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What are frequent problems in reporting?
- Lack of Communication between the Political Treasurer and the Candidate. The law requires detailed accounts, current within not more than seven days after the date of receiving a contribution or making an expenditure.
- Information required is not complete. The following examples are not acceptable:
|Month is listed, but no day; No date at all
|M. Smith or Mr. Smith; John/Mary; No last name
- The Candidate or Political Committee has a new Political Treasurer, however, the Secretary of State’s Office has not been notified of the change. Not only is this a violation of the law, but the wrong individual is receiving communications from the Elections Division and those using the Secretary of State’s mailing list.
- Reports are illegible (i.e., extremely small type or completed in pencil and faxed). All Candidate and Political Committee reports are scanned and posted on the Secretary of State’s website upon receipt.
- Attempts to fax a completed report and the line is busy. It is important to remember that the 7 Day Pre-Election report must be received by 5:00 pm on the report’s due date. Do not wait to fax those reports on the due date as there is a chance the fax line will be busy.
- Notices Disregarded: The lack of attention by a Political Treasurer to notices sent to them by the Elections Division reminding them of reports that are upcoming, requesting additional information or corrections.
- Source of contribution not accurate. The individual delivering the contribution check is listed as the contributor rather than the entity issuing the check. For example: an agent from a real estate agency delivers the check for Idaho Realtors PAC, the Political Treasurer lists the agent as the contributor rather than the Idaho Realtors PAC.
- A return or refund listed incorrectly. A return or refund should be listed as a negative expenditure because it is not a contribution.
- Inadequate disclosure of In-Kind Contributions or Independent Expenditures. The Candidate(s) name(s) or Political Committee(s) name(s) who benefited from the expenditure are not listed as being supported or opposed.
What are penalties for violation?
Section 67-6625, Idaho Code, “Violations - Civil Fine - Misdemeanor Penalty - Prosecution - Limitation - Venue.
- Any person who violates the provisions of sections 67-6603 through 67-6614A, 67-6617, 67-6619, 67-6620, 67-6621(a), 67-6624, 67-6629 or 67-6630, Idaho Code, shall be liable for a civil fine not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250) if an individual, and not more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) if a person other than an individual. The burden of proof for such civil liability shall be met by showing a preponderance of the evidence.
- Any person who violates section 67-6605 or 67-6621(b), Idaho Code, and any person who knowingly and willfully violates sections 67-6603 through 67-6614A, 67-6617, 67-6619, 67-6620, 67-6621(a), 67-6624, 67-6629 or 67-6630, Idaho Code, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, in addition to the fines set forth in subsection (a) of this section, may be imprisoned for not more than six (6) months or be both fined and imprisoned.
- The attorney general or the appropriate prosecuting attorney may prosecute any violations of this act.
- Prosecution for violation of this act must be commenced within two (2) years after the date on which the violation occurred.
- Venue for prosecution under the provisions of this chapter shall be in the county of residence of the defendant if the defendant is a resident of the state of Idaho, otherwise venue shall be in Ada county.”
Section 67-6625A, Idaho Code, “Late Filing Of Statement Or Report - Fees. - If any person fails to file a report or statement on or before a specified date, he shall be liable in an amount of fifty dollars ($50.00) per day after the deadline until the statement or report is filed, to the secretary of state. Liability need not be enforced by the secretary of state if on an impartial basis he determines that the late filing was not willful and that enforcement of the liability will not further the purposes of the act, except that no liability shall be waived if a statement or report is not filed within five (5) days after receiving written notice of the filing requirements from the secretary of state.
The remedy provided in this section is cumulative and does not exclude any other remedy or penalty prescribed in section 67-6625, Idaho Code.”
What are inspection and examination requirements of the secretary of state?
The Secretary of State is required by the Sunshine Law to inspect each report two days after it is filed and to notify any Political Treasurer who fails to file a report or files a report which does not conform to law. The Secretary of State must also notify a Political Treasurer when a complaint is filed alleging that a report does not conform to law or has not been filed.
The Secretary of State is required to examine all filed reports within three months after the election to determine whether the reports conform to law. The Secretary of State is empowered to require any person to answer in writing and under oath questions concerning the source of any contribution. (Sections 67-6615 & 67-6616, Idaho Code)
What about citizen complaints?
Any registered voter has the right to file a complaint with the Secretary of State if he or she has reason to believe that a person has violated the Sunshine Law. Complaints must be filed on form L-5 which is available on request. The Secretary of State will thoroughly investigate all such complaints. (Sections 67-6615 & 67-6623, Idaho Code)
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