SD House panel endorses campaign finance measurePIERRE (AP) — A measure aimed at ensuring that candidates for public office file their required campaign finance reports won support Wednesday from a South Dakota legislative panel.
By: CHET BROKAW, The Associated Press
PIERRE (AP) — A measure aimed at ensuring that candidates for public office file their required campaign finance reports won support Wednesday from a South Dakota legislative panel.
The State Affairs Committee voted 9-4 to endorse a bill that would prevent anyone who fails to file a campaign finance report from running for office in a later election. The measure's main sponsor, Rep. Jon Hansen, R-Dell Rapids, said some candidates ignore the requirement to file the reports and also fail to pay the resulting fines.
"It really is critical that the public has the ability to see what is in those reports, particularly who is funding these candidates," Hansen said.
Secretary of State Jason Gant, who oversees elections in South Dakota, said candidates who don't file campaign finance reports already face administrative fines of $50 a day — up to a maximum of $3,000 — but a few candidates have not filed reports or paid the fines. Five did not file reports before the 2010 election and five did not file reports required after that election, he said.
The proposal would prevent people from being certified as candidates if they had failed to file any campaign finance report, amendment or correction in a previous campaign.
Rep. Peggy Gibson, D-Huron, who voted against the measure, questioned whether the problem is big enough to justify passing a law.
Lawmakers said when the full House votes on the bill, language will be added to deal with questions or complaints that arise late in a campaign.
House Republican Leader David Lust of Rapid City said someone may file a report on time but mistakenly omit some information. Once someone is certified as a candidate in an election, he or she should have a chance to correct a prior campaign finance report without being kicked off the ballot, he said.
Candidates file not only reports that list donations and spending in campaigns, but also statements listing their major sources of income and ownership of businesses.