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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 27, 2016 03:09 PM
From: Senator Rob Teplitz
To: All Senate members
Subject: Legislation – Political Expenditure Disclosure for 501(c) and 527 Organizations
In the near future, I will introduce legislation that requires reporting of election expenses by 501(c) and 527 organizations (a/k/a “independent expenditure” or “dark money” groups) that engage in issue advocacy or other electioneering. These groups have engaged in significant spending since the 2010 Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. This legislation is modeled after Delaware’s Election Disclosure Act, which was enacted in 2013. The Delaware statute was challenged on First Amendment grounds, but was upheld earlier this month by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Delaware Strong Families v. Delaware.

Specifically, the legislation requires 501(c) and 527 groups, which engage in electioneering, including so-called issue advocacy, to file campaign finance reports if their aggregate expenditures exceed $1,000. These reports would include names of donors contributing at least $100. Currently, these groups are only required to report expenditures if they expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate or ballot measure and are not required to disclose their donors. This legislation does not alter current reporting requirements for candidate or party committees.

The legislation also requires all political advertisements by 501(c) and 527 groups to include the following disclaimer: “Learn more about [name of organization] at www.dos.pa.gov.”

This is similar to legislation which I co-sponsored, previously filed by former Senator Dominic Pileggi.

Prior co-sponsors include Senators Folmer, Rafferty, Scavello, Tomlinson, Vance, Costa, McIlhinney, Dinniman, Haywood, and Sabatina.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as SB1165