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A02384
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
711
Session of
2021
INTRODUCED BY STAMBAUGH, CIRESI, SCHLEGEL CULVER, T. DAVIS,
DUNBAR, GROVE, HAMM, KINKEAD, RYAN, SOLOMON AND WHEELAND,
MARCH 1, 2021
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON STATE GOVERNMENT, MARCH 1, 2021
AN ACT
Amending the act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), entitled
"An act concerning elections, including general, municipal,
special and primary elections, the nomination of candidates,
primary and election expenses and election contests; creating
and defining membership of county boards of elections;
imposing duties upon the Secretary of the Commonwealth,
courts, county boards of elections, county commissioners;
imposing penalties for violation of the act, and codifying,
revising and consolidating the laws relating thereto; and
repealing certain acts and parts of acts relating to
elections," in primary and election expenses, further
providing for reporting by candidate and political committees
and other persons, for late contributions and independent
expenditures, for oath of compliance, perjury,
disqualification from office and commercial use and for place
of filing, providing for manner of filing and for inability
to file reports or statements electronically by deadline and
further providing for late filing fee and certificate of
filing, for powers and duties of the supervisor, for
additional powers and duties of the Secretary of the
Commonwealth and for reports by business entities and
publication by Secretary of the Commonwealth.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Section 1626(a) and (h) of the act of June 3,
1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), known as the Pennsylvania Election
Code, are amended and the section is amended by adding a
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subsection to read:
Section 1626. Reporting by Candidate and Political
Committees and other Persons.--
(a) Each treasurer of a political committee and each
candidate for election to public office shall file with the
appropriate supervisor reports of receipts and expenditures on
forms, designed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, if the
amount received or expended or liabilities incurred shall exceed
the sum of two hundred fifty dollars ($250). Should such an
amount not exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250), then the
candidate or the treasurer of the committee shall file a [sworn]
statement to that effect with the appropriate supervisor rather
than the report required by this section.
* * *
(h) All reports or statements required to be filed pursuant
to this section shall be filed pursuant to [section 1630]
sections 1629 and 1631.1. All reports and statements required by
this section shall cover the campaign activity of a candidate
only from the last prior report or statement.
* * *
(k) All reports or statements required to be filed with the
Secretary of the Commonwealth may be filed electronically using
the electronic filing system developed by the Secretary of the
Commonwealth that is consistent with the purposes of this
subsection. A report or statement submitted electronically must:
(1) require an electronic signature from the treasurer or
assistant treasurer at the time of the filing of the report or
statement . In addition, a report filed by a political committee,
authorized by a candidate and created solely for the purpose of
influencing an election on behalf of that candidate must be
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signed, using an electronic signature, stating that, to the best
of the candidate's knowledge, the political committee has not
violated a provision of this act; and
(2) be made subject to the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904
(relating to unsworn falsification to authorities) as provided
in section 1629.
Section 2. Sections 1628, 1629 heading, (a) and (b) and
1631(1) of the act are amended to read:
Section 1628. Late Contributions and Independent
Expenditures.--Any candidate or political committee, authorized
by a candidate and created solely for the purpose of influencing
an election on behalf of that candidate, which receives any
contribution or pledge of five hundred dollars ($500) or more,
and any person making an independent expenditure, as defined by
this act, of five hundred dollars ($500) or more after the final
pre-election report has been deemed completed shall report such
contribution, pledge or expenditure to the appropriate
supervisor. Such report shall be sent by the candidate, chairman
or treasurer of the political committee within twenty-four (24)
hours of receipt of the contribution. It shall be the duty of
the supervisor to confirm the substance of such report. [The
report shall be made by telegram, mailgram, overnight mail or
facsimile transmission. Any] The reports filed with the
Secretary of the Commonwealth may be filed electronically in
accordance with section 1631.1. Any report that is not filed
electronically shall be filed by facsimile, electronic mail or
overnight mail courier service. Except for reports filed
electronically, a candidate in his own behalf, or chairman,
treasurer or candidate [in] on behalf of the political committee
may also comply with this section by appearing personally before
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such supervisor and reporting such late contributions or
pledges.
Section 1629. [Oath of Compliance] Unsworn Falsification;
Perjury; Disqualification from Office; Commercial Use.--
[(a) Each report shall be subscribed and sworn to by the
individual submitting the report. In addition, any report filed
by a political committee, authorized by a candidate and created
solely for the purpose of influencing an election on behalf of
that candidate, must be accompanied by an affidavit from that
candidate which provides that, to the best of the candidate's
knowledge, the political committee has not violated any
provision of this act.]
(b) Any wilfully false, fraudulent or misleading statement
or entry made by any candidate or treasurer in any statement or
report [under oath] as required by this article, shall
constitute the crime of [perjury] unsworn falsification to
authorities, and be punishable as such according to the laws of
this Commonwealth.
* * *
Section 1631. Place of Filing.--
Any statement or report required by this article to be filed,
shall be done in the following manner:
(1) (i) Any candidate, individual, or committee required to
file a report concerning any candidate shall file that statement
or report in the office of the supervisor with whom the
candidate filed a nomination paper, nomination certificate,
nomination petitions or with the supervisor with whom the
candidate would have filed such if he had sought nomination in
that manner.
[(ii) All candidates and political committees, authorized by
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candidates and created solely for the purpose of influencing the
election of such candidates, who must file reports or statements
with the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and who do not file
electronically, shall also file copies of their reports or
statements in the county in which the candidate resides.]
(iii) All candidates and political committees, authorized by
candidates and created solely for the purpose of influencing the
election of such candidates, who must file reports or statements
with the Secretary of the Commonwealth as required by this
subsection and who file electronically, are not required to file
copies of reports or statements in the county in which the
candidate resides.
* * *
Section 3. The act is amended by adding sections to read:
Section 1631.1. Manner of Filing.--
(a) Reports and statements required to be filed with the
Secretary of the Commonwealth pursuant to sections 1626, 1627,
1628 and 1641 may be filed with the Secretary of the
Commonwealth using the electronic filing system developed by the
Secretary of the Commonwealth .
(b) A report or statement filed under this section shall be
made subject to the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 (relating to
unsworn falsification to authorities).
(c) In addition to the requirement under subsection (b), a
report or statement filed electronically shall also:
(1) include the electronic signature of the treasurer or
assistant treasurer of the political committee serving at the
time of the filing of the report or statement; and
(2) for a report or statement filed by a candidate or a
candidate's political committee, include the electronic
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signature of the candidate, stating that, to the best of the
candidate's knowledge, the political committee has not violated
a provision of this act.
(d) (1) A principal may authorize another person to prepare
the contents of any report or statement that is filed
electronically, including entry of data into the electronic
filing system as provided under subsection (a).
(2) Each principal authorizing another to act under clause
(1) must:
(i) review the contents of the report or statement prepared
under clause (1); and
(ii) file with the electronic filing system the approval of
the contents of the report or statement and verification of its
accuracy, in accordance with subsection (b). The approval shall
be transmitted personally by the principal and not on the
principal's behalf by any other person.
(3) No report or statement that is filed electronically may
be considered complete or filed until all necessary approvals
and verifications shall have been submitted by each principal
required to file.
(4) As used in this subsection, "principal" shall mean any
person required to file any report or statement electronically
with the Secretary of the Commonwealth in accordance with this
section.
(e) A report or statement filed with the Secretary of the
Commonwealth, which is not filed electronically, shall be filed
on forms developed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Section 1631.2. Inability to File Reports or Statements
Electronically by Deadline.--
(a) Reports or statements filed electronically with the
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Secretary of the Commonwealth under section 1631.1 are subject
to the following:
(1) If a candidate or political committee cannot file a
report or statement electronically on the day the report or
statement is due because of the unavailability of the Department
of State's electronic filing system at the time the candidate or
political committee attempts to file the report or statement,
the principal shall immediately notify the Department of State
in a manner designated by the Secretary of the Commonwealth. If
the website is unavailable and the candidate or political
committee has notified the department, the candidate or
political committee shall have until 11:59 o'clock P.M. on the
next day following the deadline to file the report or statement
electronically and the principal shall file a statementb
affirming that the principal was unable to file the report or
statement on time because of the unavailability of the
Department of State's electronic filing system at the time the
principal attempted to file the report or statement on the day
the report or statement was due. The affirmation statement shall
be due at the same time as the statement or report filed under
this subsection. The report or statement shall not be considered
filed until the affirmation statement is filed.
(2) If a candidate or political committee is unable to file
electronically as required under clause (1) because the
Department of State's electronic filing system remains
unavailable, the principal shall notify the Department of State
each day a report or statement cannot be filed due to the
unavailability of the Department of State's electronic filing
system. The candidate or political committee shall have until
11:59 P.M. on the next day to electronically file the report or
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statement or notify the Department of State a second time of the
inaccessibility of the department's electronic filing system.
The principal shall file a statement affirming that the
principal was unable to file the report or statement on time
because of the unavailability of the Department of State's
electronic filing system. The affirmation statement shall be
due at the same time as the statement or report filed under this
subsection. The report or statement shall not be considered
filed until the affirmation statement is filed.
(b) The Department of State may provide for an alternative
method of electronic filing if the department's electronic
filing system remains unavailable.
(c) For cause shown, the Secretary of the Commonwealth may
waive late filing fees for reports or statements filed after the
deadline but which are the subject of notifications as
prescribed by this section.
(d) As used in this section, "unavailability of the
Department of State's electronic filing system" shall mean a
failure of the system within the Department of State's technical
environment that does not allow access to the system by an
individual. The term does not include:
(1) a network issue between the user's computer and the
Department of State's environment; or
(2) a failure of any part of the user's computer or internal
network.
Section 4. Sections 1632(a), 1639(3), 1640 and 1641(a) of
the act are amended to read:
Section 4. Section 1632(a) of the act is amended and the
section is amended by adding a subsection to read:
Section 1632. Late Filing Fee; Certificate of Filing.--
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[(a) A late filing fee for each report or statement of
expenditures and contributions which is not filed within the
prescribed period shall be imposed as follows. Such fee shall be
ten dollars ($10) for each day or part of a day excluding
Saturdays, Sundays and holidays that a report or statement is
overdue. An additional fee of ten dollars ($10) is due for each
of the first six (6) days that a report or statement is overdue.
The maximum fee payable with respect to a single report or
statement is two hundred fifty dollars ($250). A supervisor
shall receive an overdue report or statement even if any late
filing fee due has not been paid but the report or statement
shall not be considered filed until all fees have been paid upon
the receipt by the supervisor of an overdue report. No further
late filing fees shall be incurred notwithstanding the fact that
the report or statement is not considered filed. The late filing
fee is the personal liability of the candidate or treasurer of a
political committee and cannot be paid from contributions to the
candidate or committee, nor may such fee be considered an
expenditure. A report or statement of expenditures and
contributions shall be deemed to have been filed within the
prescribed time if the letter transmitting the report or
statement which is received by the supervisor is transmitted by
first class mail and is postmarked by the United States Postal
Service on the day prior to the final day on which the report or
statement is to be received: Provided, That this sentence shall
not be applicable to the reporting requirements contained in
section 1628.]
(a.1) For reports or statements required to be filed with
the Secretary of the Commonwealth, the penalty for each report
or statement that is not filed within the prescribed period
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shall be fifty dollars ($50) a day for the first six (6) days
the report or statement is late and one hundred dollars ($100) a
day for day seven (7) and each day thereafter. The maximum
penalty for late reports or statements is two thousand dollars
($2,000) for each required filing. The late filing fee shall be
the personal responsibility of the candidate or treasurer of a
political committee and cannot be paid from contributions to the
candidate or committee nor may the fee be considered an
expenditure. The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall receive an
overdue report or statement regardless of whether a late filing
fee has been paid. A report or statement shall not be considered
filed until all fees have been paid upon the receipt by the
Secretary of the Commonwealth of an overdue report or statement.
* * *
Section 4.1. Sections 1639(3), 1640 and 1641(a) of the act
are amended to read:
Section 1639. Powers and Duties of the Supervisor.--It shall
be the duty of the supervisor to:
* * *
(3) Make the reports and statements filed with him or her
available for public inspection and copying, commencing as soon
as practicable but not later than the end of the second day
following the day during which it was received, and to provide
copies of any such report or parts thereof, as requested by any
person, at the expense of such person, at the rate not to exceed
the actual cost of reproduction. County voter registration
offices shall, upon request by any person, obtain from the
electronic reporting system maintained by the Secretary of the
Commonwealth, and provide for review, any campaign finance
report required to be filed electronically with the Secretary of
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the Commonwealth.
* * *
Section 1640. Additional Powers and Duties of the Secretary
of the Commonwealth.--The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall
have the following additional powers and duties:
(1) To serve as the State clearing house for information
concerning the administration of this act.
(2) To prescribe suitable rules and regulations to carry out
the provisions of this act.
(3) To develop the prescribed forms required by the
provisions of this article for the making of the reports and
statements required to be filed with the supervisor.
(4) To prepare a manual setting forth recommended uniform
methods of bookkeeping and reporting which shall be furnished by
the supervisor to the person required to file such reports and
statements as required by this article.
(5) To examine the contributions to State legislative and
Statewide candidates and publish a list of all those political
committees who have contributed to candidates and who have
failed to file reports as required by this act within six (6)
days of their failure to comply.
(6) To maintain a searchable computer database and
electronic reporting system that contains the information
necessary for the proper administration of this article,
including information on contributions and expenditures by all
candidates and all political committees and distribution of
money, and including public access through the Internet. The
database must be designed with an emergency recovery system to
ensure that campaign expense records are not lost in the case of
an emergency, natural disaster or other event that could cause
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the system to malfunction.
(7) To establish a training program on the electronic
reporting system and make it available to a candidate or
political committee.
(8) To ensure all information contained in a statement or
report filed, that is not on the electronic reporting system, be
entered into the electronic reporting system as soon as
practicable but no later than four (4) business days after its
receipt by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
(9) The Department of State shall issue to the registrant an
electronic receipt that includes a confirmation number and the
date and time of filing.
Section 1641. Reports by Business Entities; Publication by
Secretary of the Commonwealth.--
(a) Any business entity including but not limited to a
corporation, company, association, partnership or sole
proprietorship, which has been awarded non-bid contracts from
the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions during the
preceding calendar year, shall report electronically in
accordance with section 1631.1 by February 15 of each year to
the Secretary of the Commonwealth an itemized list of all
political contributions known to the business entity by virtue
of the knowledge possessed by every officer, director,
associate, partner, limited partner or individual owner that has
been made by:
(1) any officer, director, associate, partner, limited
partner, individual owner or members of their immediate family
when the contributions exceed an aggregate of one thousand
dollars ($1,000) by any individual during the preceding year; or
(2) any employe or members of his immediate family whose
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political contribution exceeded one thousand dollars ($1,000)
during the preceding year.
For the purposes of this subsection, "immediate family" means a
person's spouse and any unemancipated child.
* * *
Section 5. The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall transmit
notice to the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in
the Pennsylvania Bulletin when the electronic filing system
developed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth is available for
use.
Section 6. This act shall take effect as follows:
(1) The following provisions shall take effect
immediately:
(i) Section 5 of this act.
(ii) This section.
(2) The remainder of this act shall take effect 120 days
after publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin of the notice
under section 5.
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