Federal Court Ruling and Arizona Campaign Finance Law
On December 5, 2014, the U.S. District Court declared unconstitutional “political committee” as defined in A.R.S. 16-901(19). A motion for stay was filed on December 18, 2014 by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office to maintain the current application of campaign finance law while an appeal is being filed with the Ninth Circuit. Meanwhile, the Arizona Legislature is poised to address the political committee definition this session. We strongly encourage all political committees whose factual circumstances differ from those in Galassini vs. Town of Fountain Hills to adhere to existing statutory requirements, as a final legal and/or legislative resolution is in sight. Please address questions to the Office at 602-542-8683.
Notifications of Contributions
- 2014 General Election Ballot Measure $10,000 Notifications
- Candidate Contributions Over $1,000 Less Than 20 Days Before An Election
- “Super” PAC List
Campaign Finance Popular Questions
- How does a political committee terminate?
- The committee must dispose of any excess funds remaining with the committee. Ways to dispose of these excess funds can be found in A.R.S. § 16-915.01.
- File any outstanding/late campaign finance reports and pay any and all fees associated if applicable. A committee cannot terminate until this step is complete.
- Under “Acct Mgmt” on the Secretary of State’s web-based reporting system, click on “Terminate Filer Account.” After completion, sign and submit the termination statement with our office.
- What happens if my committee files late?
A $10 fee will accrue each day that the Secretary of State’s office is open until the late penalty is paid in full. You may send a check via certified mail for the amount that is owed or pay the late fee in person at our office. If payment is received via certified mail, the postmark date will be reflected as the day the fee stops increasing. (A.R.S. § 16-918).
- The web-based system is not allowing me to enter in new transactions. Why is this?
Before entering a new transaction for the upcoming general election cycle, the political committee must amend its Statement of Organization from the “2014 cycle” to the “2016 cycle. To do this, log on to the web-based system and follow the instructions under “Acct Mgmt” and “Filer Acct Management.” After amending the committee for 2016, submit an amended statement of organization to the Secretary of State’s office.
Please be aware that each candidate committee has both a Primary and General account. After amending the statement of organization from “2014” to “2016” the committee is no longer able to transfer funds between primary and general accounts. If you wish to transfer money from the Primary or General accounts, under “Acct Mgmt” are options to transfer between accounts before the committee amends to the 2016 cycle.
- We have a newly elected Chairman and Treasurer for our organization, how do we reflect that for our political committee?
If any changes are made to a political committee, you must file an amended statement of organization with the Secretary of State’s office. To do this, log on to the web-based system and under “Acct Mgmt” and “Filer Acct Mgmt,” proceed with any changes on the next two screens. Print off the amended statement of organization, obtain signatures and submit the form to the Secretary of State’s office.
- Who is listed as “paid for by” on my advertisement?
Campaign literature and advertisements that expressly advocate the election or defeat of any candidate or solicit contributions to a political committee, shall include the words “paid for by” followed by the name of the committee that appears on its statement of organization or $500 exemption statement. If made as an independent expenditure, the political committee, in addition to listing its name also shall include the names and telePHONE numbers of the three political committees making the largest contributions. (A.R.S. § 16-912).
Ballot Measure Advertisements
Campaign literature and advertisements that support or oppose a ballot proposition, shall include the words “paid for by” followed by the name of the committee that appears on its statement of organization or $500 exemption statement. It also shall include the names of its four largest major funding sources as of the time the campaign literature or advertisement is produced. (A.R.S. § 16-912.01).
Candidate & Ballot Measure Advertisements
The “paid for by” disclosures shall be printed clearly and legibly in a conspicuous manner. For printed material that is delivered or provided by hand or by mail, the disclosure shall be printed in a clearly legible manner. The disclosure statement shall include the words "paid for by" followed by the name of the entity making the expenditure.
Disclosure statements shall also comply with the following:
- If the communication is broadcast on radio, the disclosure shall be spoken at the end of the communication.
- If the communication is broadcast on a telecommunications system, the following apply:
- The disclosure shall be both written and spoken at the end of the communication, except that if the written disclosure statement is displayed for at least five seconds of a 30 second communications broadcast or 10 seconds of a 60 second communications broadcast, a spoken disclosure statement is not required.
- The written disclosure statement shall be printed in letters that are displayed in a height equal to or greater than four percent of the vertical picture height.