenses of the party;
36         (2) conventions;
37         (3) nominating and endorsing candidates;
38         (4) identifying, researching, and developing the party‟s
39   positions on issues;
40         (5) party platform activities;
41         (6) noncandidate-specific voter registration;
42         (7) noncandidate-specific get-out-the-vote drives;


     [205]                            21
 1         (8) travel expenses for noncandidate party leaders and staff;
 2   and
 3         (9) other noncandidate-specific party building activities.
 4
 5      Section 8-14-260. (A) After each primary, general, and run-off
 6   election, the commission may conduct random audits and
 7   investigations to ensure compliance with this chapter.
 8      (B) The subjects of audits and investigations must be selected
 9   on the basis of impartial criteria established by a vote of at least a
10   majority of the commission.
11      (C) The commission may investigate anonymous complaints.
12   A complainant may receive „whistle blower‟ protection.
13      (D) The commission has the authority to seek injunctions if:
14        (1) there is a substantial likelihood that a violation of this
15   chapter is occurring or is about to occur;
16        (2) the failure to act expeditiously results in irreparable harm
17   to a party affected by the potential violation;
18        (3) expeditious action may not cause undue harm or
19   prejudice to the interests of others; and
20        (4) the public interest is best served by the issuance of an
21   injunction.
22      (E) The commission may levy fines for violations of this
23   chapter. Fines paid must be deposited in the clean elections fund.
24      (F) The commission shall refer criminal violations to the
25   Attorney General for prosecution.
26      (G) The commission shall meet as often as is necessary,
27   including daily, if necessary, during the final twenty days before
28   an election, in order to resolve outstanding issues relating to the
29   issuance of additional funding to a participating candidate and any
30   other matters that may affect the outcome of an election.
31
32      Section 8-14-270. (A) A citizen who believes a candidate has
33   violated the law may pursue a civil action in a court of relevant
34   jurisdiction, provided that:
35        (1) he previously has filed a complaint regarding the same
36   alleged violation with the Ethics Commission; and
37        (2) the Ethics Commission has failed to make a
38   determination within thirty days of the filing of the complaint.
39      (B) A party which wins a civil action charging a violation of
40   this chapter is entitled to receive reasonable attorney‟s fees and
41   court costs from the defendant party or parties.
42      (C) If a court in which a civil action has been filed pursuant to
43   the provisions of subsection (A) finds that the complaint in that

     [205]                             22
 1   action was made frivolously or without cause, the court may
 2   require the complainant to pay the costs of the Ethics Commission,
 3   the court, and the defendant parties.
 4     (D) Ethics Commission actions may be reviewed by the state
 5   court that has appropriate jurisdiction. A petition for review must
 6   be filed within sixty days after the Ethics Commission action.
 7
 8     Section 8-14-280. The Ethics Commission shall report to the
 9   General Assembly after each election cycle. The report must
10   include a detailed summary of all seed money contributions,
11   qualifying contributions and benefits received, and expenditures
12   made by all participating candidates. The report also must include
13   a summary and evaluation of the commission‟s activities and
14   recommendations relating to the implementation, administration,
15   and enforcement of this chapter.
16
17     Section 8-14-290. Consistent with the provisions of this chapter
18   and other applicable law, the Ethics Commission may adopt,
19   amend, and rescind regulations and procedures necessary to carry
20   out the purposes and provisions of this chapter.
21
22      Section 8-14-300. (A) If a participating candidate spends or
23   obligates to spend more than the clean elections funding the
24   candidate is given, and if it is determined not to be an amount that
25   had or could have been expected to have a significant impact on
26   the outcome of the election, then the candidate shall repay to the
27   clean elections fund an amount equal to the excess.
28      (B) If a participating candidate spends or obligates to spend
29   more than the clean elections funding the candidate is given, and if
30   it is determined to be an amount that had or could have been
31   expected to have a significant impact on the outcome of the
32   election, then the candidate shall repay to the clean elections fund
33   an amount equal to ten times the value of the excess.
34
35     Section 8-14-310. (A) It is a violation of this chapter for a
36   candidate to knowingly accept more benefits than those to which
37   he is entitled, spend more than the amount of clean elections
38   funding he has received, or misuse such benefits or clean elections
39   funding if it is determined that the:
40        (1) violation was intentional and involved an amount that
41   had or could have been expected to have a significant impact on
42   the outcome of the election, the candidate may be fined up to


     [205]                            23
 1   twenty-five thousand dollars or imprisoned for up to five years, or
 2   both; and
 3        (2) violation was intentional and involved an amount that
 4   had or could have been expected to have a significant impact on
 5   the outcome of the election, and if, in the judgment of the
 6   commission, the violation is believed to have contributed to the
 7   violator winning the election, the commission may nullify the
 8   election and a new election must be called.
 9      (B) It is a violation to knowingly provide false information to
10   the Ethics Commission, and to conceal or withhold information
11   from the commission. The penalty is a fine of up to five thousand
12   dollars for each violation or imprisonment for five years, or both.”
13
14   SECTION 4. If any section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph,
15   sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this act is for any reason held
16   to be unconstitutional or invalid, such holding shall not affect the
17   constitutionality or validity of the remaining portions of this act,
18   the General Assembly hereby declaring that it would have passed
19   this act, and each and every section, subsection, paragraph,
20   subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, and word thereof,
21   irrespective of the fact that any one or more other sections,
22   subsections, paragraphs, subparagraphs, sentences, clauses,
23   phrases, or words hereof may be declared to be unconstitutional,
24   invalid, or otherwise ineffective.
25
26   SECTION 5. This act takes effect upon ratification of an
27   amendment adding Section 12 to Article II of the Constitution of
28   this State authorizing the General Assembly to establish a
29   procedure by which candidates for elective office may use public
30   monies to fund their campaigns.
31                              ----XX----
32




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