Bill Text: CA AB319 | 2021-2022 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Political Reform Act of 1974: contributions: prohibitions.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-02-12 - Referred to Com. on ELECTIONS. [AB319 Detail]

Download: California-2021-AB319-Introduced.html


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 319


Introduced by Assembly Member Valladares

January 26, 2021


An act to amend Sections 85304, 85304.5, and 85320 of the Government Code, relating to the Political Reform Act of 1974.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 319, as introduced, Valladares. Political Reform Act of 1974: contributions: prohibitions.
Existing law, the Political Reform Act of 1974, provides for the comprehensive regulation of campaign financing, including requiring the reporting of campaign contributions. A violation of the act’s provisions is punishable as a misdemeanor and subject to specified penalties. The act imposes specified limits on contributions made to candidates for elective office by persons other than political party committees, which vary depending on the office sought by the candidate. The act is administered by the Fair Political Practices Commission, which is authorized to adjust those contribution limits to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index, as specified. The act authorizes a candidate for elective office or an elected officer to establish a separate account to defray attorney’s fees and related costs incurred for the candidate’s or officer’s defense in specified proceedings, and to receive contributions to such an account. The act permits a local ordinance to limit contributions to accounts held by candidates or officers seeking or holding local office, but does not otherwise limit contributions to those accounts.
This bill would make the contribution limits described above applicable to those legal defense accounts.
The act prohibits a foreign government or principal, as defined, from making a contribution or expenditure in connection with a ballot measure. The act also prohibits a person or committee from soliciting or accepting a contribution from a foreign government or principal for this purpose.
This bill would expand this prohibition to include contributions and expenditures in connection with an election of a candidate to state or local office.
By expanding the scope of existing crimes, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
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.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 85304 of the Government Code is amended to read:

85304.
 (a) A candidate for elective state office or an elected state officer may establish a separate account to defray attorney’s fees and other related legal costs incurred for the candidate’s or officer’s legal defense if the candidate or officer is subject to one or more civil or criminal proceedings or administrative proceedings arising directly out of the conduct of an election campaign, the electoral process, or the performance of the officer’s governmental activities and duties. These funds may be used only to defray those attorney fees and other related legal costs.

(b)A candidate may receive contributions to this account that are not subject to the contribution limits set forth in this article. However, all contributions shall be reported in a manner prescribed by the commission.

(b) (1) A candidate or officer may receive contributions to the account described in subdivision (a), subject to the following limitations:
(A) A person, other than a small contributor committee or a political party committee, shall not make, and a candidate or officer shall not receive, a contribution in excess of the limit established pursuant to Section 85301 that is applicable to the office sought by the candidate or held by the officer, as adjusted by the commission pursuant to Section 83124.
(B)  A small contributor committee shall not make, and a candidate or officer shall not receive, a contribution in excess of the limit established pursuant to Section 85302 that is applicable to the office sought by the candidate or held by the officer, as adjusted by the commission pursuant to Section 83124.
(2) Contributions shall be reported in a manner prescribed by the commission.
(c) Once the legal dispute is resolved, the candidate shall dispose of any funds remaining after all expenses associated with the dispute are discharged for one or more of the purposes set forth in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (b) of Section 89519.
(d) (1) Funds in the account created pursuant to subdivision (a) shall not be used to pay or reimburse the candidate or elected officer for a penalty, judgment, or settlement related to a claim of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment filed against the candidate or elective officer in any civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding. If a candidate or elected officer uses funds in that account for other legal costs and expenses related to claims of those unlawful practices and is held liable for such a violation, the candidate or elected officer shall reimburse the account for all funds used in connection with those other legal costs and expenses.
(2) For the purpose of this subdivision, “sexual assault” and “sexual abuse” have the same meaning as in Section 11165.1 of the Penal Code and “sexual harassment” has the same meaning as in subdivision (j) of Section 12940 of the Government Code.
(e) (1) For purposes of this section and Section 85304.5, “attorney’s fees and other related legal costs” includes only the following:
(A) Attorney’s fees and other legal costs related to the defense of the candidate or officer.
(B) Administrative costs directly related to compliance with the requirements of this title.
(2) “Attorney’s fees and other related legal costs” does not include expenses for fundraising, media or political consulting fees, mass mailing or other advertising, or, except as expressly authorized by subdivision (c) of Section 89513, a payment or reimbursement for a fine, penalty, judgment or settlement, or a payment to return or disgorge contributions made to any other committee controlled by the candidate or officer.

SEC. 2.

 Section 85304.5 of the Government Code is amended to read:

85304.5.
 (a) A candidate for elective office other than an elective state office or an elected officer other than an elected state officer may establish a separate account pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 85304 and may use these funds only to defray attorney’s fees and other related legal costs.

(b)A candidate for an elective office other than an elective state office may receive contributions to the separate account subject to any limitations provided by local ordinance. However, all contributions to these separate accounts shall be reported in a manner prescribed by the commission.

(b) (1) A candidate or officer may receive contributions to the account described in subdivision (a), subject to the following limitations:
(A) A person, other than a small contributor committee or a political party committee, shall not make, and a candidate or officer shall not receive, a contribution in excess of the limit established pursuant to Section 85301 that is applicable to the office sought by the candidate or held by the officer, as adjusted by the commission pursuant to Section 83124.
(B)  A small contributor committee shall not make, and a candidate or officer shall not receive, a contribution in excess of the limit established pursuant to Section 85302 that is applicable to the office sought by the candidate or held by the officer, as adjusted by the commission pursuant to Section 83124.
(2) The limitations described in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1) may be changed by local ordinance.
(3) Contributions shall be reported in a manner prescribed by the commission.
(c) Once the legal dispute is resolved, the candidate or elected officer shall dispose of any funds remaining in the separate accounts after all expenses associated with the dispute are discharged for one or more of the purposes set forth in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (b) of Section 89519.
(d) (1) Funds in the account created pursuant to subdivision (a) shall not be used to pay or reimburse the candidate or elected officer for a penalty, judgment, or settlement related to a claim of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment filed against the candidate or elective officer in any civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding. If a candidate or elected officer uses funds in that account for other legal costs and expenses related to claims of those unlawful practices and is held liable for such a violation, the candidate or elected officer shall reimburse the account for all funds used in connection with those other legal costs and expenses.
(2) For the purpose of this subdivision, “sexual assault” and “sexual abuse” have the same meaning as in Section 11165.1 of the Penal Code and “sexual harassment” has the same meaning as in subdivision (j) of Section 12940 of the Government Code.
(e) For purposes of this section, “attorney’s fees and other related legal costs” has the same meaning as in Section 85304.

SEC. 3.

 Section 85320 of the Government Code is amended to read:

85320.
 (a) No A foreign government or foreign principal shall not make, directly or through any other person, any a contribution, expenditure, or independent expenditure in connection with the qualification or support of, or opposition to, any state or local ballot measure. measure or in connection with the election of a candidate to state or local office.
(b) No person and no committee shall A person or a committee shall not solicit or accept a contribution from a foreign government or foreign principal in connection with the qualification or support of, or opposition to, any state or local ballot measure. measure or in connection with the election of a candidate to state or local office.
(c) For the purposes of this section, a “foreign principal” includes the following:
(1) A foreign political party.
(2) A person outside the United States, unless either of the following is established:
(A) The person is an individual and a citizen of the United States.
(B) The person is not an individual and is organized under or created by the laws of the United States or of any state or other place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and has its principal place of business within the United States.
(3) A partnership, association, corporation, organization, or other combination of persons organized under the laws of or having its principal place of business in a foreign country.
(4) A domestic subsidiary of a foreign corporation if the decision to contribute or expend funds is made by an officer, director, or management employee of the foreign corporation who is neither a citizen of the United States nor a lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United States.
(d) This section shall not prohibit a contribution, expenditure, or independent expenditure made by a lawfully admitted permanent resident.
(e) Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined an amount equal to the amount contributed or expended.

SEC. 4.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

SEC. 5.

 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.
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